Flight in 1927
The Dole Air Race, the first from Oakland to Honolulu, began. Just two of the six planes that took off made it across the Pacific Ocean. A little plane named Woolaroc, won in 26 hours, 17 minutes flying time.
Lugosi in 1956
Bela Lugosi, film actor, died in Hollywood at age 73. He was famous for his performance in “Dracula” (1931).
Riots in 1965
The Watts riot/revolt ended in Los Angeles after six days. Thirty-four people died, 857 were injured and over 2,200 arrested. Property damage was around $200 million. It was a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement.
Bufano in 1970
Benny Bufano, sculptor, died in San Francisco at age 71. He was best known for large-scale monuments representing peace.
Crime in 1986
Flozelle Woodmore, age 18, shot and killed her abusive boyfriend with a .357 magnum in the front of their 2-year-old son in Los Angeles. She was paroled in 2007.
Environment in 1987
Nearly 5,000 people meditated for two days at Mount Shasta and elsewhere for the Harmonic Convergence. They believed a special alignment of planets in our solar system would bring world peace.
Granger in 1993
Stewart Granger, film actor, died in Santa Monica at age 80. He was a popular leading man from the 1940s to the early 1960s.
Business in 2006
Google, in Mountain View, launched a free wireless network for its hometown.
Crime in 2007
Kathleen Culhane, 40-year-old private investigator, was sentenced in Sacramento to five years in state prison for forging documents to save the lives of Death Row inmates.
Labor in 2009
BART management and union leaders avoided a strike that would have shut down the San Francisco Bay Area’s mass transit rail system. They reached the tentative contract agreement less than 6 hours before the deadline.
Prisons in 2010
Santa Rita Jail deputies in Dublin Tasered inmate Martin Harrison, age 51, to move him to another cell. He was in the midst of alcohol withdrawal and died two days later. His four adult children won a $8.3 million settlement (2015).
Ryan in 2010
Dr. Frank Ryan, celebrity plastic surgeon, died when his car went over a cliff on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. He was texting while driving. Dr. Ryan was famous for performing multiple surgeries on reality TV star Heidi Montag. He also established a foundation to provide free removal of gang-related tattoos.
Transportation in 1849
The George Washington, the first river steamboat in California, began regular service between Sacramento and San Francisco. Some 300 steamboats later provided regular transportation between San Francisco, Benicia, Stockton and Sacramento.
Transportation in 1855
The Sacramento Valley Railroad, the first passenger railroad in the West, made a trial run from Sacramento to Folsom.
Earthquakes in 1896
A 6.0 earthquake struck the southeastern Sierra Nevada.
Business in 1908
The Bank of Italy opened new headquarters in San Francisco after the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. It merged with Bank of America in 1928. Today Bank of America is a multinational corporation headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Public health in 1953
Narcotics Anonymous was founded in Los Angeles. Based on the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, NA welcomes people to meetings for recovery from drug addiction. By 2010 there were NA meetings in more than 130 countries.
Gershwin in 1983
Ira Gershwin, songwriter for his composer brother George, died in Beverly Hills at age 83. They wrote songs like, “I Got Rhythm” and “Someone to Watch Over Me”.
Sports in 2008
Bay Meadows Racetrack in San Mateo held its last race after nearly 74 years. It was the longest continually run stakes event in California. Bay Meadows donated 92% of profits to the war effort during World War II.
Fire in 2013
The Rim Fire, which burned 257,314 acres in the Sierra Nevada, was started by a hunter’s illegal campfire. The third largest wildfire in California history was named for the Rim of the World vista point in the Stanislaus National Forest.
Crime in 1856
The second Committee of Vigilance in San Francisco disbanded. They formed in May after a corrupt politician shot a prominent journalist. There was no regular police force.
Names in 1873
Three men climbed what they thought was an anonymous mountain and named it Fisherman’s Peak. But Clarence King, geological surveyor, already named Mount Whitney in 1863. He had climbed the highest peak in the U.S. but stopped short of the summit, returned in 1871 but climbed nearby Mount Langley by mistake. When he later completed his climb it was too late to claim the first recorded ascent. But he kept his claim to the original name.
Transportation in 1896
Mount Tamalpais and Muir Woods Railway made its first run. The tourist train took visitors to what became Stinson Beach until 1930.
