Exploration in 1776
Juan Bautista de Anza, Spanish explorer, returning to Mexico after leading the first colonists to Monterey, camped at a place where he measured a redwood tree “five and a half yards around.” Today that place is called Palo Alto.
Ranchos in 1857
San Miguel rancho was deeded to Jose de Jesus Noe, last alcalde of Yerba Buena. The 4,443-acre Mexican land grant in present day San Francisco County encompassed the present-day neighborhoods of Noe Valley, the Castro, Glen Park, Diamond Heights and St. Francis Wood.
Post offices in 1893
A U.S. post office opened in Manvel. The Eastern Mojave desert town, originally named Barnwell Siding, was founded in the hope of being the northern end of the Nevada Southern Railway on the Santa Fe main line.
Hammer in 1962
Stanley Kirk Burrell, rapper, dancer, entrepreneur and actor, was born in Oakland. Known as M.C. Hammer, he was famous for songs such as “U Can’t Touch This” (1990) and “2 Legit 2 Quit” (1991), flashy dance moves and Hammer pants.
Labor in 1985
Workers at Colma cemeteries, south of San Francisco, joined striking East Bay graveyard employees.
Bridges in 1990
Harry Bridges, labor activist, died in San Francisco at age 88. He unionized workers along the San Francisco waterfront and led the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), fort 40 years.
Diebenkorn in 1993
Richard Diebenkorn, artist, died in Berkeley at age 70. He was one of the leading artists of the San Francisco Bay area in the 1950s and 1960s. His “Ocean Park #48” sold for $13.5 million in 2012.
Government in 2010
San Francisco City sued Rehab Financial Corp. after the company abruptly closed its Huntington Beach office and drained accounts holding city funds. The suit accused the company of misappropriating millions of dollars from San Francisco and other California cities.
Business in 2010
Chevron Corp. of San Ramon announced that the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in favor of its claim against Ecuador related to past operations of its Texaco unit. The tribunal ruled that Ecuador’s courts delayed rulings on a contract dispute and awarded Chevron about $700 million. A separate case over a $27 billion pollution claim remained pending.
Escalante in 2010
Jaime Escalante, a math teacher in East Los Angeles, died in Roseville at age 79. “Stand and Deliver” (1987) was based on the story of his success teaching math to inner-urban kids.
Business in 2010
Google Inc. of Mountain View said its mobile services were partially blocked in China for two days. Searches on its Chinese-language site became erratic about a week after the company shut its mainland Chinese portal and rerouted Web searches to a Hong Kong site.
Missions in 1782
Junipero Serra dedicated Mission Buenaventura and preached on the Resurrection. It was planned to be third of 21 Missions founded by Padre Serra. Instead it was the ninth and last mission founded during his lifetime.
Post offices in 1849
Colonel John Geary arrived in San Francisco to become its first postmaster.
Inventions in 1874
Ella N. Gaillard, of San Francisco, patented improved sewing needles. “The nature of my invention consists in making a needle of any size, which, instead of an eye for the thread, has a hole bored longitudinally into the head or larger end thereof’ to the depth of a quarter of an inch, or thereabout, which said hole is arranged with a screw-thread.”
Transportation in 1901
The Coast Line route opened between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It has been called “the most beautiful train in the world” –
Radio in 1922
KFI-AM was licensed to broadcast in Los Angeles. It was one of the first high-powered, “clear-channel” stations in the U.S.. It became one of the most popular AM radio stations in the country.
Hollywood in 1930
The Motion Pictures Production Code established strict guidelines on the treatment of sex, crime, religion and violence in film for the next 38 years.
San Francisco in 1941
Construction began for the Union Square Garage in downtown San Francisco.
Labor in 1962
Cesar Chavez founded the United Farm Workers Union on his birthday.
Transportation in 1963
Los Angeles ended streetcar service after 90 years. It had the largest trolley system in the world in the 1920s.
Sports in 1975
The UCLA Bruins beat the Kentucky Wildcats for the NCAA Championship, 92-55. It was coach John Wooden’s final game and UCLA’s 10th NCAA championship in 12 years.
Accidents in 1982
An avalanche at Alpine Meadows ski resort killed seven people.
Battleships in 1992
The USS Missouri, the last active U.S. Navy battleship, was decommissioned in Long Beach. Japan formally surrendered to the U.S. aboard her to end the war in the Pacific. Today she is part of the Pearl Harbor Memorial in Hawaii.
Business in 1998
StarCraft, a military science fiction real-time strategy video game by Blizzard Entertainment of Irvine was released in South Korea.
