Crime in 1883
Charles Earl Bowles, English born gentleman bandit known as Black Bart, left poems at the scene of his crimes. He robbed Wells Fargo Stagecoaches 28 times. The 26th time was in Sonoma County, five miles from Cloverdale.
Military posts in 1898
The U.S. Army transferred a military post on Yerba Buena Island in San Francisco Bay to the U.S. Navy. Today the post is a U.S. Coast Guard facility.
Military posts in 1933
The U.S. Navy commissioned Moffatt Federal Airfield near Sunnyvale. Hangar One, covering eight acres. became one of the world’s largest freestanding structures. NASA’s Ames Research Center was a next door. Today the airfield is leased to Google.
Sports in 1960
The San Francisco Giants first took the field at Candlestick Park. Vice President Richard Nixon threw out the opening day ball. Candlestick was rocked on October 17, 1989, when the Loma Prieta Earthquake struck, minutes before Game 3 of the World Series was to begin.
Transportation in 1962
San Mateo County withdrew from the San Francisco Bay Area BART district. Supervisors said their voters would be paying taxes to carry mainly Santa Clara County residents.
Music in 1965
The Byrds, a Los Angeles band, released Bob Dylan’s song “Mr. Tambourine Man” as a single. It became the first folk rock smash hit.
Berry in 1966
Jan Berry of Jan and Dean was injured in a car crash that left him in a month-long coma. Their hit songs included “Surf City” (1963) and “Little Old lady from Pasadena” (1964).
Robinson in 1989
Sugar Ray Robinson, middleweight boxing champion, died in Culver City at age 67. Some say he was the greatest boxer of all time.
Sports in 2004
Barry Bonds hit his 660th home run to tie Willie Mays for third on baseball’s career list. That sent the San Francisco Giants to a 7-5 win over the visiting Milwaukee Brewers.
Business in 2006
Eric Schmid, CEO of Google Inc. in Mountain View, defended their cooperation with Chinese censorship as he announced creation of a Beijing research center and unveiled a Chinese-language brand name.
Chambers in 2009
Marilyn Chambers, pioneer adult film actress, died in Los Angeles at age 56. She modeled for Ivory Snow detergent as a baby. But her role in “Behind the Green Door” (1972), made her famous.
Government in 2011
Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation requiring the state’s utilities to get 33% of its electricity from renewable sources by the end of 2020.
Environment in 2012
Thunder storms dropped a record 1.24 inches of rain in San Francisco. The previous record was .92 inches on April 12, 2003.
Pony Express in 1860
The first Pony Express rider from St Joseph, Missouri reached Sacramento.
Post offices in 1870
A U.S. post office opened in Nicasio near Tomales Bay in Marin County.
Crime in 1895
Minnie Williams, age 21, was found raped and killed at the Emmanuel Baptist Church in San Francisco. She was last seen with Theodore Durrant, a medical student. Police then found Blanche Dumont dead in the church belfry. Durrant hanged for their murders at San Quentin in 1898.
Movies in 1964
Sidney Poitier became the first African-American male to win the Best Actor award at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles. He won for “Lilies of the Field” (1963).
Sports in 1970
The Oakland A’s uses gold-colored bases during the club’s home opener. Rules Committee later banned them.
Nyiregyhazi in 1987
Ervin Nyiregyhazi, Hungarian-born pianist, died in Los Angeles at age 84. He was a child prodigy when he arrived in the U.S. in 1920. He married 10 times and left behind over a 1000 largely unknown works.
Business in 1998
Bank of America, in San Francisco, announced a $62.5 billion merger with NationsBank Corp. of Charlotte, North Carolina. The country’s first coast-to-coast bank would be called BankAmerica Corp. with headquarters in Charlotte.
Music in 1999
“Monsters of Grace,” a digital 3-D opera composed by Philip Glass and directed by Robert Wilson, was scheduled to premier at U.C. Berkeley. Music set to love poems by the Sufi poet Rumi.
Business in 2000
Metallica, the heavy metal rock group from Los Angeles, filed suit against Napster, headquartered in Los Angeles, for copyright infringement and racketeering.
