Exploration in 1776
Juan Bautista de Anza, leading the first colonists to Alta California, reached Mission San Gabriel. They began in Mexico on October 1775. Spain’s goal was to block Russian territorial expansion from the north.
Newspapers in 1849
The first newspaper in Yerba Buena, The California Star, became The Alta California. It started publishing weekly and became the first daily newspaper in California. Mark Twain wrote for it. The paper folded on June 2, 1891.
Restaurants in 1850
Jon-Ling reportedly opened a Chinese restaurant in San Francisco.
Flight in 1914
Lincoln Beachey, early aviation superstar, flew a record seven loop-the-loops in his biplane at an aerial show before a crowd of some 25,000 people in San Francisco. The event was filmed from a tethered balloon.
Crime in 1998
Four residents of Vallejo were injured by a bomb disguised as a batch of holiday packages left on a front porch.
Business in 2001
California state regulators approved raising electricity rates by an average 10% as state utilities stood near bankruptcy.
Business in 2006
Intel, headquartered in Santa Clara, asked the Vietnamese government permission to build a chip plant worth $605 million in southern Ho Chi Minh City. Regulators approved the plans in February.
Garson in 2008
Mort Garson, composer, arranger and electronic music pioneer, died in San Francisco at age 84. According to Allmusic, “Mort Garson boasts one of the most unique and outright bizarre resumés in popular music, spanning from easy listening to occult-influenced space-age electronic pop.”
Crime in 2012
Benjamín Arellano Félix, Mexican drug kingpin, pleaded guilty in San Diego to racketeering and conspiracy to launder money in exchange for a sentence of no more than 25 years.
Gold Rush in 1848
U.S. President James Polk, in a message to Congress, confirmed that large amounts of gold had been discovered in California.
Business in 1850
The California Exchange opened. It served a marketplace where raw gold and coins from around the world were in use.
Bridges in 1933
San Francisco’s Golden Gate bridge construction began from the Marin shore. The bridge cost $1.3 million less than the $35 million budgeted and completed ahead of schedule in April 1937.
Government in 1933
Federal judge Harold Lauderback ordered the auction in San Francisco of 2,245 gallons of moonshine that had been seized in raids.
Scott in 1954
Walter Scott, Death Valley prospector, showman and con artist, died at age 82. Also known as Death Valley Scotty, he was made famous by scams involving gold mining and his Death Valley mansion, known as Scotty’s Castle.
Crime in 1982
William Bonin, truck driver, was convicted in Los Angeles of being the “freeway killer” who murdered 14 young men and boys.
Exploration in 1603
Sebastian Vizcaíno, Spanish conquistador, reached Point Reyes. He was searching for safe harbors for galleons returning to Mexico from the Philippines. Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County, today, is part of the National Parks Service.
Missions in 1831
José María de Echeandía, Mexican governor of Alta California, began to secularize the missions. He granted mission lands and herds to individuals, which began the rancho era.
Accidents in 1860
The SS Northerner, a paddle steamer, hit a rock and wrecked on Centerville Beach, south of Humboldt Bay. Thirty-eight people died. The ship carried gold dust and passengers from New York to San Francisco, 1851 to 1853, before being assigned the Oregon route.
Movies in 1945
Pepe Le Pew, the cartoon skunk created by Chuck Jones and voiced by Mel Blanc, debuted in Odor-Able Kitty, for Warner Bros.
Accidents in 1961
Fire swept through the buck-a-night Thomas Hotel in San Francisco, killing 19 people and injuring 38.
Science in 1968
Dr. Norman Shumway, Stanford University, performed the first U.S. adult heart transplant. The patient lived for two weeks before he died of massive bleeding from other organs.
Rawls in 2006
Lou Rawls, recording artist, voice actor, songwriter-producer, died in Los Angeles at age 72. His smooth vocal style won him three Grammy Awards over a nearly 50-year career.
Kleinow in 2007
“Sneaky Pete” Kleinow, country-rock musician, songwriter and film special effects artist, died in Petaluma at age 73. He was best known as the guitarist for the Flying Burrito Brothers.
Leonard in 2010
George Leonard, writer and pioneer in the human potential movement, died in Mill Valley at age 86. His best-selling books included Education and Ecstasy (1968).
