This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
February 26 is the 57th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 308 days remaining until the end of the year (309 in leap years).
Two national parks preserved, 10 years apart. The two national parks were established in the United States 10 years apart, the Grand Canyon in 1919 and the Grand Tetons in 1929.
The Grand Canyon National Park
U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt visited the Grand Canyon in 1903. An avid outdoorsman and staunch conservationist, he established the Grand Canyon Game Preserve on November 28, 1906. Livestock grazing was reduced, but predators such as mountain lions, eagles, and wolves were eradicated. Roosevelt added adjacent national forest lands and redesignated the preserve a U.S. National Monument on January 11, 1908. Opponents such as land and mining claim holders blocked efforts to reclassify the monument as a U.S. National Park for 11 years. Grand Canyon National Park was finally established as the 17th U.S. National Park by an Act of Congress signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson on February 26, 1919.
Grand Teton National Park
In 1897 acting Yellowstone superintendent Colonel S.B.M. Young proposed expanding that park’s borders south to encompass the northern extent of Jackson Hole in order to protect migrating herds of elk. Next year, United States Geological Survey head Charles D. Walcott suggested that the Teton Range should be included as well. Stephen Mather, director of the newly-created National Park Service and his assistant Horace Albright sent a report to Secretary of the Interior Franklin Lane in 1917 stating much the same. Wyoming Representative Frank Mondell sponsored a bill that unanimously passed the United States House of Representatives in 1918 but was killed in the United States Senate when Idaho Senator [John Nugent feared that the expansion of Park Service jurisdiction would threaten sheep grazing permits. Public opposition to park expansion also mounted in and around Jackson Hole. Albright, in fact, was practically run out of Jackson, Wyoming, by angry townspeople in 1919 when he traveled there to speak in favor of park expansion.
Local attitudes started to change that same year when proposals to dam Jenny, Emma Matilda, and Two Ocean lakes surfaced. Then on July 26, 1923, local and Park Service representatives including Albright met in Maud Noble’s cabin to work on a plan to buy private lands to create a recreation area to preserve the “Old West” character of the valley. Albright was the only person who supported Park Service management; the others wanted traditional hunting, grazing, and dude-ranching activities to continue. In 1927 philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. founded the Snake River Land Company so he and others could buy land in the area incognito and have it held until the National Park Service could administer it. The company launched a campaign to purchase more than 35,000 acres for $1.4 million but faced 15 years of opposition by ranchers and a refusal by the Park Service to take the land.
In 1928, a Coordinating Commission on National Parks and Forests met with valley residents and reached an agreement for the establishment of a park. Wyoming Senator John Kendrick then introduced a bill to establish Grand Teton National Park. It was passed by both houses of the U.S. Congress and signed into law by U.S. President Calvin Coolidge on February 26, 1929. The 96,000 acres park was carved from Teton National Forest and included the Teton Range and six glacial lakes at its foot in Jackson Hole. Lobbying by cattlemen, however, meant that the original park borders did not include most of Jackson Hole (whose floor was used for grazing). Meanwhile the Park Service refused to accept the 35,000 acres held by the Snake River Company.
Discouraged by the stalemate, Rockefeller sent a letter to then U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt telling him that if the federal government did not accept the land that he intended to make some other disposition of it or to sell it in the market to any satisfactory buyers. Soon afterward on March 15, 1943 the president declared 221,000 acres (890 km2) of public land as Jackson Hole National Monument. Continued controversy over the Rockefeller gift still made it impossible for the monument to officially include that land, however.
Opposition to the monument by local residents immediately followed with criticism that the declaration was a violation of states’ rights and that it would destroy the local economy and tax base. Ranchers, led in part by famed actor Wallace Beery, drove 500 cattle across the newly created monument in a demonstration designed to provoke conflict. The Park Service did not respond to the stunt but the event brought national attention to the issue nonetheless. Wyoming Representative Frank A. Barrett introduced a bill to abolish the monument that passed both houses of Congress but was pocket vetoed by Roosevelt. U.S. Forest Service officials did not want to cede another large part of the Teton National Forest to the Park Service so they fought against transfer. One final act was to order forest rangers to gut the Jackson Lake Ranger Station before handing it over to park rangers. Residents in the area who supported the park and the monument were boycotted and harassed.
