San Jose in 1777
El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe, known as San Jose, became the first civilian town in Spanish California. Today it is the third largest city in the state.
Overland Journeys in 1846
Patrick Breen, travelling with the Donner Party, wrote in his diary: “Still snowing. Now about 3 ft deep. Wind W. Killed my last oxen today. Will skin them tomorrow. Gave another yoke to Fosters. Hard to get wood.”
War in 1872
The Modoc War began with the Battle of Lost River. The skirmish along the California-Oregon border happened when the U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Regiment tried to force a band of Modocs to return to the Klamath Reservation. In the end, Captain Jack of the Modoc and 53 warriors held off over 1,000 U.S. soldiers for 7 months.
Santa Monica in 1886
Residents of Santa Monica, a beachfront community west of Los Angeles, voted to incorporate. Today it is home to a mixture of Hollywood celebrities, surfers, professionals and students.
Post Offices in 1901
The U.S. post office opened in Coachella. This town east of Palm Springs, near the Salton Sea, was one of the state’s fastest growing cities in the late 20th century. Today it is home to a yearly music festival.
Fires in 1915
Fire destroyed most of the buildings in Avalon on Santa Catalina Island. The new resort lost six hotels and several clubs.
Flight in 1935
The China Clipper landed in Manila Bay in the Philippines after stops in Hawaii, Midway Island, Wake Island and Guam. Pan-American Airways first trans-Pacific flight lifted-off from San Francisco Bay on November 22, 1935.
Ships in 1943
U.S. aircraft carrier Hornet launched in Newport News, Virginia. She saw action in World War II, Korean and Vietnam Wars. In 1998 she opened to the public as the U.S.S. Hornet Museum in Alameda.
Education in 1952
The American Academy of Asian Studies opened in San Francisco. It was the first accredited U.S. graduate school devoted exclusively to the study of Asian lands and people.
Flight in 1953
American Airlines began its first non-stop commercial air service from New York to Los Angeles flying a Douglas DC-7.
Sports in 1966
In the first NBA game at the Oakland Coliseum Arena, the San Francisco Warriors beat the Chicago Bulls, 108-101.
Business in 1972
Atari released Pong, the first commercially successful video game. It was first played at Andy Capp’s Tavern in Sunnyvale.
Wood in 1981
Natalie Wood, actress, drowned off Santa Catalina. She is best known for “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955) and “West Side Story” (1961).
Sports in 1987
Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers, completed 22 consecutive passes, a NFL record.
Harrison in 2001
George Harrison, lead guitarist for the Beatles, died in Beverly Hills at age 58.
Music in 2007
Yoshi’s, the jazz club that began in a North Berkeley sushi bar (1972), opened a club in San Francisco.
Business in 2009
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom led a Bay Area delegation to Bangalore, India to sign business deals as part of the San Francisco-Bangalore Sister City Initiative.
Education in 2010
Kaiser Permanente of Oakland, a health care business, announced $10.5 million in donations including $7.5 million over 3 years for Oakland school programs.
Goldman in 2010
Richard Goldman, philanthropist and founder of the Goldman Environmental Prize (1989), died in San Francisco at age 90.
Crime in 2011
Authorities in San Diego uncovered a 600-yard cross border tunnel and seized 32 tons of marijuana. Daniel Navarro was sentenced in San Diego to almost 16 years in prison for his role.
Business in 1960
The Fontana spaghetti factory in San Francisco was demolished to be replaced by twin towers, each with 130 apartments. The old warehouse, built between 1868 and 1870, became a spaghetti factory around 1900.
Cousins in 1990
Norman Cousins, professor, journalist and tireless advocate for world peace, died in Los Angeles at age 75.
Accidents in 1991
Seventeen people died and 150 were injured when some 100 cars and trucks crashed during a blinding dust storm on Interstate 5 near Fresno. It was the deadliest highway pileup in California history.
Sports in 1991
Marshall Faulk, San Diego State running back, was the first freshman to capture national rushing and scoring titles. He carried the ball 37 times, gained 386 yards and scored seven touchdowns in a single game.
