Parks in 1890
Sequoia National Park, famous for its enormous trees, opened. The southern Sierra Nevada park, east of Visalia, covers 404,063 acres. It includes Mount Whitney, which at 14,505 feet is the highest point in the lower 48 states. It borders Kings Canyon National Park so together they are known as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
Crabtree in 1924
Lotta Crabtree, actress, entertainer and comedian who started performing as a child in the Gold Rush, died. She was one of the wealthiest and most beloved American entertainers of the late 1800s. Crabtree left an estate of some $4 million in a trust to care for veterans, aging actors and animals. Her trust still exists.
Accidents in 1978
A Pacific Southwest Airlines Boeing 727 and a Cessna 172 collided over San Diego, killing 144 people. It was PSA’s first accident involving fatalities and the deadliest aircraft disaster in California history.
Sports in 1979
California Angels won their first American League West pennant with a record of 88 wins and 74 losses. They later lost to the Baltimore Orioles, 3 games to 1.
Sports in 1990
Oakland A’s clinched their third straight American League West title, with 103 wins and 59 losses. Rickey Henderson lead the offense, stealing 65 bases and hitting 28 home runs, earning a .325 batting average. That earned him the American League MVP Award.
Protests in 1992
Nearly 50 bicycle riders began to ride up San Francisco’s Market Street. The group called Commute Clot grew into Critical Mass, a “monthly protest by cyclists reclaiming the streets.” By the end of 2003, Critical Mass events were held in over 300 cities around the world.
Environment in 1997
Toxaphene, a toxic chemical banned in 1982, was reportedly found in at least one bird in a southern Tulare County canal, where some 1600 western grebes and millions of fish died.
Government in 2007
California Department of Fish and Game began poisoning Lake Davis in northern Plumas County to rid it of northern pike.
Protests in 2009
Thousands of students, professors, and workers at U.C. campuses protested deep cuts to public education. They blamed the cuts on how U.C. leaders handled the budget.
Crime in 2009
Garrett Gililland III pleaded not guilty in Sacramento to charges in a $100 million mortgage fraud. He later wrote, “At the ripe old age of 22, a fraudster trained by the best corporate environment for fraud, I built a company modeled after the movie Boiler Room.”
Government in 2012
Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill making robotic vehicles legal in the state. California became the third state to legalize self-driving vehicles.
Sports in 2013
Oracle Team USA defeated Team New Zealand in San Francisco Bay to win the America’s Cup, 9-8. It was the longest, fastest and wildest America’s Cup ever with one of the greatest comebacks in sports.
Overland journeys in 1846
The Donner Party reached the Humboldt River. They finally rejoined the established trail after an unnecessary 125 mile detour called The Hastings Cutoff. They crossed the desert without enough water, realized they didn’t have enough food and sent riders ahead to seek aid.
War in 1846
In the Battle of Rancho Chino, near Los Angeles, 50 Californios, captured 24 Americans hiding in an adobe house. The prisoners were marched away to Paredon Blanco, now Boyle Heights.
War in 1856
Some 2,000 men from rival Chinese tongs, Sam Yap and Yan Woo, battled at Crimea Flat, near today’s Chinese Camp. They fought with pitchforks, rakes and mining and farming tools. Guns were not allowed. Four men were killed and many wounded before lawmen ended it.
Communication in 1870
The Overland Telegraph from San Francisco connected to Santa Barbara. Los Angeles connected in 1860. San Diego connected with Santa Barbara in 1870.
Levi Strauss, founder of the San Francisco company that began making blue jeans in 1853, died in San Francisco at age 73. He never married, so his nephews inherited the business and estate, valued at around $6 million.
Music in 1923
San Francisco Opera opened its first season with “La Boheme.” Today it presents some 75 performances of t10 operas and is among the finest U.S. opera companies and an international leader in the art.
Television in 1953
KERO-TV in Bakersfield began broadcasting. “Cousin Herb’s Trading Post,” a local variety show in the 1950s, featured local musicians, like Buck Owens, who popularized the Bakersfield sound.
