California History Timeline, May 13 to May 20

May 13

Native Americans at Mission Dolores drawn by Louis Choris (1816).

Native Americans at Mission Dolores drawn by Louis Choris (1816).

Exploration in 1817 
Lt. Don Luis Arguello and Padre Narciso Durán explored the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers. They were searching for Indians to baptize and bring to Mission Dolores. Their expedition lasted two weeks but they returned largely empty-handed. 

Ranchos in 1833 
Rancho Punta de Pinos was deeded. Its name means “Point of the Pines.” The 2,667-acre Mexican land grant in today’s Monterey County extended along the coast from near Pacific Grove south to Pescadero.

Rancho diseno

Rancho diseno

Mexican American War in 1846 
The U.S. declared war on Mexico. U.S. forces occupied Alta California and New Mexico then invaded Mexico. Combat lasted to the fall of 1847. In the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico surrendered those territories to the United States.

Cities in 1850 
Eureka was incorporated. The name means “I found it!” and is on the state seal. Humboldt County’s capital is the largest city between San Francisco and Portland, Oregon and is on the second largest bay in the state.

Eureka, California (1902).

Eureka, California (1902).

Cities in 1854 
Placerville was incorporated. The El Dorado County town was once known as Dry Diggings and Hangtown. During the Gold Rush it was a hub for the Mother Lode region’s mining operations. Today it is part of the Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville metropolitan area.

Placerville (1866).

Placerville (1866).

Alma de Bretteville Spreckels.

Alma de Bretteville Spreckels.

Monuments in 1903        
President Theodore Roosevelt dedicated the Dewey Memorial in San Francisco’s Union Square. The 12-foot statue of Victory atop an 83-foot column was modeled on beautiful Alma de Bretteville Spreckels.

 

 

Flight in 1912        
Roy Francis, pilot, and Phil Rader, artist, flew over San Francisco for 36 minutes. They performed a series of airship maneuvers for the Army at the Presidio. 

Roy Francis, pilot. Ernest Stockton, passenger.

Roy Francis, pilot. Ernest Stockton, passenger.

Frank Cieciorka, fist woodcut.

Frank Cieciorka, fist woodcut.

Civil rights in 1960 
Bill Mandel was brought before a House on Unamerican Activities Committee in San Francisco to explain his broadcasts at KPFA radio and KQED TV about the press in the Soviet Union. KQED canceled him but he kept broadcasting on KPFA. Sixty-four people were arrested at a protest. Police used fire hoses. Frank Cieciorka was inspired to create his woodcut fist that became an icon of the 1960’s. 

Civil rights in 1960
The Free Speech Movement was born at U.C. Berkeley. When hundreds of students staged a political protest, demanding the university permit political activities on campus and recognize students’ rights to free speech and academic freedom, 31 were arrested.

Cooper in 1961 
Gary Cooper, legendary actor, died in Los Angeles at age 60. He played leading roles in 84 feature films, famouly in  “High Noon” (1952) and other Westerns. 

Sports in 1973 
Bobby Riggs beat Margaret Court in a tennis match called the “Mother’s Day Massacre.” Promoted as a battle of the sexes in Ramona, Riggs came from retirement to challenge one of the world’s great female players.

Business in 1991 
Apple released Macintosh System 7.0.

Mac OS 7.6.1.

Mac OS 7.6.1.

SpaceShipOne. Photograph by D Ramey Logan.

SpaceShipOne. Photograph by D Ramey Logan.

Flight in 2004 
SpaceShipOne, a rocket built by Mojave Aerospace Ventures, climbed to 211,400 feet . It become the first privately funded vehicle to reach the edge of space.

Whales in 2007 
A mother humpback whale and her calf were spotted swimming up the Sacramento River. On May 29 they returned to San Francisco Bay and were spotted outside the Golden Gate the next day.

Humpback whale.

Humpback whale.

Karen Bass, Speaker of the Assembly.

Karen Bass, Speaker of the Assembly.

Government in 2008 
Assemblywoman Karen Bass , age 54, became the 67th speaker of the California Assembly and the first African American woman to hold that office.

Business in 2008 
Hewlett-Packard Co., headquartered in Palo Alto, announced purchase of Electronic Data Systems Corp. for $12.6 billion. That formed the second largest technology services provider behind IBM.