Business in 2007
Iceland, a skating rink in Berkeley, closed after 66 years of operation.
Business in 2010
Google Inc., of Mountain View, announced malicious software had been used to spy on Vietnamese computer users opposed to a controversial bauxite mine.
Crime in 2011
Bryan Stow, San Francisco Giants fan, was beaten and left in a coma following a game outside Dodger Stadium. He spent two years in hospitals and rehabilitation. Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood pleaded guilty to the attack.
Business in 2013
Tesla reported that it earned its first quarterly profit after selling more luxury electric cars than forecast.
Government in 1838
Juan Alvarado lead a militia from Monterey and captured Los Angeles in a struggle for independence from Mexican rule.
Yerba Buena in 1847
A count in Yerba Buena showed 79 buildings; 22 shanties, 31 frame houses and 26 adobe dwellings.
Transportion in 1849
The SS Oregon arrived in San Francisco from New York. The Pacific Mail Steamship Company ship carried the first mail, freight and about 400 passengers to the Gold Rush. Most of the sailors jumped ship and took the captain two months to rehire a crew.
Sacramento in 1850
The population of Sacramento was approximately 150.
Transportation in 1858
Daily stagecoach service began between Shasta and Sacramento. It ran over 186 miles of mule trails and crude roads.
Government in 1864
Lassen County was established from Plumas and Shasta Counties following the two-day conflict known as the Sagebrush War. Due to an independent spirit and uncertain boundaries, a section of today’s Lassen County was part of the Nataqua Territory and Roop County, Nevada during the 1850s and 1860s.
Inventions in 1873
Catharine F. Ware of San Francisco patented a process for removing paper from walls. “My invention relates to a novel process for saturating wall-paper so that it can be readily removed from the walls of a room preparatory to repapering them, or in order to apply some other finishing to the walls.”
Berkeley in 1878
Berkeley was incorporated from two communities on the San Francisco Bay eastern shore; Ocean View and Berkeley Station. It is one of the oldest council‑manager cities in California.
Crime in 1913
Lee Quon Sing, an elderly rag picker in San Francisco, was shot and killed by two members of the Bing Kong tong at war with the Suey Sing tong. He was the eighth victim of conflict that began three weeks earlier over a slave girl.
San Francisco in 1950
San Francisco’s population was 775,357. Four of ten people owned their home with a median value of $11,930. Average adults completed 11.7 years of school and over 19% went to college.
Television in 1958
KVIQ-TV channel 6, Eureka’s second television station, began broadcasting.
Television in 1968
KEMO-TV, now KOFY-TV, in San Francisco, began broadcasting. It was irregularly on-and-off the air initially, showing art films called The Adults Only Movie (not featuring sex or nudity), because they were not for children.
Business in 1976
Apple Inc. of Cupertino was formed by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. They incorporated on January 3, 1977.
Parades in 1979
The first St. Stupid’s Day Parade, founded by Ed Holmes, was held in San Francisco’s financial district to mock greed.
Internet in 1984
Stewart Brand and Larry Brilliant launched the Well, Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link, in Sausalito. Today it is one of the oldest virtual communities on the web.
Crime in 1984
Marvin Gay Sr. shot and killed his son, Motown singer Marvin Gaye during an argument in Los Angeles. It was the day before the singer’s 45th birthday. Gaye’s hits included “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (1971), “What’s Going On” (1973) and “Let’s Get It On” (1973).
Jordan in 1988
Jim Jordan, actor, died in Beverly Hills at age 91. He was best known for playing Fibber McGee in the radio program “Fibber McGee and Molly” (1935 – 1959) and the albatross Orville in “The Rescuers” (1977).
Mare Island in 1996
Mare Island Naval Shipyard near Vallejo closed. It was commissioned by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War and played a major role during World War Two, building and repairing ships for the war with Japan.
Sports in 2000
Michelle Kwan, born in Torrance, won her third World Figure Skating title.
Government in 2002
A San Francisco Court of Appeals ordered the U.S. government to pay millions of dollars in disability benefits to Vietnam veterans with prostate cancer, who were exposed to Agent Orange.
Business in 2004
Google, Inc. of Mountain View introduced Gmail.
Atkinson in 2004
Paul Atkinson, guitarist in the British band Zombies, died in Los Angeles at age 58. The group’s songs included “She’s Not There” (1964).
Snodgress in 2004
Carrie Snodgress, actress, died in Los Angeles at age 57. She was best known for her role in “Diary of a Mad Housewife” (1970) but left acting to live with musician Neil Young and care for their son Zeke.
Business in 2010
The New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant (NUMMI) in Fremont produced its last Toyota Corolla after 25 years of building cars the Toyota Way.