Crime in 1993
Authorities arrested Richard Allen Davis, who confessed to abducting and killing 12-year-old Polly Klaas of Petaluma. He was sentenced to death and sent to San Quentin State Prison.
Hedges in 1997
Michael Hedges, composer, acoustic guitarist and singer-songwriter, died in an auto accident in Mendocino County at age 43. His albums “Breakfast in the Field” (1983) and “The Road to Return” (1994) helped establish the Wyndham Hill record label.
Business in 2003
Roy Disney, Walt Disney’s brother and company vice chairman, stepped down from the board of directors.
Sports in 2005
San Jose Sharks acquired Joe Thornton in a trade with the Boston Bruins.
Business in 2005
San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom signed an agreement with Shanghai mayor Han Zheng, the eighth since the cities became sister cities (1980).
Berkeley in 2011
Phil Kamlarz, Berkeley city manager, retired after working there for 36 years. He was paid some $150,000 for unused sick and vacation time and expected to be paid $249,420 yearly during retirement due to bonuses for his many years of working for the city.
Ranchos in 1831
Rancho Jamacha, a 8,881 acre Mexican land grant was deeded. It belonged to Apolinaria Lorenzana, who, as an orphan, was sent from Mexico to Alta California in 1800 to help populate the region. After Mexico won independence from Spain, padres at Mission San Diego gave her two ranchos.
Ships in 1849
Six steamers sailed between San Francisco and Sacramento. A ticket cost $30.
Bridges in 1951
The Golden Gate Bridge closed due to high winds that reached 69 miles per hour.
Labor in 1955
The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations met in San Francisco and merged to become the AFL-CIO.
Sports in 1968
Peggy Wilson won the Ladies Professional Golf Association’s Hollywood Lakes Golf Open.
Crime in 1974
Vaughn Greenwood, known as the Los Angeles Skid Row slasher, killed 11 homeless people. He was caught, convicted and serving a life sentence at the California Men’s Colony at San Luis Obispo.
Government in 1980
Willie Brown, San Francisco Assemblyman, was elected speaker of the California Assembly.
Sports in 1997
Latrell Sprewell, of the Golden State Warriors, choked and threatened coach P.J. Carlesimo. Sprewell’s contract was terminated and the NBA banned him from a year.
Protests in 2006
Protesters in Berkeley began sitting in trees that U.C. Berkeley planned to cut near Memorial Stadium to build an athletic training center. The last 4 protesters came down on December 9, 2008.
Crime in 2008
Kyle Ramirez, 16 years old, escaped from a home in Tracy where he had been shackled and tortured for over a year.
Business in 2008
A federal jury in San Francisco cleared Chevron Corp. of responsibility for human rights abuses during a violent protest on a company oil platform in Nigeria a decade ago.
Government in 2008
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a fiscal emergency and called legislators into a special session to reduce a $11.2 billion budget deficit.
Crime in 2010
Calli Murray, 2 years old, was killed and her mother injured in Rhonert Park when Kaitlyn Dunaway, a Sonoma State University student, ran her car into them while texting on her phone.
Radio in 2010
Dr. Dean Edell, San Francisco-based, syndicated radio medical show host, announced his retirement on KGO-AM. He began in 1979.
Business in 2011
California Public Utilities Commission approved a record $38 million fine against Pacific Gas & Electric for safety violations that led to a Christmas Eve explosion outside Sacramento that killed a homeowner (2008).
Crime in 2011
Members of the MS-13 gang in San Francisco were sentenced to life in prison for a campaign of violence that included three murders in 2008.
Pirates in 1818
After burning Monterey, Hypolite Bouchard and his 400 pirates sailed south and raided the Nuestra Senora del Refugio rancho. He lost three men there but got them back by threatening to pillage Santa Barbara if his men were not returned.
Government in 1837
Pio Pico, last governor of Mexican California, moved the capital from Monterey to Los Angeles.
