Exploration in 1769
Gaspar de Portolà, leading the first land expedition into Alta California, camped at Batequitos. The name means small watering hole in the Cahita language.
Smith in 1831
Jedediah Smith died. Hunter, fur trader and trail blazer, he was the first white man to travel overland from Salt Lake to the Colorado River and cross the Mojave Desert to California. While leading supply wagons on the Santa Fe Trail, he left to scout for water and was never seen again.
Post offices in 1853
Angels Camp post office opened. The town also known as City of Angels, Angels City, Carson’s Creek and Clearlake is in Calaveras County. That’s where Mark Twain wrote The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches (1867).
Communication in 1854
The marine telegraph at Fort Point was completed. Its pole had two arms that could be arranged to mean different types of ships were entering the Bay, like a steamer or a sail boat.
Duncan in 1877
Isadora Duncan, free spirited modern dancer, was born San Francisco. Duncan was celebrated throughout Europe after being exiled from the U.S. for her pro-Soviet sympathies.
Public health in 1907
Bubonic plague broke out in San Francisco. A sailor was diagnosed with the disease, which had been limited to Chinatown, and it soon spread through the city. The Board of Health quarantined Chinatown for a year.
Movies in 1933
The Walt Disney Company released the “Three Little Pigs” with its hit song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?”
Bridges in 1937
President Franklin Roosevelt officially opened the Golden Gate Bridge by pushing a button signaling the start of vehicle traffic.
Japanese American Internment in 1942
Tule Lake Detention Camp opened. This detention camp was part of the mass incarceration of over 110,000 Californians of Japanese ancestry during World War II.
Museums in 1951
The Maritime Museum opened at Aquatic Park in San Francisco. The park includes a fleet of historic vessels, visitor center, museum, library/research facility and hosts living history events.
Sports in 1971
UCLA won the NCAA basketball championship. It was the era coach John Wooden made famous by winning 620 games in 27 seasons and 10 NCAA titles during his last 12 seasons, including seven in a row from 1967 to 1973. Wooden teams had four perfect 30–0 seasons.
Education in 1861
The California State Teachers’ Institute and Educational Convention met in San Francisco.
Transportation in 1872
The Central Pacific Railroad completed nine miles of track from Herndon, on the San Joaquin River, to Fresno.
Environment in 1892
Sierra Club was established in a meeting at Warren Olney’s law office in San Francisco. Today it is one of the oldest, largest, most influential environmental organizations in the world.
Labor in 1934
Some 1,000 longshoremen clashed with police in San Francisco on the 20th day of the West Coast Waterfront Strike. Alphonse Metzgar was shot in the back with buckshot.
Accidents in 1945
When a Helldiver aircraft engine failed, the pilot ditched the plane in a San Diego reservoir. In 2009 a fisherman spotted the plane and set in process plans to retrieve it.
Race relations in 1961
Willie Brown, a 27-year-old lawyer who late was elected mayor of San Francisco and Speaker of the California State Assembly, charged a real estate salesmen with refusing to help him buy a home in the Forest Knolls neighborhood of San Francisco.
Sports in 1968
Major League Baseball granted a franchise to the San Diego Padres. They adopted their name from the Pacific Coast League team, which played there since 1936.
Sports in 1980
Two Oakland A’s stole home in the first inning in an Oakland win over the Kansas City Royals: 6–3. Dwayne Murphy and Rickey Henderson tied a major league record by both stealing home in the first inning.
Science in 1998
Susan Terebey, astronomer at C.S.U. Los Angeles, announced photographing what may be a planet in the constellation Taurus, some 450 light years from Earth.
Crime in 2002
California state officials fined two Los Angeles pharmacists $88.7 million for filing some 3,500 illegal online prescriptions.
Sports in 2006
Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants outfielder, hit his 715th home run, passing Babe Ruth’s record of 714 and approaching Hank Aaron’s 755 record.
Payments in 2009
San Francisco Zoo agreed to pay $900,000 to Amritpal and Kulbir Dhaliwal, brothers, who survived a attack by an escaped tiger in 2007.
Payments in 2013
Walmart agreed to pay $82 million after pleading guilty to criminal charges that it improperly dumped hazardous waste at stores across California.
Newspapers in 1848
The Californian reported that everybody was suffering from gold fever and the newspaper was being suspended because its staff was leaving for the gold fields.
