This Day in History… July 17, 1955

Disneyland Opens to Massive Crowd 

U.S. #1355

Renowned animator Walt Disney had long dreamed of opening an amusement park to share his bustling creativity with children and adults alike. His dream finally came true on July 17, 1955, with the opening of Disneyland – though the day didn’t go quite as he’d planned.

After a year of construction, and a $17 million investment, invitations went out to 6,000 studio employees, construction workers, sponsors, members of the press, and their families. However, counterfeit passes were made and over 28,000 people showed up, causing major traffic jams.

And that wasn’t the only problem. The larger crowd meant that vendors ran out of food and drinks. Some of the asphalt was still fresh and women’s high-heeled shoes got stuck. Continue reading

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This Day in History… July 16, 1941

Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio Sets 56-Game Hitting Streak 

U.S. #4697

On July 16, 1941, Joe DiMaggio entered the record books hitting in 56 straight games, a record that still stands today.

DiMaggio’s historic streak began on May 15 in a game against the Chicago White Sox. After hitting in about 20 consecutive games, newspapers took notice of the streak and DiMaggio was in the spotlight. His streak was nearly broken on June 24 when pitcher Bob Muncrief was ordered to walk him in his last at bat. Muncrief refused, and DiMaggio got a single. On July 2, DiMaggio surpassed Willie Keeler’s 1897 44-game hit record, vaulting himself into the record books. Continue reading

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This Day in History… July 15, 1975

Apollo-Soyuz Test Project Launches,
Marking End to the Space Race 

U.S. 1569-70

Launched on July 15, 1975, the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project was the first joint U.S.-Soviet space mission. It marked the end of the Apollo program and the beginning of the world’s two superpowers working together.

Both spacecraft launched from their respective countries on July 15 and docked together in orbit two days later. The American and Soviet astronauts conducted joint experiments, toured each other’s spacecraft, and shared meals. The crews exchanged flags and gifts before separating 44 hours after docking. Continue reading

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This Day in History… July 14, 1943

George Washington Carver National Monument Established 

U.S. #953

On July 14, 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt committed $30,000 toward a monument to botanist and inventor George Washington Carver. Though it would not be completed for a decade, it was the first national monument to honor an African American and non-president.

Born during the Civil War, Carver’s parents were slaves working for the Carver family in Missouri. When his parents died, the Carvers raised him as their own child. Carver was bright and went on to earn a Master’s in agriculture. He discovered new ways to plant seeds that would improve fertility of the soil. He also found new ways to use certain crops. Carver became known as the “Peanut Man” for his work with the plant, creating more than 300 different products from it. Continue reading

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This Day in History… July 13, 1787

Northwest Ordinance Revolutionizes Addition of New States to the Union 

U.S. #795

The United States passed the Northwest Ordinance on July 13, 1787, to establish a set of steps territories would have to follow before becoming a state. It was groundbreaking at the time and led to the organized and rapid expansion of America.

As part of the United States’ victory in the Revolutionary War, Great Britain ceded a 260,000-square-mile territory to the young nation. As states filed competing claims for the same land, the government sought a way to bypass the confusion. Early attempts at such legislation failed to make it through Congress. Then in 1787 Manasseh Cutler (the man on the left side of this stamp) and others drafted the Northwest Ordinance. Continue reading

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This Day in History… July 12, 1862

Birth of U.S. Army’s Medal of Honor 

U.S. #2045

On July 12, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation creating a Medal of Honor to be awarded “to such noncommissioned officers and privates as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action, and other soldier-like qualities during the present insurrection [Civil War].”

The first men to receive the Army’s Medal of Honor (the medal on the left side of this stamp) were members of a Union raiding party that took part in the Great Locomotive Chase in April 1862. In that action, they commandeered a train, cut telegraph wires, and destroyed sections of a Southern railway for the Union cause. Continue reading

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