Accidents in 1864
Boilers on the paddle wheel steamer Washoe exploded on its way from San Francisco to Sacramento. Mark Twain reported in the San Francisco Daily Morning Call that as many as 100 people were killed and 75 wounded.
Transportation in 1876
Charles Crocker, railroad owner, hammered a golden spike at the Lang Station in Soledad Canyon to celebrate completing the Southern Pacific Railroad in California.
Women in 1878
Clara Foltz passed the University of California bar exam to became the first female lawyer on the West Coast. She and Laura de Force Gordon applied to Hastings College of the Law. They were denied admission because of their gender. So Foltz and Gordon sued, argued their own case and won admission. The Criminal Courts Building in downtown Los Angeles was renamed the Clara Shortridge Folz Criminal Justice Center in 2002.
Libraries in 1912
Los Angeles County Library was founded. It opened in a room on the 10th floor of the Hall of Records in downtown Los Angeles. Its first branch was in a room at Belle Jenks’ home in Willowbrook (1913). Celia Gleason, County Librarian, opened165 branch libraries (1913-1924). Today Los Angeles County Library is the 6th largest public library system in the U.S.
Crime in 1921
Virginia Rappe, film actress, died at a party at San Francisco’s St. Francis Hotel. Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was charged with her murder. He was acquitted but his career was ruined.
Labor in 1938
Harry Bridges led some 85,000 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in San Francisco’s Labor Day parade.
Transportation in 1955
The first Sig Alert, a traffic alert system warning of freeway traffic jams, was broadcast in Los Angeles. The system was invented by Loyd Sigmon, an executive for the KMPC radio station. He wanted to raise ratings with traffic information.
Literature in 1957
Viking Press published Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. The Beatnick adventure partly set in California describes the cross-country adventures of Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty. Kerouac typed the book on a long roll of paper in three weeks of 1951.
Business in 1963
President Follies, the last San Francisco “Strip Tease” parlor closed. It opened Christmas Day (1941).
Crime in 1975
Charles Manson family member Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme attempted to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford in Sacramento. Her gun failed to fire, no one was injured and Ford continued walking to the California state house.
Accidents in 1982
A San Francisco driver crashed into a taxi carrying actress Janet Gaynor, age 75, her husband Paul Gregory, actress Mary Martin and manager Ben Washer. Washer was killed. The others were injured. Gaynor never recovered and died in 1984.
Sports in 1994
Jerry Rice, San Fransisco 49er wide receiver, broke the NFL record when he caught his 127th touchdown pass in a victory over the Los Angeles Raiders, 44-14. Rice finished his career with 208 TD passes and is among the greatest NFL players in history.
Accidents in 2003
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad derailed at Disneyland in Anaheim. One man was killed and 10 others injured, including a 9-year-old.
Literature in 2006
Michael Palmer of San Francisco won the Academy of American Poets Wallace Stevens Award. He was known for collaborating with dance and recognized for “outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry.” The award included $100,000
Transportation in 2006
The lower deck of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge reopened after some 1,000-feet was demolished and replaced during the Labor Day weekend. During the Loma Prieta earthquake (1989), a section of the upper deck fell, closing the bridge for a month.
Environment in 2007
Southern California coroners said some 28 people possibly died from heat-related causes due to an 8-day heat wave.
Art in 2008
Thom Ross, Western artist, placed 100 wooden Indians on horseback on San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, just like in a photograph of Buffalo Bill Cody and his Wild West Show featuring live Indians on horseback (1902).
Protests in 2008
Four people continued a 21-month protest in a redwood while arborists began removing trees for a $124 million U.C. Berkeley athletic center.
Transportation in 2008
A musical road opened in Lancaster. When cars drove over grooves cut into the road, vibrations sounded like William Tell’s “Overture,” better known as the “Lone Ranger” theme music. It was paved over after nearby residents complained about noise levels.
Transportation in 2009
Crews retrofitting the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge found a significant crack in the eastern span from Yerba Buena Island to Emeryville. That kept the 73-year-old bridge closed after a planned holiday weekend shutdown.
Crime in 2010
A Los Angeles police officer shot and killed Manuel Jamines, a Guatemalan immigrant. His death led to several days of violent protests. Police said Jamines was threatening people with a knife.
Prisons in 2013
California Department of Corrections said 100 inmates ended a two-month hunger strike protesting use of isolation cells. Inmate leaders said legislators agreed to hearings on state prison conditions.