Wood in 1893
Harriet Wood, known as Pauline Cushman and Pauline C. Fryer, died in San Francisco at age 60. She was a stage actress and Union spy during the Civil War.
Government in 1913
The U.S. Senate passed the Raker Act. That let San Francisco dam the Tuolumne River in Yosemite National Park for water-collection and power-generation facilities.
Science in 1934
A 200-inch mirror, weighing 14.5 tons, was cast for the Hale Telescope at Mt. Palomar Observatory. It was the largest telescope in the world.
Prisons in 1938
The first persons were executed in the gas chamber at San Quentin State Prison. Robert Lee Cannon and Albert Kessell were executed for their role in the riot at Folsom State Prison where the warden, a guard and two inmates were killed (1937).
Literature in 1961
Wind Bell, the journal of San Francisco Zen Center, began publishing. Today it chronicles not just of the Center but Western Buddhism.
Dastagir in 1963
Sabu Dastagir, actor known as Sabu Sabu, died in Chatsworth at age 39. Born in India, he began acting at age 13. His films include “Elephant Boy” (1937), “The Thief of Baghdad” (1940), “Jungle Book” (1942) and “Arabian Nights” (1942).
Protests in 1964
Mario Savio spoke at a Free Speech Movement rallying students to occupy Sproul Hall at U.C. Berkeley. Police arrested some 800 people the next day, which prompted a student strike and sparked protests at college campuses nationwide.
Sports in 1981
Fernando Valenzuela, Los Angeles Dodgers, won the National League Rookie of the Year award.
Television in 1989
KHJ-TV in Los Angeles changed its call letters to KCAL-TV.
Cummings in 1990
Robert Cummings, actor, died in Woodland Hills at age 80. He is known for comic roles as well as dramatic parts, like “Dial M for Murder” (1954). Cummings has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; for motion pictures and television.
Crime in 1993
Alan Winterbournem, an unemployed computer engineer, opened fire at an Oxnard unemployment agency, killing three workers. He killed a police officer during a chase that ended in Ventura, where Winterbournem was gunned down.
Government in 2006
Oakland Mayor-elect Ron Dellums announced he would appoint a young person to every board and commission in the city.
Crime in 2006
A vehicle driven by actor Lane Garrison hit a tree in Beverly Hills, killing his 17-year-old passenger. Garrison was sentenced to three years and four months in prison for drunken driving.
Von der Porten in 2008
Eric Von der Porten, hedge fund manager, committed suicide at his home in San Carlos.
Santa Clara in 2011
Santa Clara city officials announced $850 million in funding for a new 49ers football stadium estimated to cost $1.02 billion.
Crime in 2012
A smuggling vessel rammed a small U.S. Coast Guard boat near the Channel Islands west of Malibu, killing Terrell Horne III. Two Mexican suspects were detained.
Presidios in 1786
The first marriage was performed at the Santa Barbara Presidio. Joseph Calisto, a 23-year-old Spanish soldier, wed Juana Vitala Feliz, who was around 13-years-old. They had 13 children.
Overland journeys in 1846
Patrick Breen, traveling with the Donner Party, wrote in his diary: “Snowed a little last night; bright and cloudy at intervals all night. To day Cloudy; snows none; wind S.W.; warm but not enough so to thaw snow [, which is] lying deep all round. Expecting it to thaw a little to day. The forgoing written in the morning. It immediately turned in to snow & continued to snow all day & likely to do so all night.”
Movies in 1927
“Putting Pants on Philip” was released. Filmed partly at the Culver Hotel in Culver City, it was the first of 107 short films Laurel and Hardy made between 1921 and 1950.
Protests in 1964
Police arrested some 800 students following their occupation of the administration building in protest of the U.C. Regents’ decision to forbid protests on U.C. property.
Flight in 1985
The 23rd Shuttle Mission Atlantis 2 landed at Edwards AFB. It launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida on November 26, 1985. The mission carried the first Mexican astronaut, Rodolfo Neri Vela.
Sports in 1990
Willie McGee, National League batting champion, signed with the San Francisco Giants.