Public Health in 2011
San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury Clinic, operating since 1967, and Walden House, a substance abuse center started in 1969, agreed to merge.
Business in 2012
Salesforce.com signed an 18-year, 400,000-square-foot lease in San Francisco for nearly $340 million. The software company was founded by Marc Benioff in a Telegraph Hill apartment in 1999.
Howser in 2013
Huell Howser, public TV figure, died in Palm Springs at age 67. His “California’s Gold” TV series ran for 19 seasons and spawned 6 spin-off series.
Overland Journeys in 1847
Around this date, William Eddy, of the Forlorn Hope party trying to cross the mountain pass on snowshoes made from oxbows and hide, killed a deer. It was too late to save Jay Fosdick, who died in the night.
Crime in 1939
Tom Mooney, political activist and labor leader, was pardoned. He had been convicted of bombing the San Francisco Preparedness Day parade in 1916, honoring the approaching U.S. entry into World War I. Ten people were killed and 40 wounded. He was released after 22 years in prison.
Cage in 1964
Nicolas Cage, film actor, was born in Long Beach. Because film director, Francis Ford Coppola is his uncle, Nicolas Kim Coppola changed his professional name to Nicolas Cage.
Schreiber in 2002
Avery Schreiber, comedian and actor on the stage, television and film, died in Los Angeles at age 66.
Crime in 2006
Richard May, East Palo Alto Police Officer, was gunned down after responding to a report of a fight at a taqueria.
Belew in 2008
Bill Belew, costume king, died in Palm Springs at age 77. He created the outfits worn by Elvis Presley and other pop stars.
Pao in 2011
Vang Pao, former Major General in the Royal Lao Army and leader in the Hmong American community, died in Clovis at age 81. He commanded Hmong guerrillas during the Vietnam War and help settle tens of thousands of fellow Hmong in the U.S.
Accidents in 2013
Overseas Reymar, a 752-foot oil tanker heading out to sea, rammed a San Francisco Bay Bridge tower. The bridge sustained minor damage but remained opened after the accident.
Crime in 2013
Oakland Museum of California was robbed of a gold-and-quartz jewelry box that dated to 1869-1878 and was valued at $805,000.
Exploration in 1774
Juan Bautista de Anza began his first expedition from Mexico to explore Alta California. He traveled with 3 padres, 20 soldiers, 11 servants, 35 mules, 65 cattle and 140 horses.
Overland Journeys in 1847
Patrick Breen, traveling with the Donner Party, wrote in his diary: “Mrs. Reid & company came back this morning; could not find their way on the other side of the Mountain. They have nothing but hides to live on. Martha is to stay here. Milt. & Eliza going to Donners’. Mrs. Reid & the 2 boys going to their own shanty & Virginia. Prospects Dull. May God relieve us all from this difficulty if it is his Holy will. Amen.”
War in 1847
The Battle of Rio San Gabriel was fought about ten miles from downtown Los Angeles. U.S. forces recaptured the town after a 90-minute battle.
Gold Rush in 1849
A land auction at Sutter’s Fort sold lots near the fort. Land near the Sacramento River was most valuable although it flooded, destroying most of what had been built.
Environment in 1849
Rain from January 8th to 18th flooded the American and Sacramento Rivers, damaged buildings and merchandize valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Borax in 1856
Dr. John A. Veatch discovered borax, which has many uses, in Tuscan Springs. It was popularized by the 20 Mule Team Borax trademark, named for the way it was hauled out of the California and Nevada deserts.
Education in 1858
Lowell High School in San Francisco, the oldest public high school west of the Mississippi River, began as Union Grammar School in 1856 before it became San Francisco High School in 1858. Girls were sent to another school in 1864 and the name changed to Boys’ High.
Transportation in 1858
The Camel Corps reached Los Angeles. The U.S. Army purchased 14 camels to carry supplies across the desert. A special barn was built for them in Benicia. Today you can visit Benicia Historical Museum at the Camel Barns.
Transportation in 1863
The Central Pacific Railroad broke ground in Sacramento. That was the first step in the 1,907-mile long Transcontinental Railroad, completed on May 10, 1869.