California State University.

California State University.

Education in 2009 
The California State University Board of Trustees voted 17-2 to adopt a 10% tuition increase at its 23 campuses. This was its 7th increase since 2002.

Science in 2009 
Deep Flight Super Falcon, a 2-person submarine, was unveiled at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. It scheduled to begin exploring Monterey Bay.

City of Los Angeles.

City of Los Angeles.

Government in 2010 
Los Angeles City Council voted to boycott Arizona businesses, making it the largest city to protest the state’s tough new law targeting illegal immigration.

Chew in 2010 
Ruth Chew, children’s fantasy author, died in Castro Valley at age 90. She published 30 children’s books including Trapped in Time (1986).

California State Parks.

California State Parks.

Government in 2011 
California state parks officials said 70 state parks would close starting in September as a result of state budget cuts.

May 14

Presidios in 1769
The Royal Presidio of San Diego was established. It was the first permanent European settlement on the Pacific Coast of the present-day U.S. and became the base for Spanish colonization of Alta California.

Presidio of San Diego map (1820).

Presidio of San Diego map (1820).

James Casey shot and killed James King of William.

James Casey shot and killed James King of William.

 

Crime in 1856
James Casey shot and killed James King of William. King, a San Francisco newspaper editor, printed articles accusing Casey of being a corrupt politician and an ex-con from New York. 

Science in 1935
Griffith Planetarium opened in Las Angeles. It is on Mount Hollywood with a view to the Pacific Ocean. The observatory was the third in the U.S.

Fires in 1936 
A fire at the Shamrock Club in San Francisco left four people dead. Dancer Betty Blossom’s flaming torches ignited drapes hanging from the ceiling. 

Lucas in 1944
George Lucas was born in Modesto. He is best known as the creator of the “Star Wars” and  “Indiana Jones” film series. Lucas is one of the most financially successful filmmakers and has been nominated for four Academy Awards.

Sports in 1972 
Willie Mays hit a home run to beat his former team, the San Francisco Giants, 5-4, in his first game as a New York Met.

Newspapers in 1988
El Latino began publishing. Today it is the largest Hispanic newspaper in San Diego.

El Latino.

El Latino.

Marijuana leaf.

Marijuana leaf.

Crime in 1998 
A U.S. district judge ruled that all California pot clubs violated federal law.

Sinatra in 1998 
Frank Sinatra, singer, actor, director and producer, died in West Hollywood at age 82. One of the first teen idols, he later identified with Los Vegas. He sold more than 150 million records worldwide.

Cities in 1999 
San Francisco and Oakland competed in the Great Green Sweep, an effort to sweep the cities clean.

Crime in 1999 
San Francisco police arrested Kevin Keating, age 38, head of the “Mission Yuppie Eradication Project,” on suspicion of property destruction in the Mission. Charges were later dropped. Keating was upset by rising real estate prices driving out current residents.

Mission Yuppie Eradication Project (1999).

Mission Yuppie Eradication Project (1999).

Stack in 2003 
Robert Stack, actor and television host, died in Beverly Hills at age 84. He was best known as the tough-guy hero of the pioneer police drama “Untouchables” (1959-1963) and later hosting “Unsolved Mysteries” (1987- 2002). 

Lee in 2004 
Anna Lee, actress, died in Beverly Hills at age 91. Her nearly 70-year acting career in movies and television spanned from her breakthrough role in “How Green Was My Valley” to an extended run on “General Hospital.”

Television in 2006 
Aras Baskauskas, a 24-year-old yoga instructor from Santa Monica, won “Survivor: Panama, Exile Island,” the 12th edition of the CBS reality show.

University of California.

University of California.

Education in 2008 
University of California regents announced a 7.4% tuition increase and California State University regents voted for a 10% increase. This was the 6th increase in seven years.

Business in 2008 
Comcast announced purchase of Plaxo, a social networking service. It sold for around $160 million. It was founded by Sean Parker, Napster founder, and two Stanford engineering students.

Plaxo.

Plaxo.

Stanford University.

Stanford University.

Science in 2012 
Stanford University scientists developed a prototype bionic eye that helps the visually impaired to see. 