Sports in 1959
“Toothpick” Sam Jones, San Francisco Giants, hurled his second no-hitter to beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-0. He was the first African American in Major League history to pitch a no-hitter. He led the league in strikeouts and walks in 1955, 1956 and 1958.
Sports in 1962
Maury Wills, Los Angeles Dodgers, became the first National League player to steal 100 bases. He stole 104 bases all season, setting a new Major League record, beating Ty Cobb’s record of 96 in 1915.
Fires in 1970
The Laguna Fire in San Diego County was started by power lines downed during Santa Ana winds in the Laguna Mountains. It burned 175,425 acres, killed eight civilians and destroyed 382 homes. Previously called the Kitchen Creek Fire and the Boulder Oaks Fire, it was the second largest fire in California history at its time.
Crime in 1994
Jury selection began in Los Angeles for the trial of O.J. Simpson, accused of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. More than 200 prospective jurors reported for duty in what was called “the Trial of the Century.”
Crime in 1996
Richard Allen Davis, the killer of 12-year-old Polly Klaas in Sonoma County, was sentenced to death. His crime prompted the “Three strike law” for repeat offenders.
Business in 1997
Gap Inc., in San Francisco, dressed New York Stock Exchange workers in khakis, the first casual dress day in NYSE history.
Crime in 2001
FBI agents in Vacaville arrested Bryan Douglas Rosenquist, age 39, and Michelle Elaine Serrao, age 41,for embezzling some $12 million from Bank of America.
Business in 2002
Gap Inc, headquartered in San Francisco, six other U.S. firms and 23 manufacturers settled a class-action lawsuit over alleged sweatshop abuses in Saipan. The settlement created a $20 million fund for back wages and a monitoring system.
Business in 2007
Chevron Corp., in San Ramon, announced a $15 billion stock 3-year stock buyback program.
Environment in 2010
Hilmar Cheese Company in Merced County reportedly ruined some 18 wells in and around Hilmar. The plant discharged partially treated effluent around the 27-acre plant for years.
Government in 2012
Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill banning the use of dogs for hunting bears and bobcats.
Crime in 2012
University of California agreed to pay 21 students who university police pepper-sprayed some $30,000 each along with the university chancellor’s written apology.
Alta California in 1821
Spain and Mexico signed the Treaty of Cordoba, beginning Mexico’s control over Alta California. The mission era was ending and the rancho era starting.
Sports in 1957
The San Francisco Giants rented Seals Stadium, which opened in 1931, until Candlestick was built in 1960.
Sports in 1961
Sandy Koufax set a National League strikeout season record at 269, breaking a 58-year-old record.
Bow in 1965
Clara Bow, silent film star, died in Culver City at age 60. Called the “It Girl,” she appeared in 46 silent films and 11 talkies, Bow was a Roaring Twenties sex symbol.
Music in 1979
Elton John, sick with flu, collapsed on stage at Hollywood’s Universal Amphitheater.
Sports in 1987
Jan Stephensen, born in Australia, won the Ladies Professional Golf Association, Konica San Jose Golf Classic. She was famous for posing covered by golf balls in a bathtub.
Sports in 1989
Oakland Athletics won the American League West title. San Francisco Giants won the National League West title. It was the Battle of the Bay. The Loma Prieta Earthquake struck just as Game 3 began.
Business in 1998
Google, in Mountain View, claimed this date as its birthday. Google.com registered on September 15, 1997. But Google retroactively changed the date when it processed a record-breaking number of pages.
Labor in 2002
All West Coast ports shut down when Pacific Maritime Association locked out some 10,500 longshoremen in retaliation for work slowdowns. Both sides were frustrated by stalled contract negotiations.
Government in 2002
U.S. government increased the flow of water from Upper Klamath Lake into Klamath River after the death of some 12,000 salmon in northern California.
Crime in 2007
Four people in Oakland were charged with growing marijuana that Tainted Inc. used in cookies and other packaged foods since 2001.
