Exploration in 1543
The first Spanish ships to explore the California coast returned to Navidad, Mexico after nearly a year’s journey. Juan Cabrillo, the explorer, died during the voyage but his second-in-command brought the three ships back to port.
Overland trail in 1846
The wagon train that became known as the Donner Party began their westward journey from Springfield, Missouri. The original group was three families headed by brothers, George and Jacob Donner and James Reed. Each family has three covered wagons and teamsters to drive the oxen that pulled them. The Reeds also has two servants. Other families joined along the trail. Half of them would not survive.
Pony Express in 1860
The first Pony Express reached San Francisco. It was a ten-day horseback ride from St. Joseph, Missouri.
Business in 1872
A Bar Association organized in San Francisco. The private legal organization supports San Francisco legal professionals.
Literature in 1939
John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath was published by the Viking Press in New York. The Salinas-born author told the story of the Joad family’s journey to California through the Dust Bowl and Great Depression.
Sports in 1964
Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles Dodger’s pitcher, threw his ninth complete game without allowing a walk.
Protests in 1967
Thousands of people in San Francisco marched against the Vietnam war. They ended at Kezar Stadium, where 40,000 people filled the stadium.
Television in 1969
KEET TV channel 13 began broadcasting in Eureka. It originally operated in a garage.
Computers in 1977
The first West Coast Computer Faire opened at San Francisco’s Civic Auditorium. At the time it was the biggest computer show in the world.
Flight in 1981
Columbia 1, America’s first operational space shuttle, tested successfully by landing at Edwards Air Force Base.
Crime in 1989
Ramon Salcido, winery worker, killed six relatives, including his wife and daughters and a coworker in Sonoma County.
Sports in 2006
Kobe Bryant broke the Los Angeles Lakers’ single-season scoring record. He hit 50 points in a victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, 110-99. That put him past Elgin Baylor’s long-standing total of 2,719 points.
Government in 2009
Ross Mirkarimi, San Francisco Supervisor, proposed the city sell and distribute medical marijuana.
Crime in 2010
Federal agents in northern California charged 18 people with defrauding banks and lenders with false mortgage loan applications. Losses totaled at least $10 million from 2005 to 2009.
Crime in 2010
Dr. Daniel Healy, a 45-year-old of Los Angeles physician, was sentenced to four years in federal prison for dispensing over a million hydrocodone tablets for cash. He made nearly $700,000 in 2008 by selling the powerful painkiller.
Government in 2011
San Francisco supervisors learned the city’s overtime bill for the fiscal year was some $40 million; $12 million above the previous year.
Accidents in 2012
Five sailors were lost In the Full Crew Farallones Race outside San Francisco. A towering wave washed them overboard as their boat rounded the Farallon Islands. Three sailors survived.
Fort Ross in 1839
The Russian Czar ordered Fort Ross closed. The Russian-American Company established the fort in 1812 as a warm water outpost for the Russian settlement in Alaska. It was eventually sold to John Sutter.
Cities in 1850
San Francisco incorporated. It is the only consolidated city-county in California, meaning the boundaries of the city and the county are the same.
Gold Rush in 1856
The John L. Stephens sailed from San Francisco Bay carrying nearly 1,000 passengers and nearly $1.7 million in gold. Ten days later in Panama City, passengers became involved in the Watermelon War, a riot that started after a drunk American refused to pay a local vendor for a slice of watermelon.
Modoc War in 1873
One U.S. Army officer and six soldiers were killed and 13 soldiers wounded during days of fighting with Modoc warriors at the Stronghold. Two Modoc boys were killed when when they tried to open a cannon ball and it exploded. Several Modoc women died from sickness.
Crime in 1910
Tim Riordan, San Francisco detective, arrested Kitty Plunket, known as Jolly Trixie, for being deformed and exhibiting her deformity in a show house.
Business in 1922
The Poodle Dog Restaurant closed. The name of this San Francisco restaurant comes from Gold Rush days. ’49ers who could not say its original name, Le Poulet d’Or, nicknamed it for the dog of the wife of the Frenchman who owned the place.
Business in 1928
Alioto’s Restaurant, a landmark on San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, began with Nunzio Alioto selling lunch to Italian laborers around the wharf.
Business in 1955
Ray Kroc acquired McDonald’s fast food restaurants. He bought them from Richard and Maurice McDonald, who started the chain in California in 1948.
