Overland Trail in 1841
Ben and Nancy Kelsey and their baby joined John Bidwell in the first wagon train to California. She was the first white woman to travel from Missouri to California. Mother of nine children, she also played a role creating the original Bear Flag that gave the rebellion its name.
Ranchos in 1844
Rancho Canada de Salsipuedes, a Mexican land grant, was deeded. Salsipuedes means “get out if you can”, referring to the narrow winding canyons and trails on the 6,656-acre land grant in present day Santa Barbara County.
Gold Rush in 1849
Sailing ship “Grey Eagle” arrived with thirty-four passengers from the East in 113 days, a record.
Saroyan in 1908
William Saroyan was born in Fresno. He wrote about the Armenian immigrant life in California, most notably in The Time of Your Life (1939), My Heart’s in the Highlands (1939) and My Name Is Aram (1940).
Agriculture in 1911
San Francisco received its first shipment of red onions from Stockton. Italian gardeners were paid $2.25 per sack, earning about $500 an acre.
Evangelists in 1926
Aimee Semple McPherson disappeared. She vanished soon after arriving near Venice Beach where she went with her secretary to swim then stumbled from the Mexican desert on June 23rd. The event remains a mystery in the life of the evangelist-media celebrity, founder of the Foursquare Church.
Hollywood in 1927
Sid Grauman opened his Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Concrete in the forecourt bear the signatures, foot and hand prints of movie stars from the 1920’s today.
Crime in 1932
Luigi Malvese, bootleg gangster, was shot to death in front of the Del Monte Barbershop in San Francisco. Police rounded up some 1,000 suspects to pressure gangs to rein in their gunmen.
Newspapers in 1971
Pamoja Venceremos = Together We Will Win was published in Palo Alto. The originally Latino left-wing journal, named for Che Guevera’s battle cry “We will prevail!” continued until 1973.
Saroyan in 1981
William Saroyan, writer, died in Fresno at age 82. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (1940) and the Academy Award for Best Story (1943).
Butler in 1988
Daws Butler, voice actor, died in Culver City at age 71. He was the voice of Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, Snagglepuss and Huckleberry Hound.
Education in 1990
Trustees of all-women Mills College in Oakland voted to reverse their decision to admit men.
Montgomery in 1995
Elizabeth Montgomery, film and television actress whose career spanned five decades, died in Beverly Hills at age 62. She was best know for playing the lead role in “Bewitched” (1964 to 1972).
Hollywood in 2001
DreamWork Studios, of Universal City, released “Shrek,” featuring the voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz.
De Forest in 2007
Roy De Forest, artist and teacher, died in Vallejo at age 77. At U.C. Davis (1965-1992) he became known for working in Funk and Nut styles, comic-like paintings with patchwork images often depicting dogs and other figures.
Buncke in 2008
Harry Buncke, microsurgery pioneer, died in San Francisco at age 86. His transplanting a monkey’s great toe to its hand was a breakthrough in attaching amputated digits and limbs. Buncke was called “the father of microsurgery.”
Roman in 2008
Lawrence Roman, screenwriter, died in Woodland Hills at age 86. His work included the Broadway play and film “Under the Yum-Yum Tree” (1960 and 1963). He wrote more than 20 films and teleplays over 50 years.
Allwine in 2009
Wayne Allwine, voice actor, sound effects editor and artist for The Walt Disney Company, died in Los Angeles at age 62. He was the voice of Mickey Mouse and his wife, Russi Taylor, was the voice of Minnie Mouse.
War in 1848
Mexico ratified the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. This ended the war and ceding California, Nevada, Utah and parts of four other modern-day U.S. states for $15 million.
Libraries in 1882
San Diego Public Library was established. It was the first Western city to build a Carnegie Library. Today, its Central Library topped by steel-and-mesh dome is a landmark building. With thirty-five branches, the system circulates more than seven million items and is visited by more than six million people yearly.
Inventions in 1885
Mary Jane Holt of San Francisco patented a meat and provision safe. “My invention relates to improvements in safes for housekeepers use to contain and protect meat and various articles of food that require a circulation of air or some exposure to free air, in order to preserve them in a state of sweetness or serviceable as food.”
Sports in 1960
Juan Marichal, San Francisco Giants pitcher, beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 2-0. He was the first National League pitcher since 1900 to debut with a one-hitter.
Movies in 1999
“Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” was released. George Lucas created it largely at Skywalker Ranch in San Rafael.
