Missions in 1776
Father Junipero Serra dedicated Mission San Juan Capistrano, the 7th of Alta California’s 21 missions. Today the mission is famous for its ruins from an 1812 earthquake and swallows that return every March.
Exploration in 1793
Captain George Vancouver, on a 4 1/2 year voyage of exploration and diplomacy around the world, anchored in Monterey Bay. He had sailed as far north as Vancouver Island and west to Hawaii, then called the Sandwich Islands.
Sacramento in 1848
John Sutter, Jr. announced plans for a new town, Sacramento City, where the American River joins the Sacramento River.
Visalia in 1852
Nearly half of the original settlers of Visalia, a San Joaquin Valley community, were school age children.
Public Health in 1876
Lucy Field Wanzer became the first female medical school graduate west of the Rocky Mountains when she graduated from U.C. Medical School. She and 10 other women established Children’s Hospital in San Francisco (1875).
Libraries in 1880
Miss Sara Plummer established Santa Barbara’s first library then sold it to the Odd Fellows after she married. Today’s Santa Barbara Public Library building, designed in 1924, is part of the heart of the city.
Music in 1965
Bill Graham produced his first concert at San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium, which became a legendary venue. It was a benefit for the San Francisco Mime Troupe, featuring music and poetry from the local art scene and subculture.
Sports in 1966
Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, became the first 3-time Cy Young Award winner.
Sports in 1984
In the first NBA game played at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, the L.A. Clippers beat the New York Knicks, 107-105.
Presidios in 1787
At the Santa Barbara Presidio, there was one lieutenant, three sergeants, two corporals and 50 privates, plus 124 horses and 109 mules for transportation.
Overland journeys in 1846
The Donner Party was stopped by deep snow while crossing the Sierra Nevada and trapped until February. Nearly half the 87 people died from disease and starvation.
Fremont in 1847
General Kearny charged Lieutenant Colonel John Frémont with mutiny in a conflict over authority during the Mexican American War in California. Frémont later became the first presidential candidate of the new Republican Party (1856).
Parks in 1895
The Chutes amusement park opened on Haight Street in San Francisco, featuring a shoot-the-chutes water slide. It relocated in 1902 and was the only amusement park that survived the 1906 earthquake.
Government in 1927
Federal agents raided an illegal brewery in San Francisco with nearly 2,000 gallons of beer brewing in four 500-gallon vats.
Business in 1934
A fight for control of the beer market expanded after Prohibition. San Francisco brewers matched the prices of Humboldt Brewery; $1 for 24 pints of beer.
Flight in 1947
Howard Hughes, brilliant aircraft pilot and designer, flew the Spruce Goose over Cabrillo Beach, on its one-and-only flight. It was the largest fixed-wing aircraft ever built.
Roach in 1992
Legendary movie producer Hal Roach died in Los Angeles at age 100. He is best known for producing the “Laurel and Hardy” and “Our Gang,” later known as “The Little Rascals,” films in the 1920s and ’30s.
Fires in 1993
Fires in Southern California pushed through areas of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties, burning 35,000 acres and 200 homes.
Crime in 2000
Four Oakland police officers, known as “The Riders,” were charged with 48 felonies, including beating suspects and planting evidence. They were acquitted of misconduct charges in 2003, retried in 2004 but that trial ended in a mistrial in 2005.
Crime in 1883
Charles Earl Bowles, English gentleman bandit known as Black Bart who left poems at the scenes of his crime and held up Wells Fargo Stagecoaches 28 times, was wounded at Funk Hill in Calaveras County during this last attempt.
Business in 1930
The Bank of Italy, in San Francisco, became the Bank of America. Today it is a multinational financial services corporation headquartered in North Carolina and the third biggest company in the world.
Sports in 1962
Wilt Chamberlain, San Francisco Warriors, scored 72 points against the Los Angeles Lakers. The 7-foot 1-inch Chamberlain, who later played for the Lakers, was one of most dominant players in NBA history.
Sports in 1965
Sandy Koufax won the Cy Young Award unanimously. He won also in 1963 and 1966, making Kofax the greatest pitcher of his time.
Crime in 1970
Genie, a 13-year-old child was rescued in Los Angeles, after being locked in her bedroom for most of her life.
Technology in 1994
The first conference focused exclusively on the commercial potential of the World Wide Web opened in San Francisco.
Government in 1997
California law ended affirmative-action. That stopped programs to overcome discrimination by assigning quotas of jobs and resources for minorities and women.
