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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
Parking meter showing Expired flag

The Story of Parking Meters

The first parking meters in the United States went into use in Oklahoma City in 1935. The city grew rapidly in the early 20th century. In 1913, the city had only 3000 drivers, but as people traded in their horses and wagons and bought cars, the numbers grew. By 1930, five …
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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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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 Signal Corps: Battlefield Communication–Civil War

Battlefield communication has always been difficult. Before technology, armies relied on bugles, trumpets, drums and banners to signal to the soldiers and to more distant regiments what was to come next.   These methods continued to be used during the Civil War, but a new type communication system was introduced as …
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On
This
Day

On October 22, 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis came to public attention when President John F. Kennedy announced that spy planes discovered Soviet missile bases in Cuba.  Kennedy announced a naval blockade of Cuba, and ordered the USSR to dismantle the bases. The Soviets did not respond, so Kennedy threatened to invade. The Soviets countered with a challenge: The U.S. should remove their missiles in Turkey. Negotiations became secret, and by October 28, the crisis was resolved.

Hispanic Heritage


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Parking meter showing Expired flag

The Story of Parking Meters

The first parking meters in the United States went into use in Oklahoma City in 1935. The city grew rapidly in the early 20th century. In …
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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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