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.
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June 26 is the 177th day of the year (178th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 188 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1959, St. Lawrence Seaway opened.
In a ceremony presided over by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II, the St. Lawrence Seaway is officially opened, creating a navigational channel from the Atlantic Ocean to all the Great Lakes. The seaway, made up of a system of canals, locks, and dredged waterways, extends a distance of nearly 2,500 miles, from the Atlantic Ocean through the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Duluth, Minnesota, on Lake Superior.
The Saint Lawrence Seaway was preceded by a number of other canals. In 1871, locks on the Saint Lawrence allowed transit of vessels 186 ft (57 m) long, 44 ft 6 in (13.56 m) wide, and 9 ft (2.7 m) deep. The Welland Canal at that time allowed transit of vessels 142 ft (43 m) long, 26 ft (7.9 m) wide, and 10 ft (3.0 m) deep, but was generally too small to allow passage of larger ocean-going ships.
The first proposals for a binational comprehensive deep waterway along the St. Lawrence came in the 1890s. In the following decades the idea of a power project became inseparable from the seaway – in fact, the various governments involved believed that the deeper water created by the hydro project were necessary to make the seaway channels feasible. American proposals for development up to and including the First World War met with little interest from the Canadian federal government. But the two national government submitted St. Lawrence plans, and the Wooten-Bowden Report and the International Joint Commission both recommended the project in the early 1920s. Although the Liberal Mackenzkie King was reluctant to proceed, in part of because of opposition to the project in Quebec, in 1932 the two countries inked a treaty. This failed to receive the assent of Congress. Subsequent attempts to forge an agreement in the 1930s came to naught as the Ontario government of Mitchell Hepburn, along with Quebec, got in the way. By 1941, President Roosevelt and Prime Minister King made an executive agreement to build the joint hydro and navigation works, but this too failed to receive the assent of Congress. Proposals for the seaway were met with resistance from railway and port lobbyists in the United States.
In the post-1945 years, proposals to introduce tolls still could not induce the U.S. Congress to approve the project. Growing impatient, and with Ontario desperate for hydro-electricity, Canada began to consider “going it alone.” This seized the imagination of Canadians, engendering a groundswell of St. Lawrence nationalism. Fueled by this support, the Canadian Louis St. Laurent government decided over the course of 1951 and 1952 to construct the waterway alone, combined with a hydro project (which would prove to be the joint responsibility of Ontario and New York – as a power dam would change the water levels, it required bilateral cooperation). However, the Truman and Eisenhower administrations considered it a national security threat for Canada to alone control the deep waterway, and used various means – such as delaying and stalling the Federal Power Commission license for the power aspect – until Congress in early 1954 approved an American seaway role via the Wiley act. Canada, out of concern for the ramifications of the bilateral relationship, reluctantly acquiesced.
In the United States, Dr. N.R. Danelian (who was the Director of the 13 volume St. Lawrence Seaway Survey in the U.S. Department of Navigation (1932-1963)), worked with the U.S. Secretary of State on Canadian-United States issues regarding the Seaway and worked for over 15 years on passage of the Seaway Act. He later became President of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Association to further the interests of the Seaway development to benefit the American Heartland.
The seaway opened in 1959 and cost $638 million in Canadian dollars, $336.2 million of which was paid by the U.S. government. Queen Elizabeth II and President Dwight D. Eisenhower formally opened the Seaway with a short cruise aboard Royal Yacht Britannia after addressing the crowds in St. Lambert, Quebec.
The seaway’s opening is often credited with making the Erie Canal obsolete, thus setting off the severe economic decline of several cities in Upstate New York.
221 – Roman Emperor Elagabalus adopts his cousin Alexander Severus as his heir and receives the title of Caesar.
363 – Roman Emperor Julian is killed during the retreat from the Sassanid Empire. General Jovian is proclaimed Emperor by the troops on the battlefield.
1284 – the legendary Pied Piper leads 130 children out of Hamelin, Germany
1409 – Western Schism: the Roman Catholic church is led into a double schism as Petros Philargos is crowned Pope Alexander V after the Council of Pisa, joining Pope Gregory XII in Rome and Pope Benedict XII in Avignon.
