War in 1848
President James Polk ratified the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The treaty to end fighting was signed in Mexico on February 2, 1848. It gave the US ownership of California and land that comprises New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and parts of Wyoming and Colorado.
Overland Journeys in 1903
George Wyman arrived in New York City by motorcycle 51 days after he left San Francisco. He was the first person to cross of the U.S. by motor vehicle. Wyman rode a California Motorcycle Co. motor bicycle. He finished 20 days before Horatio Jackson, the first person to cross the continent by automobile.
Parks in 1911
Devils Postpile National Monument was dedicated. It is near Mammoth Mountain in northeastern Madera County and protects an unusual rock formation of columnar basalt.
Leigh in 1927
Janet Leigh, film actress, was born as Jeanette Helen Morrison in Merced. She was best known for her performance in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” (1960).
Riots in 1947
The Hollister riot ended after three days. Things got out of hand when the American Motorcyclist Association rally drew double the expected number of bikers from around the US. Reporters sensationalized the event which inspired the outlaw biker film “The Wild One” (1953) starring Marlon Brando.
Overland Journeys in 1960
Dr. Barbara Moore, Russian-born health enthusiast, reached New York City. She walked from Los Angeles in 46 days. A vegetarian, she ate only nuts, honey, raw fruit and vegetable juice on her 3,387-mile journey.
Music in 1965
Jefferson Airplane formed in San Francisco. Pioneers of psychedelic rock, they were the first San Francisco band to achieve international success. Rolling Stone lists “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit” in its 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Government in 1970
California passed the first “no fault” divorce law in the U.S.. This made it possible to end a marriage without a husband or wife proving the marriage failed because it was the other person’s fault.
Rogers in 1998
Roy Rogers, singing cowboy actor on film and television, died at age 86 in Apple Valley. He starred in 81 Westerns films and 101 episodes of his televation show. Rogers typically appeared with his wife Dale Evans, his golden palomino Trigger, and his German Shepherd dog Bullet.
Science in 2001
Stanford University researchers reported evidence for a built-in kink in the universe known as “charge-parity violation.” This favored certain forms of matter over anti-matter counterparts.
Frankenheimer in 2002
John Frankenheimer, film and television director, died in Los Angeles at age 72. He was best known for social dramas and action/suspense films, like “Birdman of Alcatraz” (1962), “French Connection II” (1975) and “Ronin” (1998).
Ebsen in 2003
Buddy Ebsen, dancer and television actor, died in Torrence at age 95. He was best known in the television series “The Beverly Hillbillies” (1962-1971) and “Barnaby Jones” (1973-1980).
Government in 2010
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill for the humane treatment of egg-laying hens in California.
Environment in 2010
Fish in the Lower Crystal Springs Reservoir in San Mateo County reportedly have some of the highest mercury levels in California. The lake collected rainwater and water from Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy reservoir to provide drinking water to 2.5 million people in San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Alameda counties.
Crime in 2011
San Francisco Giants dismissed Robin O’Connor, 41-year-old payroll manager, after she admitted to diverting over $600 thousand to her bank account. Further reviews found that she diverted over $1.5 million. O’Connor was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison.
Government in 2012
Lawmakers approved billions of dollars to pay for building the first segment of high-speed rail line from Los Angeles to San Francisco, the first dedicated line in the US.
Accidents in 2013
A Boeing 777 jet from South Korea, crashed and burned on landing at San Francisco International Airport. Two people were killed and some 40 critically injured.
War in 1846
U.S. forces captured Monterey without firing a shot. Commodore John Sloat took Alta California’s capital because he feared the British might claim it for England.
Fire in 1889
The Great Bakersfield Fire destroyed most of town. 196 buildings burned, one man was killed and 1,500 people left homeless. The fire marked the transition of Bakersfield from a frontier town to a metropolitan city. After the fire, city fathers resolved to rebuild it bigger and better.
Government in 1908
The Great White Fleet sailed from San Francisco Bay. The fleet included 16 battleships with various escort ships, all painted white. It circled the globe from December 16,1907 to February 22 to demonstrate American military power.
Overland Journeys in 1919
The U.S. Army’s First Transcontinental Motor Train left Washington, D.C. for San Francisco. The 62-day journey covered 3,250 miles.