Newspapers in 1851
The Herald was first published in San Diego. It was four pages long with four columns to the page. There were 112 advertisements; 91 from San Francisco and 21 from San Diego businesses.
Amusement parks in 1911
The Chutes, a San Francisco amusement park, burned. All the animals in the “Happy Family House” and donkeys and ponies in the stable were killed.
Expositions in 1935
California Pacific Exposition opened in San Diego’s Balboa Park on the site of the Panama-California Exposition (1915). It showcased hundreds of exhibits on history, arts, horticulture, ethnic cultures, science and industry.
Barrymore in 1942
John Barrymore, legendary stage, screen and radio actor, died in Hollywood at age 60. He was part of a great theatrical family and Drew Barrymore’s grandfather.
Elfman in 1953
Danny Elfman, composer and musician, was born in Los Angeles. After leading Oingo Boingo (1976-1995) he wrote music for television and film, including themes for “The Simpsons” (1989) and “Batman” (1989) and many Tim Burton films.
Whale in 1957
James Whale, actor and director, died in Los Angeles at age 67. He is best known for directing four classic horror films: “Frankenstein” (1931), “The Old Dark House” (1932), “The Invisible Man” (1933) and “Bride of Frankenstein” (1935).
Government in 1973
Tom Bradley, grandson of a slave, was elected the first black mayor of Los Angeles. Los Angeles hosted the 1984 Summer Olympic Games and passed Chicago to become the second most populous city in the U.S. during his tenure.
Pickford in 1979
Mary Pickford, silent film star and co-founder of United Artists, died in Santa Monica at age 88. Nicknamed “America’s Sweetheart,” she was one of the great actors of her time.
Cipollina in 1989
John Cipollina, founder and lead guitarist with Quicksilver Messenger Service, died in San Francisco at age 45. He was one of the fathers of the San Francisco psychedelic rock sound.
Labor in 1996
The United Farm Workers signed a contract with a major lettuce producer. The hourly wage of $6.62 for field workers would increase to $7.23 over five years.
Business in 2001
Intel unveiled a new 64-bit processor called Itanium. A second generation of the chip, code-named McKinley, was planned for 2002.
Crime in 2008
San Jose police said some 80 people had $45,000 drained from their bank accounts after thieves pulled debit card data from an gas station. Similar thefts had also been reported in Los Altos and southern California.
Korman in 2008
Harvey Korman, comedian, died in Los Angeles at age 71. He won four Emmys for his outrageously funny contributions to “The Carol Burnett Show” (1967-1978) and played a hilarious conniving politician in “Blazing Saddles” (1974).
Crime in 2009
Phil Spector, 69-year-old former music producer, was sentenced in Los Angeles to 10 years to life in prison for the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson.
Science in 2009
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, at U.C. Berkeley, dedicated a new National Ignition Facility. It was designed to create conditions like those found in stars and in the explosions of hydrogen bombs. The project was over five years behind schedule and costs to date reached $4 billion, almost four times the original estimate.
Music in 2010
A rave at the Cow Palace in Daly City left two people dead due to drug use. The event drew some 16,500 attendees who paid about $85 each at the door.
Hopper in 2010
Dennis Hopper, film star, died in Venice at age 74. He brought the counterculture to Hollywood with “Easy Rider” (1969). His career included parts in “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955), “Apocalypse Now” (1979) and “Blue Velvet” (1986).
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.
Education in 2013
Coursera, a Mountain View online learning start up, said it formed partnerships with 10 public universities and university systems to develop courses that can be taken for credit either online or in a blended classroom-online environment.
Blanc in 1908
Mel Blanc, legendary voice actor, was born in San Francisco. He was the voice of Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, and Porky Pig in Warner Brothers cartoons and had “That’s All Folks” inscribed on his tombstone.
Business in 1932
Socal, formerly Standard Oil of California, discovered oil in Bahrain. This was the first oil discovered in the Middle Eastern by an American firm.
Politics in 1938
Adolf Hitler’s American supporters opened a two-day German-American Bund convention in San Francsico. Some 3,000 protesters shouted anti-Nazi slogans.
Amusement parks in 1957
Santa’s Village, a Christmas theme park, opened in Scotts Valley. It filed for bankruptcy in 1977 then closed in 1979.
Exhibitions in 1967
Robert “Evel” Knievel jumped his motorcycle jumped 16 cars at an event in Gardena.
