On this Day May 1

History Highlights

1931 – President Herbert Hoover dedicates New York City’s iconic 102-story Empire State Building by symbolically pressing a button in Washington, D.C. that illuminates what is then the world’s tallest building. The art deco skyscraper, standing 1,250 feet tall, was built in just over a year at a cost of $41 million.

1941 – “Citizen Kane” opens in New York, and through the decades, is hailed as one of the greatest movies ever made. Written and directed by 26-year-old filmmaker Orson Welles (also the star), it chronicles the life of a newspaper magnate considered to be real-life publishing baron William Randolph Hearst. 

1958 – President Dwight Eisenhower proclaims Law Day to honor the role of law in the establishment of the United States of America. In 1961, Congress follows suit by passing a joint resolution establishing May 1 as Law Day.

1960 – An American U-2 spy plane is shot down over the Soviet Union, prompting cancellation of a planned summit between U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower and Soviet President Nikita Khrushchev.

1963 – Jim Whittaker of Washington State becomes the first American to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, the world’s tallest mountain.

1971 – The U.S. Congress and President Richard Nixon create Amtrak (the National Railroad Passenger Corporation) in a bid to salvage the nation’s ailing passenger rail services.

1997 – After 18 years of Conservative rule, British voters give the Labour Party, a landslide victory in British parliamentary elections. In the poorest Conservative Party showing since 1832, Prime Minister John Major is rejected in favor of Tony Blair, who at age 43 becomes the youngest British prime minister in more than a century.

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