During a career in the U.S. Navy that spanned nearly four decades, Mery-Angela Sanbria Katson firmly established herself as a trailblazer in that military branch. Katson had been born in Colombia’s capital city of Bogota. In 1970, Katson immigrated with her family to the United States. They ended up residing in the city of New... Continue Reading →

March 17, 1813 A newly completed lighthouse on Inishtrahull Island, which is about five nautical miles (t0 kilometers) off the coast of County Donegal in Ireland, first went into service. Inishtrahull Lighthouse was designed by renowned civil engineer George Halpini Sr., who had been appointed inspector of lighthouse for the Dublin Ballast Board in 1810.... Continue Reading →

March 7, 1889 Pioneering naval aviator Godfrey de Courcelles Chevalier was born in Providence, Rhode Island. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1910 and then embarked on a comparatively short-lived but significant aviation career.  Chevalier, who would be described in one news account as “one of the navy’s most daring aviators,” took to the... Continue Reading →

James Forten (1766-1842) was a free black man and lifelong Philadelphia resident who earned considerable wealth by making sails for vessels. Forten was also a steadfast foe of slavery in the United States. He was born free in Philadelphia to Thomas and Margaret Forten. Thomas Forten, who died when James was only seven, had a... Continue Reading →

Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 1849. She subsequently risked her life to help others in that region of Maryland escape to freedom. As an Underground Railroad conductor in the years prior to the American Civil War, Tubman made approximately 13 trips to the Eastern Shore and led about 70 enslaved... Continue Reading →

During World War II, Thomas “Tom” Oxendine became the first Native American to be commissioned as a pilot in the U.S. Navy. Oxendine was a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. Most of the members of this tribe have lived in Robeson, Cumberland, Hoke, and Scotland counties in North Carolina. Oxendine was born... Continue Reading →

November 16, 1860 The first permanent lighthouse on the western coast of Canada made its debut just off Vancouver Island, which was a separate British colony at the time and not yet integrated with British Columbia as a single government unit. Fisgard Lighthouse, located at the narrow entrance to Esquimalt Harbor on the island’s southern... Continue Reading →

November 1, 1876 In the Netherlands, the North Sea Canal was officially opened by the nation’s monarch King William III. The Dutch waterway, which extends from the Netherlands’ capital of Amsterdam to the North Sea at the city of IJmuiden, was built to allow seafaring vessels to more easily reach the Port of Amsterdam. The... Continue Reading →

October 5, 1849 On the coast of Scotland’s Western Highlands, Ardnamurchan Lighthouse made its formal debut when an oil light there was first illuminated to help guide ships sailing through the portion of the North Atlantic Ocean in that area. This lighthouse was built on the furthest western reach of the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, which in turn... Continue Reading →

July 13, 1879 Civil engineer and prestressed concrete pioneer Eugène Freyssinet was born in the commune of Objat in central France. By the time that World War I broke out in 1914, Freyssinet had designed several major bridges in France. A leading example of Freyssinet’s work in those pre-war years was the Pont le Veurdre near... Continue Reading →

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