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.
Overland Journeys 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.
Technology 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 Journeys 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 Journeys 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 Journeys 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.
Government in 1850
California’s first legislative session named the first 27 counties. Mariposa was later divided into 12 counties. Some original county names were changed; Branciforte became Santa Cruz County.
Post offices in 1850
A U.S. post office opened in Sonoma. Today the town where the Bear Flag Revolt began is a popular tourist destination.
Newspapers in 1856
The Weekly State Tribune newspaper began publishing in Sacramento. The Bee started in 1857.
Post Offices in 1883
A U. S. post office opened in Needles, the Mohave Valley town named for pointed rocks in the area.
Race Relations in 1907
Mayor Eugene Schmitz, President Theodore Roosevelt and the San Francisco School Board agreed to enroll Japanese children in the city’s public schools. Japanese laborers were banned from entering the U.S. and American laborers were banned from Japan.
Movies in 1929
The first Academy Awards winners were announced months before the ceremony in May – very different than how it’s done today.
Government in 1932
Federal prohibition agents in San Francisco broke up a bootlegging ring reportedly headed by Johnny Marino.
Prisons in 1938
San Quentin Prison in Marin County held its first double hanging in two years. Murderers Lee Goodwin and Roy Righthouse were executed before 51 witnesses.
Fairs in 1939
The Golden Gate International Exposition opened on Treasure Island. It celebrated San Francisco”s new bridges; the Oakland Bay Bridge (1936) and the Golden Gate Bridge (1937).
Churchs in 1954
The first Church of Scientology in Los Angeles opened.
Sports in 1960
The 8th Winter Olympics opened at Squaw Valley. Women’s speed skating and biathlon debuted. It was the only time bobsled was not on the program. Soviet Union won 21 medals, 7 gold. The U.S won 10 medal altogether, 3 gold.
Sports in 1960
Walter O’Malley, Los Angeles Dodgers owner, purchased Chavez Ravine for $494,000 to build a stadium for his team.
Government in 1972
The California Supreme Court declared the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the state constitution. One hundred and seven inmates were taken off death row and re-sentenced.
Business in 1999
Aegon NV of the Netherlands bought the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco.
Martinez in 2011
Victor Martinez, novelist born in Fresno, died in San Francisco at age 56. His book Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature (1996). The book was semi-autobiographical, the story of a 14-year old Mexican American boy growing up “in a world of gangs, violence and poverty.”
Overland Journeys in 1847
Patrick Breen, traveling with the Donner Party, wrote in his diary: “Froze hard last night. 7 men arrived from California yesterday with som provisions, but left the greater part on the way. To day clear & warm for this region. Some of the men are gone to day to Donner’s Camp. Will start back on Monday.”
Overland Journeys in 1847
Daniel Rhoads, one of the rescuers, wrote, “At sunset, we crossed Truckee Lake on the ice, and came to the spot where, we had been told, we should find the emigrants. We looked all around, but no living thing except ourselves was in sight. We raised a loud hello. And then we saw a woman emerge from a hole in the snow. As we approached her, several others made their appearance, in like manner coming out of the snow. They were gaunt with famine; and I never can forget the horrible, ghastly sight they presented. The first woman spoke in a hollow voice, very much agitated, and said, ‘Are you men from California or do you come from heaven?’ “
Sobriety in 1860
Edward Highton spoke at the Dashaway Association about the treatment of habitual drunks in San Francisco. The organization encouraged men to “dash away” from alcohol,
Inventions in 1878
Emma Carter of Folsom City patented an improved bee feeding device. “My improved bee-feeding device, as will be readily seen, is simple, cleanly, and easy of access.“
Japanese American Internment in 1942
President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, clearing the way for the forced detention of some 110,000 Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II.
Tan in 1952
Amy Tan was born in Oakland, the child of Chinese immigrants. Her best known book, The Joy Luck Club (1989), has been translated into 35 languages and made into a movie.
Japanese American Internment in 1976
President Gerald Ford cancelled President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. In 1989 President George Bush signed a bill authorizing restitution payments with a letter apologizing to surviving internees.
Crime in 1976
Rick Stevens, lead vocalist of the Tower of Power, an Oakland band, was arrested in San Jose for a triple slaying after a drug deal turned violent. Stevens spent 36 years in prison before being paroled.
