East Germany began construction of the Berlin Wall on Aug. 20, 1961. Public domain photo

Looking backward

The north

10 years ago

Aug. 20, 2011: The Watertown Housing Authority’s fifth annual summer bash Friday celebrated more than just family and fun — it also showcased completion of East Hills renovations. Improvements at the 50-year-old 100-unit family complex off Eastern Boulevard include new siding and painting and the addition of park benches, clothing lines and privacy fences. Improvements are also underway at most of the housing authority’s property in the city, including Maywood Terrace, off Grove Street.

25 years ago

Aug. 20, 1996: The county already is running out of money to bury deceased residents whose estates can’t cover the cost. Jefferson County’s Department of Social Services wants to pull $25,000 from the Home Relief public assistance fund to supplement the dwindling account. The county pays for funeral services, a plot and burial for people whose estates or relatives don’t have enough to cover the costs.

50 years ago

Aug. 20, 1971: City officials are reportedly looking somewhat askance at an $80,000 cost estimate for the projected Lachenauer Plaza, which will be a municipal hallmark when completed. The project, still under study pending final approval by officials of the federal Housing and Urban Development Administration has already won council approval.

75 years ago

Aug. 20, 1946: Boy Scouts of the St. Lawrence council who attended Camp Vigor this summer gained a total of 272 pounds, Joseph M. Betsch, scout executive, announced yesterday after checking the camp records. Mr. Bresch also announced that some of the overweight scouts managed to shed some excess weight, as a result of the carefully balanced program of meals and activities followed at camp.

100 years ago

Aug. 20, 1921: The queer bug, found by Joseph Harp at his camp at Chaumont, and on exhibition at the Philip Fontana barber shop, Arsenal street, has been identified as “the mantid, or grasping orthoptera.” The bug was identified today by Alton H. Adams, assistant farm bureau manager for Jefferson county. He explained that mantids are found commonly throughout the southern states.

125 years ago

Aug. 20, 1896: M. C. Row, of Russell, was in Canton today, exhibiting a very fine fresh water pearl taken by him from Grasse river a few days ago, and which he values at $50. The pearl industry is attracting considerable attention in Russell of late, and quite a number of persons are constantly hunting for them upon the Grasse river and the various creeks emptying into it.

150 years ago

Aug. 20, 1871: A Sandy Creek lady recently left her daughter in charge of the house, while away on a visit. On her return she found that a neighbor had borrowed all the sugar, coffee, butter,vegetables, thread and needles she had.

The world

1961: East Germany begins erecting a wall along western border to replace barbed wire put up Aug 13; US 1st Battle Group, 18th Infantry Division arrives in West Berlin.

1964: U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson signs the Economic Opportunity Act, an anti-poverty measure totaling nearly $1 billion, as part of his War on Poverty.

1986: Part-time mail carrier Patrick Sherrill shoots 20 fellow workers killing 14 at Edmond Okla., the first mass shooting by an individual in an office environment in the U.S. His actions give rise to the phrase “going postal,” for sudden violent outbursts.

1998: U.S. launches cruise missile attacks against alleged al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan and a suspected chemical plant in Sudan in retaliation for the Aug. 7 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

1998: The Supreme Court of Canada rules Quebec cannot legally secede from Canada without the federal government’s approval.

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