On October 13, 1775, the Continental Congress authorizes construction and administration of the first American naval force—the precursor to the United States Navy. Since the outbreak of open hostilities with the British in April, little consideration had been given to protection by sea until Congress received news that a British naval fleet was on its way. In November, the Continental Navy was formally organized, and on December 22, Esek Hopkins was appointed the first commander in chief of the Continental Navy. Congress also named four captains to the new service: Dudley Saltonstall, Abraham Whipple, Nicholas Biddle and John Burrows Hopkins. Their respective vessels, the 24-gun frigates Alfred and Columbus, the 14-gun brigs Andrew Doria and Cabot, as well as three schooners, the Hornet, the Wasp and the Fly, became the first ships of the Navy’s fleet. Five first lieutenants, including future American hero John Paul Jones, five second lieutenants and three third lieutenants also received their commissions. Find out more about the U.S. Navy’s History at the library and on hoopla.
On October 13, 1792, the cornerstone is laid for a presidential residence in the newly designated capital city of Washington. In 1800, President John Adams became the first president to reside in the executive mansion, which soon became known as the “White House” because its white-gray Virginia freestone contrasted strikingly with the red brick of nearby buildings. Find the White House at the library and on hoopla.
On this day in 1950, the actor James Stewart stars in Harvey, a drama about an eccentric man whose best friend is a giant invisible rabbit. Directed by Henry Koster and based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name by Mary Chase, Harvey earned Stewart the fourth Best Actor Oscar nomination of his career. Considered one of Hollywood’s all-time greatest leading men, Stewart appeared in some 80 movies during his career, including Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Philadelphia Story and It’s a Wonderful Life, and was best known for his portrayals of decent, idealistic men. Find a 6-foot pooka on hoopla