Category Archives: This Week from California History

Explorers Mission Indians Gold Rush State Parks Women Inventors Fires Communication Transportation

California History Timeline, July 15 to July 22

July 15

Exploration in 1769
Gaspar de Portolà, with Father Crespí, 63 leather-jacket soldiers and a 100 mules loaded with provisions, crossed Soledad Valley. Father Juan Crespí diaries described his journey and the world of native California before and during the missions. 

Crime in 1849
Members of the Hounds, a racist Gold Rush gang, attacked people in the Chilean district of San Francisco. The Hounds were Mexican American War veterans, ex-soldiers of the California Volunteers regiment who lived in a tent they called “Tammany Hall.”

The Hounds.

The Hounds.

Chinese War in 1854
The Weaverville Chinese War broke out. Following a minor gambling dispute, nearly 400 men from rival factions or tongs, faced off armed with pikes, tridents and other newly forged ancient weapons. Ten men died, 20 wounded and the conflict was settled temporarily.

Tong War

Tong War

St. Ignatius College Preparatory.

St. Ignatius College Preparatory.

Religion in 1855
St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco was dedicated. The wood and plaster structure cost $4,000. Construction soon began on a school and residence.

Cities in 1875
The first lots were auctioned in Santa Monica. “At one o’clock we will sell at public outcry to the highest bidder, the Pacific Ocean, draped with a western sky of scarlet and gold; we will sell a bay filled with white-winged ships; we will sell a southern horizon, rimmed with a choice collection of purple mountains, carved in castles and turrets and domes; we will sell a frostless, bracing, warm, yet languid air, braided in and out with sunshine and odored with the breath of flowers. The purchaser of this job lot of climate and scenery will be presented with a deed of land 50 by 150 feet.”

Santa Monica real estate auction (1875).

Santa Monica real estate auction (1875).

Gold Rush in 1897
The ship Excelsior, laden with Yukon gold, landed in San Francisco. Seattle mayor W.D. Wood, visiting San Francisco, resigned his job, hired a ship and organized a gold mining expedition to the Yukon territory.

Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple.

Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple.

Religion in 1904 
A Buddhist temple opened on East Fourth Street in Los Angeles. The  Jōdo Shinshū temple, school of Pure Land Buddhism, was the vision of Reverend Junjyo Izumida, founding priest from Japan. Today the temple offers a spiritual environment which cultivates individual exploration based on the Buddhadharma. 

Transportation in 1929 
The first airport hotel in the US opened next to the Oakland airport.

Amusement parks in 1964
Modern tours began at Universal Studios Hollywood. They included a series of dressing room walk-throughs, peeks at actual production, and staged events. The tours in 1915 cost  $0.05 and included a lunch box with chicken. More than 6,000,000 guests visited the park in 2013.

Government in 1964
The Republican National Convention was held at the Cow Palace in Daly City.  Barry Goldwater won its nomination for presidential candidate.

Sports in 1967 
The Los Angeles Wolves beat the Washington Whips 6-5 in overtime to win the United Soccer Association championship. The league survived only one season before becoming part of the North American Soccer League, which lasted until 1984.

United Soccer Association players (1968).

United Soccer Association players (1968).

Sports in 1973 
Nolan Ryan, California Angels pitcher, threw his second no-hitter to beat the Detroit Tigers, 6-0. That year, Ryan set his first major record by striking out 383 batters in one season, beating Sandy Koufax’s mark by one. 

Crime in 1976
Twenty-six children from Chowchilla and their driver were kidnapped from their school bus and imprisoned in a buried truck near Livermore. 

Convy in 1991
Bert Convy, actor and game-show host, died in Los Angeles at age 57. He hosted “Tattletales” (1974-1984), “Super Password” (1984-1989), and “Win, Lose or Draw” (1987-1990).

Crime in 1993
Los Angeles authorities announced eight arrests in connection with an alleged plot by white supremacists to ignite a race war by bombing a black church and killing prominent black Americans. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger, California governor.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, California governor.

