The Year was 1923

Lillian Bounds was born on the Nez Perce Reservation in Idaho in 1899. Her father was the federal marshal on the reservation and also the blacksmith. Lillian was the youngest of 10 children and the family struggled financially. Her father died when Lillian was 17. Lillian graduated from high school and went to business college….

The Year was 1916

Thanks to Steve Ellis for this idea! Should we blame farmers? What about school bus drivers? No. For Daylight Savings Time, we must blame World War I. Making optimal use of daylight was an idea that was used even in ancient times. The Romans adjusted their water clocks for every month. In 1895, a New…

The Year was 1913

“They’re ruining the country. People are obsessed. They can’t get to work on time.” Or at all! They were spending their time in libraries. What was the evil? Crossword puzzles! The idea began in England but it was in the United States where the idea took off. The first crossword puzzle appeared just before Christmas,…

The Year was 1884

From 60 million buffalo in 1830 to 23 free-ranging animals in 1884 – 54 years. How did men accomplish this? They slaughtered and slaughtered and slaughtered. Some states and territories passed laws to try to save the American buffalo. Idaho in 1864. Too late. There wasn’t a single buffalo left in Idaho. In 1871, Wyoming…

The Year was 2019

What was the pin Nancy Pelosi was wearing during the State of the Union Address? It was a mace. So what is a mace? Way back when people weren’t the kind, thoughtful human beings we are today (!), men – and maybe women – settled their disagreements by clubbing each other over the head with…

The Year was 1902

Will there be any little Sweetheart candy hearts for Valentine’s Day this year? No! The first Valentine candy heart with a saying was made by two brothers, Oliver and Silas Chase. They invented and patented a candy-making machine and were in business in 1847. One of them made a new machine that would stamp sayings…

The Year was 2018

What a park! Originally called Greensward, it is Central Park, New York City; 750 acres, commissioned by the New York State legislature in 1853. By 2017, it had everything – almost. To let people know where they were in the park, 21 gates were designated. To avoid competition, in 1862, the Board of Commissions decided…

The Year was 1582

Or was it 45 BC? Or 1752? Or 1929? Or… This was the year that January 1st became New Year’s Day. The first person to decree this was Julius Caesar in 45 BCE. He was disgusted with the mess the lunar calendar had created over time. And emperors weren’t averse to added or taking days…

The Year was 1955

Santa! Quick! Where is he??? NORAD knows? What? If you call this number, 877-HI-NORAD, someone will answer and give you an update. How did the military in the United States and Canada start this, now operated by some 1,500 military personnel and volunteers? They didn’t. In 1955, someone at Sears got a brilliant idea. Why…

The Year was 1441

O tannenbaum, o tannenbaum… We know this is Oh Christmas Tree, oh Christmas tree…and in fact the Christmas tree comes from early German Protestant celebrations of Christmas. But where did the Lutherans get this idea of decorating greenery in the middle of winter? The Vikings made green bows part of their celebration of mid-winter, perhaps…