Prisons in 1936
Joseph “Dutch” Bowers, reportedly the first man to try to escape from Alcatraz prison, fell seventy feet to his death after being shot by a guard while climbing a fence.
Salinas Assembly Center, built on a rodeo grounds, opened. It was part of the forced detention of some 110,000 Californians of Japanese ancestry during World War II. Assembly centers were used to securely move people to the ten internment prisons.
Japanese American Internment in 1942
The first Japanese American prisoners arrived at the Tanforan detention center south of San Francisco. People were held there for 169 days before being transferred to relocation camps.
Health in 1955
The U.S. government stopped using all Salk vaccine manufactured by Cutter Laboratories in Berkeley pending investigation of 7 to 14 ill children who were inoculated with the company’s vaccine.
Race relations in 1963
Marvin Sheldon, San Francisco real estate developer, said he wanted no African Americans in any of the homes he has built in Golden Gate Heights. He rejected a $39,950 offer by Wilt Chamberlain, star of the San Francisco Warriors, to buy a home.
Crime in 1995
Robert Citron, former Orange County Treasurer, pleaded guilty to six counts of defrauding investors in the county investment pool. While he never profited personally, his actions were blamed for a $1.6 million loss, which caused the county to file for bankruptcy.
Handler in 2002
Ruth Handler, co-founder of Mattel, Inc. of El Segundo, died in Los Angeles at age 85. She created the Barbie doll (1959).
Stein in 2008
Hal Stein, jazz saxophonist and teacher, died in Oakland at age 79. His career spanned the swing and bebop eras of jazz.
Barnes in 2009
Ernie Barnes, professional football player, actor, author and artist, died in Los Angeles at age 68. He was the official artist of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
Newspapers in 1849
The Placer Times was first published at Sacramento City.
Gold Rush in 1849
Samuel Brannan began ferry service to Mormon Island, one of the first gold mining camps. It was located where the North and South Forks of the American River come together. Today it is under Folsom Lake.
Churchs in 1850
Grace Episcopal Church of San Francisco was organized as a parish by the first regularly appointed Episcopal missionary to California. Today Grace Cathedral is an international pilgrimage center for church-goers and visitors.
Education in 1855
Santa Clara College, founded by Jesuits, is the oldest institution of higher education in the state. Today the university has 5,250 undergraduate and 3,270 graduate students.
Tule River War in 1856
Yokut Indians repelled an attack on their land by some 100 would-be Indian fighters called “Petticoat Rangers.” The Tule River War in the southern San Joaquin Valley lasted six weeks.
Libraries in 1880
The California State Legislature approved an “Act to establish free public libraries and reading rooms…” Today it is a research center for the state government and hub for all California public libraries.
Fires in 1908
A fire at a San Francisco stable killed 48 horses.
Bridges in 1937
A ceremony marked the driving of the last rivet into the Golden Gate Bridge. A rivet gun destroyed a symbolic gold rivet so a steel rivet finished the job.
Sports in 1961
Warren Spahn, the Milwaukee Braves pitcher known as “Hooks,” threw his second no hitter at age 41 to beat the San Francisco Giants, 1-0.
Sports in 1966
The Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers in the 20th NBA Championship, 4-3.
Accidents in 1973
Thousands of bombs on 18 railroad cars, headed for the Vietnam War, exploded over 18 hours in the town of Antelope. Fifty-five hundred structures were damaged. The accident lead to passage of the Transportation Safety Act (1974).
Sports in 1985
Fernando Valenzuela, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, set a record for most consecutive innings at the start of a season without allowing an earned run (41) before the Padres ended the streak.
Radio in 1998
Public Radio Inc. of San Francisco received a $185,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant to create “Lost and Found Sound: An American Record.”
Government in 1998
Mabel Teng, San Francisco Supervisor, announced that the Boy Scouts of America would be barred from taking part in a $500,000 city charity drive because it refused to admit gays.
