Today in history
In 1924: One of the most serious disasters that has visited Grand Rapids in years occurred early Tuesday night when fire gutted the Hotel Livingston, at one time considered the most beautiful tavern in the middle west. The old landmark is at Fulton and Division streets next to the Grand Rapids Herald building. As near as can be ascertained up to this time, there are four dead and a score of injured.
On this day
In 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon and his expedition landed in present-day Florida. (Some historians say the landing actually occurred the next day, on April 3.)
In 1792, Congress passed the Coinage Act, which authorized establishment of the U.S. Mint.
In 1912, the just-completed RMS Titanic left Belfast to begin its sea trials eight days before the start of its ill-fated maiden voyage.
In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to declare war against Germany, saying, “The world must be made safe for democracy.” (Congress declared war four days later.)
In 1865, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and most of his Cabinet fled the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, because of advancing Union forces.
In 1956, the soap operas “As the World Turns” and “The Edge of Night” premiered on CBS-TV.
In 1958, the term “beatnik” was coined by San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen (cayn) to refer to members of the pre-hippie counterculture; the term was inspired by the “Beat Generation” and by the Soviet launch of its second Sputnik spacecraft.
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed into law a windfall profits tax on the oil industry. (The tax was repealed in 1988.)
In 1982, several thousand troops from Argentina seized the disputed Falkland Islands, located in the south Atlantic, from Britain. (Britain seized the islands back the following June.)
In 1986, four American passengers, including an 8-month-old girl, her mother and grandmother, were killed when a terrorist bomb exploded aboard a TWA jetliner en route from Rome to Athens, Greece.
In 2002, Israel seized control of Bethlehem; Palestinian gunmen forced their way into the Church of the Nativity, the traditional birthplace of Jesus, where they began a 39-day standoff.
In 2003, during the Iraq War, American forces fought their way to within sight of the Baghdad skyline.
In 2005, Pope John Paul II died in his Vatican apartment at age 84.
In 2019, Former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot won the runoff election for Chicago mayor, becoming the first black woman and the first openly gay person to lead the nation’s third-largest city.
Emmylou Harris is 73.
Buddy Jewell is 59.
Jeremy Garrett is 44.
Aaron Kelly is 27.
Zeeland Hospital/Spectrum Health
March 17, 2020
A son, Jacob Michael, to Michelle and Jordan Gibson of Zeeland.
A son, Lucian Alexander, to Katelyn and Edward Scott of Holland.
March 18, 2020
A son, Jaxon Robert, to Alecia and John Vandenberg of Hudsonville.
A daughter, Etta Lily Blink, to Lindsey and Mac Blink of Fennville.