Fisher in 2009
Donald Fisher, co-founder of the Gap Inc., died in San Francisco at age 81. The Doris and Donald Fisher Collection became one of the world’s largest private holdings of late 20th and early 21st century art. Today it is part of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Environment in 2010
Downtown Los Angeles recorded a record temperature of 113 degrees.
Environment in 2008
California Coastal Commission sponsored its annual coastal cleanup. 55,634 volunteers collected over 742,000 pounds of debris.
Exploration in 1542
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, Spanish explorer searching for the Strait of Anian, known as the Northwest Passage, found San Diego Bay. He was the first European to navigate California’s coast.
Indians in 1781
San Diego Mission recorded Pala Rancheria. Today Cupa Cultural Center maintains traditional cultural practices, like the Cupa Days celebration.
Ranchos in 1838
Rancho Jurupa was deeded to Juan Bandini. It covered some 31,000 acres, including much of present day Jurupa Valley and downtown Riverside.
Music in 1963
“Little Deuce Coupe” by The Beach Boys, from Hawthorne, peaked on the Billboard chart at #15. It was the B-side to “Surfer Girl,” before it became the title song for their fourth album.
Music in 1963
“Surfer Joe” by The Surfaris, from Glendora, peaked at #62 on the Billboard chart. It was the A-side to “Wipe Out.”
Music in 1974
“Surfin’ USA” by The Beach Boys, from Hawthorne, released as a 45 RPM single and an album, reached #2 on the Billboard charts in 1963. It later re-entered the charts and peaked at #36.
Sports in 1974
Nolan Ryan, California Angels, pitched his third of seven career no-hitters to beat the Minnesota Twins, 4-0.
Sports in 1975
Oakland A’s pitchers, Vida Blue, Glenn Abbott, Paul Linblad and Rollie Fingers combined to no-hit the California Angels, 5-0.
Sports in 1988
Orel Hershiser, Los Angeles Dodgers, broke Don Drysdale’s 1968 mark by pitching 59 consecutive scoreless innings.
Davis in 1991
Miles Davis, legendary trumpeter, bandleader and composer, died in Santa Monica at age 65. Davis was one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution recognizing his album “Kind of Blue” on its 50th anniversary, “honoring the masterpiece and reaffirming jazz as a national treasure”.
Sports in 1997
Cirildo Chacarito, a 52-year-old Mexican Indian tribesman, won the Angeles Crest, a 100-mile endurance race along Los Angeles mountain trails. Wearing sandals made from old car tires, he crossed the finish line in 19 1/2 hours. He ran the race, which started in 1986, to draw attention to his tribe’s poverty.
Environment in 2004
The Parkfield Earthquake, magnitude 6.0, shook central California. The quake was centered about seven miles southeast of Parkfield, a town of 37 people known as California’s earthquake capital. Since at least 1857, it has had an earthquake of 6 or greater magnitude on average of every 22 years.
Fires in 2005
A wind-whipped brush fire in San Fernando Valley burned 17,000 acres. It destroyed at least one home and forced people to evacuate along a ridge for miles. More than 1,000 firefighters worked against dry brush, low humidity and temperatures in the high 90s along the line that divides Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Fires in 2005
Topanga Fire started as a brush fire in the Santa Susana Mountains near Los Angeles. It burned 24,175 acres, injured 31 people and caused $15.8 million in damage before it was extinguished on October 6, 2005.
Griffith in 2007
Charles Griffith, screenwriter, actor and film director, died in San Diego at age 77. He wrote the screenplay for “Little Shop of Horrors” (1960), which became a cult classic.
Business in 2010
AOL acquired San Francisco-based TechCrunch, producer of a network of tech news blogs, for an estimated $25 million.
Walsh in 2010
Seth Walsh, a student at Jacobsen Middle School in Tehachapi, who endured bullying, died in the hospital after he attempted to take his own life.
Business in 2010
Amyris Biotechnologies, an Emeryville startup, went public on NASDAQ with 5.3 million shares. Founded by Professor Jay Keasling, it used genetically engineered organisms to turn plant sugars into a fuel. The IPO opened and closed at $16.50 per share.
