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Fast Facts

POP Culture: 1880

ICONS: Booker T. Washington, Mark Twain, Statue of Liberty
Booker T. Washington Mark Twain Statue of Liberty

  • President James Garfield is shot on July 2, 1881, by Charles Guiteau, a disappointed office-seeker. Following Garfield's death on September 19, Chester A. Arthur is sworn in as president on September 20.
  • Booker T. Washington opens the Tuskegee Institute [today's Tuskegee University] on July 4, 1881, in Tuskegee, AL.
  • A gunfight breaks out near the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, AZ, on October 26, 1881, when the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday attempt to disarm Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury. When the dust settled, Billy Clanton and Frank and Tom McLaury were dead.
  • Thomas Edison's Pearl Street Station in New York City begins generating electricity to supply 400 street lamps and 85 customers with electrical power on September 4, 1882.
  • Mark Twain publishes The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1884.
  • The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York Harbor from France, in July 1885.
  • Poet Emily Dickinson dies in Amherst, MA, on May 15, 1886.
  • On March 11-14, 1888, the "Great Blizzard of 1888" blankets parts of New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut with up to 50 inches of snow.
  • At noon on April 22, 1889, a starting gun announced the start of the "Oklahoma Land Rush." Approximately 50,000 would-be settlers rush to stake their claim to the 1.92 million acres of land previously given to American Indian tribes.
  • The May 31, 1889, "Johnstown Flood" kills more than 2,200 people after heavy rain destroys the South Fork Dam.
  • In November 1889, North and South Dakota (November 2), Montana (November 8), and Washington (November 11) are admitted to statehood.

The 1880 Census


10 Largest Urban Places

U.S. Resident Population: 50,189,209 Rank Place Population
Population per square mile of land area: 14.2 1 New York City, NY 1,206,299
Percent increase of population from 1870 to 1880: 26.0 2 Philadelphia, PA 847,170
Official Enumeration Date: June 1 3 Brooklyn, NY 566,663
Number of States: 38 4 Chicago, IL 503,185
Cost: $5,791,000 5 Boston, MA 362,839
Cost per Capita (cents): 11.5 6 St. Louis, MO 350,518
Total Pages in Published Reports: 21,458 7 Baltimore, MD 332,313
Number of Enumerators: 31,382 8 Cincinnati, OH 255,139
Census Bureau Director: Francis Amasa Walker 9 San Francisco, CA 233,959
Number of Questions Asked: 26 10 New Orleans, LA 216,090

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Census History Staff | Last Revised: December 05, 2022