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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

Terhune with dogs on swing

The Collies of Sunnybank

The collies of Sunnybank were one of the best-loved kennels for collie breeding in the twentieth century. The dogs were bred by newsman Albert Payson Terhune. Terhune had two loves besides his wife: his beloved collies and his home in New Jersey, Sunnybank. Sunnybank is located in Wayne, New Jersey. Though …
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Comanche: Horse Survivor of Little Bighorn

Comanche was a U.S. cavalry horse who participated in many battles in the West including the Battle of Little Bighorn. He achieved fame because he was the only survivor—human or animal–when reinforcements arrived at Little Bighorn. All 200 of George Custer’s men were killed by the Native Americans. A few other …
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Willis Carrier, Inventor of Air Conditioning

Today we take air conditioning for granted. There can be community “brown-outs,” household power outages, or families who prefer open windows. But for the most part, Americans are able to spend a good deal of their time in a climate-controlled environment.   However, the invention of air conditioning had little to …
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University of Arizona Special Collections; Ina Gittings on the pole vault

Trailblazer For Women in Sports: Ina Gittings

Title IX–the law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in any programs or activities in all federally funded educational institutions—was instrumental to bringing women into athletics.  University of Arizona Special Collections But pioneers in women’s sports had to precede the hard-fought battle for a law.  Ina (pronounced Eena) Gittings was among the women …
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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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On
This
Day

On August 14, 1784, a Russian fur trader founded Three Saints Bay on Kodiak Island. This was the first permanent Russian settlement in Alaska.  Explorers first arrived in Alaska in 1741 when a Russian expedition sighted the Alaskan mainland. Hunters were soon making incursions into Alaska. But Russian interests in Alaska declined as their economy faltered. In 1867. William Seward arranged for purchase of what was then called “Seward’s Folly.” That changed when gold was discovered in 1898.

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Terhune with dogs on swing

The Collies of Sunnybank

The collies of Sunnybank were one of the best-loved kennels for collie breeding in the twentieth century. The dogs were bred by newsman Albert Payson …
Read More

Drive-In Movie Theaters

The concept for the first drive-in movie business originated with one man in the late 1920s. Richard M. Hollingshead, Jr. came up with the concept …
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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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