Sports in 2004
Barry Bonds hit his 661st homer, passing Willie Mays to take possession of third place on baseball’s career list.
Education in 2006
A 29-page report faulted U.C. executives and the Board of Regents for lack of oversight in pay practices and the use of public funds.
Business in 2007
Google, Inc of Mountain View announced purchase of DoubleClick, an Internet services company, for $3.1 billion.
Parks in 2007
Gavin Newsom, San Francisco mayor, signed an agreement to ban cars from Golden Gate Park’s main road for six months and ban them permanently on Sundays from a smaller area .
Sports in 2011
A San Francisco jury convicted Barry Bonds, baseball star, of obstructing justice regarding his use of performance-enhancing drugs. A federal appeals court upheld the felony conviction in 2013.
Business in 2011
Dorothy Duggar, BART General Manager, resigned after accepting a severance deal worth nearly $1 million.
Crime in 2011
California state’s insurance commissioner accused Sutter Health of fraud. It was accused of billing hundreds of millions over a decade for medical services that, sometimes, were not even provided.
Exploration in 1543
The first Spanish ships to explore the California coast returned to Navidad, Mexico after nearly a year’s journey. Juan Cabrillo, the explorer, died during the voyage but his second-in-command brought the three ships back to port.
Overland Journies in 1846
The wagon train that became known as the Donner Party began their westward journey from Springfield, Missouri. The original group was three families headed by brothers, George and Jacob Donner and James Reed. Each family has three covered wagons and teamsters to drive the oxen that pulled them. The Reeds also has two servants. Other families joined along the trail. Half of them would not survive.
Pony Express in 1860
The first Pony Express reached San Francisco after a ten-day horseback ride from St. Joseph, Missouri.
Business in 1872
A Bar Association organized in San Francisco. The private legal organization supports San Francisco legal professionals.
Literature in 1939
John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath was published by Viking Press in New York. The Salinas-born author told the story of the Joad family’s journey to California through the Dust Bowl and Great Depression.
Sports in 1964
Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles A’s pitcher, threw his ninth complete game without allowing a walk.
Protests in 1967
Thousands of people in San Francisco marched against the Vietnam war. They ended at Kezar Stadium, where 40,000 people filled the stadium.
Television in 1969
KEET TV channel 13 began broadcasting in Eureka. It originally operated in a garage.
Computers in 1977
The first West Coast Computer Faire opened at San Francisco’s Civic Auditorium. At the time it was the biggest computer show in the world.
Flight in 1981
Columbia 1, America’s first operational space shuttle, tested successfully by landing at Edwards Air Force Base.
Crime in 1989
Ramon Salcido, winery worker, killed six relatives, including his wife and daughters and a coworker in Sonoma County.
Sports in 2006
Kobe Bryant broke the Los Angeles Lakers’ single-season scoring record. He hit 50 points in a victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, 110-99. That put him past Elgin Baylor’s long-standing total of 2,719 points.
Government in 2009
Ross Mirkarimi, San Francisco Supervisor, proposed the city sell and distribute medical marijuana.
Crime in 2010
Federal agents in northern California charged 18 people with defrauding banks and lenders with false mortgage loan applications. Losses totaled at least $10 million from 2005 to 2009.
Crime in 2010
Daniel Healy, a 45-year-old of Los Angeles physician, was sentenced to four years in federal prison for dispensing over a million hydrocodone tablets for cash. He made nearly $700,000 in 2008 by selling the powerful painkiller.
Government in 2011
San Francisco supervisors learned the city’s overtime bill for the fiscal year was some $40 million; $12 million above the previous year.
Accidents in 2012
Five sailors were lost In the Full Crew Farallones Race outside San Francisco. A towering wave washed them overboard as their boat rounded the Farallon Islands. Three sailors survived.
Fort Ross in 1839
The Russian Czar ordered Fort Ross closed. The Russian-American Company had established the fort in 1812 as a warm water outpost for the Russian settlement in Alaska. It was sold to John Sutter.