Sports in 1977
The Oakland A’s sold Paul Lindblad, pitcher, to the Texas Rangers for $400,000.
Environment in 1986
A levee on the 8,800 acre Tyler Island in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta failed, flooding crops and nearly destroying farms.
Newspapers in 2004
Philip Anschutz, founder of Qwest Communications bought the San Francisco Examiner and other newspapers for $20 million.
Business in 2008
Sharper Image, a San Francisco based retailer, filed for bankruptcy protection. The 184-store chain planned to close 96 stores nationwide.
Government in 2009
The California Senate approved a budget intended to wipe out a $42 billion deficit to steer the state clear of fiscal disaster.
Crime in 2009
A car with four young men was sprayed by gun fire near the Daly City BART station. They had no known gang affiliations. Police later arrested two members of the MS-13 gang for the murder.
Transportation in 2011
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) opened its newest station, the 44th, at West Dublin/Pleasanton.
Festivals in 2011
The Chinese Lunar New Year Parade in San Francisco welcomed the Year of the Hare.
Education in 1873
University of California opened its first medical school in San Francisco.
Adams in 1902
Ansel Adams, photographer, was born in San Francisco. His black-and-white landscape photographs of the West, especially Yosemite Valley, helped expand the National Park system.
Environment in 1902
Heavy surf broke over Seal Rocks and damaged Sutro Baths in San Francisco.
Festivals in 1915
The Panama–Pacific International Exposition opened in San Francisco. It celebrated the completion of the Panama Canal but truly showcased the city’s recovery from the 1906 Earthquake. The Tower of Jewels was covered with over 100,000 pieces of cut glass that were lit by over 50 searchlights at night.
Fires in 1934
A fire destroyed the recently opened Anchor Brewing Co. in San Francisco that brewed a steam beer for which the city was once famous.
Government in 1943
American movie studio executives agreed to allow the Office of War Information to censor movies.
Accidents in 1947
A chemical mixing error at an electroplating plant in Los Angeles caused an explosion that destroyed 42 blocks and killed at least 10 people.
Sports in 1958
The Los Angeles Coliseum approved a two year agreement allowing the Dodgers to play there.
Sports in 1963
Willie Mays, San Francisco Giants outfielder, signed a record $100,000 per year contract. He was the first major league player to earn a 6-figure salary.
Nash in 1985
Clarence Nash, who voiced Donald Duck, died in Glendale at age 80.
Sports in 1986
Orel Hershiser, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, was the first MLB player to negotiate a $1M salary.
Sports in 1988
Brian Boitano won the Olympic gold medal in figure skating.
Crime in 1996
Snoop Doggy Dogg, Gangsta rapper and his former bodyguard were acquitted of the 1993 shooting death in Los Angeles of an alleged gang member.
Sports in 1997
Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants outfielder, signed a record $22.9 million 2-year contract.
Government in 2004
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger directed immediate legal steps to stop San Francisco from granting marriage licenses to gay couples.
Dee in 2005
Sandra Dee, actress, died in Thousand Oaks at age 62. She was among the biggest female teen idols of her time. Her films included “Gidget” (1959) and “Tammy and the Doctor” (1963).
Government in 2009
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made nearly $1 billion in additional cuts then signed the new budget bill. The plan included $15 billion in spending cuts, $11.4 billion in borrowing, $12.8 billion in taxes, and about $2 billion in funds from the new federal stimulus package.
Crime in 2009
Ahmadullah Sais Niazi, age 34, the brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden’s former bodyguard, was arrested in Orange County. He was charged with lying on citizenship and passport papers about ties to terrorist groups.
Business in 2013
Tech and investment leaders in San Francisco announced the new $3 million Life Sciences Breakthrough Prize and named its first 11 winners.
Indians in 1824
Chumash Indians at Santa Ynez Mission revolted against harsh living conditions and brutal treatment by soldiers. It spread to Santa Barbara and La Purisima de Concepcion, where Chumash warriors controlled the mission for about a month. Some 40 natives and several monks died in the fighting.
Santa Barbara in 1872
Santa Barbara gas street lamps were lit for the first time.