Transportation in 1869
The first westbound transcontinental train arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area. It terminated at the Alameda Pier, where the passengers boarded a ferryboat to San Francisco.
Transportation in 1873
Regular cable car service began on Clay Street in San Francisco.
Transportation in 1876
The Southern Pacific railroad line opened from San Francisco to Los Angeles, connecting Los Angeles to the transcontinental railroad.
Post offices in 1895
A post office opened in Lebec, named for Peter Lebec, a Frenchman eaten by a bear. Tejon Ranch, established in 1843 and based in Lebec, spans over 270,000 acres in the southern San Joaquin Valley, Tehachapi Mountains and Antelope Valley. It grows nuts, grapes, row crops and supports up to 12,000 head of cattle.
Science in 1978
Genentech, headquartered in South San Francisco, announced successful laboratory production of human insulin using DNA technology. That was one of the most important breakthroughs in the treatment of diabetes since the 1920s.
Fires in 1978
Rail service from San Francisco to Eureka was cut by a fire that destroyed the Northwestern Pacific Railroad 4,000-foot-long Island Mountain tunnel near the Eel River in Trinity County. The tunnel collapsed and was not reopened until December 7, 1979.
Sports in 2001
Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants, hit his 60th home run of the season to tie Babe Ruth’s record. He would hit the most home runs in MLB history.
Government in 2005
California Legislature became the first in the U.S. to approve same-sex marriages. Governor Arnold vetoed the bill.
Business in 2006
Cody’s Books in Berkeley was sold to a Japanese book company. Cody’s “was a pioneer in bookselling, bringing the paperback revolution to Berkeley, fighting censorship, and providing a safe harbor from tear gas directed at anti-Vietnam War protesters throughout the 1960s and 1970s.”
Business in 2006
Intel, in Santa Clara, announced layoffs of more than 10,500 employees in the face of tough competition in the computer chip market.
Science in 2008
GeoEye-1, a super high resolution imaging satellite, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base. From its orbit 423 miles up, it can identify objects on Earth as small as 16 inches.
Kuchar in 2011
George Kuchar, underground filmmaker, died in San Francisco at age 69. He made some 200 films like “The Devil’s Cleavage” (1975), with a “low-fi” aesthetic.
Business in 2012
Google, in Mountain View, chose a site in Chile for its first Latin America data center. The $150 million data center employed 20 people.
Fires in 2013
Over 4,700 firefighters battled six major wildfires burning across California. The Rim Fire burning near and in Yosemite National Park burned 246,350 acres and was 80% contained.
Exploration in 1769
Gaspar de Portola’s expedition traveled through the San Luis Obispo area searching for Monterey Bay. His soldiers called this spot Ilano de los Osos, meaning bear plain.
Fires in 1907
Alfred Sutro’s seven story Cliff House, on a San Francisco bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, burned to the ground. Sutro Baths, which included six enormous indoor swimming pools, a museum, a skating rink and other pleasure grounds, was unharmed.
Inventions in 1927
Philo Farnsworth, age 21, transmitted an image through purely electronic means by using a device called an image dissector in his San Francisco laboratory. That began modern television technology.
Labor in 1936
Some 60,000 workers marched in the San Francisco Labor Day parade as around 250,000 spectators watched.
Television in 1963
American Bandstand moved to Los Angeles and aired once a week on Saturday. The Top-40 music-performance-dance show ran from 1952 to 1989.
Business in 1998
Disneyland’s new Tomorrowland in Anaheim was scheduled to open on Memorial Day with whirling orbs and speeding starships. Tomorrowland originally opened on July 17, 1955.
Government in 2000
A U.S. District Judge in San Francisco ruled that federal authorities cannot revoke a doctor’s license to prescribe medicine because the doctor advises their patients to use marijuana.
Zevon in 2003
Warren Zevon, songwriter, died in West Hollywood. Known for dark, outlandishly humorous lyrics, his work included the 1970s rock hit Werewolves of London.
Government in 2005
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said he would veto a bill to legalize same-sex marriage “out of respect for the will of the people.” He cited Proposition 22, a California ballot measure passed in 2000 that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.
Business in 2005
Steve Jobs, Apple Chief Executive, introduced a long-anticipated music-playing cell phone, the Motorola Rokr, and surprised the faithful with the new iPod nano. Rokr came with iTunes, stored up to 100 songs and included a color display screen and a built-in camera.
Business in 2006
Hewlett-Packard, in Palo Alto, stated that its board of directors hired an investigator to obtain journalists phone records to discover who was leaking information to the media. Director George Keyworth resigned after he was named as the source of the leak.
