Post Offices in 1848
The first U.S. post office in California opened in San Francisco. When more than 45,000 undeliverable letters piled up, clerks barricaded themselves inside for protection from the crowd.
Science in 1939
Ernest Lawrence, U.C. Berkeley professor, won a Nobel Prize for his work to develop the cyclotron, a type of particle accelerator.
Ships in 1944
SS Red Oak Victory ship was launched from Richmond. It was named after an Iowa town with the most casualties per capita in World War 2. The ship is now part of the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond.
Spies in 1945
FBI agents staked out George Eltenton’s house in Berkeley to watch the suspected Soviet spy. He admitted to trying to obtain secret information about Berkeley’s radiation lab but was allowed to move to Britain (1947).
Flight in 1961
The X-15 rocket plane, based at Edwards Air Force Base, flew at a world record speed of 4,093 mph and reached an altitude of over 19 miles.
Sports in 1966
Oakland Coliseum Arena, now known as Oracle Arena, opened. It has been home to the California Seals, Oakland Oaks, Bay Bombers, Golden State Earthquakes, Oakland Skates and is now home to the Oakland A’s and Golden State Warriors.
Literature in 1967
Rolling Stone Magazine debuted in San Francisco. It moved to New York (1977) and still reports on music, popular culture and politics.
Flight in 1983
Space shuttle Discovery flew from Vandenberg Air Force Base to Kennedy Space Center for permanent display.
Science in 2002
Allan Chu, a Saratoga High School student, won top honors in a Siemens Westinghouse competition. He presented a new algorithm to compress Internet data.
Sports in 2003
Shirley Muldowney, car racing champion, ended her 30-year career. She lost in the second round of the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Pomona Raceway.
Ford in 2003
Gordon Onslow Ford, painter, died in Inverness at age 86. He was part of a group of Surrealist artists in Paris in the 1930s.
Accidents in 2009
Tahir Sheikh Fakhar, of Hayward, was killed when the truck he was driving went off a new curve in the San Francisco Bay Bridge.
Business in 2010
Chevron Corporation, in San Ramon, announced it would buy Atlas Energy for $4.3 billion. That gave it a big stake in fracking natural gas from shale formations.
Business in 2010
Activision, in Santa Monica, released Call of Duty: Black Ops. It earned a record $360 million in the first 24 hours of sales, $650 million in the first five days.
Protests in 2011
Seven people were arrested in Berkeley as police broke up an Occupy Wall Street style camp students were building on campus.
Exploration in 1602
Sebastian Vizcaino, Portuguese explorer for the Spanish king, anchored in San Diego Bay. One hundred Kumeyaay warriors armed with bows and arrows met him when he landed.
Exploration in 1793
British Captain George Vancouver reached Santa Barbara. He was on a voyage of exploration and diplomacy around the world. Vancouver noted an oil slick on the ocean off the coast.
San Francisco in 1849
The Collector of the Port in San Francisco reported that 697 ships arrived since April 1, 1849; 401 were American and 296 were from other countries.
Government in 1940
Walt Disney began serving as an informer for the Los Angeles office of the FBI. His job was to report information on Hollywood political “subversives.”
Technology in 1951
Direct-dial, coast-to-coast telephone service began when Mayor Leslie Denning of Englewood, New Jersey called the mayor of Alameda.
Cocktails in 1952
Stan Delaplane, San Francisco travel writer, introduced Irish coffee to America at the Buena Vista Cafe. The bar often serves more than 2,000 Irish coffees a day.
Sports in 1957
A record NFL crowd of 102,368 fans watched the San Francisco 49ers play the Los Angeles Rams in Los Angeles.
Government in 1960
President-elect John Kennedy named Pierre Salinger, former San Francisco Chronicle reporter, to be White House Press Secretary and Andrew Hatcher, an African American former editor of the San Francisco Sun Reporter, as associate press secretary.
Crime in 1969
The San Francisco Chronicle received a letter from the Zodiac killer containing detailed plans for a “death machine” to blow up a school bus.
Parks in 1978
The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area was established.
Sports in 1984
The first Breeders’ Cup World Championship took place at Hollywood Park Racetrack. It was created as a year-end championship for North American Thoroughbred racing.
Crime in 1998
San Francisco police arrested Joshua Rudiger of Oakland for throat-slashing attacks in the city. He claimed to be a 2,000-year-old vampire.
Economics in 1999
The California Budget Project reported that raising a family in the Bay Area cost $53,736. The Bay Area per-capita income was $38,300 and the federal poverty level was $16,700.
Palance in 2006
Jack Palance, film and television actor, died in Montecito at age 87. He appeared in some 100 films and was best known for macho roles like in “Sudden Fear” (1952) and “Shane” (1953).
Ranchos in 1842
Rancho Corte Madera de Novato, an 8,879-acre, was deeded. That’s where Novato in Marin County got its name.
