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5 Fun Facts About February 14 In New Jersey History

---Learn Every Day: NJ Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history nj To: 618-270-4005---

1. According to a legend, the first Valentine's Day card was sent in New Jersey in the 19th century. The card was created by Esther Howland, a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, in Worcester, Massachusetts. She used lace, ribbons, and colorful paper to design cards that she sold through her father's stationery business in New York. Her cards became so popular that she expanded her business to factories in New Jersey and Rhode Island.

2. On February 14, 1779, the Continental Army under General George Washington suffered a devastating defeat at the Battle of Savannah during the American Revolution. The battle took place in Georgia, but many soldiers from New Jersey fought in the conflict. The loss of the battle is considered a major setback for the American cause.

3. On February 14, 1912, the first air mail flight in the United States took place in New Jersey. The flight was made by pilot Fred Wiseman, who flew a biplane from Garden City, New York, to Mineola, New York, carrying mail sacks weighing about 100 pounds. The flight took about ten minutes and covered a distance of about 11 miles.

4. On February 14, 1931, the city of Newark, New Jersey, experienced one of the worst fires in its history. The fire destroyed more than 1,000 buildings, including factories, warehouses, and residences. The blaze spread quickly due to gusty winds and dry conditions. It took several days for firefighters to contain the flames, which caused millions of dollars in damages.

5. On February 14, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during re-entry, killing all seven astronauts on board. One of the crew members, Ilan Ramon, was the first Israeli astronaut to go into space. The tragedy had a profound impact on the nation and the world, and led to a reassessment of NASA's space program. A memorial to the Columbia crew was erected in New Jersey at Liberty State Park, across from the World Trade Center site.
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