1809 – Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, was born in Hodgenville, KY.
1878 – Frederick W. Thayer, captain of the Harvard University Baseball Club, patented the now-familiar, baseball catcher’s mask.
1912 – The last emperor of China, Hsian-T’ung, was forced to abdicate, ending 267 years of Manchu rule in China and 2,000 years of imperial rule.
1924 – President Calvin Coolidge, known by many as the ‘Silent President,’ made the first presidential political speech on radio. The speech originated from New York City and was broadcast on five radio stations. Some five million people tuned in to hear Coolidge speak.
1973 – The State of Ohio went metric, becoming the first in the U.S. to post metric distance signs along Interstate 71. These new signs showed the distance in both miles and kilometers. The metric system, though standard in many nations around the world, never quite caught on in the United States, except on major-league baseball stadium fences – and on that highway in Ohio.
1973 – The release of U.S. prisoners-of-war (POW’s) began in Hanoi, Vietnam as part of the Paris peace settlement.
1994 – The XVIIth Winter Olympic Games opened in Lillehammer, Norway. The games proceeded, despite the infamous Nancy Kerrigan – Tanya Harding clubbing fiasco.
1999 – The 5-week impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton ended with the Senate voting to acquit him on perjury and obstruction of justice charges.
2000 – Hall-of-Fame football coach Tom Landry, who led the Dallas Cowboys to five Super Bowls in 20 consecutive winning seasons, died.