On July 17…

1862 – The U.S. government authorized national cemeteries to bury those who died in battle, other war veterans, U.S. Presidents and government leaders.

1867 – The Harvard School of Dental Medicine was established in Boston, MA, becoming the first dental school in America.

1889 – Author Erle Stanley Gardner (Perry Mason) was born in Malden, MA.

1901 – Dr. Willis Carrier installed a commercial air conditioning system at a Brooklyn, NY printing plant.  The system was the first to provide man-made control over temperature, humidity, ventilation and air quality.  It was originally installed to help maintain quality at the printing plant and for the first two decades of the 20th Century, Carrier’s invention was used primarily to cool machines, not people.

1955 – Disneyland opened the gates to “The Happiest Place on Earth” in Anaheim, California.

1981 – Two skywalks suspended from the ceiling over the atrium lobby at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City, MO, collapsed, killing 114 people.  Five years later, two design engineers were convicted of gross negligence.

1996 – TWA (Trans World Airlines) flight 800, carrying 230 people, including four cockpit crew members and 14 flight attendants, exploded, falling into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Long Island, New York.  The Boeing 747 had lifted off from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport at 8:19 p.m. bound for Paris, France.  After a 16-month probe, the FBI announced it had found no evidence of a criminal act or a missile; concluding the crash was caused by electrical arcing in the plane’s center fuel tank igniting fuel vapors.

1998 – After a magnitude 7.1 earthquake in West Sepik, Papua New Guinea, three tsunami waves reaching heights of 45 feet, struck; followed by two smaller waves.  The waves killed more than 2,000 people and left some 10,000 left homeless.

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