San Francisco in 1850
San Francisco incorporated. It is the only consolidated city-county in California, meaning the boundaries of the city and the county are the same.
Gold Rush in 1856
The John L. Stephens sailed from San Francisco Bay carrying nearly 1,000 passengers and nearly $1.7 million in gold. Ten days later in Panama City, passengers became involved in the Watermelon War, a riot that started after a drunk American refused to pay a local vendor for a slice of watermelon.
War in 1873
One U.S. Army officer and six soldiers were killed and 13 soldiers wounded during days of fighting with Modoc warriors at the Stronghold. Two Modoc boys were killed when when they tried to open a cannon ball and it exploded. Several Modoc women died from sickness.
Crime in 1910
Tim Riordan, San Francisco detective, arrested Kitty Plunket, known as Jolly Trixie, for being deformed and exhibiting her deformity in a show house.
Business in 1922
The Poodle Dog Restaurant closed. The name of this San Francisco restaurant comes from Gold Rush days. ’49ers who could not say its original name, Le Poulet d’Or, nicknamed it for the dog of the wife of the Frenchman who owned the place.
Business in 1928
Alioto’s Restaurant, a landmark on San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, began with Nunzio Alioto selling lunch to Italian laborers around the wharf.
Business in 1955
Ray Kroc acquired McDonald’s fast food restaurants. He bought them from Richard and Maurice McDonald, who started the chain in California in 1948.
Sports in 1958
The San Francisco Giants shut out the Los Angeles Dodgers, 8-0, in the first major league baseball game in California. But the Dodgers got revenge 3 days later at the LA Memorial Coliseum before 78,672 fans.
Parks in 1973
Walt Disney Story opened at Yesterland. It closed in 2005.
Crime in 1974
Symbionese Liberation Army members, including Patty Hearst, robbed the Hibernia Bank in San Francisco of more than $10,000. As they fled, they shot two people passing by.
Conte in 1975
Richard Conte, film actor, died in Los Angeles at age 65. He was best known for roles in “I’ll Cry Tomorrow” (1955) and “The Godfather” (1972).
Sports in 1991
The Sacramento Kings set a National Basketball Association record by losing 35 games in-a-row on the road.
Dubroff in 1996
Funeral services were held in Pescadero for Jessica Dubroff, the 7-year-old girl who died trying to become the youngest person to fly across America.
Government in 1998
A superior court judge in San Francisco ordered the Cannabis Cultivator’s Club to close immediately. It was the nation’s largest medicinal pot dispenser.
Parks in 2000
President Bill Clinton created Giant Sequoia National Monument in Sequoia National Park. It protected 328,000 acres and 34 groves of Sequoias from being harvested.
Government in 2004
The Environmental Protection Agency warned California and other states to clean up smog-plagued regions. Nationally 474 counties fell short of standards, including 36 in California.
Business in 2004
Some Los Angeles porn-movie companies stopped production for two months following reports that two stars tested positive for AIDS.
Education in 2006
Stanford University announced an online high school for gifted students. It was paid for by a gift from the Malone Family Foundation of Englewood, Colorado.
Government in 2010
San Francisco Bay Area BART officials stripped officers of Tasers days after a sergeant fired his stun gun at a boy, age 13, on his bicycle fleeing from police in Richmond.
Exploration in 1770
Gaspar de Portolà and Father Junípero Serra refilled their supplies at San Diego before continuing their search for Monterey Bay to establish a colony. The San Antonio sailed north.
Government in 1852
Sierra County was established from Yuba County with land added later from Yuba and Plumas Counties. It is in the Sierra Nevada on the Nevada border and home to Gold Rush ghost towns like Eureka City, Howland Flat, Pine Grove, Poker Flat. Potosi and Shady Flat.
Accidents in 1866
Nitroglycerine exploded at Wells Fargo & Co office in San Francisco, demolishing everything within 50 feet and blowing out windows over a mile away. Nitroglycerine was used to build the Transcontinental Railroad.
Transportation in 1954
The Hollywood Freeway opened. This shortcut between the Los Angeles Basin and the San Fernando Valley has become one of the busiest freeways in the U.S.