Other bills to abolish the monument were introduced between 1945 and 1947 but none passed. Increases in tourism money following the end of World War II has been cited as a cause of the change in local attitudes. A move to merge the monument into an enlarged park gained steam and by April, 1949, interested parties gathered in the Senate Appropriation Committee chambers to finalize a compromise. The Rockefeller lands were finally transferred from private to public ownership on December 16, 1949, when they were added to the monument. A bill merging most of Jackson Hole National Monument (except for its southern extent, which was added to the National Elk Refuge) into Grand Teton National Park was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman on September 14, 1950. One concession in the law modified the Antiquities Act, limiting the future power of a president to proclaim National Monuments in Wyoming. The scenic highway that extends from the northern border of Grand Teton National Park to the southern entrance of Yellowstone National Park was named the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway to recognize Rockefeller’s contribution to protecting the area. In 2001, the Rockefellers donated their Jackson Hole retreat, the JY Ranch, to the national park for the establishment of the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve, dedicated on June 21, 2008.
747 BC – Epoch (origin) of Ptolemy’s Nabonassar Era.
364 – Valentinian I is proclaimed Roman Emperor.
1266 – Battle of Benevento: An army led by Charles, Count of Anjou, defeats a combined German and Sicilian force led by King Manfred of Sicily. Manfred is killed in the battle and Pope Clement IV invests Charles as king of Sicily and Naples.
1658 – Treaty of Roskilde: After a devastating defeat in the Northern Wars (1655-1661), the King of Denmark-Norway is forced to give up nearly half his territory to Sweden to save the rest.
1794 – Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen burns down.
1815 – Napoleon Bonaparte escapes from Elba.
1848 – The Second French Republic is proclaimed.
1870 – In New York City a demonstration of the first pneumatic subway opens to the public.
1876 – Japan and Korea sign a treaty granting Japanese citizens extraterritoriality rights, opening three ports to Japanese trade, and ending Korea’s status as a tributary state of Qing Dynasty China.
1885 – The Berlin Act, which resulted from the Berlin Conference regulating European colonization and trade in Africa, is signed
1909 – Kinemacolor, the first successful color motion picture process, is first shown to the general public at the Palace Theatre in London.
1914 – HMHS Britannic, sister to the RMS Titanic, is launched at Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast.
1917 – The Original Dixieland Jass Band records the first jazz record, for the Victor Talking Machine Company in New York.
1919 – An act of the U.S. Congress establishes most of the Grand Canyon as a United States National Park (see Grand Canyon National Park).
1935 – Adolf Hitler orders the Luftwaffe to be re-formed, violating the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles.
1935 – Robert Watson-Watt carries out a demonstration near Daventry which leads directly to the development of RADAR in the United Kingdom.
1936 – In the February 26 Incident, young Japanese military officers attempt to stage a coup against the government.
1946 – Finnish observers report the first of many thousands of sightings of ghost rockets.
1952 – British Prime Minister Winston Churchill announces that his nation has an atomic bomb.
1952 – Vincent Massey is sworn in as the first Canadian-born Governor-General of Canada.
1966 – Apollo Program: Launch of AS-201, the first flight of the Saturn IB rocket
1966 – Vietnam War: The ROK Capital Division of the South Korean Army massacres 380 unarmed civilians in South Vietnam.
1971 – U.N. Secretary General U Thant signs United Nations proclamation of the vernal equinox as Earth Day.
1972 – The Buffalo Creek Flood caused by a burst dam kills 125 in West Virginia.
1980 – Egypt and Israel establish full diplomatic relations.
1984 – US troops withdraw from Beirut.
President Ronald Reagan had sent the troops as a peacekeeping force in August 1982.
1987 – Iran-Contra affair: The Tower Commission rebukes President Ronald Reagan for not controlling his national security staff.
1991 – Gulf War: On Baghdad Radio Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein announces the withdrawal of Iraqi troops from Kuwait.
1991 – Gulf War: United States Army forces capture the town of Al Busayyah.
1992 – Nagorno-Karabakh War: Khojaly Massacre: Armenian armed forces open fire on Azeri civilians at a military post outside the town of Khojaly leaving hundreds dead.
1993 – World Trade Center bombing: In New York City, a truck bomb parked below the North Tower of the World Trade Center explodes, killing 6 and injuring over a thousand.
1995 – The United Kingdom’s oldest investment banking institute, Barings Bank, collapses after a securities broker, Nick Leeson, loses $1.4 billion by speculating on the Singapore International Monetary Exchange using futures contracts.
2001 – The Taliban destroys two giant statues of Buddha in Bamyan, Afghanistan.
2003 – Generally said to be the starting date of the War in Darfur.
2004 – Republic of Macedonia President Boris Trajkovski is killed in a plane crash near Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
2005 – Hosni Mubarak, the president of Egypt, orders the constitution changed to allow multi-candidate presidential elections before September 2005 by asking the Egyptian parliament to amend Article 76
* Christian Feast Day:
* Liberation Day (Kuwait)
* Savior’s Day (Nation of Islam)
* The first day of Ayyam-i-Ha (Baha’i Faith)