1906: The Great Quake levels San Francisco, wreaking $500 million in damage, and A.P. Giannini hastily drives a horse-drawn wagon to the ruined headquarters of his Bank of Italy, where he rummages through the rubble, retrieving $2 million in gold, coins and securities and loading them into the wagon. As other banks stay closed or refuse to lend, Gianniniís bank (now Bank of America) reopens for business on the docks near North Beach, literally lending a lifeline as San Franciscoís businesses and homeowners begin to rebuild from the earthquake.
1933: Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt announces that he will issue an executive order embargoing exports of gold and free the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar to float against foreign currencies. In effect, Roosevelt has taken the U.S. off the gold standard and devalued the dollar. Terrified by the uncertainties of the Depression, Americans have been hoarding gold, but Roosevelt's move flushes out the gold that has been squirreled away. That floods banks with liquidity and helps set the stage for economic recovery.
1980: The New York Stock Exchange admits its first female specialist, Amy Newkirk, as a member.