Sports in 1958
The San Francisco Giants shut out the Los Angeles Dodgers, 8-0, in the first major league baseball game in California. But the Dodgers got revenge 3 days later at the LA Memorial Coliseum before 78,672 fans.
Amusement Parks in 1973
Walt Disney Story opened at Yesterland. It closed in 2005.
Crime in 1974
Symbionese Liberation Army members, including Patty Hearst, robbed the Hibernia Bank in San Francisco of more than $10,000. As they fled, they shot two people passing by.
Conte in 1975
Richard Conte, film actor, died in Los Angeles at age 65. He was best known for roles in “I’ll Cry Tomorrow” (1955) and “The Godfather” (1972).
Sports in 1991
The Sacramento Kings set a National Basketball Association record by losing 35 games in-a-row on the road.
Dubroff in 1996
Funeral services were held in Pescadero for Jessica Dubroff, the 7-year-old girl who died trying to become the youngest person to fly across America.
Government in 1998
A superior court judge in San Francisco ordered the Cannabis Cultivator’s Club to close immediately. It was the nation’s largest medicinal pot dispenser.
Parks in 2000
President Bill Clinton created Giant Sequoia National Monument in Sequoia National Park. It protected 328,000 acres and 34 groves of Sequoias from being harvested.
Government in 2004
The Environmental Protection Agency warned California and other states to clean up smog-plagued regions. Nationally 474 counties fell short of standards, including 36 in California.
Business in 2004
Some Los Angeles porn-movie companies stopped production for two months following reports that two stars tested positive for AIDS.
Education in 2006
Stanford University announced an online high school for gifted students. It was paid for by a gift from the Malone Family Foundation of Englewood, Colorado.
Government in 2010
San Francisco Bay Area BART officials stripped officers of Tasers days after a sergeant fired his stun gun at a boy, age 13, on his bicycle fleeing from police in Richmond.
Exploration in 1770
Gaspar de Portolà and Father Junípero Serra refilled their supplies at San Diego before continuing their search for Monterey Bay to establish a colony. The San Antonio sailed north.
Government in 1852
Sierra County was established from Yuba County with land added later from Yuba and Plumas Counties. It is in the Sierra Nevada on the Nevada border and home to Gold Rush ghost towns like Eureka City, Howland Flat, Pine Grove, Poker Flat. Potosi and Shady Flat.
Accidents in 1866
Nitroglycerine exploded at Wells Fargo & Co office in San Francisco. It demolished everything within 50 feet and blew out windows over a mile away. Nitroglycerine was used to build the Transcontinental Railroad.
Transportation in 1954
The Hollywood Freeway opened. This shortcut between the Los Angeles Basin and the San Fernando Valley is one of the busiest freeways in the U.S.
Sports in 1984
Dave Kingman, San Francisco Giants utility player and designated hitter, hit three home runs including a grand slam, in a victory over the Houston Astros 10-6.
Urich in 2002
Robert Urich, film, television and stage actor and television producer, died in Thousand Oaks at age 55. Over 30 years, he starred in 15 television series.
Government in 2004
California legislators passed laws changing the nation’s most expensive workers’ compensation program. Businesses applauded but critics called it a sellout to insurance companies.
Ruzicka in 2005
Marla Ruzicka, 28-year-old founder of Campaign for Innocent Victims of Conflict, died in a car bombing in Iraq. She had been there on and off since the March 2003 invasion began. The California-based group went door-to-door to identify civilian casualties.
Crime in 2008
John Schiefer, a 26-year-old computer consultant, pleaded guilty in Los Angeles to raiding hundreds of thousands of computers with spyware to steal users’ identities and commit fraud.
Homeless in 2009
A tent city of some 150 homeless people in Sacramento was closed. It had been around for close to a decade on a strip of land between the American River and a power company.
Inventions in 1877
Hannah E. Israel, of Stockton, patented an improvement in washing-list indicators. “My invention relates to a novel device which I call a Washing-calendar or Washing-list indicator, the same consisting of a cushion with a Washing-list disposed thereon, as hereinafter more fully described, whereby the device can be utilized as a washing-list indicator and also as a pin-cushion.”
Music in 1906
Enrico Caruso, the great operatic singers, was on tour in San Francisco. He performed Carmen at the Mission Opera House the night before the earthquake and fire.