Business in 1997
Michael Eisner, Walt Disney Chairman, exercised stock options for a profit of $565 million.
Government in 2003
A California state commission denied a Texas company plan to sell GloFish, genetically-altered glow-in-the-dark fish.
Exploration in 1602
Sebastián Vizcaino named the Santa Barbara Channel. He had explored New Spain, the Philippines, Baja California peninsula, the California coast and Japan and was searching for safe harbors for Spanish galleons returning from the Philippines.
Missions in 1786
Father Fermín de Lasuén founded Mission Santa Barbara, the 10th of 21 Franciscan missions in California. It has been called the “Queen of the Missions.”
Dana in 1835
Richard Henry Dana reached San Francisco Bay. The Harvard student shipped out from Boston and described his adventures in Alta California in Two Years Before the Mast (1840).
Newspapers in 1881
The Los Angeles Times first appeared as the Los Angeles Daily Times. It became the largest metropolitan newspaper in circulation in the U.S. (2008).
Fairs in 1915
The Panama-Pacific International Exposition closed in San Francisco. It celebrated the completion of the Panama Canal and the city’s revival after the 1906 Earthquake and Fire.
Movies in 1923
Cecil B. DeMille’s “Ten Commandments” premiered. He helped make Hollywood the center of the film industry.
Government in 1941
The newly proposed state of Jefferson elected John Childs as the first governor of the breakaway territory that separated from California and Oregon.
Sports in 1965
Masanori Murakami, San Francisco Giants pitcher, returned to Japan with the Nankai Hawks of Osaka. He struck out over one batter per inning, posted an ERA under 4 and eight saves. Murakami was the first Japanese player on a Major League Baseball team.
Music in 1965
The Grateful Dead played their first show under the name Grateful Dead at Ken Kesey’s Acid Test in San Jose.
Government in 1978
Dianne Feinstein became San Francisco’s first female mayor following George Moscone’s assassination.
Ships in 1979
The Jeremiah O’Brien Liberty ship reached dry dock in San Francisco. She had been part of the 6,939-ship armada that stormed Normandy on D-Day in World War II. Today she is a floating museum at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.
Zappa in 1993
Frank Zappa, musician, bandleader, songwriter, composer, recording engineer, record producer and film director, died in Los Angeles at age 52. He is best known as leader of The Mothers of Invention. Rolling Stone ranked him among the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” (2004), and “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” (2011).
Sports in 2003
Barry Bonds, San Francisco homerun star, told a grand jury he used a clear substance and a cream supplied by BALCO, but never thought they were steroids.
Pimp C in 2007
Pimp C, born Chad Butler, was found dead in Los Angeles at age 33. He told tales of Texas street life in Southern hip-hop and co-founded Underground Kingz.
Government in 2012
San Francisco Board of Supervisors, in a meeting at which protesters stripped naked, banned public nudity in the city.
Environment in 2012
The Truckee Donner Land Trust and Trust for Public Land bought Webber Lake and Lacey Meadows at the headwaters of the Little Truckee River for $8 million. That saved some 3,000 acres in the Sierra Nevada from logging.
Overland journeys in 1846
Patrick Breen, traveling with the Donner Party, wrote in his diary: “Fine, clear day. Beautiful sunshine. Thawing a little. Looks delightful after the long snow storm.”
Gold Rush in 1848
President Polk reported the discovery of gold in California to Congress.
Business in 1935
The first commercial hydroponics operation was established in Montebello.
Sports in 1971
Willie Ellison, Los Angeles Rams running back rushed 26 times for 247 yards against the New Orleans Saints, setting a NFL record.
Sports in 1983
Steve Howe, Los Angeles Dodgers, was suspended for a year for failing a drug test.
Business in 2003
Yahoo Inc., in Sunnyvale, announced development of a technology to combat e-mail spam by changing the way the Internet works to require authentication of a message’s sender.
Business in 2005
Craig Barrett, chairman of Intel Corp., in Santa Clara, announced an investment over $1 billion to expand operations in technology companies in California and India.
