Overland Journeys in 1841
The Bartleson-Bidwell Party left Independence, Missouri. Seventy men, women and children headed west with 15 wagons and two solid-wheel carts. John Bidwell, one the first overland travelers into Nevada and California, kept a journal. He described landmarks and the surrounding countryside, which guided later Overland Trail travelers.
Indians in 1850
A U.S. Cavalry regiment killed a large number of Pomo Indians on a Clear Lake island in retaliation for Pomo killings of abusive settlers. A 6-year-old girl survived the Bloody Island Massacre by hiding underwater and breathing through a tule reed. Her descendants formed the Lucy Moore Foundation to work for better relations between Pomo and other residents of California.
Water in 1853
A groundbreaking ceremony was held for a tunnel meant to deliver water from Mountain Lake to downtown San Francisco. The project was never completed and in 2010 the entrance was rediscovered near Polin Springs under 42 feet of landfill.
Crime in 1856
The second San Francisco Vigilance Committee was organized in response to James Casey’s murder of James King of William. They took Casey from the sheriff’s custody, gave him a short trial then hanged him.
Parks in 1903
John Muir and President Roosevelt visited Yosemite Valley. Muir convinced Roosevelt and California Governor George Pardee to make the Valley and the Mariposa Grove part of Yosemite National Park.
Movies in 1928
Mickey Mouse appeared in his first cartoon. Walt Disney gave “Plane Crazy” a test screening to a theater audience but failed to pick up a distributor. The original version had no sound. When Disney released Mickey’s first sound cartoon, “Steamboat Willie,” later that year, it was an enormous success. So a sound version of “Plane Crazy” was released.
Flight in 1930
Ellen Church became the first airline stewardess. She flew on a Boeing 80A for a 20-hour flight from Oakland/San Francisco to Chicago with 13 stops and 14 passengers. Stewardesses, called “sky girls,” had to be registered nurses, “single, younger than 25 years old; weigh less than 115 pounds and stand less than 5 feet, 4 inches tall.”
Business in 1940
Richard and Maurice McDonald opened a restaurant in San Bernardino that was the start of McDonald’s Corporation. Today it is the world’s largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 68 million customers daily in 119 countries.
Water in 1952
Central Valley Regional Water Pollution Control Board banned dumping of perchlorate and other chemicals into groundwater and the American River. Perchlorate blocks essential iodide from being taken into the thyroid. Aerojet Corp., a rocket fuel manufacturer, continued untreated discharges.
Cub Scouts in 1953
Cubmaster Don Murphy, Pack 280C, organized the first pinewood derby in Manhattan Beach. Pinewood Derby was selected as part of “America’s 100 Best” in 2006 as “a celebrated rite of spring” by Reader’s Digest. It has been parodied by South Park in the episode, “Pinewood Derby” (season 13) and the film, “Down and Derby” (2005).
Government in 1969
Governor Ronald Reagan ordered a fence built around People’s Park in Berkeley, the site of many anti-war protestors. Some 3,000 protesters tried to seize it back. Reagan placed Berkeley under martial law and dispatched tear gas-spraying helicopters and riot police who shot and killed one man. It was called “Bloody Thursday.”
Accidents in 1969
The U.S. nuclear submarine Guitarro sank in the Napa River at Mare Island Naval Shipyard while under construction. Two crews filled tanks with water without communicating with each other. Damages were estimated at between $15.2 million and $21.85 million.
Baseball in 1973
Nolan Ryan, California Angels pitcher, threw his first no-hitter to beat the Kansas City Royals, 3-0. He is the all-time leader in no-hitters with seven, three more than any other pitcher.
Albright in 1984
Thomas Albright, art critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, died at age 48. He had just completed Art in the San Francisco Bay Area 1945-1980.
O’Brien in 1985
Edmond O’Brien, film actor, died in Inglewood at age 69. He was best known for roles in “Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1939) and “The Wild Bunch” (1969).
Government in 1992
A Los Angeles judge ordered police officer Laurence Powell retried on a charge of excessive force in the beating of Rodney King. It was eventually dropped.