Forsythe in 2010
John Forsythe, television and movie actor, died in Santa Ynez at age 92 . His films included “The Trouble with Harry” (1955) and “Topaz” (1969). His television roles included “Dynasty” (1981-1989).
Protests in 2012
Occupy San Francisco activists took over an unoccupied building owned by the Archdiocese of San Francisco following a peaceful rally and march earlier in the day.
Fanaka in 2012
Jamaa Fanaka, filmmaker and leader in the L.A. Rebellion film movement, died in South Los Angeles at age 69. His films included “Penitentiary” (1979).
Stockton in 2013
A federal judge granted Stockton’s request for bankruptcy, making it the largest city in U.S. history to go bankrupt.
Business in 2013
Facebook of Menlo Park lost a bid to end a trademark-infringement lawsuit over its use of “timeline” and related terms.
Exploration in 1772
Father Juan Crespi found a bay, later named Suisun Bay, that he thought was a shortcut to the Colorado River. Crespi was wrong.
Overland trail in 1849
Sixty adventurers in two groups left Columbus, Ohio on an overland journey to the gold fields; the Columbus and California Industrial Association and the Franklin California Mining Company.
Government in 1866
Kern County was established. It spans the southern end of the Central Valley and is the eleventh most populous county in the state.
Modoc War in 1873
After months of battles between U.S. Army forces and Modoc warriors lead by Captain Jack, men from both sides finally agreed to parlay. But the meeting broke up with no resolution.
Movie theaters in 1902
Tally’s Electric Theatre, the first full-time movie theater in the U.S, opened in Los Angeles.
Webb in 1920
Jack Webb, actor, was born in Santa Monica. He was best known for playing Joe Friday on “Dragnet” (1951 – 1959).
Government in 1942
The California legislature ordered Japanese Americans fired from state civil service jobs. They feared Japanese Americans would not be loyal to the U.S. after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.
Amusement parks in 1954
Plans to build Disneyland were announced.
Sports in 1976
Oakland A’s traded Reggie Jackson, Ken Holtzman and Bill Van Bommell to the Baltimore Orioles for Don Baylor, Mike Torrez and Paul Mitchell.
Sports in 1982
Steve McCatty, Oakland A’s pitcher, followed manager Billy Martin’s orders and used a 15″ toy bat to protest a rule against designated hitters.
Crime in 1993
Ellie Nesler shot and killed Daniel Driver in a Jamestown, courtroom. Driver had been accused of molesting her son and three other boys. Nesler was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Prisons in 1994
Preston Tate was shot and killed by guards during an allegedly staged fight at the Corcoran State Prison.
Prisons in 1998
California agreed to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by three female prison workers for $4.3 million.
Pierce in 2002
John Pierce, communications engineer, died in Mountain View at age 92. He wrote some 20 books, invented a vacuum tube that transmits electrons (the Pierce Gun), received some 90 patents and named the transistor.
Business in 2004
Sun Microsystems of Santa Clara announced Microsoft would pay it nearly $2 billion to settle a legal dispute. Sun also announced layoffs of 3,300 and a business partnership with Microsoft.
Government in 2011
Half Moon Bay shut its police department and turned over those duties to the San Mateo County Sheriff.
Government in 2012
U.S. federal agents raided the Oakland business and apartment of Richard Lee, founder of Oaksterdam University, the first cannabis college in the U.S.
Protests in 2012
San Francisco police evicted nearly 80 Occupy activists from a building owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco.
Education in 1848
The first American public school in California opened on Portsmouth Square in San Francisco. Thomas Douglas, a Yale graduate, was the first teacher. His salary; $1000.
Business in 1854
The San Francisco mint opened. It issued $4 million in gold coins that year. An Indian princess appeared on gold dollars.
Communication in 1860
James Randall, Pony Express rider, carried the first eastbound mail from the Alta Telegraph Company in San Francisco to the wharf, where It was placed on the steamer “New World” to Sacramento. The mail reached St. Joseph, Missouri ten days later.
Caen in 1916
Herb Caen, beloved columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, was born in Sacramento. His column was like “a continuous love letter to San Francisco.”
Berry in 1941
Jan Berry, composer, producer and lead singer of Jan and Dean, was born in Los Angeles. He met Dean Torrence in junior high. They formed a band in high school and became famous in the late 1950’s and 60’s as pioneers of the surf music craze that The Beach Boys popularized.
Radio in 1949
KQW-AM in San Francisco changed its call letters to KCBS. It is the third oldest radio station in California, after KWG in Stockton and KNX in Los Angeles. KCBS began with broadcast experiments by Charles Herrold of San Jose in 1909.
