Government in 1849
The Democratic Party in California formed at a meeting held in Portsmouth Square, which today is in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
Crime in 1879
Charles Bowles, English born poet bandit known as Black Bart, held up Wells Fargo Stagecoaches 28 times. The 10th robbery was in Shasta County along the road to Buckeye.
Education in 1926
Founders’ Rock, a 75-ton boulder, was dedicated at the University of California Los Angeles Westwood Campus.
Literature in 1962
John Steinbeck, born in Salinas, was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature.
Perry in 1984
Singer, Katy Perry was born in Santa Barbara.
Graham in 1991
Rock-and-roll impresario Bill Graham was killed in a helicopter crash in Sonoma County. A memorial concert in Golden Gate Park drew some 300,000 people with music by the Grateful Dead, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and comedy by Robin Williams.
Price in 1993
Actor Vincent Price died in Los Angeles. He was a leading horror film actor of the 1940s to the early 1960s.
Business in 1999
Intel, in Santa Clara, introduced its code-named Coppermine chip as the new Pentium III with speeds up to 500 megahertz. The internal circuitry was squeezed to .18 micron.
Fires in 2003
The Old Fire wildfire in the San Bernardino Mountains was one of over a dozen wildfires burning in Southern California.
Bey in 2005
Antar Bey, son and heir of Black Muslim leader Yusuf Bey, was shot and killed in Oakland. Police later arrested and charged Alfonza Phillips with murder in the failed car-jacking.
Fires in 2009
Fire broke out in the Santa Cruz Mountains between Morgan Hill and Santa Cruz. The Loma Fire covered 485 acres, was only 20% contained and burned until October 27.
Halprin in 2009
Lawrence Halprin, San Francisco Bay Area landscape architect, designer and teacher, died in Kentfield at age 93. His work included the design of Sea Ranch (1964) and San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square (1968).
Fromer in 2009
Seymour Fromer, founder of the Berkeley-based Judah Magnes Museum, died. Judah Magnes (1877-1948) was the first ordained rabbi in California.
Crime in 2011
Democratic Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi of Castro Valley was stopped by a security detail at Nieman Marcus after she left the store with unpaid items worth $2450.
Ranchos in 1843
Rancho Cienega del Gabilan was deeded. The name of this 48,781-acre rancho near present day Salinas means “spring of the hawk ranch.”
Pony Express in 1861
The Pony Express announced its closure two days after the transcontinental telegraph reached Salt Lake City and connected Omaha, Nebraska with Sacramento.
Transportation in 1869
The Los Angeles & San Pedro Railroad opened. This 21-mile line connected L.A. with the San Pedro Bay shipping harbor. San Gabriel, the engine, was built by Vulcan Iron Works of San Francisco in 1864.
Transportation in 1903
The Key System ferries began to cross San Francisco Bay. This completed an extensive rail and ferry network serving Oakland.
Energy in 1936
The first electric generator at Hoover Dam went into full operation, providing power to Southern California.
McDaniel in 1952
Hattie McDaniel, film actress, died in Woodland Hills at age 57. She is best-known as Mammy in “Gone with the Wind” (1939) for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, making her the first African American to win an Academy Award.
Sports in 1960
American League officials approved the Washington Senators move to become the Minnesota Twins and announced franchises in Los Angeles and Washington DC.
Parks in 1972
National Park Service guided its first tours of Alcatraz. Now some 1.5 million people visit yearly.
Sports in 1981
The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the New York Yankees in the World Series, 4 games to 2.
Business in 1997
Intel Corp., in Santa Clara, bought Digital Equipment for $700 million.
Crime in 1997
Some 50 Southern California doctors and laser surgery centers were investigated for insurance fraud, serving mostly Southeast Asian and Latino women seeking beauty makeovers under false claims.
Environment in 1997
Hundreds of shorebirds washed up dead along the 25-mile stretch of Monterey Bay beaches. A non-toxic oil had been spilled into the bay and stuck the birds’ feathers together. The source of the oil spill was not determined.
Sports in 2002
The Anaheim Angels defeated the San Francisco Giants in the World Series, 4-3.