Environment in 1906
A tropical cyclone moved north from Gulf of California bringing rain to southern California for two days.
Redford in 1936
Robert Redford, film actor, director, producer, businessman, environmentalist and philanthropist, was born in Santa Monica. He’s been called the “Godfather of Indie Film” because of his founding the Sundance Film Festival.
Business in 1947
Hewlett-Packard Company, in Palo Alto, was incorporated. It reported first year revenues of $1.5 million. Today HP is one of the world’s leading software companies.
Business in 1951
Mark Sullivan, in San Francisco, spoke with H.T. Killingworth, in New York City, on the first transcontinental wireless phone call.
Crime in 1985
Brothers George, age 32, and Columbus Bender, age 33, stole over $65,000 in quarters from a San Francisco Brink’s office. They were caught carrying $3,400 in quarters from a Reno casino, tried and sentenced to 4 years in jail.
Crime in 1985
Peter and Barbara Pan were attacked in their San Francisco home. Both were shot in the head. He died but she survived. Scrawled on the wall in lipstick were an inverted pentagram and “Jack the Knife.” The murder was later attributed to Richard Ramirez, the “night stalker.”
Accidents in 1994
Stella Liebeck, who spilled scalding coffee from McDonald’s on her lap, was awarded $2.7 million in punitive damages. She ended up getting $480,000.
Business in 2004
Google, in Mountain View, expected its stock to trade between $85 and $95 per share, down from $108 and $135. It also said the total number of shares to be sold will be cut to 19.6 million, down from 25.7 million.
Crime in 2004
Federal agents raided Charles Lepp’s Lake County marijuana farm where grew over 32,000 plants. He claimed his land was for patients who didn’t own land to grow marijuana for medical purposes. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2009.
Government in 2008
California’s supreme court barred doctors from claiming religious beliefs to deny medical care to gays, lesbians and transgender people.
Business in 2011
Hewlett-Packard, in Palo Alto, announced it would stop manufacturing personal computer.
Exploration in 1769
Gaspar de Portolà reached the area that become Santa Barbara. He was traveling with Father Crespí, 63 leather-jacket soldiers and a 100 mules loaded with provisions, marching north from San Diego, searching for Monterey Bay.
Gold Rush in 1847
John Sutter and John Marhsall agreed to build a lumber mill on the American River at a place known to the Indians as “Culloomah”. That’s where Marshall found the gold that began the Gold Rush on January 24, 1848.
Gold Rush in 1848
The New York Herald broke the news back East of gold discovery in California.
Business in 1882
“The Curse of California” cartoon showed the railroad monopoly as an octopus controlling the Nob Hill elite, farmers, lumber interests, shipping, fruit growers, stage lines, mining and the wine industry.
Circus in 1910
The Barnum & Bailey Circus arrived in San Francisco. It came with some 1,280 people, 700 horses and 400 elephants in 85 railroad cars.
Theater in 1913
W. C. Fields, then known as William Claude Dukenfield, performed as The Silent Humorist at San Francisco’s Orpheum Theater. He became one of the great comic film actors of the silent era through the 1930s.
Music in 1964
Six months after taking the East Coast by storm, the Beatles played at the Cow Palace in San Francisco on the opening night of their concert tour.
Marx in 1977
Groucho Marx, legendary comic of vaudeville, radio, film and television, died in Los Angeles at age 87. He made 13 feature films with the Marx Brothers before he launched a solo career as host of the radio and television game show “You Bet Your Life” (1947-1961).
Business in 1993
Mattel Inc., in El Segundo, merged with Fisher-Price Inc. in a stock swap valued at about $1 billion. That made them the second largest toy company, after Hasbro Inc.
Politics in 1996
Ralph Nader accepted the presidential nomination of the Green Party in Los Angeles. He criticized tax breaks for corporations and called for a “political alternative” to the Democraticic and Repubican parties.
Fire in 2002
An 8-alarm fire in San Jose consumed about 25% of the new $500 million Santana Row shopping and residential complex along South Winchester Boulevard.
Business in 2004
Google, headquartered in Mountain View, began trading shares at $85 per share. Today one share sells for more than $600. Google’s first employees, paid in stock, became millionaires.
