April 2 in Pop Culture History

02April 2
1513 – Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon landed near what is now called St. Augustine, Florida and declared the land for Spain.

1792 – The Coinage Act was passed, establishing the United States Mint.

1827 – Lead pencils were began being manufactured by Joseph Dixon, who built his factory in Salem, Massachusetts

1882 – Tombstone reads, “Jesse W. James, Died April 3, 1882, Aged 34 years, 6 months, 28 days, Murdered by a traitor and a coward whose name is not worthy to appear here.” Jesse James was shot and killed by frenemy Robert Ford for the reward money. There was a $5,000 bounty on the bank-robber, but they gave Ford $500, and then arrested him.

1902 – “Electric Theatre”, the first full-time movie theater in the United States, opened in Los Angeles.

1917 – The first woman ever elected to the U.S. Congress, Jeannette Rankin, takes her seat as a representative from Montana.

1953 – The journal Nature published a paper with this date from Francis Crick and James Watson, titled Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid, in which they described a double helix structure for DNA.

1956 – As the World Turns and The Edge of Night first aired on the CBS network in the United States, as the first half-hour serial dramas.

1956 – Elvis Presley sang Heartbreak Hotel on the Milton Berle Show, with an estimated 25% of the United States population viewing.

1973 – The first portable cell phone call was placed in New York City.

1973 – Launch of the LexisNexis legal research service.

1978 – Dallas premiered on CBS.

1978 – Velcro, the hook-and-loop fastener patent, expired. Velcro comes from “vel” or velvet and “cro” from the French word crochet which means hook.

1992 – In New York, Mafia boss John Gotti is convicted of murder and racketeering and is later sentenced to life in prison.

1992 – Pope John Paul II died.

1996 – Suspected ‘Unabomber’Theodore Kaczynski was arrested at his Montana cabin.

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