Imbrie in 2007
Andrew Imbrie, composer and teacher, died in Berkeley at age 86. His is wrote “Angle of Repose,” commissioned and premiered by the San Francisco Opera (1976).
Science in 2011
U.C. Berkeley astronomers reported finding two black holes, each 10 billion times the mass of our sun, in galaxies more than 300 million light years away.
Science in 2011
Angela Zhang, a Cupertino student, won a $100,000 scholarship at the Siemens Foundation’s annual high school science competition. She created a tiny particle like a “Swiss army knife of cancer treatments,” because of its precision in targeting cancer tumors.
War in 1846
A band of Californios and mounted lancers led by Major Pico defeated American forces commanded by General Kearny in the Battle of San Pascual, the bloodiest battle on California soil. Today the site is San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park, east of Escondido.
Overland journeys in 1846
Patrick Breen, traveling with the Donner Party, wrote in his diary: “The morning fine & clear. Now some cloudy. Wind S.E. Not much in the sunshine. Stanton & Graves manufacturing snow shoes for another mountain scrabble. No account of mules.”
Inventions in 1887
Harriet Russell Strong, of Whittier history, was known as the “Walnut Queen” and the “Pampas Woman.” She held five patents, included a water irrigation system design.
Libraries in 1895
Berkeley Public Library was founded. Today, in addition to lending books, people can borrow from a tool collection.
Crime in 1921
James Showan was arrested when his yacht was seized off the California coast with more than 100 cases of illegal whiskey.
Dams in 1931
The U.S. Senate approved Hetch Hetchy Dam in Yosemite National Park. It became the main water source for San Francisco and other Bay Area communities.
Public health in 1935
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that there were more rats than people in the city by a factor of 3 to 1.
War in 1942
James Ito, age 17, and Katsuji James Kanegawa, age 21, were killed in a protest at Manzaniar Detention Camp. They were among seven Nikkei (people of Japanese ancestry) shot to death at U.S. internment centers during World War Two.
Sports in 1960
The American League granted Gene Autry a baseball team franchise for the Los Angeles Angels.
Music in 1969
The Rolling Stones performed at Altamont Speedway in Livermore. Some 300,000 people attended. Hells Angels, hired for security, beat to death Meredith Hunter during the show. Another person drowned in a nearby canal and two were killed by a runaway car.
Crime in 1977
San Francisco FBI agents arrested James “Jimmy the Weasel” Fratianno, reportedly a leading West Coast Mafia figure.
Bridges in 1983
The Golden Gate Bridge closed for the second December in a row as winds at the San Francisco toll plaza measured 77.2 mph.
Crime in 1985
The San Francisco Chronicle described a “super cocaine,” known on the streets as crack, rock or base. It was first known in New York City.
Sports in 1992
Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver, caught his 101st touchdown, a NFL record.
Sports in 1992
Barry Bonds signed a $43 million contract with the San Francisco Giants, making him the highest paid player in baseball.
Business in 1994
Orange County filed for bankruptcy protection due to some $2 billion investment losses, the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Crime in 2002
Winona Ryder, actress, was sentenced to community service for stealing more than $5,500 worth of merchandise from a Beverly Hills store.
Business in 2010
Google, in Mountain View, announced the Nexus S smartphone with support for Near Field Communication. It let people use their phone like a credit card.
Business in 2010
Fiji Water, owned by Stewart Resnick of Beverly Hills, announced plans to purchase Justin Vineyards and Winery in Paso Robles.
Crime in 2011
BART officials said thefts of copper were impacting train traffic. Vallejo Public Works said thieves stripped $200,000 worth of copper wiring from street lights and intersection signals since May.
Protests in 2011
Occupy protesters in Oakland marched, rallied, claimed foreclosed properties, shouted down foreclosure auctions and protested outside banks.
Environment in 2012
A U.S. District Judge ruled that snakes, frogs and golfers can coexist at the Sharp Park Golf Course in Pacifica.