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This Month in History

October anniversaries—momentous or merely memorable

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40 YEARS AGO: OVERARCHING THEME

As 10,000 viewers stare skyward, ironworkers 630 feet up maneuver a 10-ton keystone to complete St. Louis’ Gateway Arch, on October 28, 1965. Fire hoses spray water on the sun-warmed steel to limit expansion as the last of 142 triangular segments is put in place. Designed by Eero Saarinen to be a “triumphal arch for our age,” the gleaming curve crowns the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, celebrating the spirit of the Western pioneers.


150 YEARS AGO: DARN TOOTIN'

Massachusetts beekeeper J. C. Stoddard patents the calliope, October 9, 1855. Fond of the sound of locomotive whistles, Stoddard affixes 15 of them of varying sizes on a steam chest, with a music box cylinder to open the valves. Though his hometown quickly bans it, the calliope becomes the signature sound of riverboats and circus parades. Stoddard patents a hay rake in 1879 and a fire escape in 1884, and dies in 1902.


100 YEARS AGO: WILD THINGS

Scandal fills room seven of the 1905 Salon d’Automne art show in Paris as viewers reel before the vivid, unnatural hues, unbridled brushstrokes and almost abstract landscapes hung there. The artists, among them Henri Matisse, André Derain (left, his Mountains at Collioure, also from 1905) and Maurice de Vlaminck, quickly become known by a reviewer’s epithet: Les Fauves (The Wild Beasts). Using color for color’s sake, the Fauves catch the modern eye until 1908, when Cubism offers a new point of view.


200 YEARS AGO: SEA WORTHY

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