Overland trail in 1847
Patrick Breen, traveling with the Donner Party, wrote in his diary: “Beautiful morning. Wind W. Froze hard last night. To day thawing in the Sun… J. Denton trying to borrow meat for Graves. Had none to give. They have nothing but hides. All are entirely out of meat but a little we have. Our hides are nearly all eat up. But, with God’s help, spring will soon smile upon us.”
Gold Rush in 1848
Mariano Vallejo received a letter in Sonoma from John Sutter, explaining gold had been discovered at his lumber mill on the American River.
Inventions in 1891
Julia Craig, of San Francisco, patented a child’s chair. “My invention relates more particularly to a child’s nursery-chair; and its object is to provide a simple mode of construction for articles of this class, which will allow of their folding and reduction to a small package suitable for traveling persons.” It appears to be a potty chair but is not identified as such.
Movies in 1940
Tom and Jerry debuted in their first short film, Puss Gets the Boot. The characters created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, won seven Academy Awards before 1957 and adaptation to TV.
Spitz in 1950
Mark Spitz, swimmer who won a record nine gold, silver and bronze Olympic medals in 1968 and 1972, was born in Modesto.
Sports in 1961
The Chargers moved to San Diego after one season in Los Angeles. They began as an American Football League team but joined the National Football League in 1970. They have been to the playoffs 13 times.
Crime in 1984
Kevin Collins, age 9, was kidnapped from a San Francisco street corner. His picture was one of the first to appear on milk cartons across the country but he was never found.
Crime in 1997
The jury in O. J. Simpson’s civil trial in Santa Monica ordered him to pay $25 million in damages to the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. He was accused of killing them but found not guilt of criminal charges and released.
Parks in 1997
The National Park Service took over a small section of Santa Cruz Island, one of the Channel Islands. Most of the 60,800 acre island is owned by the Nature Conservancy.
Race relations in 1999
A Vietnamese shopkeeper in Westminster was attacked, starting a riot when he displayed a poster of Ho Chi Minh in his shop window.
Crime in 2000
Gil Garcetti, Los Angeles district attorney, said some 100 cases were tainted by planted evidence, false testimony and other police abuses and over 40 people wrongly prosecuted by officers of the LAPD Rampart Division.
Government in 2006
The FBI and California attorney general’s office announced investigations in the theft of some 200,000 debit card numbers by an international counterfeiting ring.
J Dilla in 2006
J Dilla, a founding member of hip-hop act Slum Village, died in Los Angeles at age 32.
Shumway in 2006
Dr. Norman Shumway, who performed the first successful heart transplant in the U.S., died in Palo Alto at age 83.
Accidents in 2013
A helicopter used for a reality TV show crashed in a rural area of northern Los Angeles, killing the three people aboard.
Ranchos in 1840
San Bernardo Rancho, a Mexican land grant, was deeded. The 4,379-acre ranch in present day San Luis Obispo County stretched along Little Morro Creek and San Bernardo Creek east of Morro Bay.
Overland trail in 1847
The first rescuers reached Mule Springs, four miles from beyond the snowline. Patrick Breen, traveling with the Donner Party, wrote in his diary: “Fine morning. Wind W. Froze hard last night. Some clouds lying in the E. Looks like thaw. John Denton here last night; very delicate. John & Mrs. Reid went to Graves this morning.”
Race relations in 1912
San Francisco Police Chief White warned the Chinese Consul General and secretaries of the Chinese Six companies that if they did stop violence between the tongs (organizations), he would blockade Chinatown.
Parks in 1933
Death Valley Monument was dedicated. It became a national park in 1994 and is the largest park in the lower 48 states. It is the hottest, driest national park in the U.S. and contains the second-lowest point in the Western Hemisphere.
San Francisco in 1936
Pumping began to build Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay.
Flight in 1939
A Lockheed P-38 Lightning flew from California to New York in record time; 7 hours, 2 minutes. This plane was critical to victory in the Pacific War.
Flight in 1945
A XP-81fighter escort, an experimental turbo-prop flew for the first time at Muroc airbase, renamed Edwards AFB. The program was cancelled after World War II.
Sports in 1966
Willie Mays, San Francisco Giants outfielder, signed his highest contract to date; $130,000 per year.
Environment in 1986
A Pineapple Express weather system from across the Pacific, brought large amounts of rain to northern California and western Nevada. More than 17 inches of rain fell near Lake Tahoe.