Business in 2003
It was reported that many California community state pension expenses would soon exceed 40% of the public safety payroll.
Business in 2004
San Francisco Supervisors learned that the Civil Service Commission cut their salaries to $90,000 from $112,000 following a survey of other state municipalities.
Zoos in 2004
Kubi, San Francisco Zoo’s 29-year-old gorilla, died, after his surgery to remove a diseased lung.
Crime in 2004
Chris Johnson, age 26, was killed in a San Francisco Safeway parking lot after a funeral for his nephew, Raymon Bass, age 17, who was killed in a gang feud.
Crime in 2006
A federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted Milberg Weiss for a 20-year conspiracy by the law firm to funnel kickbacks to plaintiffs in dozens of securities class-action cases.
Government in 1861
Lake County was established. Located in the north central part of the state, it was formed from Napa and Mendocino counties and is named for Clear Lake, the largest natural lake entirely within California.
Business in 1873
Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis patented the process of putting rivets in pants for strength. They called their pants “waist overalls.” Today Levi Strauss & Co. is a world famous brand.
Business in 1874
Levi Strauss began selling blue jeans with copper rivets for $13.50 per dozen.
Science in 1930
University of California dedicated $1,500 to research on the prevention and cure of athlete’s foot.
Accidents in 1946
Physicist Louis Slotin was fatally irradiated in an accident during an experiment with the Demon core at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The test was known as “tickling the dragon’s tail” for its extreme risk. Slotin died nine days later from acute radiation poisoning.
Accidents in 1976
Twenty-eight students and an adult advisor were killed in a bus crash in Martinez. The Yuba City High School choir was traveling to Orinda for a friendship day involving the choirs of the two schools.
Sports in 1977
The San Diego Padres beat the Montreal Expos in 21 innings,11-8. It was the Padres longest road game.
Crime in 1979
The White Night riots in San Francisco followed the manslaughter conviction of Dan White for the assassinations of George Moscone and Harvey Milk. Milk was the first openly gay member of the San Francsico City Council. The gay community was inflamed by the leniency of White’s conviction.
Radner in 1989
Gilda Radner, legendary comedian, actress and wife of Gene Wilder, died in Los Angeles at age 42. She was an original cast member of “Saturday Night Live,” for which she won an Emmy Award (1978).
Television in 2003
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003) had its finale. Set in Sunnydale, a fictional California town, it depicted high school as a literal Hell.
Crime in 2010
Oakland police arrested at least 26 people as part of a crackdown on the Ghost Town street gang, capping a 5-month operation they called Ghostbusters.
Business in 2010
Tesla Motors announced a $50 million investment from Toyota Corp. to help buy the recently closed Nummi auto plant in Fremont.
Theater in 1937
The San Francisco Theater Union premiered the first stage version of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men (1937).
Movies in 1980
“Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” was released. George Lucas created it largely at Skywalker Ranch in San Rafael.
Hoffer in 1983
Eric Hoffer, longshoreman-philosopher, died in San Francisco at age 84. He wrote 10 books, including The True Believer (1951) and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1983).
Government in 1996
The U.S. Congress listed the California red-legged frog as an endangered species.
LaRue in 1996
Al “Lash” LaRue, bullwhipping cowboy actor, died in Burbank at age 78. He was exceptionally skillful with a bullwhip and taught Harrison Ford how to use it for the “Indiana Jones” movies.
Architecture in 2005
Ground breaking took place for the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland.
Morris in 2005
Howard Morris, comic actor and director, died in Hollywood at age 85. He was best known for playing poetry-spouting hillbilly Ernest T. Bass on the “Andy Griffith Show” (1960-1968).
Business in 2007
It was reported that California’s spending trends in five years would have the prison budget overtake spending on state universities.
Crime in 2009
Police in northern California arrested James Stanley Koenig, age 57, Gary Armitage, age 59, and Jeffery A. Guidi, age 54, for swindling thousands of people of more than $200 million since 1997.
Government in 2010
San Francisco planning commission approved a plan to open a medical marijuana facility in the Sunset District despite objections by area residents.
Crime in 1856
Charles Cora and James Casey were hanged by the San Francisco Committee of Vigilance. Cora killed a U.S. Marshal. Casey murdered San Francisco newspaper editor, James King of William.
