Friday, July 15th. Motorists in Oklahoma City were confronted with America’s first parking meter this month in 1935. It was located on the corner of First Street and Robinson Avenue, and while local drivers could avoid that single space, they couldn’t escape for long. That meter was just the first of many to sprout up in Oklahoma City and across the nation, as millions of ticketed motorists will attest. While municipalities sought to rotate street parking spots among more drivers, raising revenue was always a consideration. At the same time, pay parking lots and garages began to open for business. Today there are over 12,500 such commercial parking facilities in the U.S., which take in around $7.5 billion a year in parking fees. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy, from the American Community Survey, at <www.census.gov>.
Saturday, July 16th. On this date in 1995, a small start-up company launched its business of selling books online out of a two-car garage in Bellevue, Washington. The first item purchased was a book titled “Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought.” The 1995 garage operation was Amazon.com. The company now has some 230,000 employees and around 90 warehouses to store and ship the annual two-billion purchases of books and much else. Amazon went public in 1997, and currently its market capitalization puts it among America’s largest companies. Not all of America’s 26,000 electronic shopping ventures do so well, but last year internet sales totaled nearly $342 billion, or over 7 percent of all retail sales. Profile America is in its 20th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.
Sunday, July 17th. Harvard University, founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1636, is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States. Thus, it was already a bit long in the tooth when on this date in 1867, it opened the first dental school associated with a medical school. It was also the first to be permanently established by a university, making the full scholarly and scientific resources of a university available to dental education. Today, there are 65 dental schools at universities across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Graduates of these and foreign schools make up the148,000 dentists nationwide. They practice in nearly 134,000 dental offices, which employ nearly 900,000 people. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy, from the American Community Survey, at<www.census.gov>.