This day in history

Today is Friday, Aug. 11, the 223rd day of 2017. There are 142 days left in the year.

Birthdays: Actress Arlene Dahl is 92. Former Massachusetts House speaker Sal DiMasi is 72. Magazine columnist Marilyn Vos Savant is 71. Singer Eric Carmen is 68. Computer scientist and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is 67. Wrestler-actor Hulk Hogan is 64. Singer Joe Jackson is 63. Playwright David Henry Hwang is 60. Actress Viola Davis is 52. Rhythm-and-blues musician Chris Dave is 49. Actress Anna Gunn is 49. Rock guitarist Charlie Sexton is 49. Actress Merritt Wever is 37.

In 1860, the nation’s first successful silver mill began operation near Virginia City, Nev.


In 1909, the steamship SS Arapahoe became the first ship in North America to issue an S.O.S. distress signal, off North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras.

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In 1934, the first federal prisoners arrived at Alcatraz Island (a former military prison) in San Francisco Bay.

In 1954, a formal peace took hold in Indochina, ending more than seven years of fighting between the French and Communist Viet Minh.

In 1956, abstract painter Jackson Pollock, 44, died in an automobile accident on Long Island, N.Y.

In 1965, rioting and looting that claimed 34 lives broke out in the predominantly black Watts section of Los Angeles.


In 1984, during a voice test for a paid political radio address, President Reagan joked that he had ‘‘signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.’’

In 1992, the Mall of America, the nation’s largest shopping-entertainment center, opened in Bloomington, Minn.

In 2012, Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney announced his choice of Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to be his running mate. Usain Bolt capped his perfect London Olympics by leading Jamaica to victory in a world-record 36.84 seconds in the 4x100 meters.

In 2014, Academy Award-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams, 63, died in Tiburon, Calif., a suicide.

Last year, the Obama administration said it had decided marijuana would remain on the list of most dangerous drugs, rebuffing growing support across the country for broad legalization, but said it would allow more research into its medical uses.