Government in 2005
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said he would quit his job as editor of two bodybuilding magazines following criticism of his moonlighting. He also severed ties with the Arnold Classic bodybuilding event.

Business in 2006
Twitter, now headquartered in San Francisco, introduced its first prototype. Today it is one of the largest social media platforms in the world.

Twitter.

Twitter.

Coyotes, image by Matt Knoth.

Coyotes, image by Matt Knoth.

Environment in 2007
Two coyotes, a male and female, were shot and killed in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park following recent attacks on leashed dogs.

Accidents in 2008
Two vehicles collided on a bridge and fell into the Delta Mendota Canal near Westley. Six farm workers and a septic truck driver died.

Delta Mendota Canal.

Delta Mendota Canal.

Marijuana leaf.

Marijuana leaf.

Government in 2009
California officials said a bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol would generate nearly $1.4 billion in revenue.

Business in 2010
Joe Jacob, 54-year-old venture capitalist, and Peter Gruber, 68-year-old chairman of Mandalay Entertainment, led a $450 million purchase of the Golden State Warriors based in Oakland.

Golden State Warriors.

Golden State Warriors.

Fire in 2013
Mountain Fire in Riverside County started burning about 100 miles east of Los Angeles. It burned for 16 days in the San Bernardino National Forest above Palm Springs. 3,500 firefighters fought it with 20 helicopters, 12 airplanes and 260 engines at an estimated cost of $25.8 million.

Mountain Fire (2013).

Mountain Fire (2013).

July 16

Explorers in 1769
Gaspar de Portolà, with Father Crespí, 63 leather-jacket soldiers and a 100 mules loaded with provisions, camped at Batequitos Lagoon.

Portola's signature

Portola’s signature

Missions in 1769
Father Junipero Serra dedicated Mission San Deigo de Alcalá. It was the first of 21 missions in Alta California. It was built on ancient Kumeyaay land. Indian resistance peaked on November 4, 1776 when around 700 warriors attacked, killed Father Luís Jayme and torched the buildings.

Mission San Diego de Alcalá. Oil on canvas by Edwin Deakin (1899).

Mission San Diego de Alcalá. Oil on canvas by Edwin Deakin (1899).

Festivals in 1899
The first Santa Barbara Fiesta, part of the Mission Revivial movement, was held at Our Lady of Carmelo Church in Montecito. Now known as Old Spanish Days, it celebrates Hispanic heritage.

Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara (1941).

Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara (1941).

Government in 1907
San Francisco supervisors, pressured by graft prosecutors, named Edward Robeson Taylor, age 67, as mayor. He replaced 16 of 18 supervisors, forced the police chief to quit and replaced city officials with honest and competent men.

Post offices in 1946
Joshua Tree post office opened. The San Bernardino town had 7,414 residents in 2010. The area is known for spectacular sunrises.

Joshua Trees (Yucca brevifolia) at sunrise. Courtesy of Warren Photographic.

Joshua Trees (Yucca brevifolia) at sunrise. Courtesy of Warren Photographic.

Darren Lewis.

Darren Lewis.

Sports in 1993
Darren Lewis, San Francisco Giants outfielder, set a record of 267 consecutive games without an error. He was one of he great base stealers of the 1990’s.

Music in 1994
The Three Tenors, Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti and Jose Carreras, performed at Los Angeles Dodger Stadium. Their world tour began in 1990 and continued into the early 2000s.

California state flag

California state flag

Education in 2008
California state educators said 24% of the state’s high school students dropped out of school during the 2006-2007 school year.

Stafford in 2008
Jo Stafford, pop singer, died in Century City at age 90. Her career spanned from the late 1930s to the early 1980s. By 1955 she sold more records worldwide than any other female artist. “Her biggest hit was “You Belong To Me” (1952).

University of California.

University of California.