Crime in 2013 
San Francisco prosecutors charged six current and former San Francisco Unified School District employees with 205 felony charges for allegedly misappropriating some $15 million in public funds.

San Francisco Unified School District.

San Francisco Unified School District.

May 15

Forty-niners.

Forty-niners.

Overland Trail in 1841
The Bartleson-Bidwell Party left Independence, Missouri. Seventy men, women and children headed west with 15 wagons and two solid-wheel carts. John Bidwell, one the first overland travelers into Nevada and California, kept a journal.He described landmarks and the surrounding countryside, which guided later Overland Trail travelers.

Massacres in 1850 
A U.S. Cavalry regiment killed a large number of Pomo Indians on a Clear Lake island. It was retaliation for Pomo killings of abusive settlers. A 6-year-old girl survived the Bloody Island Massacre by hiding underwater and breathing through a tule reed. Her descendants formed the Lucy Moore Foundation to work for better relations between Pomo and other residents of California.

Pomo basket weaver.

Pomo basket weavers.

Water in 1853 
A groundbreaking ceremony was held for a tunnel meant to deliver water from Mountain Lake to downtown San Francisco. The project was never completed and in 2010 the entrance was rediscovered near Polin Springs under 42 feet of landfill.

San Francisco in 1854

San Francisco in 1854

James Casey shot and killed James King of William.

James Casey shot and killed James King of William.

Crime in 1856
The second San Francisco Vigilance Committee was organized in response to James Casey’s murder of James King of William. They took Casey from the sheriff’s custody, gave him a short trial then hanged him.

Parks in 1903
John Muir and President Roosevelt visited Yosemite Valley. Muir convinced Roosevelt and California Governor George Pardee to make the Valley and the Mariposa Grove part of Yosemite National Park.

Theodore Roosevelt with John Muir at Yosemite (1906). Courtesy Library of Congress.

Theodore Roosevelt with John Muir at Yosemite (1906). Courtesy Library of Congress.

Sports in 1928 
Mickey Mouse appeared in his first cartoon. Walt Disney gave “Plane Crazy” a test screening to a theater audience but failed to pick up a distributor. The original version had no sound. When Disney released Mickey’s first sound cartoon, “Steamboat Willie,” later that year, it was an enormous success. So a sound version of “Plane Crazy” was released. 

Flight in 1930
Ellen Church became the first airline stewardess. She flew on a Boeing 80A for a 20-hour flight from Oakland/San Francisco to Chicago with 13 stops and 14 passengers. Stewardesses, called “sky girls,” had to be registered nurses, “single, younger than 25 years old; weigh less than 115 pounds and stand less than 5 feet, 4 inches tall.”

Ellen Church. this week in California history

McDonald's Logo.

McDonald’s Logo.

Restaurants in 1940 
Richard and Maurice McDonald opened a restaurant in San Bernardino that was the start of McDonald’s Corporation. Today it is the world’s largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 68 million customers daily in 119 countries.

Water in 1952 
Central Valley Regional Water Pollution Control Board banned dumping of perchlorate and other chemicals into groundwater and the American River. Perchlorate blocks essential iodide from being taken into the thyroid. Aerojet Corp., a rocket fuel manufacturer, continued untreated discharges.

Cub Scouts in 1953 
Cubmaster Don Murphy, Pack 280C, organized the first pinewood derby in Manhattan Beach. Pinewood Derby was selected as part of “America’s 100 Best” in 2006 as “a celebrated rite of spring” by Reader’s Digest. It has been parodied by South Park in the episode, “Pinewood Derby” (season 13) and the film, “Down and Derby” (2005).

Pinewood derby cars.

Pinewood derby cars.

People's Park (1969). Photograph by r abzug.

People’s Park (1969). Photograph by r abzug.

Government in 1969 
Governor Ronald Reagan ordered a fence built around People’s Park in Berkeley, the site of many anti-war protestors. Some 3,000 protesters tried to seize it back. Reagan placed Berkeley under martial law and dispatched tear gas-spraying helicopters and riot police who shot and killed one man. It was called “Bloody Thursday.”

Accidents in 1969  
The U.S. nuclear submarine Guitarro sank in the Napa River at Mare Island Naval Shipyard while under construction. Two crews filled tanks with water without communicating with each other. Damages were estimated at between $15.2 million and $21.85 million.

