Today in History - December 31st

  • 1862 - On this day in history, President Lincoln signed an act admitting West Virginia to the Union. 
  • 1877 - Rutherford B. Hayes became the first U.S. President to celebrate his silver (25th) wedding anniversary in the White House.
  • 1891 - Today in history, New York's new Immigration Depot was opened at Ellis Island, to provide improved facilities for the massive numbers of foreign arrivals. 
  • 1897 - Brooklyn, NY, spent its last day as a separate entity before becoming part of New York City. 
  • 1946 - On this day in history, President Truman officially announced the end of hostilities in World War II. 
  • 1955 - General Motors became the first corporation to earn more than one billion dollars in a single year. 
  • 1961 - Today in history, The Marshall Plan expired after distributing more than $12 billion in foreign aid. 
  • 1974 - Private US citizens were allowed to buy and own gold for the first time in more than 40 years. 
  • 1981 - On this day in history, CNN Headline News premiered.
  • 1991- Today in history was the last day of existence of the Soviet Union (USSR).
  • 1997 - Michael Kennedy, 39-year-old son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was killed in a skiing accident on Aspen Mountain, CO. 
  • 1999 - On this day in history, Russian President Boris Yeltsin resigned. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was designated acting president. 
  • 2010- Italy's plan to ban plastic bags went into effect; the country was using 20 billion plastic bags a year.
  • 2011 - Today in history in North Korea, Kim Jong-un was given the tile of Supreme Commander of North Korea's armed forces

SCIENCE, DISCOVERIES, PATENTS - Today in History, December 31st

  • 1879 - Thomas Edison gave his first public demonstration of incandescent lighting to an audience in Menlo Park, NJ. 

MUSIC HISTORY - Today in History, December 31st

  • 1929 - Today in history, Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians played "Auld Lang Syne" as a New Year's Eve song for the first time. 
  • 1961 - The Beach Boys played a show under this name for the first time at a Ritchie Valens memorial concert in Long Beach, CA. 
  • 1969 - On this day in history, Jimi Hendrix introduced his new Band of Gypsies at a show that was recorded and later released as the live album "Band of Gypsies."
  • 1971 - The Beatles broke up.  
  • 1975 - Today in history, Elvis Presley performed for 60,000 fans at the Silverdome, in Pontiac, MI. He set a world record for earning $800,000 for a single concert by a single artist. 
  • 1981 - MTV hosted the first New Year's Eve Rock and Roll Ball.
  • 1993 - On this day in history, Barbra Streisand performed her first paid concert in 22 years at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, NV. 

FAMOUS BIRTHDAYS - December 31st

  • Henri Matisse 1869
  • Anthony Hopkins 1937
  • John Denver 1943 
  • Ben Kingsley 1943
  • Diane von Furstenberg 1945 
  • Donna Summer 1948
  • Bebe Neuwirth 1958