"Press Button — Opening Golden Gate Bridge"
The Golden Gate Bridge opened on this day, May 27, 1937.
On the first day only pedestrian traffic was allowed to cross. On the second day, May 28th, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ceremonially opened the bridge to vehicular traffic.
FDR pushed a golden telegraph button from the Oval Office of the White House that was transmitted across the coast to the festivities in San Francisco.
Here is the White House Stenographer’s Diary entry for May 27th, 1937, recording FDR’s Golden Gate telegraph appointment. FDR telegraphed at three o’clock Eastern Standard Time so the California procession could begin promptly at noon.
-from the FDR Library
Do you recognize this iconic accessory? It’s President Abraham Lincoln’s actual stovepipe top hat that for so many of us accompanies the image of our nation’s sixteenth President.
A. Lincoln: Railsplitter to Rushmore just opened at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. All summer long, you can view artifacts and documents from Abraham Lincoln’s life and presidency that changed the United States and helped to shape it into the nation we are today.
Happy Earth Day! How can the National Archives be a greener place? How about using goats?
Last year, 900 goats grazed on the grounds of the Reagan Presidential Library.
An annual brush clearing is an important part of fire abatement because the Library is located in a fire-prone area. The Library took on 400 goats in 2011 to clear 13 acres of brush around the property. In 2012, 900 goats covered 40 acres.
A portable fence was used to move the goats around and keep them safe. A shepherd also lived on the property for the entire month to watch over the goats so that they were safe from coyotes or bobcats.
Read the full story on the Prologue blog.
Folsom Prison Pearl Harbor Petition
The attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 brought an immediate unity of purpose to the nation. Thousands of letters flooded into the White House after the attack, and especially after President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his War Message to Congress (the “date which will live in infamy” speech) on December 8th.
Citizens of all political persuasions and from all parts of the country pledged their support, volunteered their service, and offered to enlist in the military. One of the most interesting examples among the President’s papers is a petition that FDR received signed by prisoners at Folsom State Penitentiary in California.
This is the first page of the bound petition that contains 39 pages and 1,746 signatures.
-from the FDR Library
Today in history, The Japanese-American Internment Compensation Bill is Signed by President Ronald Reagan.
In 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which was used almost exclusively to intern Americans of Japanese descent. By 1943, more than 110,000 Japanese Americans had been forced from their homes and moved to camps.
Forty-six years later, on August 10, 1988, President Reagan signed the Japanese-American Internment Compensation Bill. The bill acknowledged the injustice of the internment, apologized for it, and provided a $20,000 cash payment to each person who was interned.
Pictured above: First-grade children of Japanese ancestry during flag pledge ceremony at a public school in San Francisco prior to internment. 4/20/42
Below: President Reagan signs the Reparations Bill for Japanese-Americans in the Old Executive Office Building. 8/10/88
I met this guy tonight who says he is going to marry me,”
-Pat Ryan to her friends, 1938
Today is the wedding anniversary of Richard and Pat Nixon.
The couple met in 1938, at an audition for a community theater production of “The Dark Tower” in Whittier, California. Pat was a high school teacher who also worked as a Hollywood extra, and Dick was a recent graduate from Duke University, just starting out as a lawyer. Two years later, he proposed to Pat in an Oldsmobile pulled up close to the edge of an ocean cliff at sunset.
The Nixons were married on June 21, 1940 in Riverside, California. They are pictured here at the beach in San Clemente, 1/13/71.
This year, we are celebrating the Centennials of two U.S. First Ladies, Pat Nixon and Lady Bird Johnson. More about the First Ladies Centennial here.