Norton in 1880
Eccentric self-proclaimed, Norton I, Emperor of North America and Protector of Mexico, died in San Francisco at age 63. Some 20,000 people attended his funeral.
Flight in 2010
SpaceX, headquarterd in Hawthorne, became the first private company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft with SpaceX Dragon and SpaceX Falcon 9.
Protests in 1937
Demonstrations protesting the bombing of Madrid took place in front of the German Consulate in San Francisco.
Music in 1966
The first Grateful Dead concert recorded by fans was a show at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco.
Environment in 1971
Twenty-nine pilot whales beached themselves and died at San Clemente Island, off the California.
Patchen in 1972
Kenneth Patchen, poet and visual artist, died in Palo Alto at age 61. He was best known for “Before the Brave” (1936) and incorporating painting, drawing and music into his works, influencing the Beatnicks.
Business in 2001
Advanced Micro Devices, in Sunnyvale, announced a 850 MHz Duron chip.
Government in 2007
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed extending medical insurance to all Californians, including illegal immigrants. He said the $12 billion cost would be spread among employers, individuals, insurers, government, and health care providers.
Fires in 2007
A wildfire destroyed multimillion dollar homes in Malibu.
Takamoto in 2007
Iwao Takamoto, creator of the Scooby-Doo cartoon character, died in Los Angeles at age 81.
Business in 2008
Google, in Mountain View, unveiled a strategy for Google.org, its philanthropic arm. It’s goal was to fight climate change, promote economic development and build an early warning system for pandemics and natural disasters.
Clokey in 2010
Art Clokey, pioneer in clay animation best known as Gumby’s co-creator, died in Los Osos at age 88.
Protests in 2012
Animal rights arsonists destroyed 14 cattle trucks at the Harris Ranch off I-5.
Exploration in 1769
Father Junipero Serra blessed the Spanish galleon, San Carlos, which was to sail from La Paz, Mexico for Monterey to help establish the first Spanish colony in Alta California. The 62 people aboard (friars, sailors, soldiers, a mapmaker, blacksmith and two boys) were to meet and resupply an overland group lead by Gaspar de Portolà. He overshot Monterey Bay, found San Francisco Bay and never saw the supply ship.
War in 1847
The Battle of La Mesa, in present-day Vernon, was the last armed resistance to the U.S. advance in California. American troops outgunned Californios, who fought on horseback with lances.
Overland Journeys in 1847
Around this date, the Forlorn Hope party trying to snowshoe over the mountain pass came upon Indian guides, Luis and Salvador, exhausted and near death. William Foster shot them and the others ate them.
Newspapers in 1847
The California Star, Yerba Buena’s first newspaper delivered its first issue to subscribers.
Business in 1849
Henry Naglee opened the first bank in the city, San Francisco Exchange and Deposit Office, on Portsmouth Square.
Environment in 1857
The Tejon Pass Earthquake cracked open the earth for 20 miles and was felt as far away as San Francisco. It killed 2 people and destroyed the Teyon Army post.
Inventions in 1900
Adelia Osborne of Pomona patented a lunch box. “This invention … has for its object the general improvement in this class of devices, the special object of the invention being to provide a compartment lunch-box so constructed as to permit ventilation and the free circulation of air within airspaces surrounding the inner compartments containing the food.”
Parks in 1908
President Theodore Roosevelt established Muir Woods National Monument as a unit of the National Park Service. It protects one of the few old growth Coast Redwood forests left in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Nixon in 1913
Richard Nixon, President of the United States (1969 – 1974) was born in Yorba Linda. He became the only president to resign the office.
Crime in 1927
A bomb exploded at SS. Peter and Paul’s Church in San Francisco, the fourth in less than a year.
Literature in 1956
The Dear Abbey advice column debuted in the San Francisco Chronicle. Today it is published in some 1,400 U.S. newspapers.
Government in 1964
The San Francisco Civil Service Commission voted unanimously to uphold firing James Forstner, Juvenile Probation Officer, who refused to shave his beard.
Stewart in 2006
Don Stewart, soap opera actor, died in Santa Barbara at age 70. He was best known for his role as attorney Mike Bauer on “Guiding Light” (1968 – 1984).