Howard Hughes crashed his prototype XF-11 reconnaissance aircraft in Beverly Hills. He tried to crash land at the Los Angeles Country Club golf course but clipped three houses. One was destroyed by fire and Hughes was badly injured. Radio in 1949
The police drama “Dragnet,” recorded in Los Angeles, premiered on NBC radio. It became a television series in 1951 and revived in 1967. It told stories about Los Angeles police detective, Sergeant Joe Friday and his partners.
Museums in 1965
The African American Museum and Library in Oakland opened. It preserves the history and experiences of African Americans in the Bay Area and Northern California.
Environment in 1997
California’s million plus cows that reportedly produced $3 billion worth of milk leaked nitrates into the Central Valley ground water. Chino basin ground water was severely polluted due to dairies.
Fire in 2007
Wildfires consumed 17,000 acres in Inyo National Forest and 7,500 acres in Los Padres National Forest.
Business in 2009
Google, in Mountain View, announced Google Chrome OS to target low cost netbooks.
Museums in 2012
USS Iowa, the storied battleship, opened as a museum at the port of Los Angeles. She fought in the Atlantic and Pacific during World War II and the Korean and Cold Wars.
Fradkin in 2012
Philip Fradkin, environmental journalist and historian, died in Point Reyes. His 13 books ranged from Alaska and California to Nevada, covering topics from water conservation and earthquakes to nuclear weapons.
Forts in 1799
Czar Paul chartered the Russian-American Fur Company. It founded Russian colonies in today’s states of Alaska and California. Fort Ross, on the Sonoma coast was its southernmost settlement. Today Fort Ross is a state historic park.
Immigration in 1905
Part of Angel Island, in San Francisco Bay, was allocated for a US Immigration Station that opened in 1910. Sometimes called the “Ellis Island of the West,” it processed approximately 56,113 Chinese immigrants before it burned in 1940.
Labor in 1937
A 3-month hotel strike continued as San Francisco union members demonstrated in front of the Hotel Manx on Powell St. Owner Harvey Toy protested with a telegram to Mayor Rossi.
Sports in 1953
Neill “Wild Horse” Sheridan, of the Pacific Coast League Solons, hit a home run against the San Francisco Seals at Sacramento’s Edmond’s Field. The ball reportedly flew a record 613.8 feet.
Sports in 1986
Scott Zimmerman set a Guinness World Record for the “longest throw of an object without any velocity-aiding feature.” He threw an Aerobie 1,257 feet at Fort Funston in San Francisco.
Environment in 1986
A magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck North Palm Springs. Forty people were injured and property damage estimated at $6 million.
Conrad in 1999
Pete Conrad, Jr., naval officer, test pilot, and NASA astronaut, died after a motorcycle accident near Ojai at age 69. He was the third man to walk on the moon.
Fires in 2008
The Butte Lightning Complex Fire destroyed 41 homes overnight in and around Paradise. The next day 10,000 people were evacuated from the area.
Crime in 2009
Philip Day, 63-year-old former head of San Francisco City College, was charged with eight felonies for using public funds for political donations and other banned expenditures.
Crime in 2010
A Los Angeles jury found BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle guilty of involuntary manslaughter. The verdict sparked a riot in downtown Oakland with at least 50-100 people arrested for smashing windows and looting.
Business in 2010
Zap Inc., a Santa Rosa electric vehicle manufacturer, announced a merger with China’s Jonway Automobile Co. Ltd.
Borgnine in 2012
Ernest Borgnine, film and television actor, died in Los Angeles at age 95. In addition to winning an Oscar and Emmy Award, he was the voice of Mermaid Man on “SpongeBob SquarePants” (1999-2012).
Bridges in 2013
San Francisco Bay Bridge officials said repairs to cracked rods would delay the opening of the $6.4 billion Bay Bridge by at least 3 months.
Prisons in 2013
Thousands of prisoners in California prisons continued a hunger strike. They protested Pelican Bay State Prison inmates being held in solitary confinement for decades in an attempt to disrupt gang activities in California prisons.
War in 1846
The US flag was raised over the plaza at the Yerba Buena, today’s San Francisco. In Sonoma, the US flag replaced the bear flag, ending the short-lived California Republic.
Bridges in 1933
Construction began for the San Francisco Bay Bridge. It would be the world’s longest steel structure. The eccentric Emperor Norton proclaimed a bridge be built in that very spot in 1872.
