215 years ago today, France transferred ownership of the Louisiana Territory to the U.S. in a ceremony in St. Louis. The US bought 828,000 square miles (2,140,000 km2), and paid France $15 million (68 million francs) in a deal known as The Louisiana Purchase. Napoleon needed the money to bolster his military for a looming conflict with the U.K. (1804)

Map by William Morris, CC license

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • Thomas Jefferson was named minister to France replacing Benjamin Franklin (1785)
  • Alexander Graham Bell made the first telephone call saying, “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you” (1876)
  • Members of the Salvation Army land in the U.S. and begin operations (1880)
  • Viking Press produced the first Book-of-the-Month-Club selection, Lolly Willowes, or The Loving Huntsman (1926)
  • Neil Simon’s play The Odd Couple opened on Broadway (1965) 
  • Nearly one half million people in Turkmenistan took shovels in hand and spent the day planting 755,000 trees—an ongoing Green Belt project that aimed to combat the country’s creeping desertification by planting three million saplings that year (2013)

Today is Check Your Battery Day in the U.S. Smoke detectors can warn of life threatening situations and give you vital time to get to safety, but they can’t do their job if batteries are dead. Push and hold in the button on your detectors today and listen for a beep to ensure they’re still working for you and your family. (2018)

Happy Birthday to actor Jon Hamm who turns 48 years old today. He’s best known for playing the ad executive Don Draper in Mad Men, for which he received 16 Emmy nominations, as well as for the comedy 30 Rock (2006–2013), and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. He left St. Louis to pursue an acting career in 1995 and earlier taught high school drama classes. (1971) – Photo from the 2016 SAG Awards
45yo-Jon Hamm-SAGAwards-Twitter-
Also, Happy Birthday to actress Sharon Stone, who turns 61 today. Years after starring in Basic Intinct and the Scorsese film, Casino, for which she earned an Oscar nomination, she suffered a brain embolism and spent time recovering with her three adopted sons. (1958)

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