Government in 2007
California Legislature, for a second time in three years, approved a bill to give same-sex couples the right to marry. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed it again.
Business in 2010
Hewlett-Packard, in Palo Alto sued Mark Hurd, former CEO, to stop him from working at Oracle Corporation, headquartered in Redwood City. Hurd had signed nondisclosure agreements at HP but now works at Oracle.
Missions in 1771
Father Junipero Serra dedicated Mission San Gabriel Arcangel, the 4th of 21 California missions. The mission was the base from which settlers establiashed Los Angeles, which is why it is known as Godmother of the Pueblo of Los Angeles.
Missions in 1797
Father Fermín Lasuén dedicated Mission San Fernando Rey de Espana, the 17th of California’s 21 missions. In 1842, six years before the Gold Rush, gold was found in the foothills near the mission, a place later named Placerita Canyon.
Business in 1862
Forty brokers formed a stock exchange to invest in risky Comstock Lode silver mines. They called it the San Francisco Stock Exchange Board.
Transportation in 1920
Transcontinental air mail delivery began from New York to San Francisco. Pilots flew just during daylight hours because they followed the railroad tracks and other visual landmarks .
Accidents in 1923
Seven U.S Navy vessels wrecked on Honda Point on the Santa Barbara County coast. Twenty-three sailors were killed. The spot, nicknamed the Devil’s Jaw, is one of the windiest on the west coast. A squadron of 17 ships was practicing maneuvers but failed to take adequate readings. The disaster was the largest peacetime loss of Navy ships in U.S. history.
Crime in 1946
Boys playing near the Paramount Theater in San Francisco found a package containing body parts of Ramon Lopez, a flower dealer from San Leandro. His skull was found 18 years later at Hunters Point.
Politics in 1951
Delegates from 48 nations gathered in San Francisco to sign a peace treaty with Japan, formally ending the Pacific War. It is nicknamed the Treaty of San Francisco.
Dandridge in 1965
Dorothy Danridge, actress, singer and dancer, died mysteriously in Hollywood. She was the first black actress nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in the film “Carmen Jones” (1954). She was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a statue at Hollywood and La Brea Boulevard.
Transportation in 1997
San Francisco Bay Area commuters faced huge traffic jams a day after BART workers, the commuter rail system, went on strike. An agreement ending the walkout was reached five days later.
Liebeskind in 1997
John Liebeskind died in Los Angeles. He was a leading researcher in the study of pain and found the brain controls pain by creating a chemical now known as an endorphin.
San Francisco in 2006
Mayor Gavin Newsom said 50 security cameras would be installed in public housing projects around San Francisco for public safety.
Conferences in 2007
“The Singularity Summit: AI and the Future of Humanity” opened at San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts. It was concerned with machines becoming smart enough to reprogram themselves. Peter Thiel, PayPal founder, was the principal backer.
Protests in 2008
U.C. Berkeley officials cut off the food and water supply to people continuing a 21-month-old protest in a lone redwood. They were protesting the planned removal of a grove of oak trees for construction of a new student athletic training center.
Crime in 2009
Williams “Boots” Del Biaggio III, former co-owner of the San Jose Sharks hockey team, was sentenced to over 8 years in prison. Del Biaggio swindled $100 million to help buy a stake in the Nashville Predators hockey team and pay off debts.
Protests in 2011
San Francisco police arrested 20-30 protesters at the Powell Street BART station. The station was closed for 2 hours because officers determined that demonstrators were creating unsafe conditions. Protesters hoped to force BART to disband its police force. 8-10 men smashed fare gates, card readers and ticket vending machines at the Glen Park Station.
Fires in 2013
A wildfire near Mount Diablo State Park burned over 800 acres.
Worthington in 2013
Cal Worthington, a car dealer who made himself famous with offbeat TV commercials, died at his Orland ranch at age 92.
Figueroa in 1835
José Figueroa, Mexican Governor of Alta California, died in Los Angeles. He was instrumental in Mexico’s secularizing the missions starting in 1834, dividing mission lands into vast land grants which became many of the ranchos of California.
Clubs in 1849
California Odd Fellows Lodge No. 1 was founded at the corner of Seventh and Market streets in San Francisco, a year to the day before California was admitted to the Union.
Government in 1850
California became the 31st state. Today Admission Day is a legal state holiday. California’s admission to the Union was part of the Compromise of 1850, which balanced the free and slave states.