Sports in 1971
Willie Mays hit his 638th home run. That set a National League record of 1,950 runs scored.
Murphy in 1987
Melvin Edward Alton “Turk” Murphy, San Francisco-born trombone player and jazz singer, died in San Francisco at age 71. He was best known for playing traditional and dixieland jazz.
Beneke in 2000
Gordon “Tex” Beneke, saxophonist, singer and bandleader, died in Costa Mesa at age 86. He played with the Glenn Miller Orchestra and other big bands of the 1940’s.
Sterling in 2006
Robert Sterling, actor, died in Los Angeles at age 88. He was best known for playing in the ghostly comedy series “Topper” (1953-1955).
Harris in 2007
Mark Harris, author, died in Goleta at age 84. He began keeping a diary at age 11, which he maintained every day for the rest of his life. He was best known for four novels about baseball players, including Bang the Drum Slowly (1956), which was made into a movie in 1973.
Fires in 2013
A fire in Angeles National Forest burned some 35 square miles and forced about 2,800 residents from their homes around Lake Hughes and Lake Elizabeth.
Exploration in 1770
Father Junipero Serra reached Monterey. Gaspar de Portolà, who organized this expedition by land and sea, lead the first overland exploration of Alta California. Serra traveled aboard the supply ship San Antonio.
Post offices in 1856
Milpitas post office opened. It’s said that when the U.S. Postal Service wanted to locate the post office in Frederick Creighton’s store, some wanted to name it Penitencia. Others said that sounded like “penitentiary” so it was named for Rancho Milpitas.
Parks in 1899
David Curry and Jenny Etta Foster, later known as Mother Curry, opened a tented camp at Yosemite. They advertised “a good bed and clean napkin with every meal” for $2 a day (equivalent to $57 in today’s dollars). The camp became Curry Village in 1970.
Transportation in 1928
The first flight across the Pacific took off from Oakland. Charles “Smithy” Kingsford-Smith and his crew landed the southern Cross in Brisbane, Australia nine days later after stopping in Hawaii and Fiji.
Films in 1929
Mickey Mouse spoke for the first time in a cartoon called “The Karnival Kid.”
Eastwood in 1930
Clint Eastwood, actor and director, was born in San Francisco. He became famous for his “Dollars Trilogy” (1964-1966) and “Dirty Harry” films (1971-1988).
Race relations in 1943
Twelve sailors and soldiers clashed violently with Mexican American boys near downtown Los Angeles. Seaman Second Class Joe Dacy Coleman, U.S.N. was badly wounded.
Sports in 1952
The first Golden Gate Park Road Race was held with some 60 cars competing. The final race was in 1954.
Sports in 1964
The San Francisco Giants beat the New York Mets, 8-6, in a 23-inning game that lasted 7 hours, 32 minutes. It was the second game of the longest doubleheader in Major League history. Together they lasted 9 hours, 52 minutes.
Environment in 1996
California authorities advised the 900 people of Chualar in Monterey County to not use tap water. Nitrates from agricultural fertilizers and pesticides made it unsafe to drink.
Leary in 1996
Timothy Leary, psychologist and advocate for LSD and other psychedelic drugs, died in Beverly Hills at age 75. Some of his ashes were launched into space with those of Gene Roddenberry, “Star Trek” creator, and 28 others.
Flight in 1999
Mike Moshier, 51-year-old founder of Millennium Jet Inc. in Santa Clara, reportedly developed the SoloTrek XFV. It was a single passenger flying vehicle, that could fly at 80 mph for up to 90 minutes as high as 10,000 feet on a single tank of 87-octane gas.
Government in 2007
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom proposed a $6.06 billion budget for the 2007-2008 fiscal year, a 5.4% increase over the previous year.
Amusement parks in 2008
Playland-Not-at-the-Beach museum opened in El Cerrrito. It featured relics from Playland-at-the-Beach in San Francisco, bulldozed in 1972, including a rare Laughing Sal.
Business in 2010
Google was reportedly phasing out internal use of Microsoft’s Windows operating system because of security concerns.
Flight in 2012
SpaceX Dragon capsule, developed in Hawthorne, splashed down in the Pacific. That concluded the first private delivery to the International Space Station.
Transportation in 1858
California Central Railroad groundbreaking took place in Sacramento. By October 13, 1861 the railroad connected Lincoln to the Sacramento Valley Railroad at Folsom Junction.
