This Day In History : July 17

1955 United States

Walt Disney opens Disneyland in Anaheim, California

Walt Disney indeed opened Disneyland in Anaheim, California, on July 17, 1955. This theme park marked a significant milestone in the entertainment industry and became a beloved destination for families and Disney enthusiasts worldwide.

Also on This Day in History July 17

Discover what happened on July 17 with HISTORY's summaries of major events, anniversaries,
famous births and notable deaths.

Births on This Day, July 17
  • 1839 Ephraim Shay

    American logger who invented the Shay geared

  • 1814 Amanz Gressly

    Swiss geologist and paleontologist who was a pioneer, and regarded by some as the founder, of paleogeography

  • 1920 Gordon Gould

    American physicist (inventor of the laser)

  • 1959 Janet Lynn Kavandi

    American scientist and NASA astronaut (sk:STS 91)

  • 1923 John Cooper

    English car designer who co-founded the Cooper Car Company

Deaths on This Day, July 17
  • 1904 Isaac Roberts

    Welsh astronomer who was a pioneer in photography of nebulae

  • 1887 Dorothea Dix

    American pioneering nurse and social activist who created the first American mental asylums

  • 1922 Heinrich Rubens

    German physicist (back body radiation)

  • 1944 William James Sidis

    American mathematician and child prodigy

  • 1959 Eugene Meyer

    American businessman and newspaper publisher


The first air conditioner is created by Willis Carrier in Buffalo, New York

Willis Carrier did indeed create the first modern air conditioner in Buffalo, New York, in 1902. This invention revolutionized indoor climate control and had a profound impact on various industries and daily life.

US Congress authorizes paper money

The US Congress authorized paper money on July 17, 1861, with the passage of the Legal Tender Act. This act allowed the US government to issue paper currency, known as "greenbacks," as a legal tender for the payment of public and private debts.

1st ship arrives in Seattle carrying gold from Yukon

The first ship to arrive in Seattle carrying gold from the Yukon arrived on July 17, 1897. This event marked the beginning of the Klondike Gold Rush, which attracted thousands of prospectors to the Yukon Territory in search of gold.

The national drinking age in the U.S. was changed from 18 to 21

The National Minimum Drinking Age Act was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on July 17, 1984. This law required all states to raise their minimum drinking age to 21 in order to receive federal highway funds. Prior to this act, the legal drinking age varied by state, with some states setting it as low as 18.
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