Calhoun in 1999
Rory Calhoun, Western film star, died in Burbank at age 76. He starred in the 1950s TV series “The Texan.”
Business in 2003
Apple, Inc., of Cupertino, launched the iTunes Music store. It became a media player, media library, online radio broadcaster, and mobile device management application that changed the music industry.
Science in 2006
A U.C. Berkeley research team reported creating microscopic versions of compound eyes like those of insects.
Business in 2010
Sempra Energy, parent company of San Diego Gas and Electric Co., agreed to pay $410 million to settle claims that it played Enron-style games with California’s electricity market during the 2000-2001 energy crises.
Business in 2010
Palm Inc., of Sunnyvale, agreed to be bought out by Hewlett-Packard Co., of Palo Alto, for about $1.4 billion in cash. It helped originate the smart phone with its Palm Pilot “personal digital assistants.”
Exploration in 1769
The San Carlos arrived in San Diego Bay after more than 100 days at sea from Mexico. It was one of Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portolá’s ships that founded a colony in San Diego. Due to a map error by Vizcaíno in 1602, the ship landed at the future site of Los Angeles before returning south.
Tule River War in 1856
During the Tule River War, Yokut Indians repelled a second attack by the ‘Petticoat Rangers,’ a band of civilian Indian fighters at Four Creeks. The Yokuts lived along the shores of Tulare Lake in the Central Valley, which disappeared by 1900 due to water diversion and farming.
Forts in 1857
The U.S. Army Pacific Division Headquarters were established at the San Francisco Presidio. Congress decommissioned it and transferred the land to the National Park Service on October 1, 1994.
Hearst in 1863
William Randolph Hearst was born in San Francisco. He built the nation’s largest newspaper chain. He promoted “”yellow journalism,” sensationalized stories of questionable truth.
Television in 1953
The first U.S. experimental 3D television broadcast showed an episode of “Space Patrol” on KECA-TV in Los Angeles.
Movies in 1953
The first Cinerama movie theater opened in Los Angeles. It had a deeply curved screen that extended into the auditorium.
Pfeiffer in 1958
Michelle Pfeiffer, actress, was born in Santa Ana. She is best known for roles in “Scarface” (1983), “Batman Returns” (1992) and “Hairspray” (2007).
Radio in 1963
KRE-AM in Berkeley changed its call letters to KPAT. KPAT changed back to KRE in 1972 then became KBLX in 1986 then KBFN in 1989 and back to KBLX in 1990. The current call letters, KVTO, were adopted in 1994. It broadcasts a Chinese format.
Music in 1971
Bill Graham closed the Fillmore in San Francisco and the Fillmore East in New York, legendary concert halls. He was angry about greed in the music industry. He soon changed his mind and put on shows with Led Zeppelin, the Allman Brothers, Pink Floyd, the Who and the Grateful Dead.
Hitchcock in 1980
Alfred Hitchcock, legendary film director, died in Bel Air at age 78. His films set in California include “Rebecca” (1940), “Shadow of a Doubt” (1943), “Vertigo” (1958) and “The Birds” (1963).
Libraries in 1986
Los Angeles Public Library burned. A fire at the Central Library damaged or destroyed some 400,000 books and other items.
Environment in 1988
Moloko, the first California condor chick conceived in captivity, was born in the San Diego Zoo.
Flight in 1990
The space shuttle Discovery landed safely at Edwards Air Force Base after a mission which included deploying the Hubble Space Telescope.
Riots in 1992
Riots started in Los Angeles when LA Police Department officers accused of beating Rodney King were acquitted. Over the next three days fifty-three people were killed, 2,300 injured and an some $717 million in property damaged.
Radio in 1996
Howard Stern Radio Show premiered on KFRR 104.1 FM in Fresno.
Business in 2004
Google, in Mountain View, unveiled an IPO, Initial Public Offering, that sold nearly $3 billion in stock.
Environment in 2004
Cleanup crews arrived at Suisun Marsh to tackle an estimated 60,000 gallon diesel fuel spill from a pipeline operated by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners of Houston, Texas.