Education in 2009
University of California Board of Regents cut $813 million from budgets and approved pay raises, and other benefits for over two dozen UC executives.

Gammon in 2010       
James Gammon, film and television actor, died in Orange County at age 70. His films included “Major League” (1989) and its 1994 sequel.

July 17

Nero, a Donner Party dog.

Nero, a Donner Party dog.

Donner Party in 1846
The Donner Party crossed the Continental Divide. They left Springfield, Missouri on April 15th and were already behind schedule to cross the Sierra Nevada before winter. They would be trapped in early November, when the snows were 5 feet deep. Here is Nero, one of the pet dogs that was eaten.

Tunnels in 1917
Twin Peaks Tunnel in San Francisco was dedicated. The 2.27-mile long tunnel for light rail and streetcars, blasted through to West Portal and opened in 1918.

This photograph, taken in the early 1900s before the O'Shaughnessy Dam was constructed, shows the Hetch Hetchy Valley and the Tuolumne River, looking east.

This photograph, taken in the early 1900s before the O’Shaughnessy Dam was constructed, shows the Hetch Hetchy Valley and the Tuolumne River, looking east.

Accidents in 1930
A natural gas explosion in the Mitchell ravine tunnel of the Hetch Hetchy water project killed 12 men. Thirty-five workers quit, charging carelessness and lack of equipment for the tragedy.

Accidents in 1944
Munitions for the War in the Pacific exploded at Port Chicago in Concord. Three hundred and twenty sailors and civilians were killed and 390 injured. It was the largest domestic loss of life during World War II. Continuing unsafe conditions led hundreds of servicemen to refuse to load munitions; the Port Chicago Mutiny. Port Chicago was staffed by African American servicemen and attention to the disaster and subsequent strike spurred integration of the U.S. military.

Theme parks in 1955
Disneyland opened in Anaheim. It has the largest attendance of any theme park in the world, with over 650 million guests since it opened.

Cobb in 1961
Ty Cobb, legendary baseball player, died in Atherton at age 74. He was the first person elected into Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Flight in 1962    
Robert White, Air Force pilot, flew the rocket-powered X-15 to an altitude of 314,750 feet or 59.6 miles, becoming the first “winged astronaut.” he made 16 flights in the rocket-powered aircraft stationed at Muroc Air Force Base, today’s Edwards AFB.

North American X-15.

North American X-15.

Environment in 1988 
San Francisco reached 103°F, the highest temperature ever recorded in the city. It got that hot again on June 14, 2000.

B-2 Stealth bomber.

B-2 Stealth bomber.

Flight in 1989
The controversial B-2 Stealth bomber made its first test flight at Edwards Air Force Base, two days after a technical problem forced a postponement.

 

US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon.

US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon.

Accidents in 2001
A US Air Force F-16 crashed in northeast San Bernadino County. Major Aaron George, pilot, and Judson Brohmer, photographer, were killed.

Environment in 2007
California State Water Resources Control board passed a 70-year mercury cleanup plan for San Francisco Bay.

Literature in 2008
Kay Ryan, of Fairfax, was named the 16th poet laureate of the US. She was selected by James Billington, Librarian of Congress.

Government in 2008
California became the first US state to approve green building standards.

California state flag

California state flag

Alaysha Carradine.

Alaysha Carradine.

Crime in 2013
Alaysha Carradine, age 8, was killed at a sleepover when gunmen sprayed bullets  through the Oakland apartment where she was staying.

July 18

Science in 1947
An anonymous African American patient, code-named CAL-3, was injected with plutonium, without his knowledge, at a San Francisco hospital as part of a treatment for apparent bone cancer.

Computers in 1968 
Intel Corporation was founded in Santa Clara. Today it is one of the world’s largest and highest valued semiconductor chip makers, based on revenue.

Crime in 1984 
James Huberty killed 21 people at a McDonald’s in San Ysidro. The 41-year-old opened fire, also injuring 19 others before police shot him dead. The day before, Huberty called a mental health clinic, requesting an appointment.

