Hoosier History: On This Day, January 13

The aftermath of the January 1918 blizzard along Main Street in downtown Evansville, Indiana. (Photo courtesy: Willard Library)

Today is Sunday, Jan. 13, the 13th day of 2019. There are 352 days left in the year.

Today’s Hoosier Highlights in History:

On On Jan. 13, 1918, an historic blizzard paralyzes Indiana and the region. Up to 22 inches of snow fell in the storm over a several day period – with white-out conditions, strong winds, Arctic cold and snow drifts. Indianapolis was buried as snow drifts halted traffic; the Indy Star reported the “record blizzard” was responsible for eleven people being frozen.

On Jan. 13, 1976, an F-1 tornado damages homes and outbuildings near Seymour. An electrical transmission tower is blown down as well, which caused 3 more towers to fall.

CBS News reporter Elmer Davis in 1941. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

On Jan. 13, 1890, Elmer Davis is born in Aurora, Indiana. He was a reporter for the New York Times and later became a famous CBS radio network newscaster. During World War II, he served as head of the Office of War Information. (Source: Hoosier History Highlights from the Indiana Department of Administration)

Meeting room where the Grand Lodge of Indiana was formed, at the Schofield House in Madison. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

On Jan. 13, 1818, the Grand Lodge of Free Masons of Indiana is formed in Madison during a meeting in the blue room at the Schofield House. It is one of two statewide organizations that oversee Masonic lodges in the state of Indiana. Today, the number of Freemasons in Indiana is 55,553 amongst its 394 separate lodges.

On this date elsewhere:

In 1794, President George Washington approved a measure adding two stars and two stripes to the American flag, following the admission of Vermont and Kentucky to the Union. (The number of stripes was later reduced to the original 13.)

In 1915, a magnitude-7 earthquake centered in Avezzano, Italy, claimed some 30,000 lives.

In 1941, a new law went into effect granting Puerto Ricans U.S. birthright citizenship. Novelist and poet James Joyce died in Zurich, Switzerland, less than a month before his 59th birthday.

In 1962, comedian Ernie Kovacs died in a car crash in west Los Angeles 10 days before his 43rd birthday.

In 1964, Roman Catholic Bishop Karol Wojtyla (voy-TEE’-wah) (the future Pope John Paul II) was appointed Archbishop of Krakow, Poland, by Pope Paul VI.

In 1968, country singer Johnny Cash performed and recorded a pair of shows at Folsom State Prison in California; material from the concerts was released as an album by Columbia Records under the title “Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison,” which proved a hit.

In 1978, former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey died in Waverly, Minnesota, at age 66.

In 1982, an Air Florida 737 crashed into Washington, D.C.’s 14th Street Bridge and fell into the Potomac River while trying to take off during a snowstorm, killing a total of 78 people; four passengers and a flight attendant survived.

In 1990, L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia became the nation’s first elected black governor as he took the oath of office in Richmond.

In 1992, Japan apologized for forcing tens of housands of Korean women to serve as sex slaves for its soldiers during World War II, citing newly uncovered documents that showed the Japanese army had had a role in abducting the so-called “comfort women.”

In 1997, seven black soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor for World War II valor; the lone survivor of the group, former Lt. Vernon Baker, received his medal from President Bill Clinton at the White House.

In 2000, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates stepped aside as chief executive and promoted company president Steve Ballmer to the position.

In 2012, the Italian luxury liner Costa Concordia ran aground off the Tuscan island of Giglio and flipped onto its side; 32 people were killed.

Ten years ago: President-elect Barack Obama’s nominee for secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, vowed during her Senate confirmation hearing to revitalize the mission of diplomacy in U.S. foreign policy. Obama’s choice to run the Treasury Department, Timothy Geithner (GYT’-nur), disclosed that he had failed to pay $34,000 in taxes from 2001 to 2004. U.S. Marshals apprehended Marcus Schrenker, 38, in North Florida days after the businessman and amateur daredevil pilot apparently tried to fake his own death in a plane crash. (Schrenker was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to securities fraud charges, on top of four years in federal prison on charges stemming from the plane crash.) Actor-director Patrick McGoohan died in Los Angeles at age 80. Author Hortense Calisher died in New York at age 97.

Five years ago: A shooting at a Wesley Chapel, Florida, movie theater left Chad Oulson, 43, dead; retired Tampa police captain Curtis Reeves, 71, is accused of killing Oulson during what authorities said was an argument over Oulson’s texting just before a showing of the movie “Lone Survivor.” (He is still awaiting trial; a judge has rejected a “stand-your-ground” defense.) Two Fullerton, California, police officers who wer videotaped in a violent struggle with a homeless man, Kelly Thomas, during an arrest were acquitted by a jury in Santa Ana of killing him.

One year ago: A false alarm that warned of a ballistic missile headed for Hawaii sent the islands into a panic, with people abandoning cars on a highway and preparing to flee their homes; officials apologized and said the alert was sent when someone hit the wrong button during a shift change. Two Army captains who met at West Point, Daniel Hall and Vincent Franchino, returned there to be married, in what The New York Times said was believed to be the first same-sex marriage of active-duty personnel at the military academy.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Frances Sternhagen is 89. TV personality Nick Clooney is 85. Comedian Rip Taylor is 85. Comedian Charlie Brill is 81. Actor Billy Gray is 81. Actor Richard Moll is 76. Rock musician Trevor Rabin is 65. Rhythm-and-blues musician Fred White is 64. Rock musician James Lomenzo (Megadeth) is 60. Actor Kevin Anderson is 59. Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus is 58. Rock singer Graham “Suggs” McPherson (Madness) is 58. Country singer Trace Adkins is 57. Actress Penelope Ann Miller is 55. Actor Patrick Dempsey is 53. Actress Suzanne Cryer is 52. Actress Traci Bingham is 51. Actor Keith Coogan is 49. TV producer-writer Shonda Rhimes is 49. Actress Nicole Eggert is 47. Actor Ross McCall is 43. Actor Michael Pena is 43. Actor Orlando Bloom is 42. Meteorologist Ginger Zee (TV: “Good Morning America”) is 38. Actress Ruth Wilson is 37. Actor Julian Morris is 36. Actor Liam Hemsworth is 29.

(The Indiana State Museum and the Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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