Electricity in 2001
California regulators adopted the highest rate increase in the state’s history. The increased cost to residential consumers was over $100 million.
Public Health in 2003
Stephen Joseph, San Francisco attorney, withdrew his suit against Kraft Inc. to stop the sale of Oreo cookies. He was satisfied with the media attention on the high trans fat content in the cookies and other products.
Government in 2008
California became the second state to legalize same-sex marriage. Under the direction of Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco in 2004, marriage licenses were issued to approximately 4,000 same-sex couples. Newsom’s authority was challenged but upheld by the state Supreme Court. A 2008 ballot measure Proposition 8, however, stopped same-sex marriages until the court decided the ban was unconsititutional.
Crime in 2008
Anthony Pellicano, a 64-year-old Hollywood private eye, was convicted of federal racketeering and other charges for digging up dirt on wealthy Los Angeles clients.
Crime in 2008
Eleven members of the San Jose El Hoyo Palmas gang were indicted on charges related to four homicides over two years.
San Francisco in 2009
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, said that 1,000 city workers would lose their jobs in the coming months to help close a growing budget deficit. The city’s biggest union this week rejected $38 million in wage concessions.
Crime in 2010
Fresno police arrested 60 people and impounded 37 vehicles as part of crackdown on gangs that began last month.
Races in 2011
San Francisco celebrated the 100th anniversary of its Bay to Breakers race. Guards confiscated alcohol and banned iconic floats.
Business in 2013
Google announced email money, just like emailing photos or documents. The payer and recipient both need Google Wallet accounts.
Railroads in 1865
Central Pacific Railroad trains began running from Sacramento to Auburn.
Overland Journeys in 1903
George Adams Wyman left San Francisco on the first cross-country motorcycle trip. The 25-year-old Oakland native wore a three-piece wool suit with a tie and cap when he left on his 1.25-hp, 90cc. 120-mpg motorcycle that he could also pedal. His motor was beyond repair so he pedaled 150 miles to New York City, arriving there on July 6, 1903. He attended the first meeting of the Federation of American Motorcyclists then rode the train back to California.
Sports in 1914
The new Ewing Field ballpark opened in San Francisco. Cal Ewing, owner of the Seals, built a 18,000 seat Ewing Field on Masonic Ave., now the site of Wallenberg High School. It was used for a half-season until the team returned to Recreation Park because of the fog.
Hollywood in 1929
The first Academy Awards are awarded at a private dinner in Los Angeles. Tickets cost $5. The presentation ceremony lasted fifteen minutes. It was not broadcast on radio or television.
Race Relations in 1936
San Francisco Municipal Judge Lazarus condemned dance hall operators who made white girls dance with Filipinos and called them “savages.”
Post Offices in 1949
The Borrego Springs post office opened. The San Diego County town is home to many “snow birds” or seasonal residents. Borrego Springs is completely surrounded by the 600,000-acre Anza-Borrego State Park, the largest California State Park.
Post Offices in 1955
The Rancho Cordova post office opened. The Sacramento County town was known as Mayhew’s Crossing, Hangtown Crossing, Mills Station and Cordova Vineyards before it incorporated in 2003.
Sports in 1955
Rocky Marciano, heavyweight boxer, knocked-out Don Cockell. He KO-ed the British and European Champion in the 9th round of a fight at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco. Marciano is the only person to hold the heavyweight title and go untied and undefeated throughout his career.
Science in 1960
Theodore Maiman demonstrated a ruby laser at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu. It was the world’s first working laser. Maiman’s achievement established his reputation as the “father of the electro-optics industry.”
Music in 1966
The Beach Boys released “Pets Sounds.” It was their 11th studio album, one of the best albums of the 1960’s and among the most influential in the history of popular music.
Crime in 1974
William and Emily Harris, Symbionese Liberation Army members, were spotted with Patty Hearst shoplifting at a Los Angeles sporting good store. They escaped in a stolen van with an 19-year-old kidnapped victim.