1541 – Francisco Pizarro is assassinated in Lima by the son of his former companion and later antagonist, Diego Almagro the younger. Almagro is later caught and executed.
1718 – Tsarevich Alexei Petrovich of Russia, Peter the Great’s son, mysteriously dies after being sentenced to death by his father for plotting against him.
1723 – After a siege and bombardment by cannon, Baku surrenders to the Russians.
1848 – End of the June Days Uprising in Paris.
1857 – The first investiture of the Victoria Cross in Hyde Park, London.
1870 – The Christian holiday of Christmas is declared a federal holiday in the United States.
1907 – The 1907 Tiflis bank robbery took place in Yerevan Square, now Freedom Square, Tbilisi.
1909 – The Science Museum in London comes into existence as an independent entity.
1917 – The first U.S. troops arrive in France to fight alongside Britain, France, Italy, and Russia against Germany, and Austria-Hungary in World War I.
1918 – World War I, Western Front: Battle for Belleau Wood – Allied Forces under John J. Pershing and James Harbord defeat Imperial German Forces under Wilhelm, German Crown Prince.
1924 – American occupying forces leave the Dominican Republic.
1927 – The Cyclone roller coaster opens on Coney Island.
1934 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Federal Credit Union Act, which establishes credit unions.
1936 – Initial flight of the Focke-Wulf Fw 61, the first practical helicopter.
1940 – World War II: under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the Soviet Union presents an ultimatum to Romania requiring it to cede Bessarabia and the northern part of Bukovina.
1942 – The first flight of the Grumman F6F Hellcat.
1945 – The United Nations Charter is signed in San Francisco.
1948 – The Western allies begin an airlift to Berlin after the Soviet Union blockades West Berlin.
1948 – William Shockley files the original patent for the grown junction transistor, the first bipolar junction transistor.
1948 – Shirley Jackson’s short story The Lottery is published in The New Yorker magazine.
1952 – The Pan-Malayan Labour Party is founded in Malaya, as a union of statewise labour parties.
1953 – Lavrentiy Beria,head of MVD, is arrested by Nikita Khrushchev and other members of the Politburo.
1955 – The South African Congress Alliance adopts the Freedom Charter at the Congress of the People in Kliptown.
1959 – The Saint Lawrence Seaway opens, opening North America’s Great Lakes to ocean-going ships.
1960 – The former British Protectorate of British Somaliland gains its independence as Somaliland .
1960 – Madagascar gains its independence from France.
1973 – At Plesetsk Cosmodrome 9 people are killed in an explosion of a Cosmos 3-M rocket.
1974 – The Universal Product Code is scanned for the first time to sell a package of Wrigley’s chewing gum at the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio
1975 – Indira Gandhi establishes emergency rule in India.
1975 – Two FBI agents and a member of the American Indian Movement are killed in a shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota; Leonard Peltier is later convicted of the murders in a controversial trial.
1977 – The Yorkshire Ripper kills 16 year old shop assistant Jayne MacDonald in Leeds, changing public perception of the killer as she is the first victim who is not a prostitute.
1978 – Air Canada Flight 189 to Toronto overruns the runway and crashes into the Etobicoke Creek ravine. Two of 107 passengers on board perish.
1991 – Ten-Day War: the Yugoslav people’s army begins the Ten-Day War in Slovenia.
1995 – Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani deposes his father Khalifa bin Hamad al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, in a bloodless coup.
1996 – Irish Journalist Veronica Guerin is shot in her car while in traffic in the outskirts of Dublin
1997 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules that the Communications Decency Act violates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
2003 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Lawrence v. Texas that gender-based sodomy laws are unconstitutional.
2008 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects an individual right, and that the District of Columbia handgun ban is unconstitutional.
* Army and Navy Day (Azerbaijan)
* Christian Feast Day:
* Anthelm of Belley
* John and Paul
* Josemaría Escrivá
* Mar Abhai (Syriac Orthodox Church)
* Vigilius of Trent
* June 26 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
* Flag Day (Romania)
* Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Madagascar from France in 1960
* International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (International)
* International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (International)
* Sunthorn Phu Day (Thailand)