Crime in 2012
A US Border Patrol agent in suburban San Diego shot and killed Valeria Alvarado, a 32-year-old mother of five, as he rode on the hood of her car after she ran into him.
Exploration in 1775
Juan Bautista de Anza and his party of 240 soldiers, priests and setters departed Horcasitas, Arizona, beginning a journey to establish a colony at Monterey Bay.
Transportation in 1870
The Oregon & California Railroad Company formed to create a commercial link between Oregon and California. Its tracks did not cross the Siskiyou Summit until 1887.
Communication in 1915
The first transcontinental radio telephone message was sent. It transmitted speech from Arlington, Virgina to San Francisco then to Honolulu, Hawaii.
Aquariums in 1923
Steinhart Aquarium in Golden Gate Park opened to the public. Today it is home to 38,000 live animals from around the world, representing more than 900 separate species.
Sports in 1946
The Los Angeles Rams, recently from Cleveland, played their first NFL game in L.A. It was against the Philadelphia Eagles. They were the first team to racially integrate and when halfback Fred Gehrke painted horns on their helmets in 1948, theirs became the first modern helmet emblem in pro football. The Rams moved to St. Louis in 1994.
Sports in 1966
Sandy Koufax pitched his third 300-strikeout season. He surpassed the record of Rube Waddell of the 1903-04 Athletics and Walter Johnson of the 1910 and 1912 Senators.
Music in 1967
Mickey Hart, drummer, joined the Grateful Dead. At his first Grateful Dead concert, during intermission, Bill Kreutzmann, the band’s drummer, invited Hart to join them on the second set. For nearly two hours, they performed the song “Alligator” which led into the song Caution. Afterward, Hart was invited to join the band.
Sports in 1976
John Montefusco, San Francisco Giants pitcher, no-hit the Atlanta Braves, 9-0. It was the last no-hitter for the Giants until Jonathan Sanchez threw one on July 10, 2009.
Sports in 1983
Mike Warren, Oakland A’s, no-hit the Chicago White Sox, 3-0.
Crime in 1989
Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor was convicted of battery for slapping a Beverly Hills police officer. He pulled over her Rolls-Royce for expired license plates. As part of her sentence, Gabor served three days in jail.
Government in 1989
The Integrated Waste Management Act was signed into law. The law mandated a reduction of waste going to landfills through recycling and other measures.
Government in 1991
Governor Pete Wilson vetoed a bill protecting homosexuals against job discrimination. He said it could have led to unjustified lawsuits. Today in California, it is illegal to discriminate against an employee based on their sexual orientation.
Crime in 1994
The first phase of the O.J. Simpson murder trial, the selection of the jury selection, ended with 304 persons chosen.
Crime in 1995
The O.J. Simpson trial in Los Angeles was sent to the jury.
Sports in 1996
The San Diego Padres swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in a race for the National League West title. It was their first division title since 1984.
Literature in 1997
Maxine Hong Kingston, born in Stockton, received a National Humanities Medal from President Bill Clinton. Her best known work is The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts (1975).
Accidents in 1997
A pipeline to an oil drilling platform off the Santa Barbara coast ruptured. Some 10,000 gallons of oil from Torch / Platform Irene fouled miles of sandy and rocky coast. Wildlife was oiled, including some 800 seabirds.
Bradley in 1998
Tom Bradley, former mayor of Los Angeles, died at age 80. He was the only African American mayor of L.A. and his 20 years in office is the longest service by any in L.A. history.
Government in 1999
A California appeals court ruled that gunmakers can be held responsible for the criminal use of their weapons. The ruling was made in association with the shooting at 101 California Street in San Francisco (1993).
Government in 2005
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill giving same sex couples the right to marry in the state.
Fires in 2005
A wind-whipped brush fire quickly doubled in size to some 7,000 acres, destroyed at least one home and forced evacuations in the San Fernando Valley as flames rose along a ridge for miles.