Baseball in 1973 
Nolan Ryan, California Angels pitcher, threw his first no-hitter to beat the Kansas City Royals, 3-0. He is the all-time leader in no-hitters with seven, three more than any other pitcher.

Albright in 1984 
Thomas Albright, art critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, died at age 48. He had just completed Art in the San Francisco Bay Area 1945-1980.

O’Brien in 1985 
Edmond O’Brien, film actor, died in Inglewood at age 69. He was best known for roles in “Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1939) and “The Wild Bunch” (1969).

Police in 1992 
A Los Angeles judge ordered police officer Laurence Powell retried on a charge of excessive force in the beating of Rodney King. It was eventually dropped.

Great Seal of California.

Great Seal of California.

Electricity in 2001 
California regulators adopted the highest rate increase in the state’s history. The increased cost to residential consumers was over $100 million.

Public Health in 2003 
Stephen Joseph, San Francisco attorney, withdrew his suit against Kraft Inc. to stop the sale of Oreo cookies. He was satisfied with the media attention on the high trans fat content in the cookies and other products.

Oreo cookies.

Oreo cookies.

Government in 2008 
California became the second state to legalize same-sex marriage. Under the direction of Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco in 2004, marriage licenses were issued to approximately 4,000 same-sex couples. Newsom’s authority was challenged but upheld by the state Supreme Court. A 2008 ballot measure Proposition 8, however, stopped same-sex marriages until the court decided the ban was unconsititutional.

Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon exchange rings as they are married by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. They were the first couple married in San Francisco as same-sex marriages become legal in California. Photograph by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AFP/Getty Images.

Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon exchange rings as they are married by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. They were the first couple married in San Francisco as same-sex marriages become legal in California. Photograph by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AFP/Getty Images.

Anthony Pellicano.

Anthony Pellicano.

Crime in 2008 
Anthony Pellicano, a 64-year-old Hollywood private eye, was convicted of federal racketeering and other charges for digging up dirt on wealthy Los Angeles clients. 

El Hoyo Palmas.

El Hoyo Palmas.

Crime in 2008 
Eleven members of the San Jose El Hoyo Palmas gang were indicted on charges related to four homicides over two years.

Business in 2009 
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, said that 1,000 city workers would lose their jobs in the coming months to help close a growing budget deficit. The city’s biggest union this week rejected $38 million in wage concessions.

Crime in 2010 
Fresno police arrested 60 people and impounded 37 vehicles as part of crackdown on gangs that began last month.

Foot races in 2011 
San Francisco celebrated the 100th anniversary of its Bay to Breakers race. Guards confiscated alcohol and banned iconic floats.

Google.

Google.

Business in 2013 
Google announced email money, just like emailing photos or documents. The payer and recipient both need Google Wallet accounts.

May 16

Railroads in 1865
Central Pacific Railroad trains began running from Sacramento to Auburn.

George Wyman (1902).

George Wyman (1902).

Cross-country trips in 1903
George Adams Wyman left San Francisco on the first cross-country motorcycle trip. The 25-year-old Oakland native wore a three-piece wool suit with a tie and cap when he left on his 1.25-hp, 90cc. 120-mpg motorcycle that he could also pedal. His motor was beyond repair so he pedaled 150 miles to New York City, arriving there on July 6, 1903. He attended the first meeting of the Federation of American Motorcyclists then rode the train back to California.

 

Baseball parks in 1914 
The new Ewing Field ballpark opened in San Francisco. Cal Ewing, owner of the Seals, built a 18,000 seat Ewing Field on Masonic Ave., now the site of Wallenberg High School. It was used for a half-season until the team returned to Recreation Park because of the fog.

Ewing Baseball Field (1914).

Ewing Baseball Field (1914).

Hollywood in 1929
The first Academy Awards are awarded at a private dinner in Los Angeles. Tickets cost $5. The presentation ceremony lasted fifteen minutes. It was not broadcast on radio or television.

Second anniversary program of the Filipino Children's Club, San Francisco YWCA (1936).

Second anniversary program of the Filipino Children’s Club, San Francisco YWCA (1936).