Labor in 1934
Two strikers shot to death by San Francisco police on July 5th – Bloody Thursday – were buried. 40,000 mourners filled Market Street in a funeral procession. 150,000 workers went on strike on July 16th, paralyzing the city.
Fires in 1953
The Rattlesnake Fire was started by an arsonist in Grindstone Canyon in Mendocino National Forest. It killed a Forest Service employee, 14 volunteer firefighters and burned over 1,300 acres.
Hanks in 1956
Tom Hanks, actor and filmmaker, was born in Concord. In addition to winning many acting awards, he voices characters in “The Polar Express” (2004) and the “Toy Story” series (1995-2017).
Business in 1956
Fred and Pat Cody opened Cody’s Books in Berkeley. It “was a pioneer in bookselling, bringing the paperback revolution to Berkeley, fighting censorship, and providing a safe harbor from tear gas directed at anti-Vietnam War protesters throughout the 1960s and 1970s.”
Art in 1962
Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans exhibition opened at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles. It was his first one-man show. Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans helped usher in pop art in the US.
Sports in 1968
The Philadelphia 76’ers traded Wilt Chamberlain to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers paid Chamberlain $250,000, more than double the previous top team salary.
Government in 1975
Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that reduced the penalty for possession of marijuana to a $100 fine.
Movies in 1980
Walt Disney released the “Fox & The Hound.” The 24th Walt Disney Animated Classic, tells the story of two unlikely friends, a red fox named Tod and a hound dog named Copper.
Justice in 1999
A Los Angeles jury ordered General Motors to pay $4.9 billion to six people burned when their 1979 Chevrolet Malibu fuel tank exploded following a rear end collision. A judge reduced that award to $1.2 billion. Punitive damages were reduced to $1.09 billion with $107 million in compensatory damages. General Motors continued to appeal.
Sanford in 2004
Isabel Sanford, stage, film and television actress, died in Los Angeles at age 86. She was best known for roles on “All in the Family” (1971–1975) and “The Jeffersons” (1975–1985).
Fires in 2006
The Sawtooth Complex fire in San Bernardino County was started by lightning. It burned 61,700 acres, 50 homes, 8 mobile homes, 13 garages, 171 outbuildings, 191 cars and pick up trucks, 3 R.V.s, 27 trailers, 2 railcars and 9 tractors. There were 17 minor injuries and one fatality. It merged with the Millard Complex fire on July 14.
Lane in 2007
Charles Lane, actor, died in Santa Monica at age 102. He appeared in some 250 roles on film and television. His final screen appearance, at age 90, was in “The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes” (1995).
Education in 2008
The California state Board of Education make algebra mandatory in the eighth grade beginning in 2011, in order to bring the state into compliance with the federal No Child Left Behind program.
Business in 2010
Google said China renewed its license to operate a website, preserving its business in the most populous Internet market. Google quit trying to avoid Beijing’s Web censorship.
Environment in 2010
Scuba divers began killing invasive Asian clams in Lake Tahoe. Long rubber mats were laid over half an acre in a test effort starve the clams of oxygen.
Post offices in 1851
A US post office opened at Mokelumne Hill. The Calaveras County town was one of the richest during the gold rush. Around 15,000 people lived there; Americans, Frenchmen, Germans, Spaniards, Chileans, Mexicans, Chinese and others. It was also a violent place, with at least a murder a week for seventeen weeks in 1851. In 2010 it was a peaceful community with 646 residents.
Hotels in 1875
The Arlington, Santa Barbara’s first tourist hotel, was completed. The three-story, 90-room palatial hotel was located on State Street between Victoria and Sola streets. It burned on August 15th, 1909, was rebuilt then destroyed in an earthquake (1925).
Transportation in 1876
The Tehachapi Loop was completed. Almost 40 trains travel the loop daily, making it one of the busiest single-track mainlines in the world.
Environment in 1913
Temperature reached 134°F at Furnace Creek in Death Valley. This was a record high in the US for this date.
Simpson in 1947
O.J. Simpson, football star and actor acquitted in trial for the murder of his ex-wife, was born in San Francisco.
Civil rights in 1951
Dashiell Hammett, mystery writer, was sentenced in San Francisco to six months in prison. He refused to say where the Communist party got bail money.
Theater in 1980
Sam Shepard’s “True West” premiered in San Francisco and became a stage hit. The comic drama explored American myths and popular culture.