Earthquakes in 1888
Seismograph observatories opened at Berkeley and Lick Observatory. Lick Observatory, on Mount Hamilton east of San Jose, is the world’s first permanently occupied mountain-top observatory.
Monroe in 1926
Marilyn Monroe, legendary actress and sex symbol, was born in Los Angeles. Her birth name, Norma Jean Mortenson, was changed to Norma Jean Baker before she became Marilyn Monroe. “I don’t mind living in a man’s world as long as I can be a woman in it.”
Transportation in 1927
The Delta King steamboat made its debut voyage from San Francisco to Sacramento. The Delta Queen, its twin, followed the next day. The 81-mile trip took nearly all night.
Radio in 1936
Lux Radio Theater moved to Hollywood from New York City. Programming changed to adaptations of films rather than plays. Its first was “The Legionnaire and the Lady,” with Marlene Dietrich and Clark Gable, based on the film “Morocco.” It aired shows until June 7, 1955.
Television in 1953
KMJ, now KSEE TV channel 24, began broadcasting in Fresno. It was the first television station in the market.
Sports in 1975
Nolan Ryan, California Angel, pitched his fourth of seven no-hitters to beat the Baltimore Orioles, 1-0.
Television in 1990
E! Entertainment Television, headquartered in Los Angeles, launched. Changing the name from Movietime emphasized coverage of celebrities, popular films, television and music, Hollywood gossip and fashion.
Sports in 1997
Wilton Guerrero, Los Angeles Dodger utility player, broke his bat, revealing it was corked. He was immediately ejected, suspended eight games and fined $1,000.
Ketcham in 2001
Hank Ketcham, cartoonist, died in Pebble Beach at age 81. He created “Dennis the Menace” cartoon strip, today distributed to some 1,000 newspapers in 48 countries, in 19 languages.
Science in 2003
Genentech, headquartered in South San Francisco, reported its drug Avastin lengthened survival time for colon cancer patients.
Science in 2003
U.C. Berkeley researchers revealed a new laboratory method for manufacturing the anti-malarial drug, artemisinin.
Environment in 2005
A landslide destroyed 17 multimillion-dollar houses and damaged nearly 11 others in Laguna Beach.
Government in 2006
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger agreed with the U.S. government and deployed 1,000 members of the California National Guard along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Fires in 2008
Fire at the Universal Studios Hollywood back lot destroyed famous movie sets, such as the clock tower from “Back to the Future” and the “King Kong” exhibit on the studio tour.
Government in 2009
San Francisco Mayor Newsom unveiled a $6.6 billion budget for 2009-2010. He also urged Santa Clara voters to reject a $937 million stadium project for the San Francisco 49ers.
Government in 2011
San Francisco Mayor Lee rolled out his first budget, a $6.8 billion spending plan for the fiscal year 2011-2012.
Crime in 2012
Federal prosecutors announced charges against two Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies, Ryan McGowan, age 31, and Thomas Lu, age 42, accused of illegally selling dozens of weapons.
Transportation in 1873
Construction began on Clay Street in San Francisco for the world’s first cable railroad. The line was completed and ready for a trial run on August 2, 1873.
Crime in 1876
Charles Earl Bowles, English born gentleman bandit known as Black Bart, held up Wells Fargo Stagecoaches 28 times. The third robbery was in Siskiyou County, five miles north of Cottonwood.
Ballet in 1933
San Francisco Ballet debuted at War Memorial Opera House. It is one of the oldest, most distinguished ballet companies in America.
Rolph in 1934
James “Sunny Jim” Rolph, San Francisco mayor (1912-1931) and California Governor (1931-1934), died in San Francisco at age 64. He lived at the same Mission District home throughout his life.
Kellerman in 1936
Sally Kellerman, actress, activist, author, producer, singer and voice-over artist, was born in Long Beach. Most recently she provides voice talent to “The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange” (2013).
Haid in 1943
Charles Haid, actor and director, was born in San Francisco. He is best known for his roles in police dramas, like “Hill Street Blues” (1981-1987) and “NYPD Blue” (1994).
Poetry in 1959
Allen Ginsberg wrote his poem “Lysergic Acid” in San Francisco. He had recently experienced LSD for the first time. It was at the first international conference on LSD therapy at the Palo Alto Mental Research Institute, financed by the U.S. Army and the CIA to study the effects of psychotropic drugs on human behavior.