Sports in 1980
The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Philadelphia 76ers in the thirty-fourth NBA Championship, 4 games to 2. Magic Johnson played one of the greatest game of his career in game 6. He started the game at center but played all 5 positions in a dominating performance.
Kaufman in 1984
Andy Kaufman, entertainer, actor and performance artist, died in Los Angeles at age 35. He did not like the “comedian” label, did not tell jokes or perform traditional comedy but called himself a “song-and-dance man.” He was best know as Latka Gravas in the sitcom “Taxi” (1978-1983).
Music in 1987
Weird Al Yankovic performed at the 72nd National Orange Show in San Bernardino.
Davis in 1990
Sammy Davis Jr., entertainer, died in Los Angeles at age 64. The Frank Sinatra sidekick and member of The Rat Pack owed $5 million in taxes at his death.
Crime in 1995
Some $10 million worth of computer microprocessors were stolen from Centon in Irvine. The “Bytes Dust” task force named the men behind the heist. More than 15 members of “The Company” were arrested and tried. John That Luong was sentenced to 88 years in prison.
Accidents in 1996
Chevron, of San Ramon, said it spilled as much as 17,000 gallons of oil into Pearl Harbor, Hawaii after a pipeline sprang a leak.
Environment in 1996
The federal government set aside 3.9 million acres of land in California, Oregon and Washington for the endangered marbled murrelet.
Sports in 1997
The Montreal Expos, trailing the San Francisco Giants by 9 runs, came back to win, 14-13.
Crime in 2006
The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles agreed to return ancient artifacts that Greece claimed were stolen from their country.
Crime in 2009
Anthony Perea, a 27-year-old motorist and Floyd Ross, a 41-year-old pedestrian, were killed when murder suspects fled from police and crashed in North Oakland. The suspected gang members had just killed Charles Davis, age 25, in West Berkeley.
Newspapers in 1851
The Los Angeles Star was published in Los Angeles. It was printed in Spanish and English until 1855. When the Civil War broke out, the editor’s outspoken criticism of the federal government led to The Star being banned from the mails. Its editor was arrested for treason. It ceased publication in 1864 but resumed in 1868.
Clubs in 1872
The Bohemian Club incorporated. It was a private club celebrating literature, art, music and drama. Today it is known for a membership of powerful men in politics, business and other industries.
War in 1898
Camp Merritt was established in the San Francisco. There U.S. troops readied for combat in the Philippines.
Sports in 1905
Waseda University of Tokyo defeated Los Angeles High School, 5-3. It was the first stop on their American tour and first baseball game played by Japanese outside Japan. Japan’s Big Six universities still field powerful baseball teams.
Parks in 1924
The Giant Dipper roller coaster opened in Santa Cruz. It was built by local resident Arthur Looff in 47 days for $50,000. It was declared a Historic Landmark in 1987 and by 2012, some 60 million people had ridden it.
Technology in 1960
J.W. Flora of Canoga Park patented the first atomic reactor system.
Transportation in 1962
Marin County withdrew from the BART district. Bay Area Rapid Transit connects San Francisco with cities in the East Bay and northern San Mateo County but does not extend cross the Golden Gate into Marin County.
Sports in 1973
Bobby Valentine, Los Angeles Angels outfielder, broke his leg climbing a wall trying to catch Dick Green’s home run during a loss to the Oakland A’s, 5-4.
Crime in 1974
Six members of the Symbionese Liberation Army were killed in a gun battle with some 400 Los Angeles police officers. More than 9,000 rounds were fired in one of the largest police shootouts in history. The SLA, a self-styled revolutionary group, committed bank robberies, two murders and kidnapped Patty Hearst, daughter of a powerful newspaper family.
Literature in 1981
San Francisco celebrated “Tillie Olsen Day.” Her books included Yonnondio (1974), and Silences (1978), a study of blocked creativity. In 2001 she received the Fred Cody Lifetime Achievement Award.
Business in 1993
Intel, of Santa Clara, unveiled a new Pentium processor, the first time it gave a name, not a number, to a processor.
