On September 16, 1620, the Mayflower left England. The Pilgrims braved rough seas and a harsh winter in search of religious freedom and founded the settlement of Plymouth.
On September 12, 1609, explorer Henry Hudson reached the river that would bear his name.
On August 30, 1984, the Space Shuttle Discovery made its first launch into space, two months later than initially planned. It would go on to make more flights than any other shuttle in its fleet.
On July 24, 1701, French explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac established a fort on the site of what would become the city of Detroit.
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park was established on June 11, 1940, along the Kentucky-Virginia border. The park preserves and honors the “first great gateway to the West.”
On March 29, 1867, Independence, Missouri, was founded. Known as the “Queen City of the Trails,” it became the starting point for several trails that carried thousands of settlers to the West.
Soldier, geologist, and explorer John Wesley Powell was born on March 24, 1834, in Mount Morris, New York. A Civil War veteran, Powell explored and produced some of the first accurate maps of the West and later was director of the US Geological Survey.
Timothy H. O’Sullivan died from tuberculosis on January 14, 1882. He was a well-known photographer who captured the brutality of the Civil War and the untamed beauty of the Western United States.