Business in 2005
Apple, Inc., in Cupertino, began selling the Tiger operating system, OS X version 10.4, for the Mac computer.
Rock slides in 2006
A rock slide at Ferguson Ridge, 8 miles west of El Portal, shut down the Highway 140 connection to Yosemite National Park.
Technology in 2010
ChronoZoom was announced and demonstrated at U.C. Berkeley. The free interactive zoomable timeline included the history of everything.
Prisons in 2013
Sixty-two prisoners reportedly died in California from 2006 through 2013 after coming down with a fungal infection called valley fever. The federal manager of health care in the state’s prisons ordered 3,300 inmates transferred from Pleasant Valley and Avenal, which had the highest rates.
Education in 1857
George Minns opened Minns’ Evening Normal School in San Francisco. It later became the California State Normal School and moved to San Jose. A southern campus became UCLA and the San Jose campus became San Jose State University.
Education in 1859
The California state legislature granted a charter to St. Ignatius Academy in San Francisco. What began as one-room schoolhouse in 1855 grew into one of the leading college preparatory schools in the state.
Inventions in 1867
Adelia Waldron of San Jose patented an improved washing machine. “The stationary washboard in front is faced by a movable one kept in position by two eccentric buttons fastened to the ends of the box. Wooden pegs in conjunction with a sliding clamp hold the clothes as the frame moves.”
Newspapers in 1853
The Placerville Herald debuted and published until at least November 5, 1853.
Newspapers in 1872
The only known edition of The Truckee Republican appeared on April 30, 1872.
Pomo Indians in 1908
Robinson Rancheria in Lake County was formed as Pomo tribal land. Today it is home to Robinson Rancheria Resort and Casino.
Hollywood in 1927
Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford were the first celebrities to leave footprints in concrete at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
Transportation in 1936
The Park-O-Meter, the first ones in San Francisco were on Market Street, charged 10 cents for 20 minutes.
Movies in 1938
The animated cartoon short “Porky’s Hare Hunt,” a Warner Bros production, debuted in movie theaters. It introduced Happy Rabbit, an early version of Bugs Bunny.
Japanese American internment in 1942
Turlock Assembly Center, built at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds, opened. It was part of the forced detention of some 110,000 Californians of Japanese ancestry during World War II. Assembly centers were used to securely move people to the ten internment prisons.
Sports in 1952
Louise Suggs won the LPGA Golf Open in Stockton. It was one of 58 professional tournaments she won, including 11 majors. Suggs co-founded the Ladies Professional Golf Association with Patty Berg and Babe Zaharias in 1950.
Sports in 1961
Willie Mays, legendary San Francisco Giants outfielder, hit four home runs in a game with the Milwaukee Braves.
Public health in 1998
Daniel Jones, age 40, blew up his truck and fatally shot himself on a connector bridge between the Harbor and Century Freeways on live TV. He had HIV and displayed an anti-HMO banner before killing himself.
Public health in 2001
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a measure 9-2 to allow city employees medical benefits for a sex change.
Flight in 2001
The Soyuz-32 carried California businessman Dennis Tito and Russian astronauts to dock with the International Space Station.
Gupton in 2003
Eric Gupton, founding member of the Black theater troupe Pomo Afro Homos, died in San Francisco at age 30. The group’s breakthrough show was “Fierce Love: Stories From black Gay Life” (1990).
Business in 2004
The National Labor Relations Board, in San Francisco, ruled that cab drivers for an East Bay taxi companies are employees, not independent contractors. Therefore they were entitled to unionize. The companies refused to negotiate.
Transportation in 2009
San Francisco Municipal Railway announced plans to raise adult bus and streetcar fares by 50 cents to $2.00. It was the largest one-time raise in nearly a century. Service cuts were also approved.
Gray in 2013
Mike Gray, writer and filmmaker, died in Los Angeles at age 77. His work included the original screenplay for “The China syndrome” (1979).