Relations between the races in 1936
San Francisco Municipal Judge Lazarus condemned dance hall operators who made white girls dance with Filipinos and called them “savages.” Lazarus held Terry Santiago, age 22, to a charge of assault with intent to murder for stabbing Norma Kompisch 22 times with a butcher knife. 

Post offices in 1949
The Borrego Springs post office opened. The San Diego County town is home to many “snow birds” or seasonal residents. Borrego Springs is completely surrounded by the 600,000-acre Anza-Borrego State Park, the largest California State Park.

Full moon rising over Fonts Point and the Borrego Badlands.

Full moon rising over Fonts Point and the Borrego Badlands.

Rancho Cordova.

Rancho Cordova.

Post offices in 1955
The Rancho Cordova post office opened. The Sacramento County town was known as Mayhew’s Crossing, Hangtown Crossing, Mills Station and Cordova Vineyards before it incorporated in 2003.

Boxing in 1955 
Rocky Marciano, heavyweight boxer, knocked-out Don Cockell. He KO-ed the British and European Champion in the 9th round of a fight at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco. Marciano is the only person to hold the heavyweight title and go untied and undefeated throughout his career.

Theodore Maiman.

Theodore Maiman.

Science in 1960 
Theodore Maiman demonstrated a ruby laser at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu. It was the world’s first working laser. Maiman’s achievement established his reputation as the “father of the electro-optics industry.”

 

 

Music in 1966 
The Beach Boys released “Pets Sounds.” It was their 11th studio album, one of the best albums of the 1960’s and among the most influential in the history of popular music.

Symbionese Liberation Army.

Symbionese Liberation Army.

Crime in 1974
William and Emily Harris, Symbionese Liberation Army members, were spotted with Patty Hearst shoplifting at a Los Angeles sporting good store. They escaped in a stolen van with an 19-year-old kidnapped victim.

Basketball in 1980 
The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Philadelphia 76ers in the thirty-fourth NBA Championship, 4 games to 2. Magic Johnson played one of the greatest game of his career in game 6. He started the game at center but played all 5 positions in a dominating performance.

Magic Johnson (1980).

Magic Johnson (1980).

Kaufman in 1984 
Andy Kaufman, entertainer, actor and performance artist, died in Los Angeles at age 35. He did not like the “comedian” label, did not tell jokes or perform traditional comedy but called himself a “song-and-dance man.” He was best know as Latka Gravas in the sitcom “Taxi” (1978-1983).

Music in 1987 
Weird Al Yankovic performed at the 72nd National Orange Show in San Bernardino.

Davis in 1990 
Sammy Davis Jr., entertainer, died in Los Angeles at age 64. The Frank Sinatra sidekick and member of The Rat Pack owed $5 million in taxes at his death. 

Crime in 1995 
Some $10 million worth of computer microprocessors were stolen from Centon in Irvine. The “Bytes Dust” task force named the men behind the heist. More than 15 members of “The Company” were arrested and tried. John That Luong was sentenced to 88 years in prison.

Chevron.

Chevron.

Environment in 1996 
Chevron, of San Ramon, said it spilled as much as 17,000 gallons of oil into Pearl Harbor, Hawaii after a pipeline sprang a leak.

Environment in 1996 
The federal government set aside 3.9 million acres of land in California, Oregon and Washington for the endangered marbled murrelet.

Marbled murrelet.

Marbled murrelet.

San Francisco Giants logo.

San Francisco Giants logo.

Baseball in 1997
The Montreal Expos, trailing the San Francisco Giants by 9 runs, came back to win, 14-13.

Crime in 2006 
The  J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles agreed to return ancient artifacts  that Greece claimed were stolen from their country.

Greek antiquities.

Greek antiquities.

Crime in 2009 
Anthony Perea, a 27-year-old motorist and Floyd Ross, a 41-year-old pedestrian, were killed when murder suspects fled from police and crashed in North Oakland. The suspected gang members had just killed Charles Davis, age 25, in West Berkeley.

May 17

Newspapers in 1851
La Estrella de Los Angeles was published in Los Angeles. It was printed in Spanish and English until 1855. When the Civil War broke out, the editor’s outspoken criticism of the federal government led to The Star being banned from the mails. Its editor was arrested for treason. It ceased publication in 1864 but resumed in 1868.