Fires in 2003
The Cedar Fire, the second-largest fire in California history, killed 15 people, burned 250,000 acres and destroyed 2,200 homes around San Diego.
Protests in 2011
Anti-Wall Street protesters marched through Oakland a day after an Iraq War veteran protester was left in critical condition following a clash with police.
Walker in 1876
Joseph Rutherford Walker, mountain man and scout, died in Walnut Creek at age 77. He developed the first overland trails to California.
Crime in 1879
Charles Bowles, English born gentleman bandit known as Black Bart, held up Wells Fargo Stagecoaches 28 times. The 11th was 12 miles from Millville in Shasta County.
Fresno in 1885
Fresno was incorporated. Today this city in San Joaquin County is the fifth largest in California.
Communication in 1890
The first signal box for San Francisco Police Department went into operation.
Kingston in 1940
Maxine Hong Kingston, writer, was born in Stockton. Her work included The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts (1975) and China Men (1980).
Japanese American Internment in 1942
Santa Anita Detention Camp closed. This detention camp was part of the mass incarceration of some 110,000 Californians of Japanese ancestry during World War II.
Television in 1954
Walt Disney’s first television program, titled “Disneyland” premiered on ABC. “Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter” was possibly the first miniseries.
Parks in 1972
Golden Gate National Recreation Area formed. These 80,002 acres in the San Francisco Bay Area protect ecologically and historically significant landscapes.
Fires in 1993
Brush fires raged across Southern California, destroying several hundred homes.
Museums in 2006
The old U.S. Mint in San Francisco held a ceremony to mint silver coins. A portion of the proceeds of sales from silver dollars and $5 gold pieces helped turn the 132-year-old structure into a history museum.
Protests in 2007
In San Francisco thousands of people called for a swift end to the war in Iraq as they marched through downtown, chanting and carrying signs that read: “Wall Street Gets Rich, Iraqis and GIs Die” or “Drop Tuition Not Bombs.”
Business in 2010
Elon Musk officially unveiled a new sign for the former Nummi plant in Fremont, where the new electric Tesla cars would be built.
Business in 2010
BrightSource Energy of Oakland, broke ground on a solar electric generating system in the Mohave Desert.
Harsh in 2012
William Harsh, California painter, died at his home in Benicia.
Exploration in 1769
Gaspar de Portolà’s expedition camped at Half Moon Bay. They began marching from San Diego on July 14, 1769, looking for Monterey Bay to establish a colony but overshot their goal and found San Francisco Bay.
Missions in 1845
Pio Pico, the last governor of Mexican California, finalized the sale of the missions, a process that began with Mexican independence from Spain in in 1821. Pico was of African, Indian and Spanish descent.
Overland Journeys in 1846
James Reed reached Sutter’s Fort after being expelled from the wagon train for killing a man in a fight. He organized a rescue party but deep snow blocked him from reaching his family.
Movies in 1929
Universal Pictures, headquartered in Los Angeles, joined with Transcontinental Air Transport to offer in-flight movies for air passengers bound for California.
Sports in 1973
Elmore Smith, of the Los Angeles Lakers, blocked 17 shots in a game against the Portland Trail Blazers, a NBA record.
Sports in 1989
The Oakland A’s won the earthquake-interrupted World Series, completing a four-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants.
Amsterdam in 1996
Morey Amsterdam, comedian and television actor, died in Los Angeles at age 87. He was best known as Buddy Sorrell on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” (1961-1966).
Fires in 2003
Fires burned 600,000 acres in Southern California that involved over 11,000 fire fighters. Arson was suspected in 10 fires. 20 people died. In 2009, Rickie Lee Fowler was indicted on murder and arson charges for a 2003 wildfire that destroyed nearly 1,000 homes in San Bernadino County and in 2013, he was given the death penalty.
Martin in 2008
Bill Martin, Mendocino realist painter and art teacher, died in Stanford at age 65.
Business in 2010
Intel, in Santa Clara, announced plans to team up with Taiwan to set up a multi-million dollar Internet computing research laboratory.