Exploration in 1774
De Anza’s expedition to bring supplies from Mexico reached Monterey. The journey north took nearly three months because they got lost. The return journey south took only about a month.
Overland Trail in 1841
The first wagon train left Independence, Missouri for Oregon. The 70 farmers followed a fur traders route to the Columbia River. That became the Oregon Trail.
Education in 1860
The first school in California for blind children opened in a small wood frame building in San Francisco. Forty-eight students enrolled in 1866. It became the California School for the Blind in Fremont.
Accidents in 1881
Five children were killed by a train when their family’s wagon stuck on the tracks in San Lorenzo.
Angel Island in 1892
The U.S. Quarantine Station opened on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay. Approximately 200,000 Asian immigrants entered the U.S. here, making it the Ellis Island of the West. People spent years on the island waiting for entry. Today the U.S. Quarantine Station is a National Historic Landmark within Angel Island State Park.
Hotels in 1912
The Beverly Hills Hotel opened. It became the scene of legendary glamour, riches and romance.
Sports in 1973
The San Francisco Giants staged a record-breaking comeback by scoring 7 runs with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th inning to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 8-7.
Sports in 1991
Rickey Henderson, Oakland A’s outfielder, stole his 939th base, making him the all-time leader in this category.
Sports in 1992
The Los Angeles Dodgers postponed three games due to the riots over the Rodney King beating.
Crime in 1992
Eric Houston killed four people at Lindhurst High School in Olivehurst, where he failed history four years earlier.
Radio in 1997
The Howard Stern Radio Show premiered in San Diego on KIOZ 105.3 FM.
Cleaver in 1998
Eldridge Cleaver, political activist, died in Pomona at age 62. He wrote Soul On Ice (1968) while in Folsom Prison. He jumped bail after a 1968 shooting, returning to the U.S. in 1975. Cleaver renounced his actions as a Black Panther and became a Republican.
Reeves in 2000
Steve Reeves, body builder and actor, died in Escondido, at age 74. He was best known for roles in “Hercules,” “The Last Days of Pompeii,” and “Duel of the Titans.”
Race relations in 2002
California’s Department of Insurance released identities of 613 former slaves and 433 slaveholders.
Radio in 2006
KQED of San Francisco and KTEH of San Jose merged under the name Northern California Public Broadcasting.
Protests in 2007
Los Angeles Police officers responded to a May Day pro-immigration rally overflowing onto city streets by driving motorcycles through the crowd then ordering the crowd to disperse. Some people began throwing plastic bottles and rocks at officers who responded with batons and rubber bullets.
Sports in 2012
Guggenheim Partners purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2.1 billion.
Inventions in 1871
Selena C. Ewing, of Ferry Hills, patented an Improvement for cooking stoves. “My invention relates to partitions-to be employed more particularly in cooking-stoves, but applicable also to all other kinds of stoves; and It consists in the employment of a plate of metal, made to fit in the fire-place and top chamber of the stove, which can be moved back and forth. across the fire-place in order to diminish the size of the fire-place when desired, in order to economize fuel.”
Hollywood in 1912
Vernon Country Club opened. It started as a roadhouse in a beet field, but became a legendary Hollywood nightclub. Rudolph Valentino was a $35-a-week dancer there, before he became famous,
Flight in 1923
Lieutenants Oakley Kelly and John Macready flew the first nonstop transcontinental flight. They took off from Mitchel Field, New York to Rockwell Field, North Island, San Diego. Their official time was 26 hours, 50 minutes and 38 3⁄5 seconds.
Stadiums in 1925
Kezar Stadium opened in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. It was home to the 49ers and Raiders and a concert venue for Led Zeppelin, Jefferson Starship, Grateful Dead, Carlos Santana, Crunchees and other bands. Bleacher planks were sold to fans before the place was demolished.
Crime in 1928
An Emeryville police raid on a brewery next door to the home of the police chief found 5,000 gallons of unbottled beer and 3,000 bottles of beer.
Prisons in 1946
The Battle of Alcatraz lasted two days after an attempted escape from Alcatraz Island Federal Penitentiary. Two guards and three inmates died in the violence.
Chessman in 1960
Caryl Chessman, robber, kidnapper and rapist, was executed at San Quentin Prison at age 38. His autobiography, Cell 2455, Death Row (1954), became a best-seller.
Earthquakes in 1983
The Coalinga Earthquake shook the region from Los Angeles to Lassen County, from the coast to western Nevada. Some 5,000 aftershocks were recorded through July 31. Nearly 900 had a 2.5 or higher magnitude.
Rappaport in 1990
David Rappaport, the 3’11’ film and television actor, died in the San Fernando Valley at age 38. He was best known for roles in “Time Bandits” (1981) and “Wizard” (1986-1987).
Gallo in 1993
Julio Gallo, co-founder of Gallo Wines headquartered in Modesto, died in a car accident in Tracy at age 82.
Earthquakes in 1995
A scientific theory predicted a 6.0 magnitude earthquake for the Central Valley by July 9. It did not happen.
Crime in 1996
John Dylan Katz, age 16, was beaten and put into a coma in Windsor, apparently for wearing the wrong colors. Three men and a woman were arrested for the assault.
Accidents in 1997
An armored car flipped in Oakland, releasing 27 bags of money containing around $550,000. A total of $106,000 was recovered.
Military expeditions in 1855
William Walker left San Francisco with about 60 men to conquer Nicaragua and build a canal.
Japanese American Internment in 1942
President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. It called for evacuating Japanese-Americans from Los Angeles. Some 110,000 Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast were eventually forcibly held in 10 relocation camps through much of World War II.
Accidents in 1957
A Navy bomber practicing evasive maneuvers sheared high-voltage lines in the East Bay, causing a power outage in San Francisco and the Peninsula.
Business in 1991
Walt Disney Company, in Burbank, joined the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Today it employs some 175,000 people.
Parker in 2003
Suzy Parker, model and actress, died at age 69 in Montecito. She appeared on magazine covers, in advertisements and movie and television roles during the 1950s.
Government in 2004
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger visited King Abdullah II of Jordan following criticism from Arab-Americans that his Mideast trip excluded a meeting with Arabs.
Crime in 2006
Federal agents raided a San Francisco-based cocaine and methamphetamine trafficking operation that produced 19 indictments.
Philanthropy in 2007
James Simons, hedge fund manager and philanthropist, announced a $10 million donation to Berkeley’s Mathematical Sciences Research Institute from the Simons Foundation.
Schirra in 2007
Wally Schirra, one of the original Mercury seven astronauts, died at age 84 in La Jolla. He logged nearly 300 hours in space from 1962 to 1968.
Protests in 2010
Some 20 students at U.C. Berkeley began a hunger strike. They demanded the school denounce Arizona’s new immigration law, drop charges against protesters from anti-fee hike occupation, rehire laid-off janitors and declare Berkeley a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants.
Cooper in 2011
Jackie Cooper, child actor turned film director, died at age 88 in Santa Monica. He played in the “Our Gang” film series starting in 1929. Later he played Perry White, Daily Planet editor, in the 1970s and 1980s Superman Series with Christopher Reeve.
Fires in 2013
The Springs Fire, which started in Camarillo, threatened 4,000 homes but burned just 15. The fire ended when rain moved through the area, raining more than half an inch in some places.
Flight in 2013
The Solar Impulse, a solar-powered airplane took off from Moffett Federal Field, south of San Francisco. It attempted to fly across the U.S. using solar power.
Exploration in 1770
Gaspar de Portolá, exploring for the Spanish King, named the Santa Monica Mountains. It was his second attempt to find Monterey Bay and establish a colony. With him marched Lt. Pedro Fages, twelve Catalonian volunteers, seven leather-jacket soldiers, five Baja California Indians, two muleteers, and Father Crespi serving as the expedition’s chaplain.
Fires in 1850
A fire that started in a San Francisco saloon burned 300 buildings and caused $4,000,000 in damage. One person died in the fire and several were wounded by firearms that discharged from the heat.
Fires in 1851
Sydney Ducks, a gang of Australian ex-convicts, set fire to a store on San Francisco’s Portsmouth Square. It was the fifth fire in 18 months. Two thousand buildings burned. The loss was estimated $12,000,000. Since there was no police force, the Committee of Vigilance formed, hung some criminals and drove others from the city.
Cities in 1852
Oakland incorporated. The town was within a vast oak grove. Today Oakland is continually listed among the top U.S. cities for sustainability practices. It ranks at the top for using electricity from renewable resources.
Business in 1911
Police Chief Seymour ordered owners of brothels at 633 Jackson and 719 Commercial Street in San Francisco to charge prostitutes no more than $2 per day. They had been charging the women $5 per day.
Radio in 1922
KNX-AM in Los Angeles began transmissions. It had begun as a five-watt amateur station, 6ADZ, in 1920. Today it is an “All News, All the Time” CBS station.
Hollywood in 1927
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences incorporated in Los Angeles. Today its some 5,765 members vote for winners of Oscars.
Sports in 1928
The Trans-American footrace began at Legion Ascot Speedway in Los Angeles. It ended at Madison Square Garden in New York City, some 3,423 miles. Fifty-five of the 199 runners completed the 84-days run. Newspapers nicknamed it the Bunion Derby. It was repeated in 1929.
Prison in 1946
U.S. Marines from Treasure Island Naval Base stopped a two-day riot at Alcatraz federal prison in which five people were killed.
Music in 1959
The first Grammy Awards for musical excellence were held in Los Angeles and New York.
Sports in 1965
Willie Mays, San Francisco Giants outfielder, hit his 512th home run, breaking Mel Ott’s 511 National League record.
Politics in 1992
Bill Clinton, Democratic presidential candidate, toured riot-torn Los Angeles streets and blamed it on what he called 12 years of Republican neglect.
Crime in 1998
A federal judge in Sacramento sentenced Theodore Kaczynski, known as the “Unabomber,” to four life sentences plus 30 years after Kaczynski accepted a plea agreement to avoid the death penalty.
Babbitt in 1999
Manuel Babbitt, a 50-year-old Vietnam veteran, was executed at San Quentin Federal Prison for murdering an elderly woman in Sacramento. He refused his last meal but asked that the $50 allotted be given to homeless Vietnam veterans. Babbitt was buried with full military honors in Massachusetts.
Environment in 2009
California Water Resources Control Board released a study that said only 21 of 152 lakes studied were free of mercury and other contaminants. One hundred and thirty-one lakes showed pollutants above state health guidelines.
DeLuise in 2009
Dom DeLuise, film and television actor, died at age 75 in Santa Monica. His passion for food lead to a second career as a popular chef and cookbook author.
Hollywood in 2010
Julia Louis-Dreyfus received the 2,407th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Her name was misspelled on her star before it was corrected.
Crime in 2011
Louis Lombardi, a 38-year-old San Ramon police officer, was arrested for theft of confiscated drugs. He pleaded guilty to selling drugs with his commanding officer, stealing jewelry and cash from crime scenes and possessing stolen guns.
Business in 2011
Intel, in Santa Clara, unveiled the Ivy Bridge processor made with a 3-D manufacturing technique that increased chip performance as much as 37% while using less power.
Murphy in 2011
Mary Murphy, film actress, died at age 80 in Beverly Hills. She played a wholesome small-town girl opposite Marlon Brando in “The Wild One” (1953).
Crime in 2012
Federal agents in southern California arrested Michael Franks, age 29, suspected in 10 bank robberies. He was dubbed the “Snowboarder Bandit” for wearing snowboarder clothes.
Accidents in 2013
A limousine caught fire on the San Mateo Bridge over San Francisco Bay. The driver and four women in a bridal party escaped. Five others died in the fire, including the bride.