The Holland Tunnel – Innovation at Work

Today in History, November 21, 1927:

Time magazine places the recently opened Holland Tunnel between New York City and Jersey City on its cover. On its first day nearly 52,000 vehicles used the tunnel. Running a tunnel beneath the Hudson River, or any river, would have been suicidal before engineer Holland designed a ventilation system that took up four ten story towers, two on each end of the tunnel. Fresh air is pumped through vents at the bottom of the roadway while the air is drawn out simultaneously through vents in the ceiling. All of the air in the tunnel is changed every 90 seconds.

The First Annual New York Bench Show of Dogs

Today in History, May 8, 1877:

For several years a group of sportsmen had been gathering at their favorite bar inside the Westminster Hotel in New York City to tell tales of their hunting excursions and share a few drinks.

They decided eventually to set up some kennels nearby for their four-legged friends and hire trainers. Thus was born the Westminster Kennel Club, named for their favorite establishment.

From here it was decided to host a dog show, the first of which drew approximately 1,200 entrants as The First Annual New York Bench Show of Dogs, held at Gilmore’s Garden for three days beginning May 8, 1877.

Today we know the show as the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and the venue as Madison Square Garden.

The show is the second longest continuous running sporting event in the United States…bested only by the Kentucky Derby which began in the same decade.

Oh the stories they can tell. Entries reportedly have been made using the late Col. George Custer’s dogs, those of the monarchs of England, Russia and Germany, and the indomitable Nelly Bly.

The show predates movies, the light bulb, many states, and the “show went on” during wars and the Great Depression.

The show has, of course, progressed from hunting dogs to pretty much every breed, and now carries on longer and draws even more remarkable crowds.

Evacuation Day

Today in History, November 25: 1783 –

After seven years of occupation, the last British troops depart New York City, three months after the Treaty of Paris was signed ending the American Revolutionary War.

At the outset of the war Gen. George Washington had wanted to fight to keep NYC, but after losing tactically to British forces, had to flee with his army in the dark of night. NY would remain in British hands throughout the war.

After the last British troops left, Gen. Washington entered the city to great fanfare from its citizens.

He would later be inaugurated as the first President in the city that would become the nation’s first capitol.