1827 – The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad became the first railroad incorporated for the commercial transportation of people and freight.
1849 – The SS California arrived in San Francisco for the first time, having left left New York Harbor on October 6, 1848. Thus began regular steamboat service from the U.S. East Coast to the West Coast by steamboat, via Cape Horn.
1861 – Congress created the Territory of Colorado.
1940 – The first televised basketball game was broadcast on W2XBS in New York City from Madison Square Garden. The game featured Fordham University and the University of Pittsburgh.
1953 – Cambridge University scientists James D. Watson and Frances H.C. Crick announced they have determined the double-helix structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which had been discovered in 1869.
1972 – U.S. President Richard Nixon wrapped up an historic week-long visit to China, convinced the trip helped to create a new “generation of peace.”
1984 – Michael Jackson won a record 8 statuettes for his album, Thriller, at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, the most wins by a single artist. He broke the previous record of 6 awards set by Roger Miller in 1965.
1993 – Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) attempted to invade the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas. Four ATF agents and two cult members were killed and another 12 agents were wounded. The assault began a 51-day siege that ended on April 19.
1994 – In the first military action in the 45-year history of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), U.S. fighter planes shot down 4 Serbian war planes engaged in a bombing mission over Bosnia’s no-fly zone.
1995 – Denver International Airport finally opened after 16 months of delays and billions of dollars in budget overruns.
1997 – Two men, masked and wearing body armor, bungled a bank heist in North Hollywood, CA, and unleashed an arsenal of gunfire on police and bystanders, as they tried to flee. Fifteen people were injured, including ten policemen, before the robbers were killed.