1866: A new method of sticking up moving trains in remote locations low on law enforcement soon became popular in the American West, where the recently constructed transcontinental and regional railroads made attractive targets. The sparsely populated landscape provided bandits with numerous isolated areas perfect for stopping trains, as well as plenty of places to hide from the law.
1913: For the first time, Henry Ford’s entire Highland Park, Michigan automobile factory is run on a continuously moving assembly line when the chassis, the automobile’s frame, is assembled using the revolutionary industrial technique. A motor and rope pulled the chassis past workers and parts on the factory floor, cutting the man hours required to complete one “Model T” from 12-1/2 hours to six.
2001: The Office of Homeland Security is founded, less than one month after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Now a cabinet department, Homeland Security is now one of the largest organs of the federal government, charged with preventing terror attacks, border security, immigrations and customs, disaster relief and prevention and other related tasks.
1942: Chicago bootlegger Roger “The Terrible” Touhy escapes from Illinois’ Stateville Prison by climbing the guard’s tower. Touhy, who had been framed for kidnapping by his bootlegging rivals with the help of corrupt Chicago officials, was serving a 99-year sentence for a kidnapping he did not commit. He was recaptured a couple of months later.
2004: Actor Christopher Reeve, who became famous for his starring role in four Superman films, dies from heart failure at the age of 52 at a hospital near his home in Westchester County, New York. Reeve, who was paralyzed in a 1995 horse-riding accident, was a leading advocate for spinal cord research.
2002: Former President Jimmy Carter wins the Nobel Peace Prize “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.”
1940: Cowboy-movie star Tom Mix is killed when he loses control of his speeding Cord Phaeton convertible and rolls into a dry wash (now called the Tom Mix Wash) near Florence, Arizona. He was 60 years old. Today, visitors to the site of the accident can see a 2-foot–tall iron statue of a riderless horse and a plaque that reads: “In memory of Tom Mix whose spirit left his body on this spot and whose characterization and portrayals in life served to better fix memories of the Old West in the minds of living men.”