Protests in 2011
Police arrested 51 people in San Diego who occupied Civic Center Plaza and Children’s Park for three weeks. Occupy San Diego protesters vowed to return to the civic plaza behind City Hall.
Sports in 2012
San Francisco Giants defeated the Detroit Tigers in game four to take the 2012 World Series. Pablo Sandoval was the Most Valuable Player.
October 29Exploration in 1796
The Otter, a U.S. man-of-war was the first American ship to anchor at Monterey Bay. The captain broke Spanish law by putting ashore 11 English sailors who had secretly boarded the Otter in Australia.
Entertainment in 1849
Rowe’s Olympic Circus and the Ethiopian Serenaders performed in San Francisco; the first circus in California. Entry cost $3.00.
Inventions in 1889
Adeline Evans, of St. John (Mendocino County), patented a combined flour sieve and scale.
Environment in 1921
The Link River Dam, a part of the Klamath Reclamation Project, was completed.
Literature in 1996
The first Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize was awarded in San Francisco to Alan Brown, author of Audrey Hepburn’s Neck. The prize was to nurture understanding and cooperation among the countries and peoples of the Pacific Rim.
Yaka in 1997
Yaka, an orca, died at Marine World / Africa USA in Vallejo at the age of 32 after performing for 27 years. Its body was stripped and rendered and the bones buried at the Coyote Point Museum in San Mateo.
Fires in 2006
The Esperanza Fire, a wind-driven, wildfire was started by arson near Palm Springs and burned over 61 square miles.
Business in 2012
The Walt Disney Company, headquartered in Burbank, purchased Lucasfilm Ltd., of San Francisco, and its rights for “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” for $4.05 billion.
Clubs in 1849
A Masonic lodge was formed at Benton City. Peter Lassen chartered this lodge with Saschel Woods. They met while Lassen was forming his wagon train to California.
Theaters in 1850
The Jenny Lind Theatre opened above Tom Maguire’s Parker House on San Francisco’s Portsmouth Square.
Atherton in 1857
Gertrude Atherton, author of the memoir Adventures of a Novelist (1932), was born in San Francisco.
Japanese American Internment in 1942
Fresno Detention Camp closed. This detention camp was part of the mass incarceration of some 110,000 Californians of Japanese ancestry during World War II.
Crime in 1966
The Zodiac killer murdered a female college student in Riverside.
Science in 1968
Luis Alvarez of U.C. Berkeley won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the bubble chamber, which has to do with particle acceleration.
Sports in 1974
Nolan Ryan, California Angels pitcher, threw the fastest recorded pitch in Major League Baseball history, clocked at 100.9 mph.
Allen in 2000
Steve Allen, television entertainer, died in Encino at age 88. He created the “Tonight Show,” recorded 49 albums, wrote 53 books and appeared in numerous other television shows.
The 10th running of the Society’s Halloween derby took place in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood. While the derby is not against the law, the name means the event is not affiliated with any soapbox derby organizations. Music in 2005
Some 20,000 people gathered in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park for the Family Dog’s last Tribal Stomp, to celebrate the life of Chet Helms. Helms teamed up with a bunch of hippies in 1966 and put on some of the greatest rock events of all time. They called their company, The Family Dog. Crime in 2007
Orange County Sheriff Michael Carona was indicted on conspiracy, mail fraud and witness tampering. He and others allegedly accepted bribes in exchange for political favors. In 2009 a jury convicted him of witness-tampering but acquitted him of bribery. Environment in 2007
The San Francisco Bay area’s largest earthquake in nearly two decades rattled homes and nerves. The magnitude-5.6 temblor on the Calaveras Fault caused no serious damage or injuries.
Accidents in 2009
The tanker Dubai Star began leaking fuel oil in San Francisco Bay after a tank overflowed during refueling. Coast Guard officials later estimated that some 400-800 gallons of toxic oil leaked, killing at least 37 birds along the Alameda coastline.
Buffalo in 2009
Norton Buffalo, harmonica virtuoso and long time member of the Steve Miller Band, died of cancer in Paradise at age 58.