Cirelli in 2012
Vincent Cirelli, legendary accordion craftsman, died in South San Francisco at age 91. The son of Italian immigrants, he learned the art of accordion building growing up in the North Beach area of San Francisco.
Dean in 1955
James Dean, film actor, died in Cholame at age 24 when he crashed his Porsche on the way to a race. He is best known for “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955), that identified a generation.
Labor in 1962
César Chávez, Mexican-American labor leader and central figure in civil rights in California, founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers. Today it is a powerful political force.
Television in 1962
KMEX-TV, channel 34, in Los Angeles began broadcasting. It was one of the founding owner-operated stations of the Spanish International Network, which became Univision in1986. Today it is KMEX-DT, UHF digital channel 34,
Sports in 1962
Mickey Wright won the Ladies Professional Golf Association San Diego Golf Open. She was one of the most successful players in U.S. golf history, posting 82 victories in her career.
San Francisco in 1967
The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco reopened after a $21 million restoration. Designed by Bernard Maybeck, it was built as a temporary structure, a fanciful ruin with statues of maidens, angels, lions and griffins for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition.
Government in 1998
Governor Pete Wilson signed legislation to require California OSHA (Cal/OSHA) to issue new safety needle guidelines to protect health care workers.
Sports in 1999
The San Francisco Giants played their last game at Candlestick/3Com Park, losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers, 9-to-4, before 61,389 fans.
Emperor Norton in 1860
Norton I, Emperor of North America, a San Francisco eccentric, proclaimed that the U.S. Congress was barred from meeting in Washington, D.C.
Transportation in 1898
Henry Huntington bought the Los Angeles Railway, also known as the Yellow Cars, a streetcar system in central Los Angeles. It carried more passengers than the Pacific Electric Railway’s Red Cars which served a larger area of L.A.
Parks in 1890
General Grant National Park was established, which saved major groves of giant sequoias from logging. It is usually mentioned with Sequoia National Park, established the same week and separated by 6 miles of mountain and forest
Education in 1891
Stanford University, in Palo Alto, was founded on the former Rancho San Francisquito. Today it is one of the top universities in the world.
Crime in 1910
The Los Angeles Times building was bombed by labor union radicals in an effort to force management to the bargaining table. It was part of an escalating crisis between labor and management in L.A. and San Francisco. 21 people were killed and another 100 injured in the explosion and fire.
Government in 1948
California Supreme Court struck down a statue banning interracial marriages, making it the first state to recognize that laws banning interracial marriage violate the U.S. Constitution.
Transportation in 1964
San Francisco cable cars, which began in 1873, were declared a national landmark.
Protests in 1964
The Free Speech Movement began at U.C. Berkeley. Mario Savio led the protest to guarantee students’ freedom to distribute political brochures on campus.
Sports in 1967
Kathy Whitworth won the Ladies Professional Golf Association Los Angeles Golf Open. She won a total of 88 LPGA Tour tournaments, more than anyone else has won on either the LPGA Tour or the PGA Tour.
Environment in 1987
The Whittier Narrows Earthquake, 5.9 on the Richter scale, was felt as far away as San Luis Obispo, San Diego, and Las Vegas. Eight people were killed.
Sports in 1989
Beth Daniel won the Ladies Professional Golf Association Konica San Jose Golf Classic. She won a total of 33 LPGA Tour events, including a major championship.
Crime in 1993
Polly Klaas, a 12-year-old Petaluma girl was kidnapped from her bedroom by Richard Allen Davis. He was arrested for her kidnap and murder, convicted and sentenced to death.
Fires in 1995
The Mount Vision Fire burned 12,000 acres, mainly within Point Reyes National Seashore, over 4 days. It was started by a boys’ campfire that they thought was extinguished.
Music in 2005
San Francisco Opera premiered “Doctor Atomic” composed by John Adams. The text was written by actor Peter Sellars. It told the story of researchers working on the atomic bomb.