Shooting at San Ysidro McDonald's (1984).

Shooting at San Ysidro McDonald’s (1984).

Crime in 1997
Federal agents in California arrested eight seafood importers. They were accused of smuggling contaminated seafood by bribing customs brokers and FDA inspectors.

Marijuana leaf.

Marijuana leaf.

Government in 2002
California Supreme Court ruled that the state’s marijuana law can help pot smokers avoid being tried for drug offenses.

Drugs in 2005
California began again issuing identity cards to patients who have been prescribed medical marijuana.

 

Michael Zucchet.

Michael Zucchet.

Crime in 2005
San Diego acting Mayor Michael Zucchet and councilman Ralph Inzunza were convicted in federal court of taking illegal campaign cash from a strip club owner. 

July 19

Government in 1852
Tulare County was established. It was named for Tulare Lake, the largest freshwater lake west of the Great Lakes until it was drained for agriculture. Sequoia National Park and part of Kings Canyon National Park are in the county. 442,179 people lived there in 2010, according to the census.

Tulare County.

Tulare County.

San Francisco Public Library.

San Francisco Public Library.

Libraries in 1880
San Francisco Public Library began lending books. It opened on June 7, 1879 but did not begin lending books until July 19th.

 

Names in 1911
Mount Gilbert in Kings Canyon National Park was named for G.K. Gilbert (1843-1918), leading geologist of his time. 

Mount Gilbert.

Mount Gilbert.

Accidents in 1963
The U.S. Navy accidentally dropped a 2-foot, 25-pound practice bomb on Market St. in San Francisco.

Path of the U.S. Navy bomb accidentally dropped a 2-foot, 25-pound practice bomb on Market St. in San Francisco (1963)

Path of the U.S. Navy bomb accidentally dropped a 2-foot, 25-pound practice bomb on Market St. in San Francisco (1963)

Music in 1978
Dead Kennedys played their first show at Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco. They were a leading punk band in the early 1980s and won a large global following, especially in the United Kingdom.

President Richard Nixon.

President Richard Nixon.

Libraries in 1990
Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum opened in Yorba Linda. Nixon agreed to turn over most materials from his presidency, including White House tape recordings. He wanted selected recordings destroyed but Congress intervened and moved those materials to the National Archives.

Titus in 2009
Warren Titus, founder of Royal Viking and Seabourn cruise ship lines, died at a in Marin County at age 94. He helped create the vacation cruise industry.

Royal Viking Line.

Royal Viking Line.

J/psi particle.

J/psi particle.

Goldhaber in 2010
Gerson Goldhaber, physicist, died  in Berkeley at age 86. He contributed to discovering the antiproton and the “charm” quark in 1955, later known as the J/psi particle.

 

Accidents in 2011
Three hikers were swept over the 317-foot Vernal Falls in Yosemite National Park.

Vernal Fall.

Vernal Fall.

July 20

Nero, a Donner Party dog.

Nero, a Donner Party dog.

Donner Party in 1846
The Donner Party separated at the Little Sandy River from other wagons and took the road to Fort Bridger.  Most safely followed the trail to Fort Hall. The Donner Party was lead by George and Jacob Donner, brothers, and James Reed. 

Newspapers in 1854
The Southern Californian debuted in Los Angeles. “An independent weekly paper, devoted to the interests of Southern California, literature, markets, etc., etc.” It continued in English and Spanish until January 1856.

Los Angeles Plaza (1853).

Los Angeles Plaza (1853).

Labor in 1934
The San Francisco General Strike ended. Following Bloody Thursday on July 5th, in which two strikers were shot and killed and 109 wounded by San Francisco police. 65,000 trade unionists staged the most widespread  strike in U.S. history, shutting down the city for four days.

San Francisco General Strike (1934).

San Francisco General Strike (1934).