Conrad in 1994
William Conrad, actor, producer and director whose career spanned 50 years in radio, film and television, died in Los Angeles at age 73. He voiced Marshal Matt Dillon for the radio series “Gunsmoke” (1952–1961) and narrated the television adventures of “Rocky and Bullwinkle” (1959–1964) and “The Fugitive” (1963–1967).
Government in 2002
San Francisco sued PG&E for a $5 billion refund to consumers.
Business in 2007
Intel, in Santa Clara, introduced a new super-processor at the opening of a conference of chip scientists. The processor would perform over 1 trillion mathematical calculations per second, a teraflop, but commercial use would not be available for five years.
Lantos in 2008
U.S. Representative Tom Lantos of California died at age 80. He was the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress.
Festivals in 2009
San Francisco officials banned floats, beer and nudity for the 98th annual Bay to Breakers run. Later, they agreed to allow nudity and registered alcohol-free floats.
Electricity in 2009
BrightSource Energy of Oakland announced plans to sell southern California Edison 1,300 megawatts of electricity from 7 large solar plants planned for the California desert. This was possibly the largest solar deal to date.
Houston in 2012
Whitney Houston, singer and actress, died at age 49 at the Beverly Hilton hotel at on the eve of the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
Ranchos in 1844
Cañada de Pogolimi Rancho, a Mexican land grant, was deeded. The 8,781.81-acre ranch in present day Sonoma County, encompassed modern Bloomfield.
Overland trail in 1847
Patrick Breen, traveling with the Donner Party, wrote in his diary: “A warm, thawey morning. Wind S.E. We, hope with the assistance of Almighty God, to be able to live to see bare surface of the earth once more. O God of Mercy, grant it if it be thy holy will. Amen.”
Government in 1874
San Benito County and Modoc County were established.
Sports in 1908
The first round-the-world automobile race began in New York City. It reached San Francisco on March 24.
Accidents in 1935
USS Macon, one of the largest U.S. Navy helium airships, crashed off the coast of Big Sur and sank. Most of the crew were saved. The place it wrecked is a National Historic Place.
Accidents in 1953
An explosion at the Hercules Powder Co., an explosive powder manufacturing company near Pinole, killed 12 employees.
United Nations in 1945
San Francisco was selected as the site of the United Nations Conference after World War II.
Music in 1963
Buck Owens, country music star, first heard “Act Naturally” but didn’t like it. Don Rich, his guitarist, convinced him to record it. He did and it hit the charts in April and made the #1 spot that summer.
Mineo in 1976
Sal Mineo, actor, was stabbed to death in Los Angeles at age 37 while coming home from a play rehearsal. He was best know for his role in “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955).
Renoir in 1979
Jean Renoir, legendary French actor and director, died in Beverly Hills at age 85. His body was returned to France.
Sports in 1989
Wayne Gretzky, Los Angeles Kings, set two records; his 45th hat trick and 10th 40+ goal season.
Sports in 1989
Thursday’s Child set a speed record, sailing from New York around Cape Horn to San Francisco, breaking an 80 days, 20 hours record set by Flying Cloud in 1854.
Business in 1998
Intel, in Santa Clara, unveiled its first graphics chip i740. It was a disappointment and withdrawn from the market after a few months.
Sports in 2000
Michelle Kwan, born in Torrance, won her third straight U.S. Figure Skating Championships. She won Olympic medals in 1998 and 2002.
Schulz in 2000
Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts, died in Santa Rosa, at age 77. It is the most popular and influential comic strip in history.
Government in 2004
Gavin Newsom, newly elected San Francisco mayor, instructed city clerks to began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Crime in 2004
Four men connected with Balco, in Burlingame, were charged with running a steroid-distribution ring that provided performance-enhancing drugs to dozens of athletes in the NFL, MLB and track and field.
Toys in 2004
Mattel, in El Segundo, announced that Barbie would have a new boyfriend named Blaine, an Australian boogie boarder. Barbie’s new “Cali Girl” line debuted that summer.
Sports in 2006
Injured figure skater Michelle Kwan, born in Compton, withdrew from the Turin Olympics. She won Olympic medals in 1998 and 2002.
Homeless in 2007
Berkeley City Council passed a Public Commons Initiative dealing with issues facing people living on the streets.
Ellenshaw in 2007
Peter Ellenshaw, Walt Disney special effects artist, died in Santa Barbara at age 93. He enabled Mary Poppins to fly and 50 chimney sweeps to dance on London rooftops in 1964.
Crime in 2013
Christopher Dorner, fugitive ex-Los Angeles police officer sought in three killings, exchanged gunfire with authorities in the San Bernardino Mountains.
