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July almanac: On these days in our city’s history



July 1, 1910: Las Vegas is 5 years old, with one moving picture show and a population of about 1,000.

July 2, 1957: A blight — believed caused by either Dutch elm disease or cotton root rot — is decimating area elm trees.

July 3, 1937: A local headline proclaims “AMELIA STILL ALIVE” after ham radio operators in Los Angeles reportedly hear SOS transmissions from missing pilot Amelia Earhart.

July 4, 1913: Hundreds turn out “at the old ranch” for a reading of the Declaration of Independence, picnics and games and, later, for fireworks on Fremont Street — “the most happy Fourth of July in the history of our little city.”

July 5, 1957: After the largest nuclear bomb (Operation Plumbbob) ever set off in the U.S. detonates at the Nevada Test Site outside of Vegas, airborne fallout starts “moving toward central Utah.”

July 6, 1937: As a local headline reads “HOPE IS FADING FOR AMELIA,” in local grocery stores Utah cabbage is 3 cents a pound; Utah peaches, 5 cents per pound.

July 7, 1953: The Las Vegas Land and Water Company has reported that water usage recently reached 19,540,000 gallons for one day, up two million gallons from the same date a year ago.

July 8, 1922: Vegas goes without electricity for several days this week when the power service from the railroad company “breaks down.”

July 9, 1937: Transient Jack Lewis appears in court on vagrancy charges for staging “epileptic fits” on Fremont Street to con people out of their money.

July 10, 2010: Police shoot and kill Army veteran and West Point graduate Erik Scott, 39, outside a Costco store in Summerlin, after Scott allegedly pulls out a gun when confronted by them.

July 11, 1952: A 19-year-old Nellis airman and “unidentified persons” are detained by local FBI agents for “the conspiracy theft of a top secret aircraft gunsight that experts claim would revolutionize aerial warfare.”

July 12, 2000: Authorities report Nevada death row inmate Mark Emmons, 38, has died following his transfer to a Vegas hospital after he ate “four complete plastic forks.”

July 13, 1950: Eighty-year-old Walter Bracken dies — he was an area pioneer “with the longest continuous residence in the community, dating from 1901.”

July 14, 1937: Fresh barracuda is 19 cents per pound at Safeway.

July 15, 1963: A film crew “of about 227” begins work here on Viva Las Vegas, starring Ann-Margret and Elvis Presley.

July 16, 1926: Local high-school student Vera Miles has won first prize in the Third National Meat Story contest, sponsored by the National Live Stock and Meat Board.

July 17, 1990: A justice of the peace orders 19-year-old Kinney Poole to stand trial for the slaying of Cornell Gunter, “former vocalist with the Coasters, a 1950s singing group.”

July 18, 1940: The movie version of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town opens this weekend.

July 19, 1937: After the U.S Navy halts its extensive search for the missing Amelia Earhart, a headline declares: “NAVY RECORDS AMELIA AS DEAD.”

July 20, 1983: Vice officers arrest admitted prostitute Dorothy Rolfe, 48, a former Nevada congressional candidate, for operating “a sex torture chamber” on South Sixth Street, where she allegedly “whips and verbally humiliates” clients for a $150 fee.

July 21, 1983: John Travolta stars in Staying Alive at the Parkway Theater.

July 22, 1963: Sonny Liston knocks out Floyd Patterson in a heavyweight championship fight at the Convention Center.

July 23, 1990: When the NCAA Infractions Committee suspends UNLV’s basketball team from postseason play for the ‘90-’91 season, 200 fans line up near Maryland Parkway and Tropicana Avenue to drop their pants, bend over and have their pictures taken “mooning” the NCAA committee.

July 24, 1983: Local schoolboy Andre Agassi, 13, is getting national attention for his precocious tennis play.

July 25, 1933: “I’m happy to see that gent depart,” says Police Chief Orren Boggs, when transient Harry Lewis, “the dirtiest, (most) odorous man ever in jail,” is freed and leaves town.

July 26, 1980: With seven murders over the recent Fourth of July holiday, 55 people have been killed this year, “13 more homicides than the same time last year.”

July 27, 1962: Former local resident and FBI counterspy Mathew Cvetic, 53, secretly embedded for years in the Communist Party, dies of a heart attack in Hollywood. He once labeled Vegas “the focal point for espionage in the Southwest.”

July 28, 1932: Traveling to L.A. to give America’s Distinguished Flying Cross to Amelia Earhart “for her wonderful feats in aviation,” Vice President Charles Curtis stops here and speaks to 2,000 onlookers at the train station.

July 29, 1953: The Atomic Energy Commission will report to congress tomorrow that radioactive fallout from spring atomic testing in Nevada was “higher than previous tests, but not a human health hazard.”

July 30, 1927: The newspaper reports a “Vegas picaninny, the little son of Washington Irving, well-known colored man of Las Vegas,” has signed with the Fox Film Company to be in movies.

July 31, 1983: Nuclear protester Steve Rohl is quoted for accusing the Department of Energy of “causing ‘genetic mutations’ in untold thousands of Nevada and Utah residents.”

Sources: Las Vegas Age; Las Vegas Morning Tribune; Review-Journal; Sun