Moments in Time

This Week in History

The Tower Built to Lean

When completed in 1360, the tower of Pisa was already leaning, having been built on marshy ground.
December 2017

• On Dec. 15, 2001, Italy's Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens after a team of experts spent 11 years and $27 million to fortify the tower without eliminating its famous lean. When completed in 1360, the tower was already leaning, having been built on marshy ground.

• On Dec. 16, 1960, two airplanes collide over New York City, killing 134 people on the planes and on the ground. Christmas presents carried by the plane's passengers were strewn all over the streets, and multiple fires burned for nearly 72 hours.

• On Dec. 17, 1843, Charles Dickens' classic story "A Christmas Carol" is published. Dickens' father was thrown into debtors' prison in 1824, and 12-year-old Charles was sent to work in a factory. Dickens wrote about the miserable treatment of children and the

• On Dec. 18, 1912, two skulls that appear to belong to a primitive hominid and ancestor of man are discovered in England. In 1953, the fraud was exposed after the remains were found to be only 600 years old, not up to a million years old as claimed.

• On Dec. 19, 1732, Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia first publishes "Poor Richard's Almanack," a book filled with proverbs preaching industry and prudence. It became one of the most popular publications in Colonial America and was published continuously for 25 years.

• On Dec. 20, 1989, Michael Moore's documentary "Roger & Me" opens in theaters. The film chronicled Moore's unsuccessful attempts to meet Roger B. Smith, the head of General Motors, which had closed 11 factories in Flint, Michigan.

• On Dec. 21, 1967, "The Graduate" opens. The film was an uneasy exploration of what it meant to be young and adrift at a time of extraordinary upheaval. It made a star out of Dustin Hoffman, as well as his car, an Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider.

• On Dec. 22, 1956, a baby gorilla named Colo is born at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio, becoming the first-ever gorilla born in captivity. Colo went on to become a mother, grandmother and in 1996, a great-grandmother. She died at age 60 in January 2017.


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