1. On December 20, 1861, the Civil War was raging on and Kansas Governor Charles Robinson requested President Abraham Lincoln to commission Native American troops for the Union Army. This led to the establishment of the First Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry Regiment, which was composed primarily of free blacks and escaped slaves.
2. In 1876, on December 20, the notorious outlaw Jesse James and his gang attempted to rob the bank in Northfield, Minnesota, but were met with fierce resistance from the townspeople, resulting in the deaths of several gang members and the eventual disbanding of the James-Younger Gang.
3. December 20, 1900, marked the opening of the historic Harvey House restaurant in Florence, Kansas, which served as an important stop for passengers on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. The Harvey House chain was renowned for its fine dining and impeccable service.
4. In 1943, on December 20, the United States Army Air Forces established Smoky Hill Army Airfield near Salina, Kansas, as a training base for bomber crews during World War II. The base was later renamed Schilling Air Force Base and became a Strategic Air Command base during the Cold War era.
5. On December 20, 2003, the city of Lawrence, Kansas, celebrated the grand opening of the Lawrence Arts Center, a state-of-the-art facility that features exhibitions, performances, and classes in visual and performing arts. The Center has since become a hub of creativity and culture in the heart of downtown Lawrence.
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