Newspapers in 1874
The Oakland Daily Tribune began publication.
Peckinpah in 1925
Sam Peckinpah, film director, was born in Fresno. His films are known for action and violence, like “The Wild Bunch” (1969) and “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” (1973).
Transportation in 1937
The Waterman Aerobile, an experimental automobile – airplane flew in Santa Monica. It reached 120 mph in flight and 70 mph on the highway. Few were built.
Music in 1958
Merle Haggard, singer, was sent to Bakersfield Jail then transferred to San Quentin Prison after he tried to escape. He later became a county music legend.
Sports in 1983
The San Diego Clippers began a 29-game losing streak on the road.
Accidents in 2006
Stefan Eriksson, age 44, crashed a million-dollar Ferrari Enzo in northern Malibu. He was later sentenced to three years in prison for embezzlement and gun possession.
Homeless in 2007
Mayor Gavin Newsom announced San Francisco received $19.7 million in federal funds to help fight homelessness.
Police in 2007
The San Francisco Police Commission approved a computerized system to track problem behavior by police officers.
Business in 2008
Google Inc., in Mountain View, announced upcoming storage of medical records for a few thousand people. It was testing a service that would raise concerns about the volume of sensitive information trusted to the Internet company.
San Francisco in 1859
San Francisco adopted its current official seal, changing the one adopted in 1852. The motto “Oro en paz, fierro en guerra” is Spanish for “Gold in peace, iron in war.”
Sports in 1860
Organized baseball was played in San Francisco for first time. The game was between the Eagles and the Red Rovers.
Accidents in 1901
The steamship City of Rio de Janeiro crashed on rocks at the entrance to San Francisco Bay and sank quickly. Italian fishermen saved 82 of some 210 people. Many of the passengers were Chinese immigrants. The ship was rumored to carry $2 million in silver bars that have never been found.
Churches in 1906
William Seymour, African American evangelist, arrived in Los Angeles. He lead the Azusa Street Revival in April, a historic meeting that began the Pentecostal movement.
Workers at the San Francisco Ingleside district refugee camp for people who lost their homes in the 1906 Earthquake agreed to work one day a week to improve the camp or miss their free tobacco allowance.
Naming in 1910
The Sierra Club, headquartered in San Francisco, named Mount Davidson and Sutro Crest in the city’s Sutro Forest.
Education in 1913
Lowell High School moved to a new campus in San Francisco. It began in 1856 as the Union Grammar School then changed to its current name in 1896. Lowell moved to its present location in 1962.
Racing in 1920
Owen Patrick Smith introduced a mechanical or artificial hare, replacing live hares, at a dog-racing track in Emeryville.
Flight in 1921
The first transcontinental air mail plane that flew at night left San Francisco at 4:30 a.m. and landed at Long Island, New York at 4:50 p.m. on February 23. Before that, pilots navigated by the railroad tracks during the day and landed at night.
Business in 1923
Mathias Chapman landed in San Pedro from Chile with the first 12 chinchillas in the U.S. and began raising them commercially for their luxurious fur and later as pets.
Sports in 1957
Walter O’Malley announced the Brooklyn Dodgers would play 10 exhibition games in California in 1958.
Labor in 1974
Cesar Chavez lead a United Farm Workers march from Union Square in San Francisco to Gallo’s Modesto headquarters to protest labor conditions. This was part of the Salad Bowl Strike that led to the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act (1975).
Sports in 1979
Billy Martin became manager of the Oakland A’s, following his success coaching the New York Yankees. Early success with the A’s led him to overwork his pitchers. When they went 68 – 94 in 1982, he was fired.
Bailey in 1995
Bill Bailey, union activist with San Francisco dockworkers, died at age 86. He was a Spanish Civil War veteran, writer and actor in his later years.
Business in 1999
Levi Strauss & Co. responded to continuing sales losses by closing 11 of its 22 U.S. plants and laying off 5,900 factory workers.
Government in 2002
The California Supreme Court struck down the “Son of Sam” law that required felons to turn over profits from books and movies to their victims.
Jones in 2002
Chuck Jones, cartoon animator, died in Newport Beach at age 89. His created Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Road Runner, among other characters.