Los Angeles Star (1862).

Los Angeles Star (1862).

Bohemian Club members at Bohemian Grove.

Bohemian Club members at Bohemian Grove.

Clubs in 1872
The Bohemian Club incorporated. It was a private club celebrating literature, art, music and drama. Today it is known for a membership of powerful men in politics, business and other industries.

Spanish-American War in 1898 
Camp Merritt was established in the San Francisco. There U.S. troops for combat in the Philippines. 

Camp Merritt, San Francisco. Courtesy California Historical Society.

Camp Merritt, San Francisco. Courtesy California Historical Society.

Waseda University baseball team to visit U.S., now in Honolulu. Photographic print by Bain News Service.

Waseda University baseball team to visit U.S., now in Honolulu. Photographic print by Bain News Service.

Baseball in 1905 
Waseda University of Tokyo defeated Los Angeles High School, 5-3. It was the first stop on their American tour and first baseball game played by Japanese outside Japan.  Japan’s Big Six universities still field powerful baseball teams.

Amusement parks in 1924 
The Giant Dipper roller coaster opened in Santa Cruz. It was built by local resident Arthur Looff in 47 days for $50,000. It was declared a Historic Landmark in 1987 and by 2012, some 60 million people had ridden it.

Atomic energy in 1960 
J.W. Flora of Canoga Park patented the first atomic reactor system.

Mass transit in 1962
Marin County withdrew from the BART district. Bay Area Rapid Transit connects San Francisco with cities in the East Bay and northern San Mateo County but does not extend cross the Golden Gate into Marin County.

BART map.

BART map.

Bobby Valentine.

Bobby Valentine.

Baseball in 1973 
Bobby Valentine, Los Angeles Angels outfielder, broke his leg climbing a wall trying to catch Dick Green’s home run during a loss to the Oakland A’s, 5-4.

Crime in 1974
Six members of the Symbionese Liberation Army were killed in a gun battle with some 400 Los Angeles police officers. More than 9,000 rounds were fired in one of the largest police shootouts in history. The SLA, a self-styled revolutionary group, committed bank robberies, two murders and kidnapped Patty Hearst, daughter of a powerful newspaper family.

Literature in 1981 
San Francisco celebrated “Tillie Olsen Day.” Her books included Yonnondio (1974), and Silences (1978), a study of blocked creativity. In 2001 she received the Fred Cody Lifetime Achievement Award.

Intel.

Intel.

Business in 1993 
Intel, of Santa Clara, unveiled a new Pentium processor, the first time it gave a name, not a number, to a processor.

Jones in 1999 
Henry Jones, actor, died in Los Angeles at age 86. He appeared in more than 180 movies and television shows, including “This Is the Army” (1943).

Great Seal of California.

Great Seal of California.

Electricity in 2001 
California energy regulators uncovered evidence that some electrical power companies repeatedly shut down generating plants for unnecessary maintenance.

Politics in 2005 
Antonio Villaraigosa, 52-year-old Los Angeles Councilman, become the city’s first Hispanic mayor in more than a century. Voters embraced his promise of change in a metropolis troubled by gridlock, gangs and failing schools.

Antonio Villaraigosa.

Antonio Villaraigosa.

Gorshin in 2005 
Frank Gorshin, actor, impressionist and comedian. died in Burbank at age 72. He played the Riddler on the “Batman” television series (1966-1969).

Crime in 2013 
Christine Daniel, a 58-year-old Los Angeles physician, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for bilking patients out of more than $1 million by promising them that an herbal supplement she sold could cure late-stage cancer.

Christine Daniel.

Christine Daniel.

Venturi in 2013 
Ken Venturi, golfer and broadcaster, died in Rancho Mirage at age 82. He won 14 events on the PGA Tour, including the 1964 US Open.

Horse racing in 2014 
California Chrome won the Preakness Stakes.

May 18

Nancy Kelsey.

Nancy Kelsey.

Overland Trail in 1841
Ben and Nancy Kelsey joined John Bidwell in the first wagon train to California. She was the first white woman to travel from Missouri to California. Mother of nine children, she also played a role creating the original Bear Flag that gave the tebellion its name.