Jones in 1999
Henry Jones, actor, died in Los Angeles at age 86. He appeared in more than 180 movies and television shows, including “This Is the Army” (1943).
Electricity in 2001
California energy regulators uncovered evidence that some electrical power companies repeatedly shut down generating plants for unnecessary maintenance.
Politics in 2005
Antonio Villaraigosa, 52-year-old Los Angeles Councilman, become the city’s first Hispanic mayor in more than a century. Voters embraced his promise of change in a metropolis troubled by gridlock, gangs and failing schools.
Gorshin in 2005
Frank Gorshin, actor, impressionist and comedian. died in Burbank at age 72. He played the Riddler on the “Batman” television series (1966-1969).
Crime in 2013
Christine Daniel, a 58-year-old Los Angeles physician, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for bilking patients out of more than $1 million by promising them that an herbal supplement she sold could cure late-stage cancer.
Venturi in 2013
Ken Venturi, golfer and broadcaster, died in Rancho Mirage at age 82. He won 14 events on the PGA Tour, including the 1964 US Open.
Sports in 2014
California Chrome won the Preakness Stakes.
Overland Trail in 1841
Ben and Nancy Kelsey and their baby joined John Bidwell in the first wagon train to California. She was the first white woman to travel from Missouri to California. Mother of nine children, she also played a role creating the original Bear Flag that gave the rebellion its name.
Ranchos in 1844
Rancho Canada de Salsipuedes, a Mexican land grant, was deeded. Salsipuedes means “get out if you can”, referring to the narrow winding canyons and trails on the 6,656-acre land grant in present day Santa Barbara County.
Gold Rush in 1849
Sailing ship “Grey Eagle” arrived with thirty-four passengers from the East in 113 days, a record.
Saroyan in 1908
William Saroyan was born in Fresno. He wrote about the Armenian immigrant life in California, most notably in The Time of Your Life (1939), My Heart’s in the Highlands (1939) and My Name Is Aram (1940).
Agriculture in 1911
San Francisco received its first shipment of red onions from Stockton. Italian gardeners were paid $2.25 per sack, earning about $500 an acre.
Evangelists in 1926
Aimee Semple McPherson disappeared. She vanished soon after arriving near Venice Beach where she went with her secretary to swim then stumbled from the Mexican desert on June 23rd. The event remains a mystery in the life of the evangelist-media celebrity, founder of the Foursquare Church.
Hollywood in 1927
Sid Grauman opened his Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Concrete in the forecourt bear the signatures, foot and hand prints of movie stars from the 1920’s today.
Crime in 1932
Luigi Malvese, bootleg gangster, was shot to death in front of the Del Monte Barbershop in San Francisco. Police rounded up some 1,000 suspects to pressure gangs to rein in their gunmen.
Newspapers in 1971
Pamoja Venceremos = Together We Will Win was published in Palo Alto. The originally Latino left-wing journal, named for Che Guevera’s battle cry “We will prevail!” continued until 1973.
Saroyan in 1981
William Saroyan, writer, died in Fresno at age 82. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (1940) and the Academy Award for Best Story (1943).
Butler in 1988
Daws Butler, voice actor, died in Culver City at age 71. He was the voice of Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, Snagglepuss and Huckleberry Hound.
Education in 1990
Trustees of all-women Mills College in Oakland voted to reverse their decision to admit men.
Montgomery in 1995
Elizabeth Montgomery, film and television actress whose career spanned five decades, died in Beverly Hills at age 62. She was best know for playing the lead role in “Bewitched” (1964 to 1972).
Hollywood in 2001
DreamWork Studios, of Universal City, released “Shrek,” featuring the voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz.
De Forest in 2007
Roy De Forest, artist and teacher, died in Vallejo at age 77. At U.C. Davis (1965-1992) he became known for working in Funk and Nut styles, comic-like paintings with patchwork images often depicting dogs and other figures.
Buncke in 2008
Harry Buncke, microsurgery pioneer, died in San Francisco at age 86. His transplanting a monkey’s great toe to its hand was a breakthrough in attaching amputated digits and limbs. Buncke was called “the father of microsurgery.”