Indians in 1856
Mendocino Indian Reservation was formed along the Mendocino coast. It became home to Yuki, Wappo, Salan Pomo, Southern Pomo and Whilkut people. Fort Bragg was established to maintain order, protect the Indians and their land from settlers. The reservation was dissolved in 1866 and opened for settlement in 1869.
War in 1873
Captain Jack, Modoc leader, surrendered at Infernal Caverns. This ended the Modoc War, the last Indian War in California which began in 1870. He led 200 men, women and children from the Klamath Reservation and returned to their ancestral homeland. Captain Jack was hanged. The others were sent to the Oklahoma Indian Territory and held prisoner until 1909.
Crime in 1908
William Buwalda, U.S. Army Private, was found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison for applauding and shaking hands with anarchist Emma Goldman.
Environment in 1915
Lassen Peak erupted. It rained volcanic ash as far away as 200 miles. Lassen Peak is the largest of more than 30 lava domes in the Lassen dome field.
Internet in 1973
Robert Metcalf, at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), circulated a memo about his Ethernet ideas. He fixed this day as the birthdate of Ethernet.
Movies in 1985
San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein declared this day to be “James Bond Day” to honor the premier of “A View To A Kill” (1985). A third of the film was shot in the city.
Derek in 1998
John Derek, film director, died in Santa Maria at age 71. His wives included Pati Behrs, Ursula Andress, Linda Evans and Mary Cathleen Collins, better known as Bo Derek.
Sports in 2006
Braxton Bilbrey, age 7, swam from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco in 47 minutes.
Fires in 2008
The Summit Fire began in the Santa Cruz mountains. It burned 4,270 acres and destroyed 31 residences before becoming fully contained after five days.
Crime in 2009
Anthony Ramirez, age 23, was interrupted in an attempted robbery of a home in Pinole. He left his cell phone when he fled and was arrested following calls to himself to recover it.
Business in 2011
eBay, headquartered in San Jose, said a bidder paid $131,648 for a hat worn by Princess Beatrice to Prince Andew’s royal wedding. The Philip Treacy creation sold to raise money for UNICEF and Children in crises.
Flight in 2012
Space Exploration Technologies Corp., SpaceX, headquartered in Hawthorne, launched a private space capsule called Dragon on a history-making trip to the International Space Station.
Exploration in 1776
Juan Bautista de Anza’s party of 12 reached La Natividad. Father Pedro Font kept a diary of their journey exploring north from Monterey and discovery of an inland route to the San Francisco Bay.
Government in 1835
Los Angeles became the capital of Alta California. Political struggles between people in the north and south of Mexican California resulted in the Mexican Congress declaring El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles de Porciuncula as the capital. But the honor was soon restored to Monterey.
Postcards in 1873
Post cards were first sold in San Francisco.
Accidents in 1908
The Morrell Airship collapsed over Berkeley High School. It was the first U.S. airship disaster. C.A. Morrell built his 450-foot spacecraft in San Francisco but launched in Berkeley. Around 15,000 people watched it deflate and slowly descend from 300 feet. None of the 16 crew members were killed.
Business in 1956
The World Trade Center opened in the San Francisco Ferry Building.
Sports in 1970
The San Diego Padres beat the San Francisco Giants in 15 innings, 17-16.
Welch in 1971
Lou Welch, Beat poet born in 1926, walked away from Gary Snider’s home in the Sierra foothills and was never seen again.
Sports in 1991
The San Diego Sockers won the Major Indoor Soccer League championship. The team added this victory to championships in 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1992. They switched to the Continental Indoor Soccer League from 1993 to 1995. But after several ownership changes, the Sockers folded after the 1996 season.
Business in 1995
Oracle Corp., in Redwood City, released the first version of the Java programming language.
Theater in 1996
Joe Goode Performance Group celebrated its 10th anniversary in San Francisco. “The Maverick Strain,” spoken word and dance, explored renegade impulses in American culture.
Crime in 1996
Federal agents in Northern California arrested agents of China’s two main government-owned arms companies on suspicion of smuggling 2,000 illegal automatic assault weapons into the U.S.
Government in 2006
Hercules City Council voted unanimously to prevent Walmart from building a big box store near the city’s San Francisco Bay waterfront.
Government in 2007
California Energy Commission barred municipal utilities from signing new contracts with coal-fired power plants. Coal generated about 20% of the state’s electricity.
Government in 2008
Vallejo declared Chapter 9 bankruptcy as it faced a $16 million deficit with no money in reserve. It emerged from bankruptcy in 2011. Legal fees were $8 million.
