Posted by Ancestry Team on October 16, 2018 in News, This Week in History

This Week in History is Ancestry’s look back at notable events from the past. Every week, we will be featuring three moments in history from our archives – anything from important anniversaries, to tragic occurrences, interesting tidbits to entertaining factoids, This Week in History is our way of remembering what came before us.

During the week of October 15, the Guggenheim Museum opened in New York City, a massive earthquake struck northern California, and thousands descended upon the Nation’s capital to protest the Vietnam War.

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1943, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum opened to the public in New York City’s Upper East Side on October 21, 1959. Wright was originally commissioned to design a building to be the Museum of Non-Objective Painting, which was a collection of artwork curated by Hilla von Rebay and Solomon R. Guggenheim. There was a 16-year delay from the conception of this project to the actual museum construction, after the deaths of both Wright and Guggenheim. Known for its unique, cylindrical architecture, the iconic Guggenheim Museum, named in Guggenheim’s memory, houses a variety of collections, installations, sculptures, impressionist paintings, modern French masterpieces, contemporary and modern works, and more.

Read more about the opening day via the Boston Globe.

Californians are always bracing for one, and on October 17, 1989 a big one happened. The 6.9 magnitude earthquake rocked Northern California, killing 67 people and causing monumental damage to the Bay Area. Centered near Loma Prieta Peak, 60 miles south of San Francisco, the San Francisco-Oakland earthquake caused the ruination of multiple structures, fires, gas mains, and pipe bursts, and the collapse of the upper deck of the Bay Bridge. The total damages caused from the earthquake were estimated at more than $5 billion, encouraging San Francisco and other communities to enforce stricter retrofitting regulations in the aftermath.

Read more about the historic earthquake via the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

100,000 anti-Vietnam war protestors rallied to the nation’s capital on October 21, 1967 which came to be the first national demonstration against the war. Nearly 700 protestors had been arrested for various acts of civil disobedience including trying to force their way into the Pentagon. Back at the Lincoln Memorial, speeches and folk singing took place amongst a huge crowd which consisted of mostly high school and college-aged people who were against the war.

Read more about the 1967 protest via the Vineland Times Journal.


  1. Madeleine

    Why isn’t this called ‘this week in history in the USA’? When I saw the title I thought it meant worldwide, I was sadly mistaken.

    • Marion

      I also expected world wide coverage. I have noted for many, many years that USA considers it is the world but believe it or not there are quite a few other nations in our beautiful world.

    • Carl M. Barlow, Jr.

      Yes, you were mistaken. Perhaps the title “This Week in American History” would be more specific.

  2. George Riek

    I was in San Francisco at the time of the big earthquake very near where the fires started. I learned an important lesson about people under emergency conditions. They become their best selves.
    To return home in the East Bay, I had to travel all the way around the south end of the bay because bridges were unusable. Citizens voluntarily directed traffic at intersections and drivers became very courteous and patiently took their turn at each intersection. Although it took me more than six hours to make the trip I arrived tired but not stressed out.

  3. B

    Dear Ancestry,
    Would love to see European Newspapers represented at if recent regulations do not prevent this.

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