It’s Montana’s 132 Birthday. What Else Happened in 1889?
Happy Birthday, Montana! If only we had a cake big enough for 132 candles. Big Sky Country is home to a variety of indigenous people who were here long before the white man arrived. Cheyenne, Blackfeet, Assiniboine, Gros Ventres, Kootenia, Salish, Pend d'Oreille, and Kalispell tribes all covered various parts of the state.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition brought the first white men to our neighborhood in 1804-1806, followed by fur trappers and traders (who also exposed alcohol and disease to the native population). Roman Catholic missionaries are credited for building the first permanent non-native settlement in Montana in the Bitterroot Valley. Later it was gold and trains bringing a steady flow of new residents. In case you forgot your basic Montana history, you can find a brief rundown HERE at Montana.gov.
So, what else was going on in the world in 1889? Quite a bit, actually. Here are a few highlights.
The Eiffel Tower made its debut.
Dedicated in March 1889, the tower was the tallest man-made structure in the world until 1930. Thousands of attendees considered it a highlight of the 1889 Exposition Universelle.
Cordite was invented, making ammo immensely better.
Black powder was the go-to propellant for bullets until cordite was invented in 1889 by British chemists Sir James Dewar and Sir Frederick Augustus Abel.
Johns Hopkins Hospital opened in Baltimore.
Perhaps one of the most commonly mispronounced medical centers in America, Johns Hopkins Hospital was considered a national marvel when it opened its doors in 1889. At one time, tt was the largest medical facility in the country.
The first power line was installed in 1889.
It's easy to take electricity for granted. Flip a switch and the lights turn on. Plug in an appliance and it works. However, electricity was still fairly new in the late 1800s. The first commercial transmission of power happened in June of 1889. It was a 14-mile line from a dam in Willamette Falls, OR to Portland, OR. The line powered 55 streetlamps.
The first person to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
The tallest mountain in Africa was first conquered by German explorer Hans Meyer, an Austrian climber Ludwig Purtscheller and a local guide Yohani Kinyala Lauwo in 1889, according to UltimateKilimanjaro.com
A massive fire destroyed Seattle.
A woodworker was warming up some glue on a stovetop the afternoon of June 6, 1889, when the glue boiled over and caught fire. It quickly spread, and when the smoke finally cleared, over 120 acres of downtown Seattle were destroyed (25 city blocks). Total losses were said to reach $20 million in 1889 dollars.
Nintendo was started in 1889.
We're all familiar with the video game company, but I learned today that Nintendo actually started in 1889 when founder Fusajiro Yamauchi began manufacturing his playing cards under a company called Nintendo Koppai.
Happy Birthday to the Treasure State. Cheers to 132 more.