On This Day October 24
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1901 – On her 63rd birthday, widowed schoolteacher Annie Edson Taylor becomes the first person to take the plunge over Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel and survive. Dubbing herself “Queen of the Mist,” Taylor had hoped the publicity stunt would generate money for her retirement, but 19 years later, she dies in poverty.
1931 – New York Governor Franklin Roosevelt dedicates the George Washington Bridge, a majestic span linking New York to New Jersey over the Hudson River. The bridge was the longest of its kind in the world at that time — 3,500 feet — and was completed ahead of schedule and under budget.
1945 – The United Nations (U.N.) is established to promote cooperation among the nations of the world. A charter officially creating the U.N. had been ratified four months earlier by China, France, the Soviet Union, the U.S., the U.K. and other signatories.
2003 – The iconic Concorde passenger jet makes its last commercial flight, traveling at twice the speed of sound from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to London’s Heathrow Airport. The supersonic aircraft enjoyed three decades of uninterrupted service with British Airways and Air France until a July 2000 crash in Paris killed 113 people.
1962 – Soul music legend James Brown records his landmark “Live At The Apollo” album, which is inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998 and, in 2003, is ranked No. 24 in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
1973 – John Lennon sues the U.S. government over the FBI’s wiretapping of his phone. The former Beatle had been under surveillance because of his political activism, and along with his wife Yoko Ono, faced the threat of deportation.
1978 – Rolling Stone Keith Richards pleads guilty in a Canadian court to a charge of heroin possession. He receives a one-year suspended sentence and is ordered to play a charity concert for the blind.