Ranchos in 1844
Rancho Canada de Salsipuedes, a Mexican land grant, was deeded. Salsipuedes means “get out if you can”, referring to the narrow winding canyons and trails on the 6,656-acre land grant in present day Santa Barbara County.

Rancho diseno

Rancho diseno

Gold Rush in 1849
Sailing ship “Grey Eagle” arrived with thirty-four passengers from the East in 113 days, a record.

Saroyan in 1908
William Saroyan was born in Fresno. He wrote  about the Armenian immigrant life in California, most notably in The Time of Your Life (1939), My Heart’s in the Highlands (1939) and My Name Is Aram (1940).

Agriculture in 1911 
San Francisco received its first shipment of red onions from Stockton. Italian gardeners were paid $2.25 per sack, earning about $500 an acre.

Evangelists in 1926
Aimee Semple McPherson disappeared. She vanished soon after arriving near Venice Beach where she went with her secretary to swim then stumbled from the Mexican desert on June 23rd. The event remains a mystery in the life of the evangelist-media celebrity, founder of the Foursquare Church.

 

Grauman's Chinese Theater.

Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

Hollywood in 1927
Sid Grauman opened his Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Concrete  in the forecourt bear the signatures, foot and hand prints of movie stars from the 1920’s today.

Crime in 1932 
Luigi Malvese, bootleg gangster, was shot to death in front of the Del Monte Barbershop in San Francisco. Police rounded up some 1,000 suspects to pressure gangs to rein in their gunmen.

Scene of slaying of Luigi Malvese (1932).

Scene of slaying of Luigi Malvese (1932).

Newspapers in 1971
Pamoja Venceremos = Together We Will Win was published in Palo Alto. The originally Latino left-wing journal, named for Che Guevera’s battle cry “We will prevail!” continued until 1973.

William Saroyan.

William Saroyan.

Saroyan in 1981 
William Saroyan, writer, died in Fresno at age 82. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (1940) and the Academy Award for Best Story (1943). 

Butler in 1988        
Daws Butler, voice actor, died in Culver City at age 71. He was the voice of Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, Snagglepuss and Huckleberry Hound.

Mills College.

Mills College.

Schools in 1990 
Trustees of all-women Mills College in Oakland voted to reverse their decision to admit men.

Montgomery in 1995        
Elizabeth Montgomery, film and television actress whose career spanned five decades, died in Beverly Hills at age 62. She was best know for playing the lead role in “Bewitched” (1964 to 1972).

Hollywood in 2001 
DreamWork Studios, of Universal City, released “Shrek,” featuring the voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz.

Roy De Forest.

Roy De Forest.

De Forest in 2007 
Roy De Forest, artist and teacher, died in Vallejo at age 77. At U.C. Davis (1965-1992) he became known for working in Funk and Nut styles, comic-like paintings with patchwork images often depicting dogs and other figures.

Buncke in 2008        
Harry Buncke, microsurgery pioneer, died in San Francisco at age 86. His  transplanting a monkey’s great toe to its hand was a breakthrough in attaching amputated digits and limbs. Buncke was called “the father of microsurgery.”

Harry Buncke.

Harry Buncke.

Roman in 2008        
Lawrence Roman, screenwriter, died in Woodland Hills at age 86. His work included the Broadway play and film “Under the Yum-Yum Tree” (1960 and 1963). He wrote more than 20 films and teleplays over 50 years.

Wayne Allwine.

Wayne Allwine.

Allwine in 2009        
Wayne Allwine, voice actor, sound effects editor and artist for The Walt Disney Company, died in Los Angeles at age 62. He was the voice of Mickey Mouse and his wife, Russi Taylor, was the voice of Minnie Mouse.

May 19

Mexican-American War in 1848 
Mexico ratified the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. This ended the war and ceding California, Nevada, Utah and parts of four other modern-day U.S. states for $15 million.

Public libraries in 1882
San Diego Public Library was established. It was the first Western city to build a Carnegie Library. Today, its Central Library topped by steel-and-mesh dome is a landmark building. With  thirty-five branches, the system circulates more than seven million items and is visited by more than six million people yearly.

San Diego Public Library, Andrew Carnegie Library.

San Diego Public Library, Andrew Carnegie Library.