Inventions in 1873
Emma Whitman of Oakland patented a kettle and pan scraper. “…it is cut in line with the center of the stem up to or near the stem; then bent at an angle of from thirty-five to forty degrees, so that when held in the hand with the stem down, and either side being held front, the left blade will incline at the angle required for scraping.”
San Francisco in 1875
Lotta’s Fountain, dedicated on Market Street in San Francisco, was a gift to the city from Lotta Crabtree. She got her start as a girl in the Gold Rush and became one of the most successful actresses of her era.
Sports in 1905
In a boxing match for the lightweight title, Oscar Mathæus Nielsen, known as “Battling Nelson, the Durable Dane,” kayoed San Francisco-born Jimmy Britt in the 18th round at a Daly City arena. Nelson had fought Britt for the lightweight title in 1904 but lost a twenty-round decision. A film of the 1905 match earned over $100,000 in1909.
Parades in 1909
San Francisco Work Horse Parade Association held a parade to honor the city’s work horses. Some 2,000 horses and 986 drivers paraded down Market Street before thousands of spectators.
Sports in 1965
Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles Dodgers Hall of Fame pitcher, became the sixth pitcher of the modern era, the eighth in history, to throw a perfect game. It was the first by a left-hander since 1880.
Warner in 1978
Jack Warner, movie mogul, died in Los Angeles. He was a driving force behind what became the enormously successful Warner Brothers Studios — for 45 years starting in 1910.
Sports in 1988
In the America’s Cup race off San Diego, Stars and Stripes, a U.S. catamaran, beat a New Zealand monohull, 2-0.
Sports in 1990
The Oakland A’s beat the New York Yankees, 7-3, completing a 12-game season sweep. It was the first time the Yankees were swept and only the fourth in major-league history. That season, Oakland finished first in the American League West with a record of 103-59.
Sports in 2001
Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants outfielder, hit three home runs against the Colorado Rockies to give him 63 for the season. He passed Roger Maris’ mark and moved closer to Mark McGwire’s record.
Protests in 2008
Protesters in Berkeley climbed down from a redwood tree when U.C. Berkeley arborists cut down 42 oak trees in the way of a $124 million athletic training center. Their protest began on December 1, 2006. The university later sued the tree sitters $10,000 each to pay attorneys’ fees.
Accidents in 2010
A natural gas PG&E pipeline explosion in San Bruno created a “wall of fire” more than 1,000 feet high that killed eight people. The massive explosion, triggered by a broken gas line, destroyed 37 homes, badly damaging 8 others.
Government in 2010
A federal judge in southern California ruled that the U.S. military’s ban on openly gay service members, the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, was unconstitutional under the First Amendment. It was a victory for gay activists know as the Log Cabin Republicans.
Overland journeys in 1846
After inventorying supplies, the Donner Party realized they didn’t have enough food for 74 people to survive the trip to California. So they sent riders ahead to Sutter’s Fort to request aid. And then they continued heading west into the Sierras.
Business in 1879
Pacific Coast Oil Co., founded in San Francisco, became Standard Oil Co. in 1906. The name changed to Standard Oil Co. of California (Socal) in 1926, then to Chevron Corp In 1984, became ChevronTexaco In 2001 and then back to Chevron Corp. in 2005.
Libraries in 1887
Pomona Public Library started with 400 books in a room of a building at Third and Main Streets. It was open two days a week from 2:00 – 5:00 PM. Annual membership and dues were $3. Today Pomona Public Library is central to its community.
Williams in 2005
E. Stewart Williams, architect, died in Palm Springs. He designed Frank Sinatra’s Palm Springs home in 1947 and many other distinctive Mid-century style buildings, shaping the Coachella Valley’s architectural landscape.
Wyman in 2007
Jane Wyman, movie star and first wife of Ronald Reagan, died in Rancho Mirage. She appeared in 86 films and 350 television shows and won an Oscar for her role a deaf rape victim in “Johnny Belinda” (1948).
Forts in 1812
The Russian-American Company established a fort on the Sonoma coast as a southern outpost to support Russia’s North American colonies. Today Fort Ross is a California State Historic Park.
Literature in 1835
Richard Henry Dana traded for cow hides and tallow, went ashore at San Pedro and saw a black sailor flogged, which he wrote about in Two Years before the Mast (1841).
Transportation in 1886
Los Angeles Electric Railway Company was formed. It opened on January 4, 1887 with a line from Pico Boulevard and Main Street to Harvard Boulevard. Most of the horse and cable cars in Los Angeles converted to electric power In 1896.
