Overland Journeys in 1846
The Donner Party crossed the Continental Divide. They left Springfield, Missouri on April 15th and were already behind schedule to cross the Sierra Nevada before winter. They would be trapped in early November, when the snows were 5 feet deep. Here is Nero, one of the pet dogs that was eaten.
Transportation in 1917
Twin Peaks Tunnel in San Francisco was dedicated. The 2.27-mile long tunnel for light rail and streetcars, blasted through to West Portal and opened in 1918.
Accidents in 1930
A natural gas explosion in the Mitchell ravine tunnel of the Hetch Hetchy water project killed 12 men. Thirty-five workers quit, charging carelessness and lack of equipment to respond to the tragedy.
Accidents in 1944
Munitions for the War in the Pacific exploded at Port Chicago in Concord. Three hundred and twenty sailors and civilians were killed and 390 injured. It was the largest domestic loss of life during World War II. Continuing unsafe conditions led hundreds of servicemen to refuse to load munitions; the Port Chicago Mutiny. Port Chicago was staffed by African American servicemen and attention to the disaster and subsequent strike spurred integration of the U.S. military.
Parks in 1955
Disneyland opened in Anaheim. It has the largest attendance of any theme park in the world, with over 650 million guests since it opened.
Cobb in 1961
Ty Cobb, legendary baseball player, died in Atherton at age 74. He was the first person elected into Baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Flight in 1962
Robert White, Air Force pilot, flew the rocket-powered X-15 to an altitude of 314,750 feet or 59.6 miles, becoming the first “winged astronaut.” he made 16 flights in the rocket-powered aircraft stationed at Muroc Air Force Base, today’s Edwards AFB.
Environment in 1988
San Francisco reached 103°F, the highest temperature ever recorded in the city. It got that hot again on June 14, 2000.
Flight in 1989
The controversial B-2 Stealth bomber made its first test flight at Edwards Air Force Base, two days after a technical problem forced a postponement.
Accidents in 2001
A US Air Force F-16 crashed in northeast San Bernadino County. Major Aaron George, pilot, and Judson Brohmer, photographer, were killed.
Environment in 2007
California State Water Resources Control board passed a 70-year mercury cleanup plan for San Francisco Bay.
Literature in 2008
Kay Ryan, of Fairfax, was named the 16th poet laureate of the US. She was selected by James Billington, Librarian of Congress.
Government in 2008
California became the first US state to approve green building standards.
Crime in 2013
Alaysha Carradine, age 8, was killed at a sleepover when gunmen sprayed bullets through the Oakland apartment where she was staying.
Science in 1947
An anonymous African American patient, code-named CAL-3, at a San Francisco hospital, was injected with plutonium without his knowledge as part of a treatment for apparent bone cancer.
Business in 1968
Intel Corporation was founded in Santa Clara. Today it is one of the world’s largest and highest valued semiconductor chip makers, based on revenue.
Crime in 1984
James Huberty killed 21 people at a McDonald’s in San Ysidro. The 41-year-old opened fire, also injuring 19 others before police shot him dead. The day before, Huberty called a mental health clinic, requesting an appointment.
Crime in 1997
Federal agents in California arrested eight seafood importers. They were accused of smuggling contaminated seafood by bribing customs brokers and FDA inspectors.
Government in 2002
California Supreme Court ruled that the state’s marijuana law can help pot smokers avoid being tried for drug offenses.
Public Health in 2005
California began again issuing identity cards to patients who have been prescribed medical marijuana.
Crime in 2005
San Diego acting Mayor Michael Zucchet and councilman Ralph Inzunza were convicted in federal court of taking illegal campaign cash from a strip club owner.
Government in 1852
Tulare County was established. It was named for Tulare Lake, the largest freshwater lake west of the Great Lakes until it was drained for agriculture. Sequoia National Park and part of Kings Canyon National Park are in the county. 442,179 people lived there in 2010, according to the census.
Libraries in 1880
San Francisco Public Library began lending books. It opened on June 7, 1879 but did not begin lending books until July 19th.
Parks in 1911
Mount Gilbert in Kings Canyon National Park was named for G.K. Gilbert (1843-1918), a leading geologist of his time.
Accidents in 1963
The U.S. Navy accidentally dropped a 2-foot, 25-pound practice bomb on Market St. in San Francisco.
Music in 1978
Dead Kennedys played their first show at Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco. They were a leading punk band in the early 1980s and won a large global following, especially in the United Kingdom.
Libraries in 1990
Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum opened in Yorba Linda. Nixon agreed to turn over most materials from his presidency, including White House tape recordings. He wanted selected recordings destroyed but Congress intervened and moved those materials to the National Archives.
Titus in 2009
Warren Titus, founder of Royal Viking and Seabourn cruise ship lines, died at a in Marin County at age 94. He helped create the vacation cruise industry.
Goldhaber in 2010
Gerson Goldhaber, physicist, died in Berkeley at age 86. He contributed to discovering the antiproton and the “charm” quark in 1955, later known as the J/psi particle.
