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This Day in History: June 24


1604 – Samuel de Champlain discovers the mouth of the Saint John River, site of Reversing Falls and the present day city of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.

1779 – American Revolutionary War: The Great Siege of Gibraltar begins.

1813 – Battle of Beaver Dams: A British and Indian combined force defeats the United States Army.

1916 – Mary Pickford becomes the first female film star to sign a million-dollar contract.

1938 – Pieces of a meteor, estimated to have weighed 450 metric tons when it hit the Earth's atmosphere and exploded, land near Chicora, Pennsylvania.

1947 – Kenneth Arnold makes the first widely reported UFO sighting near Mount Rainier, Washington.

1948 – Start of the Berlin Blockade: The Soviet Union makes overland travel between West Germany and West Berlin impossible.

1949 – The first television western, Hopalong Cassidy, is aired on NBC starring William Boyd.

1957 – In Roth v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment.

1973 – The UpStairs Lounge arson attack takes place at a gay bar located on the second floor of the three-story building at 141 Chartres Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. Thirty-two people die as a result of fire or smoke inhalation.

2004 – In New York, capital punishment is declared unconstitutional.

2010 – John Isner of the United States defeats Nicolas Mahut of France at Wimbledon, in the longest match in professional tennis history.

2012 – Lonesome George, the last known individual of Chelonoidis nigra abingdonii, a subspecies of the Galápagos tortoise, dies.


1813 – Henry Ward Beecher, American minister and reformer (d. 1887)

1839 – Gustavus Franklin Swift, American businessman (d. 1903)

1842 – Ambrose Bierce, American journalist and author (d. 1914)

1883 – Victor Francis Hess, Austrian-American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1964)

1893 – Roy O. Disney, American businessman, co-founded The Walt Disney Company (d. 1971)

1895 – Jack Dempsey, American boxer and soldier (d. 1983)

1918 – Mildred Ladner Thompson, American journalist and author (d. 2013)

1919 – Al Molinaro, American actor (d. 2015)

1927 – Martin Lewis Perl, American physicist and engineer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2014)

1929 – Carolyn S. Shoemaker, American astronomer

1946 – Ellison Onizuka, American colonel, engineer, and astronaut (d. 1986)

1946 – Robert Reich, American economist and politician, 22nd United States Secretary of Labor

1947 – Mick Fleetwood, English-American drummer and actor (Fleetwood Mac and John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers)


1817 – Thomas McKean, American lawyer and politician, 2nd Governor of Pennsylvania (b. 1734)

1908 – Grover Cleveland, American lawyer and politician, 22nd President of the United States (b. 1837)

1946 – Louise Whitfield Carnegie, American philanthropist (b. 1857)

1987 – Jackie Gleason, American actor and producer (b. 1916)

2005 – Paul Winchell, American voice actor and ventriloquist (b. 1922)