Pico in 1894
Pío de Jesús Pico, last governor of Mexican California, died in Los Angeles at age 93. He was a soldier with the Juan Bautista de Anza expedition (1775) to explore and colonize Alta California. Pico’s ancestors were Spanish, African and Native American. His home is now a State Historic Park in Whittier.
Television in 1953
KSBW-TV began broadcasting in the Salinas-Monterey area. It shared a frequency with KMBY-TV in Monterey until they merged (1955). Originally, KSBW was affiliated with NBC, ABC, CBS and DuMont, which folded in 1955. Today it is the primary NBC affiliate for the Monterey-Salinas-Santa Cruz market.
Television in 1962
KVCR-TV, UHF digital channel 26, launched. It was the first successful UHF station in the Inland Empire and the first public television station in Southern California. Today it is part of the San Bernardino Community College District.
Music in 1967
Charles Manson recorded his album “Lie: The Love and Terror Cult,” produced by Dennis Wilson, of the Beach Boys. It was released months before his murder trial. Guns N’ Roses covered one of his songs.
Transportation in 1972
BART, Bay Area Rapid Transit, opened its first line. The 26-mile track ran from Oakland to Fremont. Today BART operates five routes on 104 miles of track, with 44 stations in four counties.
Fleisher in 1972
Max Fleischer, animator, inventor, film director and producer, died in Los Angeles at age 89. In the 1930’s he introduced Betty Boop, Koko the Clown, Popeye, and Superman to the movies. He is the “Dean of Animated Cartoons.”
Government in 2006
The Pacifica town council voted to ban smoking on its public beaches and fishing pier. “This is not a no-smoking issue,” said Mari Brumm-Merrill, director of parks, beaches and recreation in Pacifica. “We are concerned about what (cigarette butts) are doing to the wetlands we’ve restored.”
Gelbart in 2009
Larry Gelbart, comedy writer, died in Los Angeles. He developed the “MASH” television series (1972-1983), co-wrote for the Broadway musical “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” (1966) and the film “Tootsie” (1982).
Business in 1857
James Birch, who founded the California Stage Co, which grew into the largest stage line in California, drown at sea. His San Antonio-San Diego Mail Line, nicknamed the Jackass Mail, delivered the first U.S. transcontinental mail.
Women in 1910
Alice Stebbins Wells became the first policewoman in the U.S. when the Los Angeles Police swore her in. She was given a badge, assigned a telephone call box, handed a rule book and first aid book. She founded the International Policewomen’s Association and traveled throughout North America to promote female officers.
Television in 1955
KNTV-TV in San Jose began broadcasting. It was the first station in the South Bay. Originally owned by Sunlite Bakery, at first it broadcasting from a bakery garage. Today it is part of NBCUniversal.
Leary in 1970
Dr. Timothy Leary, professor and LSD guru, escaped from prison in San Luis Obispo.. He was in on marijuana-related charges. When he got to prison, he was given psychological tests to assign inmates to appropriate work details. Because he wrote some of the tests, Leary answered to work as a gardener in a low-security prison.
Perkins in 1992
Anthony Perkins, film actor and singer, died in Hollywood at age 60. He is best known for roles in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” (1960) and its three sequels.
Burr in 1993
Raymond Burr, film and television actor, died in Healdsburg at age 76. He is best known for roles in television dramas “Perry Mason” (1957-1966) and “Ironside” (1967–1975).
Business in 2005
Oracle Corp., in Redwood City, confirmed that CEO Lawrence Ellison would pay $100 million to a charity to settle charges of insider trading.
Business in 2005
Oracle Corp., in Redwood City, bought rival Siebel Systems Inc. for about $5.85 billion. That continued a nine-month acquisitions spree that eliminated two of its biggest competitors.
Business in 2005
Ebay, in San Jose, agreed to buy Skype, a start-up, for some $4.1 billion. That added free Web telephone calls to ebay’s online services.
Government in 2006
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a minimum wage bill increasing hourly wages by $.75 in January plus $.50 a year later to total $8 an hour. That was the highest state minimum wage in the nation.
Accidents in 2008
A Union Pacific freight train crashed into a Metrolink commuter train, killing some 25 people. The Chatsworth wreck in was the deadliest U.S. passenger train accident in 15 years. Officials learned that the passenger train engineer, who died in the crash, sent a text message and failed to stop at a red light just before the collision.