1920s

Time Magazine Features The Holland Tunnel On Its Cover – 11/20/1927

Time magazine makes the decision to feature the week-old Holland Tunnel on November 21st, 1927 on its cover. The tunnel runs beneath the Hudson River between Jersey City, New Jersey and New York City while the week before opened up to traffic at midnight on November 13th. President Calvin Coolidge had ceremonially opened, earlier that day, the tunnel from his yacht on the Potomac by using the original key that had “opened” the Panama Canal in 1915 by turning it. Time named it “the golden lever of the Presidential telegraphic instrument” that at the tunnel’s entrances rang a huge brass bell. The tunnel recorded 51, 694 vehicles traveled through the tunnel on the first day it was opened. The tunnel’s important stats were posted in Time such as the cost being $48.4 million, the total length said to be “the longest of its kind in the world” measured at 9,250 feet, excavation measured as being 500,000 cubic yards of rock and soil, the river length underneath is 5,480 feet as well as the yearly and hourly vehicle capacity respectively being 15,000,000 and 3,800. Also, the article pointed out the most unique thing regarding the tunnel was a ventilation system that was sophisticated.Obviously, this was extremely important to have as it would be a foolish and deadly idea to build an underground road for trucks and cars if the there wasn’t a way to refrain from carbon monoxide existing in the air by the engineers. Fortunately, a group of scientists from the Bureau of Mines, Yale and the University of Illinois determined that the air could be deadly when four parts of the lethal gas reaches 10,000; therefore, the recommendation was to create a two-duct ventilation system by the tunnel’s engineers so that anyone in the tunnel would be provided to breathe in fresh air. Time described in the article that “To prevent disaster absolutely Chief Engineer Holland installed 84 ventilating fans in four 10 story buildings, two on each side of the Hudson. Part of them blow fresh air into the tunnel floor through vents; others suck vitiated air through ducts in the tunnel ceiling. Thus they change the tunnel air completely 42 times an hour and but 56 of the fans are needed to do so.” However, 28 of these fans would be in stand-by in case of an emergency. The amount of time then and presently for the air to be replaced with fresh air throughout the tunnel is roughly 90 seconds.Sadly, one thing that has changed over the decades is the price of the tolls. When the tunnel originally opened, the amount for the toll in both directions per car was 50 cents. The Port Authority of New Jersey and New York made the change from the toll being charged for both directions to one-way tolls in 1970. Decades later, the price for tolls increased and had reached $8 for a one-way toll by 2009.

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1920s

Babe Ruth Sets Record – 9/30/1927

On September 30th of 1927, Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run of the season, setting a new record that would stand for 34 years. In his entire career, he scored 714 home runs. George Herman Ruth was born on February 6th of 1895 in Baltimore, Maryland. He was the oldest of eight children, but only he and his younger sister Mamie survived infancy. George caused trouble from a young age. Running the streets, drinking when his father wasn't looking, and cutting classes got him sent to a reform school called St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys. It was a place where all boys got a good education, and were forced to work all the time. George worked there as a shirt maker, and also as a carpenter. His parents rarely visited. One of the teachers there, Brother Matthias, was pretty good at baseball, and taught George how to play. In 1926, Ruth would repay Brother Matthias with a $5,000 Cadillac. That's about $50,000 in today's money.George was not allowed to see his family much, and his mother died when he was twelve years old. So he continued to play baseball at school, as most of the boys there did. He later estimated that he played 200 baseball games a year at St. Mary's. George lived at the reform school until the age of 19, when he was signed on as a minor league pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles.The major leagues were not far off. Although he initially played for the Boston Red Sox, Ruth earned his greatest fame as a hard slugging outfielder for the New York Yankees. The New York Yankees of 1927 were considered one of the best teams to ever take the field. They were known as Murderer's Row because of their powerful lineup. When Ruth switched from the Red Sox to the Yankees, he hit more home runs than the whole Red Sox team combined. With the pennant already clinched, America turned its attention to Ruth's single season home run record of 59. On September 30th, Ruth hit his 60th homer of the season.Going into the 1928 season, Ruth signed an unprecedented contract for $80,000 a year.Ruth helped the Yankees win seven American League championships, and four World Series championships. Ruth's MLB career spanned 22 seasons, from 1914 until 1935, when he briefly played for the Boston Braves. He broke a lot of world slugging records, some of which still stand today. In 1936, Ruth was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame, as one of its first five inaugural members.Babe Ruth's legendary power and personal appeal made him a popular figure of the “Roaring Twenties.” He was always being hounded and chastised by the press, as much for his drinking and womanizing as for his accomplishments on the baseball field.But what the heck? A man's got to have a little fun sometimes. Babe Ruth also did good things, like making generous donations to charities, and visiting children in orphanages, so he could tell them that he grew up without parents, too. 

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1920s

Fidel Castro Is Born – 8/13/1926

You may know him now for dorm room posters and college T shirts, but the Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro was much more than his reputation. He was born in the Oriente province of Eastern Cuba on this day in history. Castro was born the son of a Spanish immigrant. His father had made a fortune building rail systems to transport sugar cane. Fidel attended Roman Catholic boarding schools in Santiago de Cuba and was provided with an A rated education. His interest in revolutionary politics peaked while he was a student. In 1947 he participated in an abortive attempt by Dominican exiles and Cubans to overthrow Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo. Needless to say, their attempt was unsuccessful. In the following years he was integral in a series of urban riots in Bogota, Colombia. America took offense to Castro once they figured out that he was trying to orchestrate some uprising in South America. The freakiest feature of his politics, according to the authorities in America were his communist sympathies and his Anti-American standings.In 1951 Castro ran for a seat in the Cuban House of Representatives as a member of the reformist Ortodoxo Party. General Fulgencio Batista seized power in a bloodless coup d’etat before the election could be held so Castro was unable to serve on the House of Representatives in Cuba. Almost overnight, in the spirit of the revolutions before then, many groups formed to oppose Batista’s dictatorship.On July 26 of 1953 Fidel Castro over 160 rebels to arms in an attack on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba. This area served as Cuba’s second largest military base. Castro and his group set out to seize weapons and announce his revolution from the base radio station. The barracks were, of course, guarded heavily. More than half his men were imprisoned or killed during the event.Castro was arrested and put on trial for conspiring to overthrow the Cuban government. During his trial, he argued that he and his rebels were fighting to restore democracy to Cuba. It didn’t matter though, because he was convicted of the crimes against the government and was supposed to serve a 15 year sentence in prison.Two years later, Batista felt secure in his power. So he granted amnesty to all of his political prisoners. This included Fidel Castro. Following his release, Castro went with his brother Raul to Mexico, and they started to put together a revolutionary effort called the 26th of July Movement. He enlisted Ernesto “Che” Guevara, an Marxist from Argentina.Castro went on to become an integral part of the “Bay of Pigs” invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis during John F. Kennedy’s presidency. Many of Cuba’s most wealthy citizens immigrated to the United States and joined the CIA to overthrow the regime of Marxism that stripped them of their wealth. Castro was Cuba’s first communist leader and he served as the closest communist leader to the United States. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Castro lost a lot of momentum. He officially stepped down in 2008 and ceded his power to his brother Raul Castro. 

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