Exploration in 1769
Gaspar de Portolà expedition left San Diego on July 14th, searching for Monterey Bay to establish a colony. He missed his mark and found San Francisco Bay.
Ranchos in 1840
Rancho Isla de la Yegua was deeded. This rancho, now known as Mare Island, was home to a Naval Shipyard critical to victory in the Pacific during World War II.
Overland Trail in 1846
George Donner cut his hand badly while making a new front wagon axle for his wagon. His group lagged behind while the rest of the party moved on.
Transportation in 1913
The Lincoln Highway, the first U.S. transcontinental highway, opened. It ran from Times Square in New York City to Lincoln Park in San Francisco.
Radio in 1937
Radio broadcasting began in Santa Barbara when KTMS went live on air.
Eastwood in 1953
Alice Eastwood, curator of botany at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco from 1890 to 1949, died in San Francisco at age 94. She built a collection of some 350,000 plant specimens and wrote over 310 scientific articles.
Phoenix in 1993
River Phoenix, actor, musician and activist, died in Los Angeles at age 23. He was the brother of Rain, Joaquin, Summer and Liberty Phoenix.
Parks in 1994
Mojave National Preserve was established. This 1.6 million acre preserve is among the largest in the National Park System.
Smith in 2000
Willow Camille Reign Smith, singer, actress and dancer, was born in Los Angeles. She is the daughter of Will and Jada and sister of Jaden and half-sister of “Trey” Smith.
Crime in 2001
Sara Jane Olson, former Symbionese Liberation Army fugitive, pleaded guilty in Los Angeles to the attempted murder of police officers in 1975. She was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.
Prisons in 2002
Inmates at San Quentin performed “John Brown’s Body” by Stephen Vincent Benet under the direction of Joseph De Francesca.
Halloween in 2005
Some 30,000 people gathered in San Francisco’s Castro district for the annual Halloween party.
Halloween in 2006
Gunfire between two groups at a Halloween street party broke out in San Francisco’s Castro district, wounding at least 10 people, including innocent bystanders.
Restaurants in 2006
Enrico’s Sidewalk Café in San Francisco’s North Beach district closed after negotiations for a new lease collapsed. Enrico Banducci opened it in 1958.
Energy in 2007
San Francisco energy officials approved a new $230 million power plant near Potrero Hill. That let the city close an older, dirtier plant nearby.
Science in 2007
U.C. Berkeley physicists announced production of the world’s smallest radio out of a single carbon nanotube 10,000 times thinner than a human hair. They had it play “Layla” by Derek and the Dominos and said it could also function as a transmitter.
Missions in 1776
Father Junipero Serra dedicated Mission San Juan Capistrano, the 7th of Alta California’s 21 missions. Today the mission is famous for its ruins from an 1812 earthquake and swallows that return every March.
Exploration in 1793
Captain George Vancouver, on a 4 1/2 year voyage of exploration and diplomacy around the world, anchored in Monterey Bay. He had sailed as far north as Vancouver Island and west to Hawaii, then called the Sandwich Islands.
Sacramento in 1848
John Sutter, Jr. announced plans for a new town, Sacramento City, where the American River joins the Sacramento River.
Visalia in 1852
Nearly half of the original settlers of Visalia, a San Joaquin Valley community, were school age children.
Public Health in 1876
Lucy Field Wanzer became the first female medical school graduate west of the Rocky Mountains when she graduated from U.C. Medical School. She and 10 other women established Children’s Hospital in San Francisco (1875).
Libraries in 1880
Miss Sara Plummer established Santa Barbara’s first library then sold it to the Odd Fellows after she married. Today’s Santa Barbara Public Library building, designed in 1924, is part of the heart of the city.
Music in 1965
Bill Graham produced his first concert at San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium, which became a legendary venue. It was a benefit for the San Francisco Mime Troupe, featuring music and poetry from the local art scene and subculture.
Sports in 1966
Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, became the first 3-time Cy Young Award winner.
Sports in 1984
In the first NBA game played at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, the L.A. Clippers beat the New York Knicks, 107-105.