Sports in 1984
Dave Kingman, San Francisco Giants utility player and designated hitter, hit three home runs including a grand slam, in a victory over the Houston Astros 10-6.
Urich in 2002
Robert Urich, film, television and stage actor and television producer, died in Thousand Oaks at age 55. Over 30 years, he starred in 15 television series.
Government in 2004
California legislators passed laws changing the nation’s most expensive workers’ compensation program. Businesses applauded but critics called it a sellout to insurance companies.
Ruzicka in 2005
Marla Ruzicka, 28-year-old founder of Campaign for Innocent Victims of Conflict, died in a car bombing in Iraq. She had been there on and off since the March 2003 invasion began. The California-based group went door-to-door to identify civilian casualties.
Crime in 2008
John Schiefer, a 26-year-old computer consultant, pleaded guilty in Los Angeles to raiding hundreds of thousands of computers with spyware to steal users’ identities and commit fraud.
Homeless in 2009
A tent city of some 150 homeless people in Sacramento was closed. It had been around for close to a decade on a strip of land between the American River and a power company.
Inventions in 1877
Hannah E. Israel, of Stockton, patented an improvement in washing-list indicators. “My invention relates to a novel device which I call a Washing-calendar or Washing-list indicator, the same consisting of a cushion with a Washing-list disposed thereon, as hereinafter more fully described, whereby the device can be utilized as a washing-list indicator and also as a pin-cushion.”
Music in 1906
Enrico Caruso, the great operatic singer on tour in San Francisco, performed Carmen at the Mission Opera House the night before the earthquake and fire.
Movies in 1924
Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures and Louis B Mayer Co merged to form MGM.
Flight in 1936
The first Pan-American Clipper skimmed to a landing in Hawaiian waters, 17 hours and 44 minutes after taking off from San Francisco Bay.
Movies in 1937
Porky Pig and Daffy Duck debuted in “Porky’s Duck Hunt,” a Warner Brothers cartoon. Mel Blanc did all the character’s voices.
Sports in 1968
The Oakland Athletics lost the first game they played in the new Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum to the Baltimore Orioles, 4-1.
Crime in 1969
A Los Angeles jury convicted Sirhan Sirhan of assassinating Senator Robert Kennedy. Six days later he was sentenced to death. He remains in prison in San Diego.
Shawn in 1987
Dick Shawn, comic actor, died on stage at U.C. San Diego at age 57. He starred in the 1968 Mel Brooks film “The Producers.”
Crime in 1993
Two Los Angeles Police officers were found guilty of violating Rodney King’s civil rights..
Crime in 1996
A jury in Los Angeles recommended Erik and Lyle Menendez serve life in prison without parole for gunning down their wealthy parents.
Business in 2003
Bechtel, in San Francisco, won a federal contract for up to $680 million to rebuild Iraqi infrastructure.
Government in 2009
California received a windfall of over $3 billion for its schools and universities from the federal stimulus package. Being the first state to receive an infusion of cash meant stopping a downward spiral in public education.
Business in 2012
Apple Inc, in Cupertino, claimed a value of $600 billion, a milestone only one other company ever achieved. That made it the largest company by market capitalization in the world.
Animal Welfare in 1868
The San Francisco Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was formed. When James Hutchinson saw men dragging a squealing boar off to market, he called together a group of fellow humanitarians to found the San Francisco SPCA. It is the oldest U.S. animal welfare organization in the West.
Sports in 1869
An international cricket match was held in San Francisco. The California Eleven beat the Victoria Eleven.
Environment in 1906
The Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire struck, killing some 3,000 people and destroying more than 80% of the city; one of the largest natural disasters in U.S. history.
Business in 1907
The Fairmont Hotel opened on Nob Hill one year after the Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire.
Parks in 1931
The Yolla Bolly Primitive Area opened. It later expanded to the Middle Eel Wilderness Area and is today part of the Mendocino National Forest.
Sports in 1958
The Los Angeles Dodgers played their first game before 78,672 fans at the LA Memorial Coliseum. They beat the San Francisco Giants 6-5 after being shut out in the first major league baseball game in California three days earlier.