Roman in 2008
Lawrence Roman, screenwriter, died in Woodland Hills at age 86. His work included the Broadway play and film “Under the Yum-Yum Tree” (1960 and 1963). He wrote more than 20 films and teleplays over 50 years.
Allwine in 2009
Wayne Allwine, voice actor, sound effects editor and artist for The Walt Disney Company, died in Los Angeles at age 62. He was the voice of Mickey Mouse and his wife, Russi Taylor, was the voice of Minnie Mouse.
War in 1848
Mexico ratified the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. This ended the war and ceding California, Nevada, Utah and parts of four other modern-day U.S. states for $15 million.
Libraries in 1882
San Diego Public Library was established. It was the first Western city to build a Carnegie Library. Today, its Central Library topped by steel-and-mesh dome is a landmark building. With thirty-five branches, the system circulates more than seven million items and is visited by more than six million people yearly.
Inventions in 1885
Mary Jane Holt of San Francisco patented a meat and provision safe. “My invention relates to improvements in safes for housekeepers use to contain and protect meat and various articles of food that require a circulation of air or some exposure to free air, in order to preserve them in a state of sweetness or serviceable as food.”
Sports in 1960
Juan Marichal, San Francisco Giants pitcher, beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 2-0. He was the first National League pitcher since 1900 to debut with a one-hitter.
Movies in 1999
“Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” was released. George Lucas created it largely at Skywalker Ranch in San Rafael.
Business in 2003
It was reported that many California community state pension expenses would soon exceed 40% of the public safety payroll.
San Francisco in 2004
San Francisco Supervisors learned that the Civil Service Commission cut their salaries to $90,000 from $112,000 following a survey of other state municipalities.
Zoos in 2004
Kubi, San Francisco Zoo’s 29-year-old gorilla, died, after his surgery to remove a diseased lung.
Crime in 2004
Chris Johnson, age 26, was killed in a San Francisco Safeway parking lot after a funeral for his nephew, Raymon Bass, age 17, who was killed in a gang feud.
Crime in 2006
A federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted Milberg Weiss for a 20-year conspiracy by the law firm to funnel kickbacks to plaintiffs in dozens of securities class-action cases.
Government in 1861
Lake County was established. Located in the north central part of the state, it was formed from Napa and Mendocino counties and is named for Clear Lake, the largest natural lake entirely within California.
Business in 1873
Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis patented the process of putting rivets in pants for strength. They called their pants “waist overalls.” Today Levi Strauss & Co. is a world famous brand.
Business in 1874
Levi Strauss began selling blue jeans with copper rivets for $13.50 per dozen.
Science in 1930
University of California dedicated $1,500 to research on the prevention and cure of athlete’s foot.
Accidents in 1946
Physicist Louis Slotin was fatally irradiated in an accident during an experiment with the Demon core at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The test was known as “tickling the dragon’s tail” for its extreme risk. Slotin died nine days later from acute radiation poisoning.
Accidents in 1976
Twenty-eight students and an adult advisor were killed in a bus crash in Martinez. The Yuba City High School choir was traveling to Orinda for a friendship day involving the choirs of the two schools.
Sports in 1977
The San Diego Padres beat the Montreal Expos in 21 innings,11-8. It was the Padres longest road game.
Radner in 1989
Gilda Radner, legendary comedian, actress and wife of Gene Wilder, died in Los Angeles at age 42. She was an original cast member of “Saturday Night Live,” for which she won an Emmy Award (1978).
Television in 2003
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003) had its finale. Set in Sunnydale, a fictional California town, it depicted high school as a literal Hell.
Crime in 2010
Oakland police arrested at least 26 people as part of a crackdown on the Ghost Town street gang, capping a 5-month operation they called Ghostbusters.
Business in 2010
Tesla Motors announced a $50 million investment from Toyota Corp. to help buy the recently closed Nummi auto plant in Fremont.
Theater in 1937
The San Francisco Theater Union premiered the first stage version of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men (1937).