Accidents in 2011
Three hikers were swept over the 317-foot Vernal Falls in Yosemite National Park.
Overland Journeys in 1846
The Donner Party separated at the Little Sandy River from other wagons and took the road to Fort Bridger. Most safely followed the trail to Fort Hall. The Donner Party was lead by George and Jacob Donner, brothers, and James Reed.
Newspapers in 1854
The Southern Californian debuted in Los Angeles. “An independent weekly paper, devoted to the interests of Southern California, literature, markets, etc., etc.” It continued in English and Spanish until January 1856.
Labor in 1934
The San Francisco General Strike ended. Following Bloody Thursday on July 5th, in which two strikers were shot and killed and 109 wounded by San Francisco police. 65,000 trade unionists staged the most widespread strike in U.S. history, shutting down the city for four days.
Transportation in 1940
Arroyo Seco Parkway opened. Formerly known as the Pasadena Freeway, it partly followed the route of the raised, wooden California Cycleway. The first freeway in the Western U.S. is now called State Route 110.
Music in 1964
Jan & Dean’s “Surf City” was the first surf record to go #1. Its opening line, “Two girls for every boy!” helped create a popular vision of California as a paradise of sun, sand and endless summers.
Sports in 1970
Bill Singer, Los Angeles Dodgers, no-hit the Phillies 5-0. Singer walked nobody but hit one batter and committed two errors.
Public Health in 2005
San Francisco Bay Area air quality officials imposed the toughest regulations in the U.S. to reduce flaring, which releases gasses into the atmosphere, at the East Bay’s oil refineries.
Government in 2006
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger authorized $150 million in loans to the state’s stem cell agency. A day earlier President George Bush vetoed legislation that expanded federal funding for stem cell research.
Earthquakes in 2007
A 4.2 earthquake jolted the San Francisco Bay area. It broke glass and rattled nerves but no injuries.
Government in 2009
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders bridged a $26.3 billion budget gap by cutting, borrowing and shifting funds.
Government in 2010
Oakland City Council adopted regulations permitting industrial-scale marijuana farms.
Government in 2011
Los Angeles passed a pioneering new law to protect bicyclists from harassment by motorists.
Exploration in 1586
Thomas Cavendish, privateer, sailed from England for Spanish colonies. He intended to raid Spanish ports and ships in the Pacific then return home by circumnavigating the globe. He returned home two years later, 27 years old and laden with treasure.
Gold Rush in 1847
James Marshall left Sutter’s Fort with Sutter and an Indian guide, looking for a place to build a sawmill. They settled for a spot they called Coloma on the American River where Marshall found the gold that ignited the Gold Rush on January 28, 1848.
Accidents in 1907
The passenger steamer SS Columbia collided with the steam schooner San Pedro off Shelter Cove. The Columbia sank, killing 88 people.
Earthquakes in 1952
The Kern County earthquake in the southern San Joaquin Valley measured 7.3 on the Richter scale. Twelve people were killed, 18 injured and it caused an estimated $60 million in property damage, centered around Tehachapi. It was the strongest earthquake in California since the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
Education in 1999
Lilly Endowment Inc. of Indianapolis awarded $50 to the San Francisco based Hispanic Scholarship Fund.
Reisner in 2000
Marc Reisner, environmentalist author, died in Marin at age 51. His Cadillac Desert (1986) was an indictment of water management in the West.
Fires in 2002
The McNally Fire burned 150,670 acres in Sequoia and Inyo National Forests as well as in Giant Sequoia National Monument. It destroyed 14 structures and cost an estimated $45.7 million. It burned for more than a month.
Education in 2006
California Department of Education said an estimated 5% of high school seniors did not graduate because they failed the exit exam.
Mako in 2006
Mako, born Makoto Iwamatsu, Japanese-born film and television actor, died in Somis at age 72. He co-founded the East West Players, the first Asian-American theater company (1965).
Craig in 2008
Sid Craig, entrepreneur, died in Del Mar at age 76. He and his wife Jenny, a fitness expert, founded Jenny Craig. Today it has some 700 weight management centres in Australia, the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Puerto Rico.
Government in 2009
Oakland voters overwhelmingly approved the first tax on medical marijuana dispensaries in the U.S.
Backer in 2010
Don Backer, astronomer and pioneer in the use of the radio telescope, died in Berkeley at age 66. He led a group that discovered PSR B1937+21, a pulsar with a rotation period of just 1.6 milliseconds.
LGBTQ in 2012
U.S. military marched for the first time in full uniform at San Diego’s Gay Pride Parade.
Exploration in 1769
Gaspar de Portolà, with Father Crespí, 63 leather-jacket soldiers and a 100 mules loaded with provisions camped at Cristianitos Canyon. They were marching north from San Diego, searching for Monterey Bay. Their campsite is near modern San Clemente in Orange County.
Inventions in 1884
Felice Molini of San Francisco patented a pea shelling machine. It was designed to be run by steam, horse or other “suitable power.”