Business in 2014
Peter Diamandis, co-founder of the X-PRIZE Foundation, claimed that 50% of U.S. jobs are under threat of being mechanized within 10 years.
Overland trail in 1847
Patrick Breen, traveling with the Donner Party, wrote in his diary: “Fine morning. Clouded up yesterday evening; snowed a little & continued cloudy all night. Cleared off about day light. Wind about S.W. Mrs Reid has headache. The rest in health.”
Gold in 1871
George King discovered the Golden Chariot mine, a bonanza south of Banner that burned in 2002.
Inventions in 1877
Coelia Curtis, of San Francisco, patented an improved undergarment. “My invention relates to the mode of cutting and forming that class of undergarments for female wear in which the waist and drawers form a single garment…”
Miller in 1913
Joaquin Miller, the “poet of the Sierras,” died in Oakland at age 76. He was best known for Life Amongst the Modocs (1873) and for California’s first Arbor Day (1886).
Movies in 1932
“Free Eats,” the 112th Our Gang short film, introduced 3-year-old George “Spanky” to the cast of characters.
Carter in 1936
Charles Joseph Carter, San Francisco-based magician, died at age 61 while on tour in India.
Accidents in 1950
During a simulated nuclear attack on San Francisco, an Air Force B-36 crashed near the coast of northern British Columbia. Five of 17 men on board were killed.
Hoaxes in 1961
The Coso artifact was found near Olancha, in Inyo County. The supposedly 500,000-year-old rock found, mysteriously had a modern spark plug inside. It was claimed to be from an ancient advanced civilization, alien visitors or time-travellers from the future who lost it while visiting 1961. But it was a hoax.
Radio in 1995
Howard Stern’s radio show premiered in San Diego on KIOZ 105.3 FM.
Music in 1996
Death Row Records in Los Angeles released Tupac Shakur’s forth studio album, ‘All Eyez on Me.’ It is one of the crowning achievements of 1990s rap music.
Peanuts in 2000
Charles M. Schulz Day was declared to coincide with the last original Peanuts Sunday strip by the Santa Rosa cartoonist.
Crime in 2009
Amber Dubois, age 14, disappeared while on her way to Escondido high school. John Gardner was sentenced to life in prison for attacks on her and Chelsea King.
Sports in 2010
Mavericks Surf Contest near Half Moon Bay, with a $50,000 prize, was won by Chris Bertish from South Africa. Earlier in the day a series of waves crashed into some of the fans who flocked to a beach to see the action.
Exploration in 1827
Peter Ogden, explorer and fur trapper, thought he named Mount Shasta. He wrote in his journal, “There is a mountain… I have named Mt. Sastise.” He was wrong. He named what we call Mt. McLoughlin in Oregon.
Exploration in 1844
Exploring the trail to California, John Frémont first saw Lake Tahoe from a peak in the Carson Range to the east. He reached Sutter’s Fort in March.
Overland trail in 1847
Patrick Breen, traveling with the Donner Party, wrote in his diary: “Fine morning but cold before the sun got up. Now thawing in the sun. Wind S.E. Ellen Graves here this morning. John Denton not well. Froze hard last night. John & Edwd. buried Milt. this morning in the Snow.”
Wildlife refuges in 1872
Lake Merritt, a large tidal lagoon now surrounded by parks and neighborhoods in central Oakland, became a California state bird refuge. It became first official U.S. wildlife refuge on March 18, 1870.
Newspapers in 1878
El Eco de la Patria began publishing in Los Angeles.
Business in 1886
The first successful rail shipment of oranges from Los Angeles traveled to St. Louis on an express train. Some fruit spoiled until ventilated and cold-storage cars were developed.
Business in 1919
United Parcel Service opened an office in Oakland, the first outside Seattle. UPS today is the world’s largest package delivery company.
Science in 1961
Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory of the University of California synthesized Lawrencium. It’s a radioactive synthetic chemical element with the symbol Lr (formerly Lw) and atomic number 103.
Government in 1991
Two San Francisco men became the first couple to register as “domestic partners” under a new city ordinance.
Mieth in 1998
Hansel Mieth, photojournalist, died in Santa Rosa at age 88. She and her husband Otto Hagel photographed California farmlands and labor camps in the Great Depression.
Business in 2005
YouTube.com activated its domain name. Early headquarters were above a Japanese restaurant and pizzeria in San Mateo. Google bought YouTube.com for $1.65 billion in stock in 2006. Today it is the largest video sharing website in the world.
