1. 1942: Fire at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston
It was on this date in 1942 that one of America’s deadliest nightclub fires took place at the Cocoanut Grove in Boston Massachusetts. The Cocoanut Grove was a popular place during the ’30s and ’40s after the end of Prohibition. The exact cause of the fire was officially reported as “unknown origin.” But according to many statements taken at the club that night, there was a lightbulb that had been taken out of one of the booths and one of the busboys was instructed to screw it back in. But when he couldn’t find it due to the dark club, he lit a match, found the bulb then extinguished the match. Now, whether or not that had anything to do with the start of the fire we’ll never know. But whatever started it, also took the lives of 492 people that were inside.
2. 1925: The beginning of the Grand Ole Opry
The Grand Ole Opry began broadcasting on this date in 1925 as an hour-long radio program that focused primarily on country western music. It originally went under the name “Barn Dance” which was a direct knock off from the radio program called the National Barn Dance based out of Chicago. George D. Hay was the founder of the new program and little did he know at the time that the Grand Ole Opry would become the longest-running radio broadcast in American history. Many great artists have graced that famous, most of which were getting their big break from their performances. By 1939, it started being broadcast on NBC Radio which meant that it now had the reach to go nationwide. The Grand Ole Opry House that many people now associate as the Grand Ole Opry wasn’t built until 1974.
3. 1979: Sightseeing plane crashes over Antarctica
Starting in the 1970’s, it became somewhat common for tourists to want to see the desolate continent of Antarctica with their own eyes. Something about the mysterious and isolated landscape was almost irresistible for explorers and adventurists. So airline companies out of New Zealand started offering day trips where they would fly sightseers over the massive ice fields of Antarctica. All was well for short period of time. But it was on this date in 1979 that a horrific plane crash that killed all 257 passengers and crew on board. It all started when the McDonnel Douglas DC-10 took off towards the icy continent. The five-man crew flying the plane had no previous experience flying in the brutal conditions and visibility known in that area. Things got even worse when it was determined that the flight data was uploaded wrong, so the pilots were at a major disadvantage and them didn’t even know it. Being so close to the South Pole, standard compasses and navigational equipment was useless. Normally the pilots are instructed to stay above 6,000 feet, but on this particular flight it was overcast and the pilot wanted to provide his passengers with a good view. So he dropped down to around 1,500 feet to get below the clouds, but what they didn’t know was they were coming up on Mount Erebus, a 12,444-foot tall volcano. Without warning, the plane smashed into the side of the mountain at speed well over 300 mph.