Sports in 1964
Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, was the first National League pitcher to strike out the side on nine pitches. He did that twice in his career.
Delaplane in 1988
Stanton Delaplane, San Francisco journalist, died at home on Telegraph Hill at age 80. The San Francisco Chronicle Pulitzer Prize-winner was also known for introducing Irish Coffee to the city at the Buena Vista Cafe.
Sports in 1995
Joe Montana, San Francisco ’49ers quarterback, retired from football. He lead the team to Super Bowl victories in 1981, 1984, 1988 and 1989.
Business in 2005
Adobe Systems, in San Francisco, announced a $3.1 billion all stock merger with Macromedia, also in San Francisco.
Exploration in 1774
Juan Bautista De Anza began his three-month journey from Mexico to settle Monterey, leading 3 padres, 20 soldiers and 11 servants, with 35 mules, 65 cattle and 140 horses.
Mail delivery in 1847
Mail service began between San Francisco and San Diego. It was provided by two soldiers on horseback.
Theater in 1848
Theater began at Jim Smith’s Dramatic Adobe in Sonoma. “Their miniature theatre in the Colonnade building, on the public Plaza, is not only a great source of amusement to the citizens, but an ornament to the town. They perform on Saturday evenings, and their acting is as bueno as could be expected …”
Societies in 1852
The Historical Society of the State of California was formed. It later became the California Historical Society, with a mission to “inspire and empower people to make California’s richly diverse past a meaningful part of their contemporary lives.”
Government in 1855
Merced County was established from parts of Mariposa County. Some of its territory was given to Fresno County the next year. It is in the fertile San Joaquin Valley. Local farms were severely impacted by the drought.
Government in 1856
Fresno County was established from parts of Mariposa, Merced and Tulare counties. It is in the San Joaquin Valley which, together with the Sacramento Valley, form the Great Central Valley. Nearly half of the residents are Hispanic.
Government in 1861
The California legislature approved $300,000 for the San Francisco and San Jose Railroad Act. The rail line completed in 1864, became an early mass transit link.
Inventions in 1881
Lucy Corning, of San Jose, patented a hay baling press. “My invention relates to certain improvements in that class of machines known as horizontal baling-presses, and it consists of a horizontal box having two chambers, each one divided by a movable follower, and two feed-spaces so arranged that each feed-space can be employed to feed alternately on each side of one of the followers.”
Environment in 1892
An earthquake shook the region from Vacaville to Winters. It measured 6.5. on the Richter Scale. Another struck on April 21. Today’s building codes would have prevented some brick buildings from collapsing.
Movies in 1934
Shirley Temple’s first movie opened, “Stand Up and Cheer!”. By year’s end, she was so famous that she feared being kidnapped or mobbed.
Sports in 1953
Louise Suggs won the LPGA Golf Open in San Diego. It was one of fifty-eight professional tournaments she won, including eleven majors. Suggs co-founded of the Ladies Professional Golf Association in 1950 with Patty Berg and Babe Zaharias.
Music in 1962
The Beach Boys finished a demo tape with “409” and added tracks to “Surfin’ Safari.” Those songs were the band’s first singles that Capitol Records released.
Sports in 1966
In their first regular season game at Anaheim Stadium, the Angels lost to the Chicago Cubs, 3-1.
Crime in 1971
Judge Older, in Los Angeles, sentenced Charles Manson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten to death for murder. Manson was sent to San Quenton’s death row.
Sports in 1981
The Oakland A’s ended a record 11-game winning streak when they lost to the Seattle Mariners in the second game of a double-header, 3-2. Fights broke out in both games.
Sports in 1987
The Los Angeles Clippers ended the season with the second-worst record in NBA history at that time; 12-70.
Environment in 1987
All twenty-two remaining wild California Condors were captured. The birds were successfully bred at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and the Los Angeles Zoo. One of the world’s rarest bird species, they were reintroduced into the wild in 1991.
Crime in 1994
A jury ordered the City of Los Angeles to pay Rodney King $3.8 million for damages in for his beating by Los Angeles police officers in 1991.