Exploration in 1595
Sebastián Rodríguez Cermeño, Portugese explorer appointed by the Spanish king to find a safe harbor for ships returning to Mexico from the Philippines, landed somewhere between Point St. George and Trinidad Head in California.
Indians in 1775
Kumeyaay warriors attacked Mission San Diego, killed Father Luís Jayme and burned the mission. It was the first of a dozen revolts during the Mission Period.
Overland Journey in 1841
The Bartleson Bidwell Party, the first overland wagon train to California, reached John Marsh’s rancho at the foot of Mt. Diablo. They traveled over 2,000 miles, averaging about 15 miles a day for roughly 5 months.
San Francisco in 1867
Ninety kegs of powder were used to blast rock from Telegraph Hill for a seawall.
Inventions in 1873
John Beers, a San Francisco dentist, patented an improved gold crown device to restore broken or decayed teeth.
Sports in 1924
The California legalized professional boxing, which had been against the law since 1914.
Protests in 1959
A protest at Portsmouth Square in San Francisco opposed plans for an 800-car garage at a cost of $3.2 million. Later, 100-foot-tall trees in the plaza were cut down for the underground garage. Portsmouth Square was the center of Gold Rush San Francisco. Today it is the center of Chinatown.
Flight in 1911
Calbraith Perry Rodgers finished the first transcontinental flight. He took off from Sheepshead Bay, New York (09-17-11) and landed in Pasadena 52 days later with many intentional and accidental stops.
Los Angeles in 1913
The Los Angeles Aqueduct opened. To get water from the Owens River took 223 miles of pipe, 120 miles of railroad track, two hydroelectric plants, 170 miles of power lines, 240 miles of telephone line, a cement plant and 500 miles of roads.
Sports in 1971
The Los Angeles Lakers started a 33 game winning streak.
Transportation in 1973
BART began regular train shuttle service between San Francisco and Daly City.
Business in 2007
Google, in Mountain View, unveiled the Android mobile operating system.
Exploration in 1595
Sebastián Rodríguez Cermeño, Portugese explorer appointed by the Spanish king, anchored at Drakes Bay. He was searching for a safe harbor for Spanish trading ships returning from the Philippines. His ship sank weeks later but the crew of nearly 80 managed to return to Mexico.
Exploration in 1794
Captain George Vancouver, English explorer, anchored in Monterey Bay. During his 4 1/2 year journey around the world, he visited the capital of Alta California for the third and last time.
Exploration in 1826
Frederick William Beechey, English naval officer and geographer, drew the first charts of San Francisco Bay. He was on a journey to the Bering Strait.
Communication in 1862
The transcontinental telegraph linked New York to San Francisco.
Protests in 1968
Students at San Francisco State went on strike, led by Black Students Union and Third World Liberation Front members. Police responded after students marched on the Administration Building.
Sports in 1974
Mike Marshall, Los Angeles Dodgers, was the first relief pitcher to win the Cy Young Award.
Sports in 1981
Fernando Valenzuela, Los Angeles Dodgers, became the first rookie to win a Cy Young Award.
Flight in 1983
Space Shuttle Discovery was transported overland from Palmdale, where it was built, to Vandenberg Air Force Base. It first flew on August 30, 1984.
Flight in 1985
Space Shuttle Challenger landed at Edwards Air Force Base after a flight of 7 days, 00 hours, 44 minutes, 51 seconds.
Hollywood in 1990
Arsenio Hall got a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.
Fires in 1990
Fire destroyed 20% of the standing sets at Universal Studios. Total damage was estimated at some $50 million. It was started by a security guard with a cigarette lighter in a Brownstone Street alley.
Crime in 2012
Three people were killed in a shooting at Apple Valley Farms, a poultry processing plant in Fresno.
Ranchos in 1844
Rancho Arrroyo Chico, originally a 22,214-acre Mexican land grant, was deeded. Today Chico is home to Chico State University. Before that it was home to pioneer John Bidwell and the starting point of the Koncow Trail of Tears in which 435 Koncow Maidu were forced to move from their homes and lead away to Round Valley in Mendocino County.
Libraries in 1878
Oakland Free Library opened. It was the second public library in California.
Jepson in 1946
Willis Linn Jepson, scholar, teacher and botanical explorer, died in Berkeley at age 79. The pioneer California botanist was born in Vacaville.
Science in 1952
Felix Bloch of Stanford University and E.M. Purcell of Harvard won a Nobel Prize. They were the first to measure the magnetic properties of atomic particles.
Government in 1972
California voters passed Proposition 20. That created the Coastal Commission to regulate construction along the Pacific coast.