Crime in 1979
The White Night riots in San Francisco followed the manslaughter conviction of Dan White for the assassinations of George Moscone and Harvey Milk. Milk was the first openly gay member of the San Francsico City Council. The gay community was inflamed by the leniency of White’s conviction.
Movies in 1980
“Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” was released. George Lucas created it largely at Skywalker Ranch in San Rafael.
Hoffer in 1983
Eric Hoffer, longshoreman-philosopher, died in San Francisco at age 84. He wrote 10 books, including The True Believer (1951) and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1983).
Environment in 1996
The U.S. Congress listed the California red-legged frog as an endangered species.
LaRue in 1996
Al “Lash” LaRue, bullwhipping cowboy actor, died in Burbank at age 78. He was exceptionally skillful with a bullwhip and taught Harrison Ford how to use it for the “Indiana Jones” movies.
Architecture in 2005
Ground breaking took place for the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland.
Morris in 2005
Howard Morris, comic actor and director, died in Hollywood at age 85. He was best known for playing poetry-spouting hillbilly Ernest T. Bass on the “Andy Griffith Show” (1960-1968).
Prisons in 2007
It was reported that California’s spending trends in five years would have the prison budget overtake spending on state universities.
Crime in 2009
Police in northern California arrested James Stanley Koenig, age 57, Gary Armitage, age 59, and Jeffery A. Guidi, age 54, for swindling thousands of people of more than $200 million since 1997.
Government in 2010
San Francisco planning commission approved a plan to open a medical marijuana facility in the Sunset District despite objections by area residents.
Crime in 1856
Charles Cora and James Casey were hanged by the San Francisco Committee of Vigilance. Cora killed a U.S. Marshal. Casey murdered San Francisco newspaper editor, James King of William.
Indians in 1856
Mendocino Indian Reservation was formed along the Mendocino coast. It became home to Yuki, Wappo, Salan Pomo, Southern Pomo and Whilkut people. Fort Bragg was established to maintain order, protect the Indians and their land from settlers. The reservation was dissolved in 1866 and opened for settlement in 1869.
War in 1873
Captain Jack, Modoc leader, surrendered at Infernal Caverns. This ended the Modoc War, the last Indian War in California which began in 1870. He led 200 men, women and children from the Klamath Reservation and returned to their ancestral homeland. Captain Jack was hanged. The others were sent to the Oklahoma Indian Territory and held prisoner until 1909.
Crime in 1908
William Buwalda, U.S. Army Private, was found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison for applauding and shaking hands with anarchist Emma Goldman.
Environment in 1915
Lassen Peak erupted. It rained volcanic ash as far away as 200 miles. Lassen Peak is the largest of more than 30 lava domes in the Lassen dome field.
Technology in 1973
Robert Metcalf, at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), circulated a memo about his Ethernet ideas. He fixed this day as the birthdate of Ethernet.
San Francisco in 1985
San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein declared this day to be “James Bond Day” to honor the premier of “A View To A Kill” (1985). A third of the film was shot in the city.
Derek in 1998
John Derek, film director, died in Santa Maria at age 71. His wives included Pati Behrs, Ursula Andress, Linda Evans and Mary Cathleen Collins, better known as Bo Derek.
Sports in 2006
Braxton Bilbrey, age 7, swam from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco in 47 minutes.
Fires in 2008
The Summit Fire began in the Santa Cruz mountains. It burned 4,270 acres and destroyed 31 residences before becoming fully contained after five days.
Crime in 2009
Anthony Ramirez, age 23, was interrupted in an attempted robbery of a home in Pinole. He left his cell phone when he fled and was arrested following calls to himself to recover it.
Business in 2011
eBay, headquartered in San Jose, said a bidder paid $131,648 for a hat worn by Princess Beatrice to Prince Andew’s royal wedding. The Philip Treacy creation sold to raise money for UNICEF and Children in crises.
Flight in 2012
Space Exploration Technologies Corp., SpaceX, headquartered in Hawthorne, launched a private space capsule called Dragon on a history-making trip to the International Space Station.