Music in 2005
Financier and music lover, Warren Hellman sponsored the 5th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park. In 2011, some 750,000 people attended over the course of 3 days. His estate continues to fund the annual event as a free, non-commercial music festival.
Museums in 2009
A new Walt Disney Family Museum, featuring the life and legacy of Walt Disney, opened to the public in the San Francisco Presidio. It features exhibitions, special events and educational programs.
Business in 2009
Mattel, headquartered in El Segundo, released Mindflex, a toy that lets users lift a ball and send it through an obstacle course using brain control interface technology. Brain waves are captured with an EEG headset.
Environment in 2009
Operators at the Friant Dam, on the boundary of Fresno and Madera Counties, released water into the San Joaquin River to prepare for reintroducing salmon. The dam, completed in 1944, had turned 64 miles of the river into a dusty trench.
Government in 2012
California became the first U.S. state to ban conversion therapy to change a minor’s sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual.
Exploration in 1816
A scientist aboard the Russian expedition ship, Rurik, gave the California poppy its latin name Eschscholzia californica. Today it is the state flower.
Ranchos in 1834
Rancho Corte de Madera de Presidio was deeded. This place in Marin County, where wood was cut to build the San Francisco presidio in the 1700s, today is bisected by Highway 101.
San Francisco in 1875
The Palace Hotel opened in San Francisco. It was the most modern, luxurious hotel in the West, with elevators and private bathrooms.
Crime in 1878
Charles Bowles, English born gentleman bandit known as Black Bart, left poems at the scene of his crimes. He held up Wells Fargo stage coaches 28 times. The 7th took place 12 miles from Ukiah in Mendocino County.
San Diego in 1916
San Diego Zoo was founded in Balboa Park. Today it is home to some 3,700 animals of more than 650 species and subspecies. It pioneered open-air, cageless exhibits that re-create natural animal habitats and is one of the few zoos in the world that houses the giant panda.
Literature in 1950
Peanuts by Charles Schulz, of Santa Rosa, was first published. The strip is the most popular and influential in the history of the comic strip, with 17,897 strips published in all. It is “arguably the longest story ever told by one human being.”
Sports in 1962
The San Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in a 4 hours and 18 minutes playoff game, 8-7. That victory earned the Giants a first shot at the World Series since moving to San Francisco from New York in 1958.
Sports in 1963
Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, struck out a record 15 New York Yankees in the World Series.
Sports in 1965
The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves to win the National League pennant.
Sports in 1966
Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, won a third pennant in four years, including a shutout in game 5.
Parks in 1968
President Lyndon Johnson established the Redwood National Park in northern California, just south of the Oregon border. It covers 106,000 acres and is home to the tallest trees on earth. It also protects prairies, oak woodlands, wild rivers and nearly 40 miles of coastline.
Sports in 1983
Kathy Postlewait won the Ladies Professional Golf Association San Jose Golf Classic. She won four times on the LPGA Tour between 1983 and 1989.
Hudson in 1985
Rock Hudson, film star, died in Beverly Hills at age 60. He was one of the most famous leading men in the 1950s and 1960s, especially in romantic comedies with Doris Day.
Autry in 1998
Gene Autry, singer, movie and television actor, businessman and patron of the arts, died in Studio City at age 91. His singing cowboy movies were the first to popularize country music to a national audience. Autry bought a television station, radio stations and the Los Angeles/California/Anaheim Angels (1961 to 1997) and founded The Autry National Center in Los Angeles for his collection of Western art.
San Francisco in 2004
Love Parade, an electronic dance music festival and parade which originated in Berlin (1989), came to San Francisco for its first annual bash. The event later known as LovEvolution continued until 2009.
Crime in 2011
Gunmen in San Leandro opened fire on a group of people leaving an unlicensed warehouse party, killing three young people and wounding three others.
Crime in 2013
FBI agents in San Francisco arrested Ross William Ulbricht, age 29, at the Glen Park Library and accused him of being the “Dread Prince Roberts,” mastermind behind an online drug marketplace known as Silk Road.