Museums in 1924
The California Palace of the Legion of Honor was dedicated in San Francisco. Its contains more than 6,000 years of ancient and European art. Lincoln Highway, America’s first transcontinental highway, ends there.
Radio in 1928
KXO-AM in El Centro began radio broadcasting. It is one of the oldest stations in the region, heard from Palm Springs to Tucson, Arizona.
Sports in 1959
Seals Stadium in San Francisco, built during the Great Depression for minor league baseball, was demolished when Candlestick Park was built.
Sports in 1981
Fernando Valenzuela, Los Angeles Dodgers, became the first rookie to win a Cy Young Award.
Dana in 1834
Richard Henry Dana rounded Cape Horn aboard the brig Pilgrim, bound for Alta California to trade for hides and tallow. He wrote about his adventures in Two Years before the Mast (1840).
Transportation in 1936
The San Francisco Bay Bridge opened, which the San Francisco Chronicle said created “the greatest traffic jam in the history of San Francisco.” The new span opened in 2013.
Literature in 1936
Eugene O’Neill, play writer, was awarded a Nobel Prize. He lived at Tao House in Danville from 1937 to 1944. Today it is a National Historic Site.
Movies in 1946
Walt Disney’s “Song Of South,” a live-action/animated musical film, was released featuring Uncle Remus stories. “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” won the Academy Award for Best Song (1947).
Radio in 1947
KPO-AM in San Francisco changed its call letters to KNBC. Later it became KNBR. The station began broadcasting on April 17, 1922.
Sports in 1958
Warren Harding led a team of rock climbers to complete the first ascent of The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. They climbed 2,900 feet up one of the largest granite formations in the world.
Sports in 1966
The Los Angeles Dodgers completed an 18-game tour of Japan with a 9-8-1 record.
Flight in 1981
The Double Eagle V, the first balloon to cross the Pacific ocean, landed in Mendocino. It launched from Japan on November 10. Rocky Aoki, founder of the Benihana steakhouse, was part of the crew.
Arden in 1990
Eve Arden, actress, died in Beverly Hills at age 82. She performed for over 60 years and is best known as the Rydell High School principal in “Grease 1” and “Grease 2.”
Crime in 1997
Jury selection began in Sacramento in the trial of Theodore Kaczynski, known as “the Unabomber.” He was a mathematician and a serial murderer.
Brandis in 2003
Jonathan Brandis, actor, committed suicide in Los Angeles.
Environment in 2008
The U.S. Supreme Court lifted restrictions on the Navy’s use of sonar in training exercises off the California coast. Environmental groups claimed sonar harms whales.
Gabrielson in 2008
Walter Gabrielson, artist, teacher and writer died in Santa Barbara.
Exploration in 1542
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, Portuguese explorer for the Spanish king, named Cabo de Pinos, now known as Point Reyes. He searching for a safe harbor for Spanish galleons returning from the Philippines.
Government in 1849
California’s constitution, one of the longest in the world, was adopted before it become a U.S. state. The constitution was written at Colton Hall, which also housed a school house and a jail.
Post Offices in 1882
Dunlap post office opened. The small community east of Fresno is named for George Dunlap Moss, a school teacher.
Movies in 1921
“The Sheik,” a silent film was released. It made Rudolph Valentino a star.
Movies in 1940
Walt Disney released “Fantasia,” an animated musical film and the first commercial film with stereo sound. It lost money at first but became one of the highest-grossing film of all time in the U.S.
Sports in 1973
Reggie Jackson, Oakland A’s, won the American League MVP Award.
Sports in 1974
Steve Garvey, Los Angeles Dodgers, won the National League MVP Award.
Sports in 1990
Bob Welch, Oakland A’s, won the American League Cy Young Award.
Sports in 1996
Ken Caminiti, San Diego Padres, won the National League MVP Award.
Fires in 2008
The Montecito Tea Fire in San Barbara County destroyed 210 homes. It started at a historic building called the “Tea House.”
Exploration in 1792
English Captain George Vancouver, on a 4 1/2 year voyage of exploration and diplomacy around the world, anchored in San Francisco Bay. The commandant welcomed him at the Spanish Royal Presidio.
Libraries in 1890
Santa Monica Public Library moved into two rooms in the Bank of Santa Monica building at Oregon Avenue (later Santa Monica Boulevard) and Third Street. It began as a reading room next to Dr. Fred McKinnie’s drug store in 1884.
Television in 1965
KNSD, channel 39 in San Diego, began broadcasting. It started as independent station KAAR, the first in San Diego to operate on the UHF band.
Science in 1967
Theodore Maiman, of the Atomic Physics Department at Hughes Aircraft Company headquartered in Glendale, patented the world’s first laser.
Sports in 1979
Don Baylor, California Angels, won the American League Most Valuable Player Award.
Flight in 1981
Space Shuttle Columbia 2 landed at Edwards Air Force Base. It was the second Space Shuttle mission conducted by NASA, the second flight of Columbia and the first time a manned vehicle returned from space for a second time.
