President Herbert Hoover continued to express optimism with statements like, “Any lack of confidence in the economic future or the basic strength of business in the United States is foolish,”Â but fortunes had been lost, unemployment rose, and the â€œGreat Depressionâ€ would last into World War II.
In Chicago, one of the most notorious crimes of the era takes place on February 14, when seven gangsters who were members of Bugs Moranâ€™s gang were gunned down in a warehouse on Clark Street in Chicago, in what is now known as the St. Valentineâ€™s Day massacre.Â No charges were ever filed on the infamous murders, but it is widely believed that Al Capone and his gang were behind the crime.
The year 1929 had its share of natural disasters too. Off the coast of Newfoundland, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck and set off a tsunami that killed 28 people, devastated coastal communities on the Burin Peninsula, and ruptured 12 transatlantic telegraph cables.
In February, Dartmoor in Great Britain had one of the worst snowstorms in history. The storm dumped over six feet of snow on the area and the winter was one of the most severe on record in Britain.Â Europe also suffered cold temperatures, with record lows set in Germany and Austria in that month.
Fire took its toll in 1929 when a fire at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio killed 123. The fire began when x-ray film got too close to a lightbulb and ignited. The poisonous fumes given off by the burning films killed most of the victims. More information and photos are available on the Cleveland Public Library website.
In entertainment, the first Academy Awards ceremony took place. The cost of admission was $10 and the awards ceremony lasted five minutes, with fifteen statuettes being handed out. â€œWings,â€ starring Clara Bow, Charles â€œBuddyâ€ Rogers, Richard Arlen, and Gary Cooper, won best picture.
That same year the Marx Brothers made their film debut with Cocoanuts.Â Ernest Hemingway wrote, A Farewell to Arms,Â and ironically one of the most popular songs was Happy Days are Here Again, which was released just prior to the stock market crash.
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