The Great Locomotive Chase was a very daring – but very failed – plot to commandeer a train and destroy a crucial stretch of railroad during the Civil War. It's a wild and fun story that covers a lot of ground as it travels around the southeastern U.S. Read the show notes here.
People knew how to find their north-south position even before we had the idea of "latitude." But once people lost sight of land, they didn’t have reliable way of figuring out how far east or west they’d gone – how to measure their longitude.
The Teatro alla Scala is one of the most renowned opera houses in the world, and is Italy’s crown jewel of the arts. Even if you have only a passing knowledge of opera, odds are, you know a name connected to the history of this legendary cultural hub. Read the show notes here.
He's most famous for selling an iconic structure he didn't own, but Robert Miller, known better by his alias Count Victor Lustig, led a life of spectacular cons, daring escapes, smooth talking and counterfeiting. Read the show notes here.
Pigments and dyes have come from all manner of animals, vegetables and minerals. From ochre to cochineal red to the rarest of purples, color has been an important part of human life for centuries. Read the show notes here.
In the mid-20th century, one ad company had a wacky plan to actually dole out land deeds as part of a cereal promotion. How did they manage it? And was the land worth anything? Read the show notes here.
“Black Wall Street” was a nickname for Greenwood, a vibrant suburb of Tulsa, Oklahoma, which was destroyed in a race riot in 1921. And while Greenwood’s destruction was definitely the product of racial tensions, the event was much more one-sided.
In 1921, coal miners fed up with unfair labor practices and exploitation took up arms against their employers. The resulting conflict lasted five days and has been called the biggest armed uprising on U.S. soil since the Civil War.
While the building of a population in a new colony seems like a tricky endeavor, France’s King Louis XIV launched a scheme to do just that by shipping eligible ladies to New France in the 1600s. Read the show notes here.
In the late 1700s, medical colleges needed cadavers for educational dissection, but there were no legal means for obtaining them. This led to some unorthodox dealings in the acquiring of bodies, and brought New York to a fever pitch in 1788. Read the show notes here.