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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
Man stands beside the Antarctic snow cruiser. Though the man is tall, the tire is huge--standing 10 feet high.

Antarctic Snow Cruiser by Pullman

Polar explorer Admiral Richard Byrd’s staff commissioned the Pullman Company near Chicago to build a snow cruiser for what would be Admiral Byrd’s third trip to Antarctica.  Standing by snow cruiser; tires were 10 feet tall. The idea for the vehicle grew out of a desperate occurrence during Byrd’s second trip to …
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First Native American Doctor: Susan La Flesche Picotte

During the late 19th century, Native Americans had healers within their tribes, but few white doctors would undertake the care of a Native American. Susan La Flesche Picotte, a member of the Omaha tribe, was the first Native American to receive a medical degree. Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte Native American healers …
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Wonder Bread: The Most Famous White Bread

Wonder Bread was first made by the Taggart Baking Company of Indianapolis. It was a factory-made bread, but the Taggart family had been making bread the “old-fashioned way” for fifty years. Bakeries were the family business. The first Taggart Bakery was started around 1870, with its earliest location in Anderson, Indiana. …
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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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Sylvia Mendez

Latino Family Opened Door to School Integration in 1940s

The school desegregation case of Mendez v. Westminster (1947) prepared the way for the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision, yet few people have heard of it. The case concerned an incident in 1943 when a woman took her three children and her niece and two nephews with her to …
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ace pilot Pete Fernandez

Ace Pilot Pete Fernandez: Korean War

Ace pilot Pete Fernandez was one of the top fighter pilots in the Korean War, but he almost didn’t see combat. He was so valuable to the military as a flight instructor that their preference was to keep him safely in the United States. That was hard for a man …
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On
This
Day

On January 24, 1935, beer was sold in cans for the first time. In partnership with the American Can Company, the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company delivered 2,000 cans of its beer and ale to faithful Krueger drinkers in Richmond, Virginia. The response was overwhelmingly positive, so Krueger began manufacturing canned beer permanently. Early attempts to can beer had failed, but the invention of a pressurized can with a coating that prevented the beer from chemically reacting with the tin was the success formula they needed. Cans were easier to stack, to ship, and to chill. Cans began to erode the bottled beer market.

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James Durham, First Black Physician

James Durham is considered the first African American to practice medicine in America—first in Philadelphia and then in New Orleans while it was still under …
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Man stands beside the Antarctic snow cruiser. Though the man is tall, the tire is huge--standing 10 feet high.

Antarctic Snow Cruiser by Pullman

Polar explorer Admiral Richard Byrd’s staff commissioned the Pullman Company near Chicago to build a snow cruiser for what would be Admiral Byrd’s third trip …
Read More

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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