Women inventors in 1885
Mary Jane Holt of San Francisco patented a meat and provision safe. “My invention relates to improvements in safes for housekeepers use to contain and protect meat and various articles of food that require a circulation of air or some exposure to free air, in order to preserve them in a state of sweetness or serviceable as food.”

Mary Jane Holt. Meat and Provision Safe (1885).

Mary Jane Holt. Meat and Provision Safe (1885).

Juan Marichal.

Juan Marichal.

Baseball in 1960 
Juan Marichal, San Francisco Giants pitcher, beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 2-0. He was the first National League pitcher since 1900 to debut with a one-hitter.

Hollywood in 1999  
“Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” was released. George Lucas created it largely at Skywalker Ranch in San Rafael.

Great Seal of California.

Great Seal of California.

Business in 2003 
It was reported that many California community state pension expenses would soon exceed 40% of the public safety payroll.

Seal of San Francisco.

Seal of San Francisco.

Business in 2004 
San Francisco Supervisors learned that the Civil Service Commission cut their salaries to $90,000 from $112,000 following a survey of other state municipalities.

 

 

Kubi. Photography by Liz Hafalia, Courtesy San Francisco Chronicle.

Kubi. Photography by Liz Hafalia, Courtesy San Francisco Chronicle.

Zoos in 2004 
Kubi, San Francisco Zoo’s 29-year-old gorilla, died, after his surgery to remove a diseased lung.

Crime in 2004 
Chris Johnson, age 26, was killed in a San Francisco Safeway parking lot after a funeral for his nephew, Raymon Bass, age 17, killed in a gang feud. 

Crime in 2006 
A federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted Milberg Weiss for a 20-year conspiracy by the law firm to funnel kickbacks to plaintiffs in dozens of securities class-action cases.

May 20

Counties in 1861
Lake County was established. Located in the north central part of the state, it was formed from Napa and Mendocino counties and is named for Clear Lake, the largest natural lake entirely within California.

Lake County.

Lake County.

J.W. Davis patent for fastening pocket-openings (1873).

J.W. Davis patent for fastening pocket-openings (1873).

Blue jeans in 1873
Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis patented the process of putting rivets in pants for strength. They called their pants “waist overalls.” Today Levi Strauss & Co. is a world famous brand.

Business in 1874 
Levi Strauss began selling blue jeans with copper rivets for $13.50 per dozen. 

Science in 1930 
University of California dedicated $1,500 to research on the prevention and cure of athlete’s foot.

Accidents in 1946 
Physicist Louis Slotin was fatally irradiated in an accident during an experiment with the Demon core at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The test was known as “tickling the dragon’s tail” for its extreme risk. Slotin died nine days later from acute radiation poisoning.

Louis Slotin.

Louis Slotin.

Yuba City High School bus disaster (1976).

Yuba City High School bus disaster (1976).

Accidents in 1976 
Twenty-eight students and an adult advisor were killed in a bus crash in Martinez. The Yuba City High School choir was traveling to  Orinda for a friendship day involving the choirs of the two schools.

Sports in 1977
The San Diego Padres beat the Montreal Expos in 21 innings,11-8. It was the Padres longest road game. 

San Diego Padres.

San Diego Padres.

Crime in 1979 
The White Night riots in San Francisco followed the manslaughter conviction of Dan White for the assassinations of George Moscone and Harvey Milk. Milk was the first openly gay member of the San Francsico City Council. The gay community was inflamed by the leniency of White’s conviction.

Radner in 1989 
Gilda Radner, legendary comedian, acress and wife of Gene Wilder, died in Los Angeles at age 42. She was an original cast member of “Saturday Night Live,” for which she won an Emmy Award (1978).

Television in 2003 
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003) had its finale. Set in Sunnydale, a fictional California town, it depicted high school as a literal Hell. 

Crime in 2010 
Oakland police arrested at least 26 people as part of a crackdown on the Ghost Town street gang, capping a 5-month operation they called Ghostbusters.

Ghost Town tagging.

Ghost Town tagging.

Tesla Motors.

Tesla Motors.

Business in 2010 
Tesla Motors announced a $50 million investment from Toyota Corp. to help buy the recently closed Nummi auto plant in Fremont.