Business in 2011
Square, a San Francisco startup, unveiled a new payment system that undercut credit card processing fees. Its lower fees to small businesses made it easy for them to accept digital payments.
Exploration in 1770
Gaspar de Portolà reached Monterey Bay to establish a Spanish outpost. This was the first European land exploration of Alta California, which paved the way for colonization of the region.
Berkeley in 1866
Berkeley was named for George Berkeley, the 18th century Anglo-Irish philosopher and poet who wrote, “westward the course of empire takes its way…”
Fires in 1932
Bodie, the gold mining camp ghost town east of the Sierra Nevada in Mono County, burned. The fire that started when a boy played with matches destroyed 95% of Bodie’s buildings. Today it is a State Historic Park visited by around 200,000 people yearly.
War in 1944
Shoichi James Okamoto was shot to death at Tule Lake Detention Camp. He drove a construction truck between the camp and a work site outside. A guard shot Okamoto when he refused to show an ID for permission to pass at the main gate. The guard was acquitted and fined $1 for “unauthorized use of government property” –a bullet.
Business in 1976
California wines won a tasting event in France, beating several French classics for the first time. This began the modern California wine industry, valued at some $35 billion in 2012.
Crime in 1990
A car carrying Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney, Earth First! activists, exploded in Oakland. They were arrested in the hospital on charges of transporting a bomb but the charges were never filed. They sued the FBI and Oakland police for false arrest, illegal search and seizure and conspiracy to violate free-speech rights. Bari died in 1997 but a jury awarded her estate $2.9 and Cherney $1.5 million, after deciding the FBI framed them as eco-terrorists.
Business in 1999
Enron Corp., in Houston, Texas, scheduled thousands of megawatts through the tiny Silver Peak transmission line in Southern California to raise energy prices 71%.
Accidents in 2008
A tour helicopter crashed on Santa Catalina Island, killing three people and injuring three others.
Martin in 2008
Dick Martin, comedian, died in Santa Monica at age 86. He was half of “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In” (1968-1973) that took television by storm. It made stars of Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin and popularized the phrase “Sock it to me!”
Moldaw in 2008
Stuart Moldaw, founder of Ross Stores and philanthropist, died in Atherton at age 81. By 2007 Ross Stores were the country’s second largest off-price retailer with annual sales of $6 billion.
Government in 2011
San Francisco supervisors approved a $1.2 billion plan to replace Park Merced’s 1,500 rent-controlled town homes with 7,200 units over the next 20-30 years.
Crime in 2013
Eduardo Arellano Felix, age 56, of the Tijuana drug cartel, pleaded guilty in San Diego to helping ship hundreds millions of dollars from the U.S.
War in 1898
The Philippine Expeditionary Force, Eighth Army Corps, sailed from San Francisco. It reached Cavite, Philippine Islands on June 1.
Government in 1907
President Theodore Roosevelt established the Inyo National Forest near Bishop. It is home to Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the continental U.S. and Methuselah, the world’s oldest tree, which grows in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine forest atop the White Mountains.
Movies in 1932
Goofy, originally called Dippy Dawg, debuted in Walt Disney’s “Mickey’s Revue.”
Television in 1948
San Francisco received its first telecast. Clarence Wolfe Jr. operated W6JDI-TV, an amateur station in Burlingame. He broadcast a still image of a woman, later dubbed Gweldolyn, using home-built and Army Surplus equipment.
Sports in 1970
The Indiana Pacers beat the Los Angeles Stars in the third ABA Championship, 4-2.
Greenbush in 1970
Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush, identical twin actresses, were born in Hollywood. Under the credit “Lindsay Sidney Greenbush,” they played the character of Carrie Ingalls on “Little House on the Prairie” (1974 to 1982).
Sports in 1975
The Golden State Warriors swept the Washington Bullets in the twenty-ninth NBA Championship, 4-0.
Movies in 1977
“Star Wars,” re-titled “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” premiered in theaters, inspiring the Jediism religion and Geek Pride Day holiday. The original Star Wars trilogy is considered one of the best film trilogies in history. It was produced at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County.
Movies in 1983
“Return of the Jedi,” later called “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi) produced by George Lucas debuted in theaters. It was produced at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County.
Business in 2001
PG&E filed for permission to pay an additional $17.5 million to managers that guided the company to bankruptcy.