Inventions in 1890
Olive Christin of Bodie patented a steam cooker. “My invention relates to food cookers or steamers, and has for its object to provide a simple, inexpensive, and efficient apparatus of this character which will cook several different kinds of edibles at once without giving one the flavor of the other, and with economy of time, space, labor, and fuel.”
Crime in 1916
A suitcase bomb exploded in San Francisco during a Preparedness Day parade, killing 10 and injuring 40. The attack on the event supporting U.S. entry into World War I was the deadliest in San Francisco history. Two labor leaders, Thomas Mooney and Warren K Billings, were convicted; one sentenced to life in prison and the other to death. Years later, a commission reviewing the evidence found no proof of their guilt and the men were pardoned and released.
Crime in 1957
Two El Segundo police officers were shot and killed after pulling over a car for running a red light. Gerald Mason, then 68-years-old, was arrested following fingerprint ID from a FBI database (2003).
Crime in 1995
Elyse Pahler, 15 years old, was murdered in San Luis Obispo by teenagers in a death metal band called Hatred. Her body was not found for 8 months until revealed by Joseph Fiorella (16), who received a 26 year to life sentence.
Memorials in 1997
A group of Armenian organizations purchased .38 acres on Mt. Davidson in San Francisco for a memorial to Armenians massacred during World War I.
Kovacs in 2007
László Kovács, cinematographer, died in Beverly Hills at age 74. He was a pioneer of New Wave films in the 1970s, most famously for “Easy Rider” (1969) and “Five Easy Pieces” (1970).
Government in 2008
California reported 63,061 foreclosures during the 2nd three months of the year.
Government in 2008
Governor Schwarzenegger signed a law giving pet owners the right to set up a trust to care for their animals.
Getty in 2008
Estelle Getty, actress and comedienne in film, television and theatre, died in Los Angeles at age 84. She was best known as sarcastic Sophia on “The Golden Girls” (1985-1992).
Accidents in 2010
A Greyhound bus crashed near downtown Fresno killing six people, injuring nine. It had struck an overturned SUV. The 18-year-old driver SUV driver was found to have a .11% blood alcohol level.
Crime in 1849
Twenty-four members of the Hounds were convicted of conspiracy, riot, robbery and assault with intent to kill in a trial before San Francisco’s Alcalde. They were members of an early racist gang with roots in New York, that attacked Chileans, Peruvians and Mexicans.
Religion in 1854
Emanu-El synagogue founded in San Francisco. The German Jewish congregation was one of the first in California. Today the congregation of over 2,100 households still includes original families.
Crime in 1877
White rioters burned Chinese laundries in San Francisco. Four people were killed and more than $100,000 worth of property was destroyed in Chinatown. Anti-Chinese sentiment spread throughout the U. S., culminating in the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882.
Imus in 1940
Don Imus, controversial radio personality, radio host, humorist, landscape photographer, philanthropist and writer, was born in Riverside.
Music in 1942
Harry James and his Orchestra recorded “I Had the Craziest Dream” in Hollywood for Columbia Records.
Japanese American Internment in 1942
Pinedale Detention Camp closed. The Camp near Fresno was one of 15 temporary detention centers that securely moved approximately 110,000 Californians of Japanese ancestry to ten internment prisons during World War II.
Griffith in 1948
D.W. Griffith, pioneer filmmaker, died in Los Angeles at age 73. He is best known as director of “The Birth of a Nation” (1915).
Accidents in 1982
Actor Vic Morrow and two child actors were killed when a helicopter crashed on top of them during filming of a Vietnam War scene for “Twilight Zone: The Movie” (1983).
Business in 1998
Odwalla Inc., in Half Moon Bay, agreed to pay a $1.5 million fine for contaminated apple-based juices.
Fire in 2002
Fire in Sequoia National Park burned 48,200 acres in three days.
Government in 2003
A ballot to recall Governor Gray Davis qualified for the October 7 election.
Accidents in 2007
A helicopter delivering water to firefighters in the Klamath National Forest crashed, killing the pilot. More than 1,100 fire fighters were battling about 30 lightning-sparked fires covering 14 square miles near the Oregon state line, threatening 550 homes near Happy Camp.
Business in 2008
Napa Valley’s Chateau Montelena, winner of a legendary 1976 wine tasting event in France, was bought by Cos d’Estournel of France.
Business in 2008
Google, in Mountain View, unveiled a new service dubbed “Knol.” Contributing authors would share in ad revenue in this Internet encyclopedia.
Harris in 2009
E. Lynn Harris, author, died in Los Angeles at age 54. Invisible Life (1994) was a coming-of-age as a gay man story. His ten consecutive books reached The New York Times Best Seller list, making him among the most successful African-American or gay authors of his era.
Crime in 2010
Three administrators in Bell, a small community near Los Angeles, agreed to resign. Their huge salaries sparked outrage. Robert Rizzo was paid $787,637 a year, Angela Spaccia $376,288 a year and Randy Adams $457,000. Seven officials were convicted on graft and corruption charges and given sentences up to 12 years in prison.