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  • Phineas Banning, Father of the L.A. Harbor

    Phineas Banning is known as the “Father of the Los Angeles Harbor.” He deserves that title and more. He arrived in the San Pedro/Los Angeles area with nothing in 1851. He found that his calling in addressing the transportation...

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  • Helen Keller’s Dogs

    Helen Keller’s life was filled with dogs. Though she was born before dogs were being trained as guide dogs for the blind, Keller knew what dog lovers around the world know—dogs are great companions. “A dog never let me...

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  • Miniature Golf: Its Beginning

    Miniature golf was first patented by Garnet Carter (1883-1954) in 1931. Carter owned a hotel called the Fairyland Inn on Lookout Mountain (Georgia) near Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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  • Collie Travels 2500 Miles to Return to Oregon Home

    In the 1920s, a collie mix was separated from his family in Wolcott, Indiana, where the family vacationed the summer of 1923. Frank and Elizabeth Brazier and their two daughters, Nova and Leona, lived in Silverton, Oregon, along the...

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  • Sled Dog Team Travels from Nome to D.C., 1907

    A sled dog team making its way from Nome, Alaska, to Washington, D.C. in 1907 grabbed headlines across the nation. The trip was 8000 miles through snow drifts and grasslands and was a wager undertaken by Eli Smith, musher...

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  • A Dalmatian in the Civil War

    A handsome dalmatian followed Quartermaster General Rufus Ingalls wherever he went at Army headquarters at City Point, Virginia. General Ingalls (1818-1893) returned from a short trip to Washington, D.C. accompanied by what was referred to at the time as...

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  • Detroit’s History, Told in Vignettes

    Detroit’s story is a truly American story, and it’s unique because of its prime location in the Midwest. By understanding what happened in Michigan through the years, we can more fully comprehend the story of our country, from the...

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  • WWII WASP Mascot Created by Roald Dahl and Disney Studios

    Roald Dahl and Walt Disney Studios collaborated to create what became the mascot for the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). She was a fairy-like female gremlin known as Fifinella.

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  • Frank Lloyd Wright’s Inspiration for a Doghouse

    Frank Lloyd Wright is among the best-known architects in the world, but few know that among his commissions was a doghouse. How It Came About After Frank Lloyd Wright designed a home for the Berger family of San Anselmo,...

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  • Deaf Lifeguard Saved Almost 1000 From Drowning

    Leroy Colombo became deaf when he suffered spinal meningitis when he was seven years old (1912). He grew up to be a remarkably good lifeguard. Being deaf might have disqualified him for lifeguarding under certain circumstances, but Leroy’s deafness...

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  • Cracker Jack: Ever-Popular Baseball Snack

    Cracker Jack holds the spot as “most famous of baseball snacks.” Remarkably, it has held that honor for over 100 years. The snack itself began as a simple, inexpensive confection sold by street vendors in Chicago.  The story of...

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  • Hazel Ying Lee: First Female Chinese American Military Pilot

    Hazel Ying Lee broke barriers by becoming the first female Chinese-American pilot to fly for the military during World War II. Women were not permitted by the U.S. military to fly overseas missions, but they assumed responsibility for the...

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  • Sybil Ludington, 16, Helped Patriots in Revolutionary War

    Sybil Ludington is known for her 40-mile night ride through parts of New York and Connecticut to alert American Patriots that the British military had come ashore in Connecticut and were marching inland. The date was April 26, 1777,...

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  • Mary Ellen Pleasant, Entrepreneur and Abolitionist

    Abolitionist and successful Gold Rush entrepreneur Mary Ellen Pleasant was a free woman of mixed-race who dedicated her life to equality for African Americans. From helping with the Underground Railroad to suing for the right to ride on segregated...

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  • Horace Pippin: Gifted Painter and Harlem Hellfighter

    When it  became clear that the U.S. would enter World War I, Horace Pippin left his job with a moving company in Paterson, New Jersey and enlisted. He was 29 and was placed in the 369th  Colored Infantry Regiment...

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Part of the inspiration for this site comes from a remark made by Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams (1860-1935)
"People do not want to hear about simple things. They want to hear about great things - simply told."

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Who Thought of That?


Wheelchairs did not come into common use until the last 150 years, but various forms of them existed before the 1860s. Here's how they were invented:

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Heroes & Trailblazers

Morrie Turner: Creator of Wee Pals Comic Strip

Morris “Morrie” Turner grew up dreaming of being a cartoonist, yet he knew the profession was dominated by white men. Despite that, Turner went on... continue »

A Newfoundland in the White House with President Buchanan

The Newfoundland that had the run of the White House from 1857-1861 was the beloved pet of our 15th president, James Buchanan (1791-1868). The 170-pound... continue »
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What can one person do? Read some of the stories on this site; you'll see that they revolve around single individuals who worked toward change.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
Margaret Mead