Government in 1972
Voters passed Proposition 17. That made the death penalty part of the state Constitution.
Government in 1978
Voters passed Proposition 7. That expanded the kinds of cases punishable by death.
Art in 1984
A Holocaust memorial was dedicated in San Francisco’s Lincoln Park. It included George Segal’s sculpture of corpses.
Crime in 1989
Richard Ramirez, convicted of 13 “Night Stalker” murders, was sentenced to death in Los Angeles. His crime spree terrorized people in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas from June 1984 until August 1985.
Public Health in 1991
Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers, announced that he tested positive for the AIDS virus. He retired from basketball to work on combating the disease.
Crime in 1996
Michael Norton, of Kona Kai Farms in Berkeley, was charged with money laundering and wire fraud. He sold cheap coffee as expensive Hawaiian Kona Coffee.
Sports in 1997
The De La Salle High School football team in Concord, coached by Bob Ladoucer, won a national record 73rd straight game.
Government in 2006
Jerry Brown was elected California attorney general. He was a former California governor (1975-1983) and Oakland mayor (1999-2007).
Government in 2006
Voters passed Proposition 83. That increased sentences for sex offenders and stopped them from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park.
Accidents in 2007
Cosco Busan, a container ship, ran into the Bay Bridge, gashing its hull and spilling 58,000 gallons of fuel oil into San Francisco Bay.
Post Offices in 1849
A U.S. post office opened in Coloma, 36 miles from Sacramento. It was one of the first in California. The town grew around Sutter’s Mill where the Gold Rush began.
Transportation in 1869
The Central Pacific Railroad pulling six coaches arrived in Oakland after stopping at Suisun City.
Transportation in 1870
When the Central Pacific Railroad reached a Central Valley station, the plan was to name it after William Ralston. But he refused the honor, so the station was named Modesto, the Spanish word for modesty.
Raitt in 1949
Bonnie Raitt, singer-songwriter and guitar player, was born in Burbank. She won 10 Grammy Awards and Rolling Stone Magazine ranked her among the greatest singers and guitarists of all time.
Accidents in 1957
Romance of the Skies, a Pan American World Airways airplane, crashed in the Pacific Ocean on its way from San Francisco to Hawaii, killing a crew of 6 and 38 passengers. The luxury plane provided meals from Maxim’s of Paris, a lounge at the bottom of a spiral staircase and private sleeping compartments for its wealthy travelers.
Television in 1959
KLYD began broadcasting in the Bakersfield area. It later changed its call letters to KJTV and KPWR before it became KGET.
Parks in 1965
Whiskeytown National Recreation Area was dedicated. This 203,587 acre park in Shasta County includes the Whiskeytown, Shasta and Trinity units.
Government in 1966
Ronald Reagan defeated Pat Brown, father of Governor Jerry Brown, to become governor of California.
Government in 1977
One hundred and fifty-four candidates ran for seats on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Harvey Milk became the first openly gay elected official in the city.
Government in 1983
Dianne Feinstein won her final term as mayor of San Francisco. She became mayor temporarily in 1978 after the assassination of Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk by former supervisor Dan White.
Government in 1988
California voters approved Proposition 98. It required at least 40% of the state budget be spent on public schools.
Government in 1988
Voters approved Proposition 89. It let the governor block parole board decisions to release inmates with sentences of up to life in prison.
Sports in 1988
Arco Arena opened in Sacramento. Later known as Power Balance Pavillion and now Sleep Train Arena, it is home to the Sacramento Kings.
Sports in 1990
Darryl Strawberry, outfielder, signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was one of the most feared sluggers in the game in the 1980s and early 90s, The 6’6″ batter was known for home runs and his intimidating presence in the batter’s box.
Government in 1994
Voters approved Proposition 187. It blocked undocumented immigrants from education, social services and non-emergency health care but was found unconstitutional by the courts.
Bridges in 2003
The $188 million Carquinez Bridge in Vallejo was dedicated. The new bridge parallels the original bridge built in 1927.
Environment in 2007
California and 14 other states sued the U.S. government to enforce auto emissions cuts greater than the federal government required.
Unidentified Flying Objects in 2010
CBS News posted video of an unidentified flying object over southern California that left a large vapor trail.
Jones in 2010
Derrick Jones was shot and killed by Oakland police officers a block from his hair salon. They mistook a scale he was carrying for a gun. The city agreed to pay $225,000 to settle a suit filed by his parents and daughter (2013).
Government in 2011
Ed Lee become the first Chinese-American mayor of San Francisco.