Sports in 1989
Mark Davis, San Diego Padres reliever, won the National League Cy Young Award.
Theater in 1997
Disney’s “Lion King” set a Broadway record of $2,700,000 in sales in one day.
Fires in 2008
The Sayre Fire, also called the Sylmar Fire, burned 489 homes in Los Angeles. It was the worst loss of homes to fire in Los Angeles history.
Transportation in 1847
The Sitka, a Russian-American Company steamboat, returned from a trip up the Sacramento River to John Sutter’s New Helvetia. The 37-foot side-wheel steamer was delivered to San Francisco in pieces aboard a Russian bark from Sitka, Alaska.
Film in 1929
Walt Disney released “Jungle Rhythm,” a short film featuring Mickey Mouse playing music using jungle animals.
Hollywood in 1932
Walt Disney opened an art school for his animators.
Arenas in 1941
The Cow Palace opened in Daly City. Rodeos, ice shows, political conventions, professional basketball, ice hockey and concerts by the Grateful Dead, Santana and Prince have happened there.
Television in 1949
KRON-TV, in San Francisco, began broadcasting. It is the third oldest station in the Bay Area. Today it broadcasts more news than any local television station in California.
Sports in 1960
Elgin Baylor of the Los Angeles Lakers scored 71 points and grabbed 25 rebounds against the New York Knicks.
Sports in 1962
Don Drysdale, Los Angeles Dodgers, won the Cy Young Award.
Flight in 1967
Michael Adams, Air Force test pilot, lost control of his X-15 aircraft which disintegrated mid-air over the Mojave Desert. Wreckage was strewn over 60 miles.
Business in 1971
Intel, in Santa Clara, released the first commercial single-chip microprocessor.
Sports in 1988
Kirk Gibson, Los Angeles Dodgers, won the National League Most Valuable Player Award.
Fires in 2008
The Freeway Complex Fire or Triangle Complex Fire destroyed 314 homes in Anaheim Hills and Yorba Linda.
War in 1846
Mexican militia attacked John Fremont’s California Battalion near San Juan Bautista in the Battle of Natividad. Fremont’s men were traveling south to join U.S. invasion forces on their way to Los Angeles.
Crime in 1939
Al Capone, convicted gang leader who served time at Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, was released from prison.
Gable in 1960
Clark Gable, legendary actor, died in West Hollywood at age 59. He is best known for roles in “Gone With the Wind” (1939) and “Run Silent, Run Deep” (1958).
Sports in 1962
Wilt Chamberlain, San Francisco Warriors, scored 73 points against the New York Knicks.
Sports in 1976
Rick Barry, San Francisco Warriors, ended the then-longest NBA streak of 60 free throws.
Holden in 1981
William Holden, actor, died in Santa Monica at age 63. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in “Stalag 17” (1953).
Flight in 1982
Space Shuttle Columbia 5 landed at Edwards Air Force Base.
Sports in 1988
Jose Canseco, Oakland A’s, won the American League Most Valuable Player.
Business in 1997
The Los Angeles Times reported that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power was $7.5 billion in debt. $4.8 billion of the debt was off the books.
Environment in 1999
California sued the U.S. government to block extensions on 36 undeveloped offshore oil leases signed by the Clinton administration.
Business in 1999
Genentech, in Vacaville, agreed to settle a 10-year patent infringement dispute with the University of California for $200 million.
Edwards in 2005
Ralph Edwards, radio pioneer and television host, died in West Hollywood at age 92. He was best known for the radio show “Truth or Consequences” (1940) and television show “This is Your Life” (1948-1952).
Crime in 2006
Federal agents arrested 24 people in San Francisco on drug charges following a 4-month undercover investigation targeting gangs in the Western Addition.
Friedman in 2006
Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize winning economist, died in San Francisco at age 94. He popularized the idea that free markets, not governments, are best at improving living standards.
Crime in 2007
A San Diego County task force broke up an organized auto theft ring in the South Bay. It was the largest auto theft ring bust in San Diego County and possibly in California.
Crime in 2007
Francis William Reimers, of Oakland and Danville, was sentenced to nine years in federal prison. He swindled millions from former friends.
Transportation in 2009
Metro Gold Line began regular service from Union Station to Atlantic Boulevard in Los Angeles. The new extension cost $898 million.
Government in 2011
A California Legislative Analyst’s Office reported the state will collect billions of dollars less in revenue than expected and expected a budget deficit of $13 billion in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
Protests in 2011
After California State University trustees raised tuition by 9%, protesters in Long Beach clashed with police at the system’s headquarters. Protestors confronted California State University police after being ejected from the university’s board of trustees meeting (2011).
Protests in 2011
Police arrested 95 protesters in San Francisco who occupied a downtown Bank of America office.
Business in 2011
Google launched its online music service, Google Play Music.
Business in 2012
Activision, headquartered in Santa Monica, grossed $500 million from “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” in 24 hours. It was the biggest entertainment launch in history.