It Happened On #79

It Happened On weekend edition

My sister is in Mexico and I realized I forgot to tell her to guest write. Bummer!

It happened on December 15 2001…Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens after a team of experts spent 11 years and $27 million to fortify the tower without eliminating its famous lean

In the 12th century, construction began on the bell tower for the cathedral of Pisa. While construction was still in progress, the tower’s foundation began to sink into the soft, marshy ground, causing it to lean to one side. Its builders tried to compensate for the lean by making the top stories slightly taller on one side, but the extra masonry required only made the tower sink further. By the time it was completed in 1360, modern-day engineers say it was a miracle it didn’t fall down completely

pisaBy the 20th century, the 190-foot-high white marble tower leaned a dramatic 15 feet off the perpendicular. In the year before its closing in 1990, 1 million people visited the old tower, climbing its 293 weathered steps to the top and gazing out over the green Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles) outside. Fearing it was about to collapse, officials appointed a group of 14 archaeologists, architects and soil experts to figure out how to take some, but not all, of the famous tilt away

Though an initial attempt in 1994 almost toppled the tower, engineers were eventually able to reduce the lean by between 16 and 17 inches by removing earth from underneath the foundations. When the tower reopened on December 15, 2001, engineers predicted it would take 300 years to return to its 1990 position. Though entrance to the tower is now limited to guided tours, hordes of tourists can still be found outside, striking the classic pose-standing next to the tower pretending to hold it up-as cameras flash

Also on December 15 1973, Jean Paul Getty III, the grandson of American billionaire J. Paul Getty, is found alive near Naples, five months after his kidnapping by an Italian gang. J. Paul Getty, who became the richest man in the world in 1957, had initially refused to pay his 16-year-old grandson’s $17 million ransom but finally agreed to cooperate after the boy’s severed right ear was sent to a newspaper in Rome. He eventually secured his grandson’s release by paying just $2.7 million, the maximum amount that he claimed he was able to raise

 Meanwhile, in Canada, on December 15 1980, Canadian dollar closes at US$.8271, a 47-year low

Now I want to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa-not so I can strike the classic pose

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