Computers in 1981
Osborne 1, the first successful portable computer, was unveiled at the West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco.
Business in 1985
The Brown Derby a Hollywood landmark restaurant, closed after 56 years in business.
Leff in 1993
Pincus Leff, better known as Pinky Lee, pioneer children’s television show host, died in Mission Viejo at age 83. “The Pinky Lee Show” ran from 1954 – 1957.
Sports in 1995
The UCLA Bruins defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks to win the NCAA basketball championship, 89-78.
Sports in 2006
The Florida Gators beat the UCLA Bruins to win a first NCAA championship, 73-57.
Business in 2010
Apple Inc., of Cupertino sold some 300,000 iPads the first day they were available.
Protests in 2012
Santa Monica College police pepper-sprayed some 30 demonstrators after students, angry over tuition increases, tried to force their way into a trustees meeting.
Government in 2012
San Francisco’s treasurer ruled that Airbnb, an online home rental service, and other companies like it must pay hotel taxes.
Business in 2012
Google of Mountain View started building one of its three planned data centers in Asia to meet fast growing online demand from the region.
Missions in 1824
Mission San Francisco Solano was dedicated in Sonoma. It was the only mission established under Mexican rule, It marked the northern end of El Camino Real, “The Kings Highway.”
Los Angeles in 1850
Los Angeles incorporated. Today it is the most populous city in California, second most populous in the U.S. after New York City,
Fires in 1850
Fire burned Sacramento. Eight buildings on Front Street were destroyed in 30 minutes. Some $100,000 in merchandise was lost at a time when the population was around 150.
Newspapers in 1850
The Placer Times posted the following prices: Filtered water, $1.50 per barrel. Washing and ironing, $6 and $7 and per dozen. Admission to the theater, $3 for box tickets, $2 pit. Haircut, $1.50. Shave, $1. Billiards, $1 per game. Lodging for laying on the floor in your own blankets, $1 per night. Musicians at the gambling houses earned $15 per day.
Communication in 1860
Sam Hamilton, Pony Express rider, rode East from a Sacramento building that housed Pony Express and Wells Fargo offices.
Parks in 1870
The state legislature passed “An Act to provide for the improvement of Public Parks in the City of San Francisco.” Golden Gate Park, 1,017 acres, became the fifth largest urban park in the U.S.
Bidwell in 1900
John Bidwell, pioneer, farmer, soldier, politician, prohibitionist, philanthropist and founder of Chico died in Chico at age 80. He lead one of the first wagon trains, the Bartleson-Bidwell Party, to California.
Accidents in 1986
An explosion in San Francisco’s Bayview District leveled nearly three blocks, injuring at least 21 people and leaving about 30 missing.
Sports in 1997
Anaheim Ducks won their first playoff berth. The club founded by The Walt Disney Company as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (1993), was named for the film “The Mighty Ducks” (1992).
Sports in 1999
The Colorado Rockies beat the San Diego Padres, 8-2, in baseball’s first season opener played in Mexico.
Newspapers in 2005
The Los Angeles Times won two Pulitzer Prizes. Charles Ornstein, Tracy Weber and photographer Robert Gauthier were honored for exposing deadly medical problems and racial injustice at a major public hospital.
Business in 2005
Chevron of San Ramon announced plans to purchase Unocal Corp. for $18.4 billion. The acquisition included a stake in the Yadana project in Myanmar. That project brought in an estimated $969 million to the government, undercutting international sanctions to isolate the regime.
Business in 2007
Apple, Inc. of Cupertino updated its desktop Mac Pro computers. It added two new 3.0GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors, bringing 8-core processing to the Mac. The new machines ran the 3.0GHz Intel Xeon processors and were available as build to order options.
Clark in 2007
Bob Clark, film director, age 67, and his son were killed in a Pacific Palisades car crash with a drunken driver. Clark was best known for “A Christmas Story” (1983).
Santa Cruz in 1850
Branciforte changed its name to Santa Cruz. It was one of three pueblos established in Spanish California.
Closeup of the City of Santa Cruz Photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Business in 1859
Hibernia Savings & Loan Society of San Francisco incorporated. It grew into a major San Francisco bank and became the largest bank in California by 1900.
Inventions in 1870
Annie J. Hall, of San Francisco, patented an improved pencil holder. “This invention consists of a rigid tube provided with fingers of peculiar construction, in combination with an elastic tube, as will be fully described.”