Lynds in 2005
Dennis Lynds, mystery writer, died in Santa Barbara at age 81. He wrote some 20 books under the pseudonym Michael Collins, including his Dan Fortune private eye series.
Science in 2006
Cave Research Foundation explorers discovered a large cave in Sequoia National Park, which they named Ursa Minor.
Business in 2010
Intel, headquartered in Santa Clara, bought McAfee Inc., a security software maker, for $7.68 billion.
Cities in 2013
Demolition began on Pagoda Palace, a San Francisco North Beach theater built in 1908. The site provided access to boring machines to dig the Central Subway.
Environment in 1921
A tropical cyclone moved north from Baja California and into Arizona, producing rain in southern California and Arizona.Al Capone mug shot.Crime in 1934
Al Capone and 42 other prisoners traveled in steel barred railroad coaches from the federal penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia to Alcatraz.
Crime in 1989
Jose and Kitty Menendez were murdered in their Beverly Hills mansion. Their sons, Eric and Lyle were accused of murdering them. The jury deadlocked in their first trial. But they were later convicted of first-degree murder in spite of their defense based on a history of parental abuse.
Education in 1998
UC Berkeley tied with the University. of Virginia as the best public university in the country according to a US News & World Report.
Business in 2001
Chevron, Shell, Texaco and Unocal oil companies agreed to clean up California’s environment polluted by their leaking MTBE storage tanks. ARCO, Exxon, Mobil and Tosco refused to participate.
Business in 2012
The price of a share of Apple Corp., headquartered in Cupertino, closed at $662.38. That made its value $623 billion, the world’s highest market cap ever.
Diller in 2012
Phyllis Diller, standup comedian, film and voice actress, died in her Los Angeles at age 94. Known for her wild stage personality, wild hair and clothes, she was the voice of the Queen in “A Bug’s Life,” Granny Neutron in “The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius “and various characters on “Robot Chicken.”
Post in 2013
Ted Post, film and television director, died in Los Angeles at age 95. He directed 13 films including “Hang ‘em High” (1968) and “Magnum Force” (1973) starring Clint Eastwood, 56 episodes of “Gunsmoke” and 90 episodes of “Peyton Place.”
Music in 1935
Benny Goodman, “King of Swing,” and his band began a three-week series of shows at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles that launched the Swing Era.
Flight in 1968
William Dana reached 81.53 km. in the last high-altitude X-15 flight.
Crime in 1971
Six men died in a attempted escape from San Quentin Prison. After visiting with his lawyer, George Jackson, founder of the Black Guerrilla Family prison gang, pulled a pistol hidden in his hair and began to release other prisoners.
Crime in 1975
Members of the Symbionese Liberation Army used pipe bombs in a failed attempt to blow up police cars at an International House of Pancakes in Los Angeles.
Labor in 2006
Minimum wage in California was increased by $1.25 over the next year to $8.00 per hour, making it the highest in the U.S.
Overland journeys in 1846
The Donner Party entered Salt Lake Valley through what became called Emigration Canyon then had to chop a road through the Wasatch Mountains. The Graves family caught up with them, making 87 people in 23 wagons. They had 600 miles to go and summer was ending.
Accidents in 1888
The City of Chester sank inside the Golden Gate. The passenger steamship was headed to Eureka when it collided in the fog with Oceanic, a British passenger ship inbound from Hong Kong. Sixteen men, women and children died.
Inventions in 1958
Charles O. Sutton, of San Francisco, patented an improved clipboard. “This invention relates to a heavy duty paper clip and more particularly relates to a’ paper clip mounted upon a board to provide a structure commonly known as a clipboard.”
Flight in 1963
Joe Walker, from Edwards AFB, flew a X-15 test plane 3,794 miles per hour at an altitude of 66 miles. The X-15 flew to the edge of outer space and returned with valuable data used in aircraft and spacecraft design. As of 2014, it held the record for the highest speed ever reached by a manned, powered aircraft; 4,520 mph.
Sports in 1965
Juan Marachal, San Francisco Giants pitcher, started a 14-minute brawl when he hit John Roseboro, Los Angeles Dodger catcher, on the head with his bat. Earlier Marichal knocked down Dodgers with brushback pitches. Then he came up to bat against Sandy Koufax. Koufax did not retaliate, but Roseboro returned Koufax’s pitches close to Marichal’s face. That’s when Marichal hit Roseboro on the head with his bat twice.
