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Stories of America’s Past

Welcome to America Comes Alive!, a site I created to share little-known stories of regular people who made a difference and changed the course of history. Look around and see what inspires you! — Kate Kelly

Kate Kelly

Balto and Togo, Two Great Sled Dogs

Balto and Togo became famous lead sled dogs for their parts in the Alaskan “Race of Mercy” in 1925. This was the successful effort to deliver badly needed antitoxin serum to the people of Nome. The race involved a relay of sled dog teams traveling 674 miles in the dead …
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Final Evacuation of Saigon Signaled by Song “White Christmas”

By April 1975—after almost twenty years fighting in Vietnam–the United States began its pull-out. That winter the North Vietnamese pushed the South Vietnamese back forcefully and definitively. The Americans knew that it was over. They needed to pull out about 1000 Americans—many of them civilians—and 6000 at-risk Vietnamese, who would suffer …
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The Invention of Sunscreen

In the 1930’s and 1940’s, sunscreen was being developed independently but simultaneously by at least four different chemists in various parts of the world: The first-to-market was likely H.A. Milton in Australia. In the early 1930s, he discovered that a  wound-healing substance seemed to protect against the sun. Once he developed …
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curb cut in use

Curb Cuts: They Have a History!

Curb cuts—the slight slope from a sidewalk to a roadway—are preferred by most people: walkers, bikers, and parents pushing children in strollers—yet they came about only because of a hard-fought battle by disability rights activists. Enjoy them, use them, just don’t ever take them for granted. The Issue With Curbs For most people, …
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Ethel Waters

Ethel Waters, Blues Singer and Actress

Ethel Waters was an enormously popular jazz and blues singer from the 1920s until her death in 1977. She broke barriers in many cultural areas and created a path for Blacks to star on Broadway. Her quieter more interpretive style of presenting a song brought blues out of the jazz …
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The Telephone Operator

The invention of the telephone in 1876 jump-started several new developments: The telephones themselves needed to be further refined. Telephone offices with operating equipment needed to be created so that telephone calls could be made within a community. (Very early telephones were sold in pairs and functioned as a home-to-office communication system, …
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On
This
Day

On September 18, 1793, the cornerstone for the U.S. Capitol building was put in place ceremonially by President George Washington. The building took nearly a century to complete as multiple events—including the War of 1812 and the Civil War—occurred, causing work to stop. Today, the Capitol buildings part of the Capitol Complex, which includes six Congressional office buildings and three Library of Congress buildings.

Heroes & Trailblazers


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Part of the inspiration for this site comes from this remark: “People do not want to hear about simple things. They want to hear about great things – simply told.”

Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams (1860-1935)
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