Business in 1924
Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures and Louis B Mayer Co merged to form MGM.
Flight in 1936
The first Pan-American Clipper skimmed to a landing in Hawaiian waters, 17 hours and 44 minutes after taking off from San Francisco Bay.
Movies in 1937
Porky Pig and Daffy Duck debuted in “Porky’s Duck Hunt,” a Warner Brothers cartoon. Mel Blanc did all the character’s voices.
Sports in 1968
The Oakland Athletics lost the first game they played in the new Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum to the Baltimore Orioles, 4-1.
Crime in 1969
A Los Angeles jury convicted Sirhan Sirhan of assassinating Senator Robert Kennedy. Six days later he was sentenced to death. He remains in prison in San Diego.
Shawn in 1987
Dick Shawn, comic actor, died on stage at U.C. San Diego at age 57. He starred in the 1968 Mel Brooks film “The Producers.”
Crime in 1993
Two Los Angeles Police officers were found guilty of violating Rodney King’s civil rights..
Crime in 1996
A jury in Los Angeles recommended Erik and Lyle Menendez serve life in prison without parole for gunning down their wealthy parents.
Business in 2003
Bechtel, in San Francisco, won a federal contract for up to $680 million to rebuild Iraqi infrastructure.
Government in 2009
California received a windfall of over $3 billion for its schools and universities from the federal stimulus package. Being the first state to receive an infusion of cash meant stopping a downward spiral in public education.
Business in 2012
Apple Inc, in Cupertino, claimed a value of $600 billion, a milestone only one other company ever achieved. That made it the largest company by market capitalization in the world.
Animal Welfare in 1868
The San Francisco Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was formed. When James Hutchinson saw men dragging a squealing boar off to market, he called together a group of fellow humanitarians to found the San Francisco SPCA. It is the oldest U.S. animal welfare organization in the West.
Sports in 1869
An international cricket match was held in San Francisco. The California Eleven beat the Victoria Eleven.
Earthquakes in 1906
The Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire struck. Some 3,000 people died and over 80% of San Francisco was destroyed. It was one of the largest natural disasters in U.S. history.
Business in 1907
The luxurious Fairmont Hotel opened on Nob Hill one year after the Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire.
Government in 1931
The Yolla Bolly Primitive Area opened. It later expanded to the Middle Eel Wilderness Area and is today part of the Mendocino National Forest.
Sports in 1958
The Los Angeles Dodgers played their first game before 78,672 fans at the LA Memorial Coliseum. They beat the San Francisco Giants 6-5 after being shut out in the first major league baseball game in California three days earlier.
Sports in 1964
Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, was the first National League pitcher to strike out the side on nine pitches. He did that twice in his career.
Delaplane in 1988
Stanton Delaplane, San Francisco journalist, died at home on Telegraph Hill at age 80. The San Francisco Chronicle Pulitzer Prize-winner was also known for introducing Irish Coffee to the city at the Buena Vista Cafe.
Sports in 1995
Joe Montana, San Francisco ’49ers quarterback, retired from football. He lead the team to Super Bowl victories in 1981, 1984, 1988 and 1989.
Business in 2005
Adobe Systems, in San Francisco, announced a $3.1 billion all stock merger with Macromedia, also in San Francisco.
Exploration in 1774
Juan Bautista De Anza began his three-month journey from Mexico to settle Monterey, leading 3 padres, 20 soldiers and 11 servants, with 35 mules, 65 cattle and 140 horses.
Mail delivery in 1847
Mail service began between San Francisco and San Diego. It was provided by two soldiers on horseback.
Theater in 1848
Theater began at Jim Smith’s Dramatic Adobe in Sonoma. “Their miniature theatre in the Colonnade building, on the public Plaza, is not only a great source of amusement to the citizens, but an ornament to the town. They perform on Saturday evenings, and their acting is as bueno as could be expected …”
Societies in 1852
The Historical Society of the State of California was formed. It later became the California Historical Society, with a mission to “inspire and empower people to make California’s richly diverse past a meaningful part of their contemporary lives.”
Government in 1855
Merced County was established from parts of Mariposa County. Some of its territory was given to Fresno County the next year. It is in the fertile San Joaquin Valley. Local farms are being severely impacted by the drought.
