This Week In History: May 28 – June 3


This week in history: The Golden Gate Bridge opens, first colonists in America experience an earthquake, and Maine outlaws the drinking of booze. Read more below and dive deeper with The Great Courses Plus.

May 28, 1937 – Golden Gate Bridge Opens for Traffic

The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge connecting San Francisco, California, to Marin County. At the time of its construction it was the longest bridge in the world, spanning 4,200 ft and weighing over 895,000 tons.. The bridge has been declared one of the Wonders of the Modern World as well as the most photographed bridge in the world.

The construction of the bridge took a little over four years, costing $35 million. It has stood the test of time, only closing three times due to weather conditions.

Learn more about the Golden Gate Bridge in  Understanding the World’s Greatest Structures

June 1, 1638 – First Time Colonists in the New World Experience an Earthquake

On June 1, 1638, at around 2:00 pm, an earthquake ranging from about 6.5 to a 7.0 magnitude hit New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. With a large aftershock taking place about 30 minutes after. This was a major event as it was the first time colonist had experienced this phenomenon in the New World.

Modern analysis placed the epicenter of the earthquake near central New Hampshire. It is also the largest earthquake on record in the state and one of the strongest in the region’s history.

Learn more about Earthquakes in  The Joy of Science

June 2, 1851 – Maine Outlaws Consumption of Alcohol

The stillhouse at George Roe’s Thomas Street Distillery circa 1892.

During the late 1800s the anti-alcohol movement and Prohibition politicians were growing. This led to the passing of the 18th Amendment in 1919 which prohibited the manufacturing, sale, or transport of alcoholic beverages.

Contrary to what the Protestants expected, the banning of alcohol actually created an ideal condition for organized crime and the ban became unenforceable.

Learn more about the Prohibition Amendment in  A History of the United States, 2nd Edition