Business in 2007
National Park Service announced a 60-year lease to commercially restore Fort Baker at the southern tip of Marin County. The hotel would be called “Cavallo Point, the Lodge at the Golden Gate.”
Business in 2007
Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone at Macworld Expo in San Francisco. The 4GB version sold for $499. Apple TV sold for $299. Apple dropped the word “Computer” from its name.
Parks in 2008
Muir Woods in northern California was listed on the national Registry of Historic Places on its 100th anniversary as a national monument.
Government in 2009
California officials announced state offices would close two Fridays a month as the state faced a $42 billion budget gap.
Business in 2010
eSolar Inc., in Burbank, announced plans to build solar thermal power plants in China.
Government in 2011
George Gascón was sworn in as the first Latino District Attorney of San Francisco.
Business in 2013
Google, in Mountain View, announced it was putting $200 million into a Texas Panhandle wind farm.
Exploration in 1776
Padre Font named Batequitos In his diary. Traveling with Anza’s second expedition, he noted “the place called Los Batequitos, a small watering place somewhat apart from the road on the side away from the sea, two leagues from the village of Indians and the place called Los Alexos.” Batequito means “water hole” in the Cahita language of Sinaola.
War in 1847
After U.S. forces recaptured Los Angeles, the war in California was basically over. Commodore Stockton established headquarters on Wine Street in today’s historic Olvera Street area.
Business in 1896
Crude oil was first shipped from Ventura. The Summerland Oil Field, off Santa Barbara’s coast, was the world’s first offshore oil drilling and site of a famous oil spill in 1969.
Flight in 1912
The first flying-boat airplane debuted at San Diego. It was designed and flown by Glenn Curtiss, the first licensed U.S. pilot (1911). His Curtiss Model D featured an electric starter.
Rancherias in 1949
The Sulfur Bank Rancheria was established. The community of around 100 Pomo people, originally formed under the name Sulfur Bank Rancheria. They are trying to reclaim nearby Rattlesnake Island, their traditional ceremonial land.
Sports in 2004
Michelle Kwan, born in Torrance, won her seventh straight title and eighth overall at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
Environment in 2005
A mudslide at La Conchita in Ventura County crushed over 15 homes and killed 10 people.
Dryden in 2005
Spencer Dryden, drummer for the Jefferson Airplane, died in Petaluma at age 66.
Business in 2006
Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs unveiled an iMac computer based on Intel chips. It and the introductory MacBook Pro. were the first Apple products that also ran Windows.
Environment in 2007
California State coastal regulators restricted the U.S. Navy’s use of sonar, which was linked to harmful effects on whales and other marine mammals.
Government in 2008
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed an austere state budget to close a projected $14.5 billion deficit.
Anderson in 2010
Juliet Anderson, adult film star, producer, relationship counselor, and author, died at her home in Berkeley at age 71.
Gores in 2011
Joe Gores, mystery writer, died in Greenbrae at age 80. He was known best for short stories and novels set in San Francisco featuring the character Dan Kearney.
Government in 2013
Governor Jerry Brown said the state budget deficit is gone after years of financial troubles. He proposed a state budget plan to increase spending on education and healthcare, boosting total expenditures by 5 percent with a surplus remaining.
Crime in 2013
A 16-year-old student armed with a shotgun opened fire at Taft Union High School in Kern County. He critically wounded another student before staff members talked him into giving up his weapon and he was arrested.
Ranchos in 1842
Rancho Entre Napa, a 7,000-acre land grant including the modern city of Napa, was deeded.
Mexican American War in 1847
Colonel Frémont received a message from General Kearny informing him of the capture of Los Angeles. That night Frémont’s battalion camped at Mission San Fernando.
Movies in 1927
Louis Mayer, head Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie studio, announced the creation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Members vote for the Academy Awards.
Flight in 1935
Amelia Earhart, legendary early aviator, took off from Honolulu for California, becoming the person to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean. She disappeared over the Pacific Ocean during an attempt to fly solo around the world in 1937.
Environment in 1949
A record-setting snowstorm hit Los Angeles. Icy conditions forced the CHP to close Pacific Coast Highway.
Business in 1963
Whiskey a Go Go opened on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. The Doors, Guns ‘N Roses and Motley Crüe launched careers there.