Women’s Sports, Fire and Daniel Webster: Today, February 7

February 7 is National Girls and Womens Sports Day

Established by President ronald Reagan in 1987, National Girls and Womens Sports Day is exactly what it sounds like, a day to celebrate female athletics. National Girls and Women in Sports Day is recognized each year by schools, organizations and teams on the first Wednesday in February.

Sports play an important role in girls lives. Athletics work to establishing a routine for a healthy, active lifestyle, they build confidence, leadership skills and the ability to work with a team.
But there is so much more to participating in sports. Women who participated in sports in school are more likely to graduate from college. Studies indicate  women increase their odds of landing leadership positions when they have a background in athletics.

Support girls and women athletics in Southern Maryland.  Get involved. Encourage your daughters to participate. For more information on how, visit the Women Sports Foundation. Use #GirlsAndWomenInSportsDay to share on social media.

Today in history: February 7, 1904 The Great Baltimore Fire

The Great Baltimore Fire happened on, February 7 and 8, 1904. 1,231 firefighters helped bring the blaze under control, both professional paid Truck and Engine companies from the Baltimore City Fire Department and volunteers from the surrounding counties and outlying towns of Maryland, as well as out-of-state units that arrived using major railroads.

The fire was first reported at the John E. Hurst building, located at what is now the SW corner of the  Royal Farms Arena (the old Baltimore Civic Center). Soon it became apparent that the fire was beyond the ability of the city's firefighting resources to fight it, and calls for help were telegraphed to other cities. By 1:30 PM., units from Washington, D.C. were arriving via railroad at Camden Street Station. Desperate officials decided to use a firebreak to try to stop the fire, and dynamited buildings around the existing blaze. This tactic proved unsuccessful. The fire burned for 30 hours, and was not brought under control until 5 PM the next day.

It destroyed much of central Baltimore, including over 1,500 buildings covering an area of some 140 acres. From North Howard Street in the west and southwest, the flames spread north through the retail shopping area as far as Fayette Street and began moving eastward, pushed along by the prevailing winds. Narrowly missing the new 1900 Circuit Courthouse, fire passed the historic Battle Monument Square at North Calvert Street, and Baltimore City Hall on Holliday Street. The blaze finally spread further east to the Jones Falls stream which divided the downtown business district from the tightly-packed residential neighborhoods of Jonestown (also known as Old Town) and newly named "Little Italy".

The fire's wide swath burned as far south as the wharves and piers lining the north side of the old Basin of the Northwest Branch of the Baltimore Harbor and Patapsco River facing along Pratt Street. This area is known today as the Inner Harbor.

One reason the fire burned out of control for as long as it did was the lack of standardization in firefighting equipment. Fire equipment from other towns and even as far away as Philadelphia found that their hoses did not fit the water outlets in Baltimore.

The fire left 35,000 people unemployed. It caused over $150 million in damages, that today would be approximately 1.5 billion. Amazingly, the fire did not directly cause a single fatality, although five deaths were indirectly attributed to the blaze. As a result of the fire, the National Fire Protection Association adopted universal standards for firefighting equipment. It is considered historically the third worst fire in an American city, surpassed only by the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906.


Weird: The Man Who Would Not Be President

In the first half of the 19th century, Daniel Webster was a powerful man in Washington, DC. He began his life in politics in 1813, elected to the US House of Representatives as an at large representative of New Hampshire, and then again in 1823 to serve the 1st District of Massachusetts.

In 1827 he was elected to the Senate for the first of two terms, and served as chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.  He served as Secretary of State twice, under President John Tyler in 1840, and again in 1850 under Millard Fillmore.

He ran for President twice and lost both bids, in 1836, and again in 1848 as a member of the Whig party.. After losing in 1836, President William Harrison offered him the Vice Presidency. Webster turned it down, considering the position to be worthless. Harrison died shortly after taking office, and Vice President John Tyler took over.

After Webster ran and lost in the election of 1848, newly elected President Zachary Taylor once again offered Webster the Vice Presidency., and again he declined. Taylor died a little over a year into his term, and Millard Fillmore became President.

On both occasions Webster would have become President had he not turned away the offers.

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