Environment in 1976
Environmental Protection Agency scientists reported finding plutonium in the ocean sediment off the San Francisco coast and radioactive cesium leaking from containers 120 miles off Maryland’s shore. Some 62,000 steel drums of nuclear waste were dumped into the Pacific and Atlantic from 1946-1970.
Crime in 1989
Huey Newton, Black Panther co-founder, was shot to death in Oakland. Tyrone “Double R” Robinson, the gunman, was a member of the Black Guerrilla Family prison gang.
Crime in 1994
DNA testing linked O.J. Simpson to the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman, her friend. His blood matched the genetic makeup of blood at the murder scene in Brentwood.
Science in 2001
Space shuttle Discovery returned to Vandenberg AFB. It brought home Yuri Usachev, Susan Helms and Jim Voss, who spent nearly six months aboard the International Space Station.
Crime in 2003
Earth Liberation Front, a radical environmental group, attacked four car dealerships in West Covina. They set fires and destroyed or defaced dozens of Hummers and other SUVs, many painted with the word “polluter.” Damage was over $1 million.
Government in 2005
California Supreme Court ruled that lesbian and gay partners who plan a family and raise children should be considered legal parents after a breakup.
Education in 2006
Berkeley City College opened a $70 million facility nearly next door to U.C. Berkeley. It began as Berkeley Learning Pavilion then renamed Peralta College for Non-traditional Study (1974) before became Vista College (1978).
Music in 2008
The first Outside Lands rock festival opened in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park to a crowd of some 60,000. It featured over 60 musical acts from around the world.
Communication in 1849
The first mail delivered to the California interior included stops at Benicia, Sacramento City and San José.
Societies in 1850
The Society of California Pioneers, established in San Francisco, began to promote California art, history, and culture. Pioneer Hall museum and Sullivan library are open to the public.
Business in 1869
The first railroad carload of freight reached San Francsico. Delivery of boots and shoes from Boston took 16 days on the newly completed transcontinental railroad.
Business in 1872
The first Japanese commercial ship anchored in San Francisco Bay with a cargo of tea.
Communication in 1889
The first ship-to-shore wireless message in U.S. history was sent by Lightship No. 70 to a coastal receiving station at Cliff House in San Francisco. The message said, “Sherman is sighted.” That meant the troopship Sherman, returning a San Francisco regiment from the Spanish-American War, was sighted outside the Golden Gate.San Francisco lightship (circa 1896).
Grey in 1939
Zane Grey, legendary Western novelist, died in Altadena at age 68. His novels and short stories have been adapted into 112 films, two television episodes and a television series.
Communication in 1953
KBAK TV channel 29 in Bakersfield began broadcasting. Bakersfield’s first television station was called KAFY-TV initially. KERO-TV launched a month later.
Labor in 1970
César Chávez, head of the United Farm Workers, began a strike that was joined by pickets and boycotts. The Salad Bowl strike, the largest farm worker strike in U.S. history, lead to passage of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act (1975).
Shamu in 1971
Shamu died at SeaWorld in San Diego after 6 years. Captured off the coast of Washington, she was the first orca to survive more than 13 months in captivity. SeaWorld continues to name all their performing orcas at all their parks Shamu.
Flight in 1977
Gossamer Condor 2 in Shafter won the first Kremer prize by flying the first figure-8 in a human-powered aircraft. The pedal-powered craft was inspired by vultures’ flight. It was very light and flew very slowly.
Peters in 2005
Brock Peters, stage, film and voice actor, died in Los Angeles at age 68. He was best known for his performance as the man falsely accused of rape in “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1962) and roles in several Star Trek films.
Ferguson in 2006
Maynard Ferguson, jazz trumpeter and band leader, died in Ventura at age 78. His music evolved from big band swing, bebop, cool jazz, Latin, jazz / rock through fusion with classical and operatic influences.
Crime in 2010
California Attorney General Jerry Brown sued Roni Deutch for $34 million for allegedly swindling thousands of people. Advertising herself the “tax lady,” Deutch made nationwide television commercials offering to help people with tax problems.