Fieger in 2010
Doug Fieger, leader of the power pop band The Knack, died in southern California at age 57. He formed The Knack in Los Angeles in 1978 and sang “My Sharona” (1979).
Exploration in 1769
Gaspar de Portolà’s ship, San Antonio, sailed from La Paz, Mexico to explore the Alta California coast for the Spanish king. He founded San Diego and Monterey.
Sutter in 1803
John Sutter, born in Switzerland, founded New Helvetia, better known as Sutter’s Fort (1839) and owned the lumber mill at Coloma where the Gold Rush began. Today, both are California State Historic Parks.
Overland trail in 1847
Of the first rescuers, three turned back and seven continued toward Donner Lake. Patrick Breen, traveling with the Donner Party, wrote in his diary: “Mrs Graves refused to give Mrs Reid any hides. Put Suitor’s pack hides on her shanty. Would not let her have them. Says [that,] if I say it will thaw, it then will not; she is a case.”
Forts in 1861
Fort Point, guarding the entrance to San Francisco Bay, was outfitted with 126 cannons at the beginning of the Civil War. Today the massive brick fort below the Golden Gate Bridge is a National Historic Site.
Nataqua in 1863
Nataqua, the short-lived, breakaway California/Nevada territory, ended in a shoot-out between the Plumas County sheriff’s posse and pioneers of Susanville.
Post offices in 1902
A U.S. post office reopened in Melones. The town known as Robinsons Ferry and Robinson’s is now under the New Melones Lake in Calaveras County. The first post office opened in Robinsons Ferry in 1879 then closed. It reopened in 1902, closed in 1932, reopened in 1933 then closed for good in 1942 when the area was flooded.
Politics in 1909
Emma Goldman, political anarchist, spoke to large audiences in San Francisco. She lectured on “The Devil Exonerated” and “The Psychology of Violence.”
Libraries in 1917
The Main San Francisco Public Library opened, a milestone in the city’s recovery from the 1906 Earthquake.
de Young in 1925
M.H, de Young, co-founder of the San Francisco Chronicle and founder of the De Young Museum, died in San Francisco at age 76.
Movies in 1931
Universal Studios, in Universal City, released the first Dracula movie, starring Bela Lugosi.
Business in 1939
IBM demonstrated an electric typewriter and punch card method of electric accounting at the Palace of Electricity and Communications on Treasure Island.
Movies in 1950
Walt Disney’s “Cinderella,” an animated musical fantasy film, debuted. It was Disney’s greatest success since “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937) and became a much-loved film.
Science in 1954
The first Bevatron, a particle accelerator went into operation at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Sports in 1968
Les Salvage, of the Anaheim Amigos, scored 10 3-point baskets in a game against the Denver Nuggets.
Sports in 1998
Dale Eggeling won the Los Angeles Women’s Golf Championship. She won three times on the LPGA Tour between 1980 and 1998
Crime in 2006
Los Angeles Police arrested eight people connected to an international car theft ring. Police believed the car thieves, disguised as a charity group, sent money to support Chechyan terrorists.
Government in 2011
Governor Jerry Brown ordered a hiring freeze across state government to deal with to the state’s $25.4 billion budget deficit.
Business in 2013
Xoom, a San Francisco company that specialized in sending small amounts of money across borders, debuted on Nasdaq at $16 per share and closed at $25.490.
Overland trail in 1847
Patrick Breen, traveling with the Donner Party, wrote in his diary: “Commenced to rain yesterday Evening. Turned to Snow during the night & continud until after daylight this morning. It is now sun shine & light showers of hail at times. Wind N.W. by W. We all feel very weakly to day. Snow not getting much less in quantity.”
Ione City in 1857
Ione City was renamed. This small Sierra foothills community, originally a supply town to the gold miners, was previously called Bed Bug, Freeze Out, Hardscrabble. Woosterville, Jone City, Jone Valley, and Rickeyville.
Newspapers in 1867
The Guardian newspaper began publishing semi-weekly in San Bernardino and ran until 1876.
Libraries in 1882
Santa Barbara City Council established the city’s first free library and reading room. Odd Fellows donated nearly 3,000 books and Mrs. Mary Page became their first librarian.
Inventions in 1886
Mattie Baker, of San Jose, patented an improved ironing table.
Newspapers in 1900
Chung Sai Yat Po, the first Chinese daily newspaper in the U.S. debuted in San Francisco and ran until 1951.