Hutton in 1979
Jim Hutton, film and television actor, died in Los Angeles at age 45. He is best remembered for his role as Ellery Queen (1975-1976) in the series of the same name. He is the father of actor Timothy Hutton.
Education in 1988
St. Ignatius College Preparatory School in San Francisco announced plans to accept young women beginning in the Fall of 1999.
Sports in 1989
The Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in 22 innings, 5-4. It was one of the longest games in team history.
Government in 1992
Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer were nominated to U.S. Senate seats, making California the first state to have two women in the U.S. Senate.
Government in 1998
Proposition 227 won with 61% support. That effectively ended California’s 30 years of bilingual education by requiring that all children be taught in English.
Business in 2005
Sun Microsystems Inc., in Santa Clara, agreed to buy Storage Technology Corp. for $4.1 billion in cash. That strengthened its presence in the data storage market.
Welnick in 2006
Vince Welnick, musician, died in Sonoma County at age 55. He became the Grateful Dead’s keyboard player in 1990 after other drummers died.
Government in 2008
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom unveiled a record $6.5 billion budget.
Ferrer in 2008
Mel Ferrer, actor, director and producer, died in Santa Barbara at age 92. His films included “Lili” (1953) and “The Brave Bulls” (1951) and he appeared in episodes of “Falcon Crest” (1981-1984) and “Murder She Wrote” (1985-1989).
Perez in 2011
Lt. Vincent Perez, a San Francisco firefighter, died after being caught in a flashover at a 4-story home.
Missions in 1770
Father Junipero Serra dedicated Mission San Carlos de Monterey at Carmel. It was first established at the presidio in Monterey but moved in 1771 to the Carmel Valley on a hillside, “two gunshots” from the ocean.
Ranchos in 1846
Rancho Palos Verdes was deeded. Today Palos Verdes is a wealthy Los Angeles suburb of approximately 41,643 residents.
Government in 1849
Brevet Brigadier-General Bennet Riley, then Military Governor of California, ordered “the formation of a State constitution or a plan for a territorial government.”
Business in 1878
Mammoth Mining Company was organized to mine Mineral Hill, which caused a brief Mono County gold rush. Fifteen hundred people moved to Mammoth City that year. But the company shut down in 1880 and population declined to less than 10 people by 1888. Today it is a hiking and skiing community.
Transportation in 1913
San Francisco retired the last horse-drawn streetcar, more than 20 years after the introduction of electric streetcars.
Race relations in 1943
U.S. Navy sailors and Marines battled Latino youths in what became the Zoot Suit Riots in Los Angeles.
Giannini in 1949
Amadeo Peter Giannini, founder of the Bank of America, died in San Mateo at age 79. Among other businesses, he helped grow the motion picture and wine industries in California.
Music in 1956
Santa Cruz banned Rock and Roll. City authorities announced a total ban on rock and roll at public gatherings, calling the music “Detrimental to both the health and morals of our youth and community.”
Tranportation in 1984
San Francisco’s California Street cable cars returned to service after nearly 20 months and $58.2 million in redesign and construction costs.
Accidents in 2001
Daniel Katz, age 24, disappeared while flying over San Bernardino National Forest. This began one of the most extensive and high-tech searches in the area’s history. His wrecked rented plane was found on a steep mountainside north of Rancho Cucamonga in 2008.
Wasserman in 2002
Lew Wasserman, talent agent and movie executive, died in Beverly Hills at age 89. He was one of the most powerful men in Hollywood history.
Crime in 2007
Paris Hilton attended the MTV Movie Awards then reported to jail. She was to serve a 45-day sentence for a probation violation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case. Hilton was released after three days but a Los Angeles County judge ordered her back to jail.
Bromige in 2009
David Bromige, poet and professor, died in Sebastopol at age 75. He was Sonoma County’s second poet laureate (2001-2003).
Arness in 2011
James Arness, actor, died in Los Angeles at age 88. He played in some 50 films and television shows, including “Gunsmoke” (1955-1975), one of the longest running series.
Payments in 2013
California Coastal Commission reached a $2.5 million settlement with Sean Parker, Napster co-founder. He spent $10 million to build a large movie-set-like wedding site in an ecologically sensitive area of Big Sur without proper permits.