Headline-grabbing murders, political scandals, devastating weather events and just plain odd things defined the decades leading up to 2014.
Pop culture and national and worldwide events captured attention and in some cases, changed mankind, over the past 100 years. Here is an overview as gleaned from several online sources including thepeoplehistory.com, infoplease.come and historyorb.com and others:
• The average work day changed when the Ford Motor Company went from a nine-hour to eight-hour shift as the Model T assembly line went into production.
• The second sister ship to the Titanic — HMHS Britannic — launched from Belfast, Ireland, in February and later sank off the coast of Greece in November 1916.
• Britain declared war on Germany after German troops invaded Belgium; the Colorado Coal Field Massacre, also known as the Ludlow Massacre, saw 33 striking coal miners killed by the Colorado National Guard; and the Canadian ship, The Empress of Ireland, sank in the St. Lawrence River on May 29, killing 1,024 people aboard.
• The Greyhound Bus Company opened in Minnesota in 1914; the first ship, the U.S.S. Acorn, passed through the Panama Canal; Babe Ruth made his debut with the Boston Red Sox; and Charlie Chaplin introduced “The Tramp.”
• The first Olympic Winter Games were held in January in Chamonix, France; the sarcophagus of King Tutankhamen’s tomb was opened in Egypt; and Claydon Sunny published “Happy Birthday to You.”
• J. Edgar Hoover was named director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the first crossword puzzle was published; “Little Orphan Annie” debuted; and President Calvin Coolidge declared the Stature of Liberty a national monument.
• Rand McNally published its first road atlas; the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was held; and astronomer Edwin Hubble announced there were other galaxies out there.
• A notorious court case concluded in Chicago when law students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were found guilty of the murder of 14-year-old Bobby Franks. The pair, trying to commit the perfect crime, was tripped up when a distinguishing hinge on a pair of eyeglasses left behind at the scene was found.
• An 8.4 earthquake killed 10,700 people in the India/Nepal region in January; the same month the Apollo Theater in Harlem opened; and the first ski tow became operational in Woodstock, Vt.
• The first high-school driver-education class was held in State College, Pa.; the first “washateria,” later known as a laundromat, opened in Fort Worth, Texas; and Shirley Temple made her movie debut in “Stand Up and Cheer.”
• The U.S. Department of Justice offered a $25,000 reward for the capture of John Dillinger, dead or alive; the Shah of Persia officially renamed his country Iran; and the Great Dust Storm blew in on May 13, 1934.
• Five little girls from Callander, Ont., captured the world’s attention when they became the first surviving set of quintuplets. Yvonne, Annette, Cecile, Emilie and Marie Dionne were taken from their parents by the Ontario government and turned into a tourist attraction, drawing million of visitors.
• World War II rages on as Gen. Dwight Eisenhower takes over command of the allied invasion force in London; the Krakow concentration camp was established; and allied troops set foot on Japanese soil for the first time.
• Bing Crosby recorded “Swinging on a Star”; Batman and Robin debuted on the comic pages; and “Casablanca” won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
• Jewish schoolgirl Anne Frank made her final diary entry on Aug. 1. She would be arrested three days later and taken to Auschwitz concentration camp. Her diary is turned over to her father, Otto, in October 1945 six months after Anne died at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
• Mount Vesuvius erupted; Smokey Bear made his debut, urging everyone to prevent forest fires; and “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” premiered on CBS radio.
• Locally, NBC affiliate WPTZ TV in Plattsburgh began broadcasting; groundbreaking for Disneyland was held in an Anaheim orange grove; and the first mass inoculation of the polio vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk was conducted in Pittsburgh.
• The first shopping mall opened in Southfield, Mich.; Swanson introduced the first TV dinner; and Elvis Presley recorded his debut single, “That’s All Right,” in April.
• An armistice signed in July divided Vietnam into two countries; the groundbreaking for the St. Lawrence Seaway project in Massena was held; Sports Illustrated was published for the first time; and Bill Haley and the Comets recorded “Rock Around the Clock” the same day Joe Turner released “Shake, Rattle and Roll.”