Blanc in 1989
Mel Blanc, comic and voice actor, died in Los Angeles at age 81. Known as the “man of a thousand voices,” including for Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester and Tweety, Tazmanian Devil, Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner.
Environment in 1996
A landslide in Yosemite Valley closed the Happy Isles trail head. 162,000 tons of rocks and other debris fell, killing one camper and injuring 12.
War in 1846
The American flag was raised at Sutter’s Fort. After the US Army arrived, John Sutter raised the Stars and Stripes above the walls of his compound.
War in 1846
During the Bear Flag Revolt, Captain Thomas Fallon led a small force from Santa Cruz and captured San Jose without bloodshed.
Crime in 1851
The San Francisco Committee of Vigilance hanged James Stuart. The committee formed in response to uncontrolled crime, especially arson, and government corruption. They hanged several outlaws and forced officials to resign.
Environment in 1877
Los Angeles recorded a temperature of 112 degrees. It was not recorded as an all-time-high because official recording began 20 days later.
Music in 1922
The Hollywood Bowl opened. It has hosted countless classical and pop music performances, like the Beatles, Doors, Cher, Genesis and Phish.
Kildall in 1994
Gary Kildall, pioneer software writer and entrepreneur, died in Monterey at age 52. He was one of the first to see microprocessors as computers, not just equipment controllers. He organized Digital Research around this business concept (1974).
Gold in 2004
Joe Gold, founder of Gold’s Gyms fitness chain, died in Marina del Rey at age 82. He is known as the father of the bodybuilding and the fitness craze.
Business in 2008
Apple introduced its next generation iPhone in 22 countries. Unprecedented demand caused initial service problems.
Crime in 2008
Armando Estrada, age 30, of Rodeo, was shot and killed in San Francisco. In 2009 Jonathan Cruz-Ramirez and Guillermo Herrera, alleged members of the MS-13 street gang, were charged with the murder.
Business in 2012
City Council of San Bernadino authorized filing under Chapter 9 federal bankruptcy law, the third California municipality to do so in 2012.
Ranchos in 1805
Topanga Malibu Sequit rancho was deeded, a 13,316-acre Spanish land grant in present day Los Angeles County. People identify Malibu with celebrities, billionaires and luxury estates, but the region was originally home to Chumash people.
Inventions in 1881
Emma and Mary Dietz of Oakland patented a dust pan that closed. “Our invention relates to that class of dustpans which are moved along the floor or carpet, and into which the dust or debris is to be swept… as the pan is covered, the dust will not be carried out of the pan by a gust of wind or the sudden opening of a door in carrying it to a place of deposit, as in the use of the ordinary dust-pan.”
Prisons in 1934
US Disciplinary Barracks belonging to the military on Alcatraz Island were abandoned. This marked the beginnings of Alcatraz as a federal penitentiary. Alcatraz would hold prisoners who caused trouble at other federal prisons until 1963. Today it is a museum and one of San Francisco’s major tourist attractions, attracting some 1.5 million visitors yearly.
Sports in 1949
Los Angeles Rams signed Norm Van Brocklin. In 1950 the Rams began platooning quarterbacks, Bob Waterfield and Van Brocklin. That year they averaged 38.8 points per game, a NFL scoring record. In a 1951 game, Van Brocklin passed for 554 yards, also a NFL record. That year the Rams won the championship, which they didn’t repeat until 1999.
Power in 1957
Santa Susana in Los Angeles County began receiving the nation’s first commercial electricity from a small, civilian-owned, nuclear reactor. Scientists reported that the plant might be responsible hundreds of cancer cases.
Crime in 1971
Juan Corona, was indicted for the murders of 25 men in Sutter County. He was a labor contractor who hired farm workers for fruit ranches. Corona’s mental illness was presented at his trial but he was convicted and is serving a life sentence.
Yamaguchi in 1971
Kristi Tsuya Yamaguchi, Olympic champion figure skater, was born in Hayward.
Crime in 1976
Edward Allaway, CSU Fullerton custodian, murdered seven people in the library and Instructional Media Center using a semi-automatic rifle. He then telephoned police saying, “I went berserk at Cal State Fullerton, and I committed some terrible act. I’d appreciate it if you people would come down and pick me up. I’m unarmed, and I’m giving myself up to you.” He was convicted of murder but found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Riperton in 1979
Minnie Riperton, pop singer famed for her three-octave range, died in Los Angeles at age 31. ”Lovin’ You,” her international blockbuster, topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1975. After being diagnosed with cancer, Riperton continued touring and became the national spokeswoman for the American Cancer Society.