Great California Cycleway in 1900. Courtesy Pasadena Museum of History.

Great California Cycleway in 1900. Courtesy Pasadena Museum of History.

Transportation in 1940
Arroyo Seco Parkway opened. Formerly known as the Pasadena Freeway, it partly followed the route of the raised, wooden California Cycleway. The first freeway in the Western U.S. is now called State Route 110.

 

 

Music in 1964
Jan & Dean’s “Surf City” was the first surf record to go #1. Its opening line, “Two girls for every boy!” helped create a popular vision of California as a paradise of sun, sand and endless summers. 

Bill Singer (1970).

Bill Singer (1970).

Sports in 1970
Bill Singer, Los Angeles Dodgers, no-hit the Phillies 5-0. Singer walked nobody but hit one batter and committed two errors.

Public health in 2005
San Francisco Bay Area air quality officials imposed the toughest regulations in the U.S. to reduce flaring, which releases gasses into the atmosphere, at the East Bay’s oil refineries.

Oil refinery flaring.

Oil refinery flaring.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, California governor.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, California governor.

Government in 2006
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger authorized $150 million in loans to the state’s stem cell agency. A day earlier President George Bush vetoed legislation that expanded federal funding for stem cell research.

Earthquakes in 2007
A 4.2 earthquake jolted the San Francisco Bay area. It broke glass and rattled nerves but no injuries.

California state flag

California state flag

Government in 2009
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders bridged a $26.3 billion budget gap by cutting, borrowing and shifting funds. 

Government in 2010
Oakland City Council adopted regulations permitting industrial-scale marijuana farms.

City of Oakland.

City of Oakland.

City of Los Angeles.

City of Los Angeles.

Government in 2011
Los Angeles passed a pioneering new law to protect bicyclists from harassment by motorists.

July 21

Thomas Cavendish.

Thomas Cavendish.

Exploration in 1586
Thomas Cavendish, privateer, sailed from England for Spanish colonies. He intended to raid Spanish ports and ships in the Pacific then return home by circumnavigating the globe. He returned home two years later, 27 years old and laden with treasure.

 

Gold Rush in 1847
James Marshall left Sutter’s Fort with Sutter and an Indian guide, looking for a place to build a sawmill. They settled for a spot they called Coloma on the American River where Marshall found the gold that ignited the Gold Rush on January 28, 1848.

Sutters Fort drawn by

Sutter’s Fort drawn by George Victor Cooper in 1849

Accidents in 1907
The passenger steamer SS Columbia collided with the steam schooner San Pedro off Shelter Cove. The Columbia sank, killing 88 people.

SS Columbia.

SS Columbia.

Kern County earthquake (1952).

Kern County earthquake (1952).

Earthquakes in 1952
The Kern County earthquake in the southern San Joaquin Valley measured 7.3 on the Richter scale. Twelve people were killed, 18 injured and it caused an estimated $60 million in property damage, centered around Tehachapi. It was the strongest earthquake in California since the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

 

 

Education in 1999
Lilly Endowment Inc. of Indianapolis awarded $50 to the San Francisco based Hispanic Scholarship Fund.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund.

Cadillac Desert (1986).

Cadillac Desert (1986).

Reisner in 2000
Marc Reisner, environmentalist author, died in Marin at age 51. His Cadillac Desert (1986) was an indictment of water management in the West.

 

 

Fire in 2002
The McNally Fire burned 150,670 acres in Sequoia and Inyo National Forests as well as in Giant Sequoia National Monument. It destroyed 14 structures and cost an estimated $45.7 million. It burned for more than a month.

McNally Fire (2002).

McNally Fire (2002).

California Department of Education.

California Department of Education.

Education in 2006
California Department of Education said an estimated 5% of high school seniors did not  graduate because they failed the exit exam.

 

Mako.

Mako.

Mako in 2006
Mako, born Makoto Iwamatsu, Japanese-born film and television actor, died in Somis at age 72. He co-founded the East West Players, the first Asian-American theater company (1965).