• The first Burger King is opened in Miami; the presidential aircraft Air Force One is introduced; and the U.S. Senate censures Wisconsin Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy for “conduct that tends to bring the Senate dishonor and disrepute.”
• The Beatles arrived in the United States in February and made their first two appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show”; President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty; plans to build the World Trade Center were announced; and boxer Cassius Clay joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
• The first government report linking cigarette smoking to serious health issues was released; the G. I. Joe toy debuted; and Dallas bar owner Jack Ruby was sentenced to death for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated President John F. Kennedy.
• The Ford Mustang, base priced at $2,368, debuted in April; Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison in South Africa; Canada adopted the Maple Leaf as its national flag; and the first of a record-breaking 3,242 performances of “Fiddler on the Roof” was held at the Imperial Theater in New York City, starring Zero Mostel.
• The national 55 mph speed limit was established by President Richard Nixon, who, within a few days, refused to turn over secretly recorded tapes of White House conversations to the Watergate Commission. A gap of 18½ minutes was found on the tapes, and within a month, seven presidential aides were indicted by the Watergate grand jury.
• The House Judiciary Committee recommended Nixon be impeached on charges of “high crimes and treason,” the president admits he withheld information about the Watergate break-in and announced he would resign and appoint Gerald Ford president.
• Ford pardoned Nixon of all crimes and declared amnesty to Vietnam War deserters.
• The Loch Ness monster and the planet Mercury were photographed; “Blazing Saddles” debuted; publishing heiress Patty Hearst was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army; Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s home-run record by slugging No. 715; and instructions on how to perform the Heimlich maneuver were published.
• The Senate rejects an amendment to allow school prayer; a portion of Central Park is renamed Strawberry Fields to honor John Lennon; and senior citizen Clara Peller became an instant celebrity by asking “Where’s the beef?” in Wendy’s TV ads.
• Madonna appears on “American Bandstand”; identification is made of the virus for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS); the Soviet Union announces it will not participate in the summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles; and Bruce Springsteen releases the album “Born in the USA.”
• Democratic Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro became the first woman nominated for vice president; and two groundbreaking TV shows debut, “Miami Vice” and “The Cosby Show.”
• After nude photographs of her surface shortly after she was crowned, Vanessa Williams is forced to resign her title after becoming the first African American Miss America; Howard Cosell retires from “Monday Night Football”; and passenger Bernard Goetz shoots four muggers on the New York City subway train.
• Nelson Mandela was named the first black president of South Africa; Lorena Bobbitt was found temporarily insane for cutting off her husband John Wayne Bobbitt’s penis.
• A jury finds Exxon and the ship’s captain at fault for the Exxon Valdez oil spill; and Kurt Cobain, leader of the grunge band Nirvana, dies by suicide.
• Nicole Brown Simpson, ex-wife of former pro football legend O.J. Simpson, was found dead outside her home along with a friend, Ron Goldman. Simpson led police on a 1½-hour chase in a white Bronco and pleaded “absolutely 100 percent not guilty” when arraigned on murder charges.
• Major League Baseball players go on strike, canceling the 1994 season; and the Republican Party led by Newt Gingrich took control of both the Senate and House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years following a mid-term election.
• The Central Intelligence Agency admitted there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq; Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook; and entertainer Janet Jackson had a wardrobe malfunction that exposes her pierced nipple during a halftime performance at Super Bowl XXXVII.
• Ken Jennings of Utah won $2.5 million during a 79-game winning streak on “Jeopardy”; Terry Nichols was convicted of 161 counts of murder for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing; and the World War II memorial opens in Washington, D.C.
• President Ronald Reagan died; Massachusetts becomes the first state to legalize same-sex marriages; and the Boston Red Sox win the World Series for the first time since 1918.
• Singer Ray Charles, comedian Rodney Dangerfield and actors Marlon Brando and Christopher Reeve died; and after 107 years, the last Oldsmobile was produced.
• A 9.3-magnitude earthquake triggered a catastrophic tsunami that killed 230,000 people in the Indian Ocean countries of Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.