Public health in 1909
The San Francisco Citizens Health Committee declared the city free of bubonic plague. The plague of 1900–1904 was centered in Chinatown but it spread after the 1906 Earthquake.
Fires in 1951
A workman’s blow torch started a fire in the San Francisco City Hall dome. It burned for an hour and did some $10,000 in damage.
Crime in 1970
A homemade bomb exploded outside the San Francisco Police Park Station, killing St. Sgt. Brian McDonnell and injuring eight others. Black Panthers were suspected, but a later investigation suggested it was the work of the Weather Underground.
Sports in 1989
Orel Hershiser, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, signed a $7.9 million 3-year contract.
Sports in 1992
Los Angeles Lakers retired Magic Johnson’s #32 uniform. He played 13 seasons, won 3 MVP Awards, made 9 NBA Finals appearances and 12 All-Star games. Today he advocates for HIV/AIDS prevention and safe sex, as well as being a businessman, philanthropist, broadcaster and motivational speaker.
Brown in 1996
Former Governor Pat Brown, Governor Jerry Brown’s father, died in Beverly Hills at age 90.
Accidents in 2000
An Emory Worldwide DC-8 crashed after lifting off from Sacramento, killing all three crew members. A disconnected part in the control system caused the crash.
Crime in 2011
Norman Wielsch, commander of the Central Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team, was arrested along with Christopher Butler, owner of a Concord private investigation firm, for allegedly stealing and selling drugs.
Accidents in 2012
An immigration agent shot and injured another agent and was then killed by a third colleague in a Long Beach federal building.
Overland trail in 1847
Patrick Breen, traveling with the Donner Party, wrote in his diary: “Froze hard last night with heavy clouds running from the N.W. & light showers of hail at times. To day same kind of Weather. Wind N.W. Very cold & Cloudy. No sign of much thaw.”
Overland trail in 1847
Woodworth’s launch with rescue provisions reached Sutters Fort from San Francisco after fighting wind and the swollen Sacramento River for 11 days. He left the same day for Johnson’s Ranch, the rescue staging point.
Government in 1874
Modoc County was established. It is in the northeast corner of the state. Alturas is its capital.
Accidents in 1910
Three performing elephants that were appearing at a Broadway vaudeville house went on a rampage while parading in San Francisco’s North Beach.
Flight in 1911
Glenn Curtiss flew the first hydroplane to-and-from a ship in San Diego Bay.
Accidents in 1937
After nearly four years of no deaths during the building of the Golden Gate Bridge, 10 workers were on a scaffold that fell through the safety net and died.
Newsom in 1942
Sidney Newsom, architect, died at age 65. He and his brother, Noble, joined their father’s San Francisco architectural firm and built elaborate homes for some of the wealthiest people in the state from the 1890’s to the 1930’s.
Music in 1962
The Beach Boys introduced a new musical style with their hit “Surfin.”
Sports in 1985
Laffit Pincay, Jr. became the third jockey to ride 6,000th winner at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia.
Memorials in 1997
Carl Sagan Public Memorial was dedicated at Pasadena, where he helped found The Planetary Society (1980).
Lotto in 2002
Three people reportedly had winning Lotto tickets in the record $193 million state lottery.
O’Herlihy in 2005
Dan O’Herlihy, actor, died in Malibu at age 85. He played Conal Cochran in “Halloween III: Season of the Witch” (1982) and the Old Man in “RoboCop” (1987).
Crime in 2007
Marine Lance Cpl. Robert Pennington was sentenced at Camp Pendleton to eight years in military prison for his role in kidnapping and killing an Iraqi civilian.
Environment in 2009
Sewage spilled from the Fort Baker treatment plant of the Marin County Sanitary District in Sausalito. More than 300,000 gallons of bacteria-laden sewage entered San Francisco Bay.
Crime in 2010
San Francisco police along with state and federal agents arrested 28 suspected gang members in an operation to clear the “worst of the worst” off the streets.
Accidents in 2010
A Cessna 310 crashed in Menlo Park after takeoff from the fogged-in Palo Alto Airport, killing all three people aboard. They all worked for Tesla Motors Inc.
Environment in 2010
A mysterious illness killed brown pelicans along the northern California coast. Biologists later said stormy weather caused their prey to disappear in stirred up waters, possibly due to El Nino and recent big storms.
Business in 2011
Chevron, headquartered in San Ramon, and a US aid agency announced a $50 million plan to improve conditions in Nigeria’s main oil-producing region, where pollution and poverty caused years of unrest.