Moments in Time

First Posted: 3/18/2012

The History Channel

• On March 31, 1889, the Eiffel Tower is dedicated in Paris. Gustave Eiffel’s tower was greeted with skepticism from critics, who argued that it would be structurally unsound. Within a few decades the tower came to be regarded as an architectural masterpiece.

• On March 26, 1937, America’s first monument to a comic strip hero is unveiled in Crystal City, Texas. The 6-foot-tall, brightly colored concrete statue of Popeye was unveiled in Popeye Park during the city’s second annual Spinach Festival.

• On March 27, 1964, the strongest earthquake in American history, measuring 8.4 on the Richter scale, slams southern Alaska, creating a deadly tsunami. Some 125 people were killed and thousands injured. The tidal wave devastated towns along the Gulf of Alaska and caused carnage in British Columbia, Canada; Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States.

• On March 28, 1979, the worst accident in the history of the U.S. nuclear power industry begins when a pressure valve in the Unit-2 reactor at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania fails to close. As engineers struggled to understand what had happened, the reactor came within less than an hour of a complete meltdown.

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