Government in 1856
Fresno County was established from parts of Mariposa, Merced and Tulare counties. It is in the San Joaquin Valley which, together with the Sacramento Valley, form the Great Central Valley. Nearly half of the residents are Hispanic.
Government in 1861
The California legislature approved $300,000 for the San Francisco and San Jose Railroad Act. The rail line completed in 1864, became an early mass transit link.
Inventions in 1881
Lucy Corning, of San Jose, patented a hay baling press. “My invention relates to certain improvements in that class of machines known as horizontal baling-presses, and it consists of a horizontal box having two chambers, each one divided by a movable follower, and two feed-spaces so arranged that each feed-space can be employed to feed alternately on each side of one of the followers.”
Earthquakes in 1892
An earthquake shook the region from Vacaville to Winters. It measured 6.5. on the Richter Scale. Another struck on April 21. Today’s building codes would have prevented some brick buildings from collapsing.
Movies in 1934
Shirley Temple’s first movie opened, “Stand Up and Cheer!”. By year’s end, she was so famous that she feared being kidnapped or mobbed.
Sports in 1953
Louise Suggs won the LPGA Golf Open in San Diego. It was one of fifty-eight professional tournaments she won, including eleven majors. Suggs co-founded of the Ladies Professional Golf Association in 1950 with Patty Berg and Babe Zaharias.
Music in 1962
The Beach Boys finished a demo tape with “409” and added tracks to “Surfin’ Safari.” Those songs were the band’s first singles that Capitol Records released.
Sports in 1966
In their first regular season game at Anaheim Stadium, the Angels lost to the Chicago Cubs, 3-1.
Crime in 1971
Judge Older, in Los Angeles, sentenced Charles Manson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten to death for murder. Manson was sent to San Quenton’s death row.
Sports in 1981
The Oakland A’s ended a record 11-game winning streak when they lost to the Seattle Mariners in the second game of a double-header, 3-2. Fights broke out in both games.
Sports in 1987
The Los Angeles Clippers ended the season with the second-worst record in NBA history at that time; 12-70.
Condors in 1987
All twenty-two remaining wild California Condors were captured. The birds were successfully bred at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and the Los Angeles Zoo. One of the world’s rarest bird species, they were reintroduced into the wild in 1991.
Crime in 1994
A jury ordered the City of Los Angeles to pay Rodney King $3.8 million for damages in for his beating by Los Angeles police officers in 1991.
Overland Trail in 1847
The Fourth Relief rescue party reached the lake. The only person alive was Louis Keseberg, who they found surrounded by half-eaten corpses. They left the lake four days later, headed for Sutter’s Fort with Keseberg in tow.
Government in 1852
Tulare County was established from parts of Mariposa County in the Central Valley. It is home to Sequoia National Park and Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park. The county is named for Tulare Lake, which was the largest freshwater lake west of the Great Lakes until it was drained for agricultural development.
Mining in 1863
San Pedro Mining District was formed at Santa Catalina Island following gold discoveries. But prospectors found more silver than gold. Today the island blends tourism with environmental protection.
Libraries in 1872
San Francisco Bar Association established a library. It had some 9,500 volumes when it burned in the Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire (1906).
Crime in 1910
Eva Swan, a 26-year-old San Francisco schoolteacher, disappeared. Dr. James Grant murdered her following a botched abortion and buried her in a basement.
Sports in 1938
Joe DiMaggio, San Francisco-born, ended his holdout with Colonel Jacob Rupert, owner of the New York Yankees. DiMaggio accepted a $25,000 salary instead of the $40,000 he bargained for.
O’Neal in 1941
Ryan O’Neal, actor, was born in Los Angeles. He is best known for roles in “Love Story” (1970), “What’s Up, Doc?” (1972), “Paper Moon” (1973) and in the television series “Bones”.
Japanese American Internment in 1942
Tulare Assembly Center opened. It was part of the forced detention of some 110,000 Californians of Japanese ancestry during World War II. Detention camps were used to securely move internees to the ten internment prisons.
Sports in 1949
Bill Shoemaker, jockey, won his first race at Golden Gate Fields in Albany. For 29 years he held the world record of number of professional jockey victories.
Transportation in 1958
The last Key System train left San Francisco for Oakland. Ferry service from the San Francisco Ferry Building ended when the “Eureka” made its last crossing to Oakland. Train tracks were taken off the lower deck of the Bay Bridge and lanes were paved for car traffic.