Libraries in 1880
Stockton authorized a tax to establish a public library. It opened in two upstairs rooms at the corner of Main and San Joaquin in 1881. In 1906 2,362 people had library cards and that May they borrowed 4969 items, including 847 children’s books.
Peck in 1916
Gregory Peck, film actor, was born in La Jolla. One of Hollywood’s great leading men, he won an Academy Award for “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1960).
Transportation in 1941
Horse-drawn streetcars on Castro and Fillmore Streets in San Francisco were replaced by buses.
Newspapers in 1951
The first full separate food section in a U.S. newspaper debuted in The San Francisco Chronicle.
Television in 1954
KQED in San Francisco debuted on the air. It was the sixth public television station in the U.S..
Crime in 1970
A shootout in Newhall between criminals and California Highway Patrol officers left four CHP officers dead in less than 5 minutes. At the time, it was the deadliest day in the history of California law enforcement.
Crime in 1984
Tina Faelz, age 14, was killed while walking home from school in Pleasanton. Fellow students discovered her body shortly afterward. Steven Carlson, a former classmate, was convicted of her murder in 2012.
Tchelistcheff in 1994
Andre Tchelistcheff, pioneer winemaker, died in Napa at age 92. Beside managing Beaulieu Vineyards for 35 years, he ran a private wine laboratory and assembled a fabled wine library.
Internet in 2006
San Francisco selected Google and EarthLink to bring free Internet access to the city.
Kaprow in 2006
Allan Kaprow, pioneer performance artist artist who coined the term “happenings” in the late 1950s, died in Encinitas at age 78.
Crime in 2007
Dr. William Ayres, San Mateo child psychologist, was arrested on 14 counts of child molestation since 1969.
Heston in 2008
Charlton Heston, film star and political activist, died in Beverley Hills at age 84. He appeared in 100 films and is best remembered for “The Ten Commandments” (1956) and “Ben-Hur” (1959), for which he won an Academy Award.
Ranchos in 1837
Ojai Rancho was deeded. The 17,717-acre Mexican land grant in present day Ventura County included what became Ojai in 1917.
Communication in 1861
The Butterfield Company ran the first stage coach over the new road through the Santa Susana Pass in the Simi Hills to deliver mail from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
Newspapers in 1872
The Tuolumne Independent began publishing in Sonora and continued until May 25, 1945.
Crime in 1911
The San Francisco Police Board examined nine Mission saloon keepers who were cited for selling liquor to women decoys.
Sports in 1931
Seals Stadium opened in San Francisco. It was home to the San Francisco Giants for their first two seasons in the city.
Hoaxes in 1937
A legendary piece of brass left by Sir Francis Drake was found near San Francisco Bay. In 1579 Drake explored the California coast, landed, claimed it for England, named it New Albion and supposedly left an inscribed plate of brass as proof. What was found was a fake.
Haggard in 1937
Merle Haggard, country music star, was born in a converted boxcar in Bakersfield. His band, The Strangers, helped create the Bakersfield sound.
Sports in 1958
Los Angeles Dodgers built a 42-foot high screen in left field at the Coliseum to cut down on home runs, since it is only 250 feet down the line.
Radio in 1967
Tom Donahue, Marin County DJ at KMPX-FM, launched a new radio format that became known as freeform progressive rock with “no jingles, no talkovers, no time and temp, no pop singles.” He played albums by Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix “and The Beatles uninterrupted in their entirety.
Sports in 1969
Bill Singer, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, was credited with the first official save in a game against the Cincinnati Red Sox.
Music in 1974
250,000 people attended California Jam at the Ontario Motor Speedway. Featuring Deep Purple and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, it set records for loudest amplification and the highest paid attendance and was the last of the original era of rock festivals.
Race relations in 1987
Al Campanis, Los Angeles Dodgers executive, said on television that blacks “may not have some of the necessities” to hold managerial jobs in major-league baseball. He was fired.
Sports in 1996
Kelly Robbins won the Sacramento 12 Bridges Ladies Professional Golf Association Golf Classic.
Business in 2001
PG&E filed for bankruptcy with $9 billion in debt due to the California energy crisis. Just before filing, PG&E awarded bonuses and raises to 6,000 senior managers and other employees.
Olatunji in 2003
Babatunde Olatunji, Nigerian drummer, educator, social activist and recording artist, died in Salinas at age 75.
Accidents in 2006
Three ski patrollers were killed at Mammoth Lakes when snow collapsed around a volcanic gas vent.
Kinkade in 2012
Thomas Kinkade, artist, died in Monte Sereno at age 54. His paintings of peaceful landscapes, cottages and churches were big sellers for dealers across the country.