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This Month in Business History


Frank Beard. "Does not such a meeting make amends?" . May 29, 1869. Gottscho-Schleisner Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division..

Completion of the Transcontinental Railroad

The Transcontinental Railroad was the first continuous railroad line across the United States and opened for through traffic on May 10, 1869 when Central Pacific Railroad President Leland Stanford ceremonially drove the gold "Last Spike" at Promontory Summit. Railroads would remain the main form of moving people and goods throughout the United States at least until the advent of the airlines that usurped the bulk of personal travel.

Dow Jones Industrial Average First Published

In the years since the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) made its debut on May 26, 1896, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has been quoted in news broadcasts, newspapers, and journals as an indicator of financial markets and economic conditions in the United States. Surprisingly, however, although the DJIA is perhaps the best known, it was not the first of the Dow indexes.

First Fortune 500 List Published

In the May 1955 issue of Fortune Magazine, a new type of article debuted with the publication of the inaugural Fortune 500 list.

Nannie Helen Burroughs Born

Black educator and suffragette Nannie Helen Burroughs founded the business skills school National Trade and Professional School for Women and Girls in Washington, D.C.

World’s First Coca-Cola was Served

On May 8, 1886, the world’s first Coca-Cola the creation of Dr. John Pemberton, was served at Jacobs’ Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia.