Overland Trail in 1847
The Fourth Relief rescue party reached the lake. The only person alive was Louis Keseberg, who they found surrounded by half-eaten corpses. They left the lake four days later, headed for Sutter’s Fort with Keseberg in tow.
Government in 1852
Tulare County was established from parts of Mariposa County in the Central Valley. It is home to Sequoia National Park and Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park. The county is named for Tulare Lake, which was the largest freshwater lake west of the Great Lakes until it was drained for agricultural development.
Mining in 1863
San Pedro Mining District was formed at Santa Catalina Island following gold discoveries. But prospectors found more silver than gold. Today the island blends tourism with environmental protection.
Libraries in 1872
San Francisco Bar Association established a library. It had some 9,500 volumes when it burned in the Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire (1906).
Crime in 1910
Eva Swan, a 26-year-old San Francisco schoolteacher, disappeared. Dr. James Grant murdered her following a botched abortion and buried her in a basement.
Sports in 1938
Joe DiMaggio, San Francisco-born, ended his holdout with Colonel Jacob Rupert, owner of the New York Yankees. DiMaggio accepted a $25,000 salary instead of the $40,000 he bargained for.
O’Neal in 1941
Ryan O’Neal, actor, was born in Los Angeles. He is best known for roles in “Love Story” (1970), “What’s Up, Doc?” (1972), “Paper Moon” (1973) and in the television series “Bones”.
Japanese American Internment in 1942
Tulare Assembly Center opened. It was part of the forced detention of some 110,000 Californians of Japanese ancestry during World War II. Detention camps were used to securely move internees to the ten internment prisons.
Sports in 1949
Bill Shoemaker, jockey, won his first race at Golden Gate Fields in Albany. For 29 years he held the world record of number of professional jockey victories.
Transportation in 1958
The last Key System train left San Francisco for Oakland. Ferry service from the San Francisco Ferry Building ended when the “Eureka” made its last crossing to Oakland. Train tracks were taken off the lower deck of the Bay Bridge and lanes were paved for car traffic.
Crime in 1984
Julie Connell, an Arroyo High School senior, disappeared in Hayward. Her body was found five days later near Castro Valley. DNA evidence in 2000 revealed that Robert Rhoades, already on death row, kidnapped and killed her.
Sports in 1990
Brian Holman, of the Oakland A’s, pitched a perfect game until a home run spoiled it in the bottom of the 9th inning.
Accidents in 2005
A Lockheed P-3 Orion, an air tanker, crashed in Lassen National Forest killing three crew members during a training run. The cause of the crash was never determined.
Crime in 2006
Federal and local agents raided the Hells Angels in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco’s Potrero Hill. They found a pound of methamphetamine. At 16 locations, including Livermore and San Mateo County, they recovering weapons and six more pounds of methamphetamine.
Hiller in 2006
Stanley Hiller Jr., helicopter pioneer, died in Atherton at age 81. At age 15, he designed and produced a working model of the first successful coaxial helicopter.
Business in 2009
Oracle Corp., in Redwood City, purchased the server and software maker Sun Microsystems Inc., of Santa Clara, for $7.4 billion.
Business in 2012
Sam Wo, the oldest restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown, closed after some 100 years in business.
Protests in 2013
Some 10-15 thousand people gathered at Hippie Hill in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park for the annual “420” unofficial pot-smoking bacchanalia. They left about 10,000 pounds of garbage for cleanup.
Presidios in 1782
Santa Barbara presidio construction began with a blessing by Padre Junípero Serra. It was Spain’s last outpost in the New World. Today El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park preserves the second oldest surviving building in California.
Muir in 1838
John Muir was born in Scotland. He spent his 31st birthday as a shepherd in Tuolumne Meadows in the High Sierra Nevada. He helped establish Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks and founded The Sierra Club.
Stockton in 1852
Stockton first incorporated on July 23, 1850 then re-incorporated. It was known as Tuleburg, Fat City, and Mudville before it was named in honor of Commodore Robert Stockton.
Civil War in 1861
California men met at a New York City hotel “to raise a regiment composed of men from the Pacific coast and others who might choose to join” the Army of the Union. They fought in the Civil War Battle of Ball’s Bluff.
Sports in 1967
A Los Angeles Dodgers game was rained out for the first time after 737 consecutive games there.
Brown in 1905
Pat Brown was born in San Francisco. Both he and his son, Jerry, were elected governor of California.
Crime in 1990
Bob Engel, a National League umpire, was arrested in Bakersfield for stealing 4,180 baseball cards.
Crime in 1992
Robert Alton Harris was executed at San Quentin State Prison. He was convicted in the 1978 murders of two teenage boys in San Diego. His execution was the first in the state of California since 1967.
Rogers in 1999
Buddy Rogers, actor and jazz bandleader, died in Rancho Mirage at age 94. He performed opposite Clara Bow “Wings” (1927), the first film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture.
Sports in 2001
The Los Angeles Xtreme beat the San Francisco Demons in the first and last XFL championship game, 38-6.
Clark in 2001
Claude Clark, painter and printmaker, died in Oakland at age 86. He wrote the first curriculum for African and African American art, shortly after he began a 13-year stint at Merritt College in Oakland.
Crime in 2003
Charges were filed against Marcus Armstrong, former information systems manager for the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection, for bribes of close to $450,000.
Millender-McDonald in 2007
Juanita Millender-McDonald, a 7-term congresswoman from Southern California, died in Carson at age 68. She was known in Congress for her commitment to protecting international human rights.
Crime in 2009
Daniel Andreas San Diego a 31-year-old computer specialist from Berkeley, was added to the FBI’s list of “Most Wanted” terror suspects. Authorities described him as an bomb-making animal rights activist.
Business in 2011
Mattel Inc., in El Segundo, lost a seven-year legal war against MGA Entertainment Inc., of Van Nuys. The jury decided MGA Entertainment owned the Bratz dolls.
Jackson in 2011
Jess Jackson, lawyer turned winemaker, died in Geyserville at age 81. He and his first wife, Jane Kendall, produced their first wine under the Kendall-Jackson label in 1982. His brand became identified with Chardonnay, the nation’s most favored grape.
Government in 1850
An Act for the Government and Protection of Indians was passed. It allowed Indians “peaceable to reside…” and protected white defendants from conviction of a crime based on testimony by an Indian in court.
Government in 1851
The legislature passed a Land Claims Act. It jeopardized the Mexican ownership of ranchos and other land deeded before statehood.
Newspapers in 1871
The Ventura Signal began publishing weekly, produced by Signal Publishing Co. in Santa Barbara.
Transportation in 1959
San Francisco opened the 1.4 mile extension of the Central Freeway from 13th and Mission to Golden Gate Ave. and Franklin St.
Earth Day in 1970
The first Earth Day spawned events at thousands of U.S. colleges, elementary schools and community centers. It “brought 20 million Americans out into the spring sunshine for peaceful demonstrations in favor of environmental reform.” Now it is observed in 192 countries, and coordinated by the Earth Day Network.
Crime in 1978
Cynthia Waxman, age 11, was murdered while playing in a field in Moraga. DNA evidence in 2005 revealed she was killed by Charles Jackson, who died in Folsom Prison in 2002.
Will Geer, film and television actor, died in Los Angeles at age 76. He is best known for playing Grandpa Zeb Walton on “The Waltons” (1972-1978).
Sports in 1981
Fernando Valenzuela, Los Angeles Dodgers rookie pitcher, threw three shutouts in four starts, fanning “Fernando-mania.”
Hines in 1983
Earl Hines, jazz pianist and bandleader, died in Oakland age 79. The great pianist known as “Fatha” Hines was a major influence on the development of jazz.
Adams in 1984
Ansel Adams, photographer, died in Monterey at age 82. He was famous for his photographs of Yosemite Valley. Adams redefined the artistic standards and possibilities of landscape photography.
Crime in 1987
Joseph Gamsky, better known as Joe Hunt, leader of a Ponzi scheme called the “Billionaire Boys Club,” was convicted by a Santa Monica jury of murdering Ron Levin and sentenced to life in prison.
Business in 1991
Intel Corp, in Santa Clara, released the 486SX chip.
Earthquakes in 1992
A 6.0 earthquake struck around Joshua Tree National Park.
Accidents in 1992
A plane crashed at Perris Valley Airport California, killing 16 skydivers and seriously injuring others.
Bombeck in 1996
Erma Bombeck, homemaker turned humorous newspaper columnist, died in San Francisco at age 69. Her columns were read twice a weekly by 30 million readers of the 900 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada.
Crime in 2002
Robert Blake, actor, was charged with murder, solicitation of murder and conspiracy in the shooting death of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, outside a Los Angeles restaurant. Earle Caldwell, Blake’s bodyguard, was charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Both men pleaded innocent and both were acquitted at criminal trial. But Blake was later found liable in a civil trial.
Landmarks in 2008
The historic Irvine Ranch, some 40,000 acres of protected habitat, become the first California Natural Landmark.
Business in 2010
Codexis, a Redwood City developer of biocatalysts for drug and biofuel production, launched its initial public offering at $13 per share. Codexis was founded in 2002 as a spin-out from drug developer Maxygen, which now owns about 21.3%.
Parlette in 2010
Alicia Parlette, a 28-year-old copy editor, died at U.C. San Francisco of cancer. Her diagnosis at age 23 led to “Alicia’s Story,” a 17-part series in The San Francisco Chronicle.
Business in 2012
Google, in Mountain View, launched Street View in Israel. The Internet giant said it was putting it on to show streets and sites of interest with its 360-degree street-level images.
Education in 2013
A new San Francisco company called the Minerva Project announced an annual $500,000 prize to one outstanding higher education teacher whose innovations led to extraordinary student learning experiences.
Exploration in 1792
Captain George Vancouver named Dragon Channel on the Mendocino coast. This dangerous place on the coast had been called Dragon Blocks and is a shipwreck site. During his four-and-a-half-year voyage of exploration and diplomacy, Vancouver would circumnavigate the globe, touch five continents and change the course of history.
Exploration in 1844
John Frémont, on his way east after inciting insurrection in California, named the Mojave River after the Mohave people. He met six Mohave men traveling that day but they lived two mountain ranges away on the Colorado River.
Post offices in 1852
Santa Rosa, in Sonoma County, appointed Donald McDonald to be its first postmaster.
Mail delivery in 1860
When a Pony Express rider missed the boat at Benicia, Thomas Bedford, a 34-year-old stable keeper, was hired on the spot. He boarded the ferry with his horse but discovered his horse lost a shoe. So he borrowed a horse from Casemoro Briones, a blacksmith, and delivered the mail to the ferry at Oakland. The mail reached San Francisco 9 hours and 15 minutes from the time it left Sacramento.
Black in 1928
Shirley Temple, a child movie star in the 1930s, one of the most popular persons in America during the Great Depression, was born in Santa Monica. As an adult, Mrs Black entered politics and was twice an U.S. Ambassador.
Sports in 1969
Jerry West, Los Angeles Laker, scored 53 points as the Lakers edged the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, 120-118. West was nicknamed “Mr. Clutch” because he made big plays in clutch situations.
Crime in 1969
Sirhan Sirhan was sentenced to death for the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968.
Environment in 1988
A drain valve was left open at the Shell Marsh in Martinez poured 10,000 barrels of oil into the marsh joining Peyton Slough. Shell cleaned the mess and paid $20 million in penalties. The marsh was purchased with part of the funds and turned into a regional park.
Sports in 1989
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar retired from the Los Angeles Lakers. He started in 1975 and at the time he retired, held records for the most points, most field goals made, most games and most minutes played in the NBA.
Sports in 1989
Troy Aikman, born in West Covina, became the first player chosen in the NFL draft. He was selected by the Dallas Cowboys.
Nixon in 1994
Mourners left red roses, burning candles and cards at the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda in memory of the 37th president of the United States, who died the day before at age 81.
Science in 1997
Doctors at the University of Southern California announced that a child was born in late 1996 to a 63-year-old woman on hormone therapy.
Accidents in 2002
The Metrolink Train from Riverside to Orange County collided with a Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train. Two people were killed, over 260 injured. The freight train failed to heed line signals.
Erdman in 2007
Paul Erdman, world-class economist and banker, died in Sonoma County at age 74. He used his knowledge of economics and politics to write best-selling novels that included The Billion Dollar Sure Thing (1973) and The Crash of ‘79 (1976).
Halberstam in 2007
David Halberstam, journalist and writer, died in a car crash in San Mateo at age 73. His books included The Best and the Brightest (1972) and The Powers That Be (1979).
Smuin in 2007
Michael Smuin, ballet dancer, choreographer and theatre director, died in San Francisco at age 68. He co-founded and directed the Smuin Ballet.
Foreclosures in 2008
It was reported that home foreclosures in California and the San Francisco Bay Area soared over 300% during the first three months of 2008.
Crime in 2009
California Attorney General Jerry Brown filed a securities fraud lawsuit against Wells Fargo & Co. for deceptively marketing a financial instrument to thousands of state investors who suffered losses of over $1.5 billion.
Business in 2013
Apple Inc., in Cupertino, announced a return of $55 billion in cash to shareholders, boosted its quarterly dividend and allotted more cash for buybacks.
Government in 1861
Mono County was established from parts of Calaveras, Fresno and Mariposa counties. Parts of Mono territory were given to Inyo County in 1866. It is east of the Sierra Nevada between Yosemite National Park and Nevada. Bodie, a gold rush ghost town and now a California State Historic Park is in Mono County.
Music in 1891
Sarah Bernhardt performed at the San Francisco Grand Opera House. Called “the most famous actress the world has ever known,” Bernhardt was on a grand world theatrical tour traveling on a chartered steamship carrying the diva, her company, scenery and accoutrement.
Hallidie in 1900
Andrew Hallidie died in San Francisco. He is credited with inventing the cable car in 1873 and fathering the San Francisco cable car system. Both claims are disputed.
Transcontinental trips in 1908
Mr. and Mrs Jacob Murdock left Los Angeles driving their Packard on the first cross-country car trip. There were no gas stations so, in most cases, the fuel was purchased at department stores or mechanical workshops where it was stored in sealed canisters. They reached New York City in 32 days, 5 hours and 25 minutes.
Post offices in 1915
A U.S. post office opened at Universal City.
Television in 1962
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology sent the first satellite relay of a television signal between Camp Parks, California and Westford, Massachusetts.
Sports in 1962
Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, threw 18 strikeouts against the San Francisco Giants. The Baseball Hall of Fame player tied the strikeout record set in 1938 by Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians.
Sports in 1963
The Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers for the 17th NBA Championship, 4 games to 2.
Sports in 1967
The Philadelphia 76ers beat the San Francisco Warriors for the 21st NBA Championship, 4 games to 2.
Overton in 1967
Frank Overton, film and television actor, died in Pacific Palisades at age 49. His films included “The Dark At the Top of the Stairs” (1960).
Sports in 1978
Nolan Ryan, California Angels pitcher, struck out 15 Seattle Mariners batters. It was the 20th time he struck out 15 batters in a game.
Sports in 1981
The San Antonio Spurs blocked 20 shots by the Golden State Warriors to set a National Basketball Association record.
Earthquakes in 1984
The Morgan Hill Earthquake struck along the Calaveras fault, east of San Jose and north of Morgan Hill. It was felt over 46,000 square miles and caused over $7 million in damages.
Crime in 1995
Gilbert Murray, 47-year-old California Forestry Association president, was killed by a mail bomb at his Sacramento headquarters. The bomb was from the Unabomber.
Government in 2001
California’s credit rating was downgraded by S&P for the 1st time since the recession of 1994.
Sports in 2004
Vitali Klitschko stopped Corrie Sanders in the eighth round to win the World Boxing Council heavyweight title in Los Angeles.
Business in 2008
U.C. Berkeley Police Chief Victoria Harrison, age 54, retired with a $2.1 million package then returned to the same job for more money.
Music in 2008
The Grateful Dead band decided to give the group’s archives to the U.C. Santa Cruz library.
Crime in 2013
Robert Shearer, San Francisco State University official, was charged with taking bribes for a waste-disposal contract that cost millions in additional dollars. Stephen Cheung, age 47, of Chemical Hazardous Material Technology was charged with 118 felonies, including commercial bribery.
Mexican War in 1846
Mexican forces defeated U.S. military in a skirmish along the Rio Grande called the Thornton Affair. The ambush and capture of Americans was a reason U.S. President James K. Polk declared war with Mexico.
Government in 1851
Klamath County was established. It was formed from Trinity County and covers the northwestern part of the state. The Klamath and Salmon River Indian War (1855) and the Bald Hills War (1858-1864) kept the area unsettled and the county dissolved in 1874.
Government in 1851
Nevada County was formed. It is in the Sierra Nevada, known as the Gold Rush Mother Lode Country. The first long-distance telephone call was in Nevada County from French Corral to French Lake (1877).
Government in 1851
Placer County was established. It stretches from the Sacramento Valley to Lake Tahoe and is one of the fastest growing counties in California by population.
United Nations in 1945
The United Nations Conference on International Organization produced the United Nations Charter. Delegates from 50 Allied nations met in San Francisco.
Health in 1955
Some children who received a polio vaccine were reported sick with the disease. Two batches of vaccine made by Cutter Laboratories of Berkeley were found to contain live polio virus.
Sports in 1961
San Francisco Giants baseball games began being broadcast on television.
Business in 1961
Robert Noyce was granted a patent for an integrated circuit, starting a legal battle with Jack Kilby over rights to the patent. Kilby invented one version of the circuits. Noyce developed the silicon integrated circuit, which was more useful because machines could be much smaller.
Crime in 1965
Michael Andrew Clark, age 16, shot at cars traveling along Highway 101 south of Orcutt from a nearby hilltop. He killed three people and wounded ten before committing suicide when the police arrived.
Rogers in 1995
Ginger Rogers, show business legend, died in Rancho Mirage at age 83. She danced and sang in films, on stage, radio, and television through five decades.
Government in 2005
Dick Murphy, 62-year-old mayor of San Diego announced his resignation under the weight of criticism over his controversial election and failure to address the pension underfunding problem.
Science in 2007
Joe DeRisi, U.C. San Francisco biochemist, announced finding genes of a spore producing parasite, Nosema ceranae, in dead bees. Spanish researchers had shown that the parasite can wipe out a beehive.
Bombings in 2008
A bomb exploded at a San Diego FedEx building. Another bomb exploded at a San Diego courthouse on May 4. No one was injured in either.
Shark attacks in 2008
A shark killed David Martin, a 66-year-old triathlete, at Solano Beach near San Diego.
Arthur in 2009
Beatrice Arthur, stage and television actress, died in Los Angeles at age 82. She was best known for roles in “Maude” (1972-1978) and “The Golden Girls” (1985-1992).
Crime in 2010
Fresno police cracked down on gangs after three people were killed in separate shootings. In May police made some 648 arrests including 216 for felony offenses.
Health in 2012
Following discovery of mad cow disease in a California dairy cow, South Korean retailers pulled U.S. beef from their stores. U.S. health authorities said the animal was never a threat to the nation’s food supply because the dead cow an atypical case of BSE. That meant a random mutation in the animal rather than infected cattle feed was the cause.
Government in 1856
Peter Lassen lead pioneers in the Susanville area to declare the independent territory of Nataqua in northeast California and western Nevada. It ended in a gun fight between Nataquans and a posse sent to collect taxes on February 15, 1863.
Crime in 1859
Peter Lassen, for whom the county and mountain were named, was murdered in the Black Rock Mountains in the Nevada Territory. He arrived in Mexican California around the same time as John Sutter and settled on a 22,206-acre rancho north of Sutter’s Fort. As a trail blazer, he established the Lassen Cutoff of the California Trail, which he falsely promoted as a short-cut, which lead to much suffering and might have caused his murder.
Clubs in 1859
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows was established in San Francisco. Over time it supported a library, provided relief funds to individuals, welcomed dignitaries, buried the dead and aided communities during times of disaster.
Modoc War in 1873
U.S. Army Captain Thomas lead five officers, 66 troops and 14 Warm Spring Scouts into the lava beds chasing the Modocs in an effort to force them to return to the Klamath reservation. While they ate lunch, Modoc warriors attacked. Troops that did not flee were killed or wounded.
Parks in 1938
Channel Islands National Monument was dedicated. Today Channel Islands National Park includes five islands and their ocean environment, preserving and protecting a wealth of natural and cultural resources.
Sports in 1964
The Boston Celtics beat the San Francisco Warriors in the 18th NBA Championship, 4 games to 1.
Transportation in 1971
The last San Francisco lightship was replaced by an automatic buoy. It marked the main shipping channels to help guide ships into the Bay.
Science in 1981
Dr. Michael R. Harrison of U.C. San Francisco Medical Center performed the world’s first human open fetal surgery.
Government in 1983
Diane Feinstein, then San Francisco Mayor, defeated a recall attempt by 81%. She proposed banning handguns in San Francisco and became subject to a recall attempt organized by the White Panther Party.
Japanese American internment in 1942
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.
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.
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.