Millennium Park, Crown FountainJuly 13, 1906: The New York Botanical Garden presents a paper on the spread of chestnut blight, which in the coming decades will nearly wipe out the American chestnut tree. A century later, an intensive recovery effort involving cross-breeding the tree with a more disease-resistant strain, has prompted a strong recovery of the chestnut tree.

July 13, 1977: Amidst a hot summer and a financial crisis that threaten to break the city, New York's power grid collapses, plunging the city into darkness and chaos. Looting runs rampant in the city, with more than 1,000 fires set and more than 3,000 arrests.

July 13, 1995: The temperature hits 106 degrees in Chicago, signaling the start of a lethal heat wave. More than 700 people die in the city, mostly elderly with no access to air conditioning. At right, during a much less serious summer, people cool off in the Crown Fountain at Millennium Park in 2004.

July 13, 2011:  While the U.S. awaits Congressional action that could thwart a federal financial default, the House of Representatives debates whether restricting inefficient lightbulbs would violate Americans’ freedom of choice.

July 13, 2012: Waterfall-like” rainfall claims at least 27 lives on the Japanese island of Kyushu.

Photo: Vincent Desjardins/Flickr

This feature is compiled by Peter Dykstra, an MNN contributor and publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.