Craig in 2008
Sid Craig, entrepreneur, died in Del Mar at age 76. He and his wife Jenny, a fitness expert, founded Jenny Craig. Today it has some 700 weight management centres in Australia, the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Puerto Rico. 

Jenny Craig.

Jenny Craig.

Marijuana leaf.

Marijuana leaf.

Government in 2009
Oakland voters overwhelmingly approved the first tax on medical marijuana dispensaries in the U.S.

Backer in 2010
Don Backer, astronomer and pioneer in the use of the radio telescope, died in Berkeley at age 66. He led a group that discovered PSR B1937+21, a pulsar with a rotation period of just 1.6 milliseconds.

 

Pride Rainbow Flag.

Pride Rainbow Flag.

LGBTQ in 2012
U.S. military marched for the first time in full uniform at San Diego’s Gay Pride Parade.

July 22

Exploration in 1769
Gaspar de Portolà, with Father Crespí, 63 leather-jacket soldiers and a 100 mules loaded with provisions camped at Cristianitos Canyon. They were marching north from San Diego, searching for Monterey Bay. Their campsite is near modern San Clemente in Orange County.

Inventions in 1884
Felice Molini of San Francisco patented a pea shelling machine. It was designed to be run by steam, horse or other “suitable power.”

1884

1884

Inventions in 1890
Olive Christin of Bodie patented a steam cooker. “My invention relates to food cookers or steamers, and has for its object to provide a simple, inexpensive, and efficient apparatus of this character which will cook several different kinds of edibles at once without giving one the flavor of the other, and with economy of time, space, labor, and fuel.”

Olive Christin of Bodie patented a steam cooker (1890).

Olive Christin of Bodie patented a steam cooker (1890).

Crime in 1916 
A suitcase bomb exploded in San Francisco during a Preparedness Day parade, killing 10 and injuring 40. The attack on the event supporting U.S. entry into World War I was the deadliest in San Francisco history. Two labor leaders, Thomas Mooney and Warren K Billings, were convicted; one sentenced to life in prison and the other to death. Years later, a commission reviewing the evidence found no proof of their guilt and the men were pardoned and released.

Preparedness Day Bombing (1916).

Preparedness Day Bombing (1916).

Crime in 1957
Two El Segundo police officers were shot and killed after pulling over a car for running a red light. Gerald Mason, then 68-years-old, was arrested following fingerprint ID from a FBI database (2003).

El Segundo.

El Segundo.

Elyse Pahler.

Elyse Pahler.

Crime in 1995
Elyse Pahler, 15 years old, was murdered in San Luis Obispo by teenagers in a death metal band called Hatred. Her body was not found for 8 months until revealed by Joseph Fiorella (16), who received a 26 year to life sentence. 

Memorials in 1997
A group of Armenian organizations purchased .38 acres on Mt. Davidson in San Francisco for a memorial to Armenians massacred during World War I. 

Kovacs in 2007
László Kovács, cinematographer, died in Beverly Hills at age 74. He was a pioneer of New Wave films in the 1970s, most famously for “Easy Rider” (1969) and “Five Easy Pieces” (1970).

California state flag

California state flag

Government in 2008
California reported 63,061 foreclosures during the 2nd three months of the year.

Government in 2008
Governor Schwarzenegger signed a law giving pet owners the right to set up a trust to care for their animals. 

Getty in 2008
Estelle Getty, actress and comedienne in film, television and theatre, died in Los Angeles at age 84. She was best known as sarcastic Sophia on “The Golden Girls” (1985-1992).

Greyhound bus crash Fresno (2010).

Greyhound bus crash Fresno (2010).

Accidents in 2010
A Greyhound bus crashed near downtown Fresno killing six people, injuring nine. It had struck an overturned SUV. The 18-year-old driver  SUV driver was found to have a .11% blood alcohol level.