Crime in 1984
Julie Connell, an Arroyo High School senior, disappeared in Hayward. Her body was found five days later near Castro Valley. DNA evidence in 2000 revealed that Robert Rhoades, already on death row, kidnapped and killed her.
Sports in 1990
Brian Holman, of the Oakland A’s, pitched a perfect game until a home run spoiled it in the bottom of the 9th inning.
Accidents in 2005
A Lockheed P-3 Orion, an air tanker, crashed in Lassen National Forest killing three crew members during a training run. The cause of the crash was never determined.
Crime in 2006
Federal and local agents raided the Hells Angels in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco’s Potrero Hill. They found a pound of methamphetamine. At 16 locations, including Livermore and San Mateo County, they recovering weapons and six more pounds of methamphetamine.
Hiller in 2006
Stanley Hiller Jr., helicopter pioneer, died in Atherton at age 81. At age 15, he designed and produced a working model of the first successful coaxial helicopter.
Business in 2009
Oracle Corp., in Redwood City, purchased the server and software maker Sun Microsystems Inc., of Santa Clara, for $7.4 billion.
Business in 2012
Sam Wo, the oldest restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown, closed after some 100 years in business.
Protests in 2013
Some 10-15 thousand people gathered at Hippie Hill in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park for the annual “420” unofficial pot-smoking bacchanalia. They left about 10,000 pounds of garbage for cleanup.
Presidios in 1782
Santa Barbara presidio construction began with a blessing by Padre Junípero Serra. It was Spain’s last outpost in the New World. Today El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park preserves the second oldest surviving building in California.
Muir in 1838
John Muir was born in Scotland. He spent his 31st birthday as a shepherd in Tuolumne Meadows in the High Sierra Nevada. He helped establish Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks and founded The Sierra Club.
Cities in 1852
Stockton first incorporated on July 23, 1850 then re-incorporated. It was known as Tuleburg, Fat City, and Mudville before it was named in honor of Commodore Robert Stockton.
California Brigade in 1861
California men met at a New York City hotel “to raise a regiment composed of men from the Pacific coast and others who might choose to join” the Army of the Union. They fought in the Civil War Battle of Ball’s Bluff.
Sports in 1967
A Los Angeles Dodgers game was rained out for the first time after 737 consecutive games there.
Brown in 1905
Pat Brown was born in San Francisco. Both he and his son, Jerry, were elected governor of California.
Crime in 1990
Bob Engel, a National League umpire, was arrested in Bakersfield for stealing 4,180 baseball cards.
Crime in 1992
Robert Alton Harris was executed at San Quentin State Prison. He was convicted in the 1978 murders of two teenage boys in San Diego. His execution was the first in the state of California since 1967.
Rogers in 1999
Buddy Rogers, actor and jazz bandleader, died in Rancho Mirage at age 94. He performed opposite Clara Bow “Wings” (1927), the first film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture.
Sports in 2001
The Los Angeles Xtreme beat the San Francisco Demons in the first and last XFL championship game, 38-6.
Clark in 2001
Claude Clark, painter and printmaker, died in Oakland at age 86. He wrote the first curriculum for African and African American art, shortly after he began a 13-year stint at Merritt College in Oakland.
Crime in 2003
Charges were filed against Marcus Armstrong, former information systems manager for the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection, for bribes of close to $450,000.
Millender-McDonald in 2007
Juanita Millender-McDonald, a 7-term congresswoman from Southern California, died in Carson at age 68. She was known in Congress for her commitment to protecting international human rights.
Crime in 2009
Daniel Andreas San Diego a 31-year-old computer specialist from Berkeley, was added to the FBI’s list of “Most Wanted” terror suspects. Authorities described him as an bomb-making animal rights activist.
Business in 2011
Mattel Inc., in El Segundo, lost a seven-year legal war against MGA Entertainment Inc., of Van Nuys. The jury decided MGA Entertainment owned the Bratz dolls.
Jackson in 2011
Jess Jackson, lawyer turned winemaker, died in Geyserville at age 81. He and his first wife, Jane Kendall, produced their first wine under the Kendall-Jackson label in 1982. His brand became identified with Chardonnay, the nation’s most favored grape.