Crime in 2007
Michael John Wills, an Oakland chef, was shot and killed. His killer used an AK-47 assault rifle linked to Your Black Muslim Bakery. In 2009 an indictment accused Yusuf Bey IV, leader of the bakery, of murder for ordering the murder.
Crime in 2007
Philip Lum Jr., former mayor of Colma, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for failing to report free airline tickets from the Lucky Chances Casino.
Crime in 2010
Los Angeles County police discovered thousands of pounds of marijuana in a railroad car that entered from Mexico.
Education in 2013
University of California announced Janet Napolitano, US Homeland Security Secretary, would become the first woman to lead the 10-campus system.
Business in 1852
Wells Fargo Bank opened for business in San Francisco and Sacramento. Today Wells Fargo & Company is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.3 trillion in assets, providing services to 30% of US households.
Crime in 1882
Charles Bowles, English born gentleman bandit known as Black Bart, left poems at the scene of his crimes. He held up Wells Fargo stage coaches 28 times. The 23rd robbery was near LaPorte in Plumas County.
Power in 1895
Electric power from the Folsom Powerhouse lighted Sacramento, 22 miles away. It was one of the first US power stations to generate alternating current from hydroelectric power. Today it is a State Historic Park.
Transportation in 1898
The San Francisco Ferry Building at the foot of Market Street opened. it was the largest building in the city and survived the 1906 and the 1989 earthquakes. Today it is a ferry terminal and a destination marketplace.
Hollywood in 1923
The Hollywood sign was officially dedicated in the hills above Hollywood. It originally read “Hollywoodland,” advertising a real estate development. The last four of the 50-foot tall letters were dropped when the sign was renovated in 1949.
Movies in 1935
Walt Disney Productions released “Mickey’s Garden.” It was the second Mickey Mouse cartoon in Technicolor and Pluto’s first color appearance. It tells the story of Mickey trying to rid his garden of insects. When he gets hit with his own bug spray, the world starts to look strange.
Movies in 1945
Walt Disney Productions released “Californy ‘er Bust.” It tells how the Goofy lookalike pioneers traveled West in covered wagons. When they encounter Goofy lookalike Indians, battle breaks out. Goofy is saved when a tornado picks up the covered wagons and drops pioneers into “Wash,” “Organ,” and “Californy.”
Marin in 1946
Cheech Marin, comedian, actor and writer, was born in Los Angeles. He is best known for Cheech & Chong performances with Tommy Chong. Live shows were produced as record albums followed by four films. Marin also had a successful career in TV and children’s music.
Radio in 1960
KDBQ-AM in San Francisco changed its call letters back to to KYA. It was known as KYA until 1983, then KOIT and KXLR until it became KSFB, broadcasting Immaculate Heart Radio, a Roman Catholic radio format.
Business in 1979
Teradata, a software company started in a Brentwood garage, incorporated. The name Teradata symbolizes the ability to manage terabytes (trillions of bytes) of data. Now located in Ohio, it sells analytic data platforms, applications and related services.
Crime in 1994
O.J. Simpson, charged with murder, submitted hair samples for DNA testing. They were for comparison with hair in a knit cap found outside the town home where Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman were found slain on June 12, 1994.
Berman in 1996
Pandro Berman, legendary Hollywood producer, died in Beverly Hills at age 91. Among films he produced were; “Top Hat” (1935), “National Velvet” (1944) and “Father of the Bride” (1950).
Television in 2004
Ken Jennings, a 30-year-old software engineer, crossed the $1 million mark in a 30-game winning streak on Jeapardy, recorded in Culver City.
Buttons in 2006
Aaron Chwatt, known as “Red Buttons,” died in Los Angeles. Comedian and actor, he came up through burlesque and Broadway to Hollywood.
Crime in 2008
Terry Childs, a 43-year-old San Francisco computer engineer, was arrested for plotting to hijack the city’s computer system. He continued to draw his $127,735 salary but refused to provide passwords to the network.
Labor in 2010
Oakland laid off 80 police officers after negotiations between city officials and union leaders failed to agree on job security.