Gold in 1842
Francisco Lopez found gold at Placerita Canyon, north of the Pueblo de Los Angeles. He woke from a nap under an oak tree then crossed a creek to a grove of trees. He stuck his knife into the ground to dig wild onions and clinging to the onions were chunks of gold.
Mexican American War in 1846
John Frémont lowered the U.S. flag over Gavilan Peak and retreated to Sutter’s Fort after angering Mexican officials who suspected him of wanting to free California from Mexican rule.
Gold Rush in 1848
Isaac Humphrey introduced the first machine to the Gold Rush. But his rocker or cradle was too crude to catch the fine gold particles called gold dust.
Newspapers in 1867
The Red Bluff Sentinel debuted and continued publishing to 1882.
Toys in 1959
Barbie, made by Mattel in El Segundo, debuted at the American International Toy Fair in New York. Today she is one of the most famous dolls in history.
Indians in 1964
Five Lakota Sioux men occupied Alcatraz Island in a peaceful political protest. They demanded the island become a Native American cultural center and university.
Burns in 1996
George Burns, legendary comedian, died in Beverly Hills weeks after turning 100. His career spanned vaudeville, film, radio and television.
Government in 2006
Government authorities ordered Michael Jackson to shut down his Neverland Ranch, in Santa Barbara County, and fined the pop star $169,000 for failing to pay his employees or maintain proper insurance.
Business in 2006
Google, in Mountain View, announced purchase of Upstartle LLC, whose Writely.com service allowed users to create, edit and share documents online.
Accidents in 2008
Kristy Gough, age 30, and Mat Peterson, age 29, racing cyclists, were killed during a training ride in Cupertino when a deputy sheriff veered into the opposite lane of traffic. Officer James Council, age 27, said he fell asleep at the wheel.
Crime in 2010
San Francisco officials shut down drug testing at the police crime lab. Deborah Madden, age 60, a technician, was accused of stealing cocaine she was to analyze.
Exploration in 1776
Juan Bautista de Anza and his expedition of Mexican colonists reached Monterey Bay to start a civilian outpost. They traveled for months, covering more than 1,000 miles overland.
San Francisco in 1847
Stephen Kearny authorized the sale of 444 lots on the east side of San Francisco, some on the beach and others under water.
San Francisco in 1847
Jasper O’Farrell surveyed San Francisco which covered about one and one-half square miles. The city’s population was 459.
Earthquakes in 1933
The Long Beach Earthquake caused some $50 million in property damage and killed 120 people. More than 230 school buildings were destroyed or made unsafe, which lead to laws making school buildings earthquake safe.
Music in 1940
Dean Torrence, musician, was born in Los Angeles. He became famous as part of Jan and Dean, an early surf music band in the late 1950s and mid ’60s.
Water in 1962
A water desalination plant opened at San Diego. Kelp and sea grass clogged the intake, causing operational challenges.
Sports in 1963
The Syracuse Nationals beat the San Francisco Warriors despite the 70 points scored by Wilt Chamberlain.
Bridges in 1998
Lloyd Bridges, actor, died in Westwood at age 85. He played in more than 100 movies and starred in the television series “Sea Hunt” (1957-1961).
Religion in 2007
Some 22,000 evangelical teenagers attended the Battle Cry rally in San Francisco.
Jeni in 2007
Richard Jeni, popular standup comedian, regular guest on the “Tonight Show” and movie actor, died in West Hollywood at age 49.
Haim in 2010
Corey Haim died in Los Angeles at age 39. He was a teen heartthrob for his roles in “Lucas” (1986) and “The Lost Boys” (1987).
Art in 2012
A 340 ton granite boulder arrived at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art under the direction of Michael Heizer, earth artist.
Inventions in 1873
Eliza L. Moore, of San Francisco, patented a couch for child birthing.
Government in 1889
Orange County was established from Los Angeles County. It had three incorporated cities and a population of about 15,000. Today, there are 34 cities and more than 3,000,000 residents.
Government in 1891
Glenn County was established at the north end of the Central Valley. It produces rice, wheat, hay, almonds, walnuts, corn, oranges, prunes, milk products and livestock.
Government in 1893
Riverside County was established between San Bernardino, San Diego and Madera Counties. Today it is the fourth most populous county in the state.
Environment in 1918
Save the Redwoods League was founded. It protected ancient redwoods from more logging and tourism after the Redwood Highway opened.
Music in 1963
Buck Owens, of Bakersfield, and the Buckaroos released “Act Naturally.” It was the #1 song on the charts for four weeks that summer.
Clothing in 1969
Levi-Strauss started to sell bell-bottom jeans.
Music in 1974
Rhino Store, in Claremont, gave people $.05 to take home Danny Bonaduce’s album. It was the only album by the radio/television personality, comedian, professional wrestler and former child actor on “The Partridge Family” (1970 – 1974).
Indians in 1983
The Cloverdale Rancheria opened. It returned Pomo land in Sonoma County to native ownership.
Sports in 1991
The Raiders, who moved to Los Angeles in 1982, announced their return to Oakland, where they began in 1960.
Sports in 1997
J. T. Snow, San Francisco Giants first baseman, suffered a fractured eye socket when hit by a pitch.
Environment in 1998
The David and Lucille Packard Foundation announced a $175 million gift over 5 years to protect the California landscape from over-development.
Crime in 1998
Efren Saldivar, a respiratory care therapist, claimed to have killed as many as 50 terminally ill patients from 1989 to 1997 at the Glendale Adventist Medical Center. He was eventually sentenced to six life terms in prison plus 15 years to life for attempted murder.
Public health in 2003
Scientists reported that polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), a family of flame retardants, were found in elevated amounts in the breasts of Bay Area women.
Government in 2004
The California Supreme Court halted gay weddings in San Francisco for at least a few months while it decided whether they are legal.
Government in 2004
The California Office of Environmental Health Hazzard Assessment raised the action level for reporting perchlorate pollution in drinking water from 4 to 6 parts per billion.
Accidents in 2004
Four Marines were killed when their UC-35 jet crashed at Air Station Miramar.
Hutton in 2007
Betty Hutton, stage, film, and television actress, comedian, dancer and singer, died in Palm Springs at age 86. Her films included “Annie Get Your Gun” (1950) and “Somebody Loves Me” (1952).
Governement in 2008
San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a law requiring chain restaurants post nutrition information on their menus.
Environment in 2009
A study reported global warming would cause sea levels to rise nearly five feet along the California coast and threaten San Francisco Bay by 2100. Rising waters could cost the state some $14 billion in safety measures.
Homeless in 2011
San Francisco police issued warnings to homeless people, enforcing an ordinance that banned sitting or lying on sidewalks during daytime hours.
Environment in 2011
A tsunami from the earthquake off Japan caused some $17.1 million in damage to the Santa Cruz harbor and $4 million to private boats. Governor Jerry Brown issued an emergency declaration for the harbor.
Business in 2011
Apple’s iPad2 tablet computer arrived in stores.
Rowland in 2012
F. Sherwood Rowland, Nobel prize winner in chemistry (1995), died in Newport Beach at age 85. He warned of Earth’s thinning ozone layer and crusaded against the use of man-made chemicals that harm the atmosphere.
Crime in 1911
Immigration officials rescued six Chinese slave girls in San Francisco, reportedly purchased for $25,000.
Government in 1853
Humboldt County was established on the north coast. It contains over forty percent of all remaining old growth Coast Redwood forests.
Government in 1995
President Clinton declared 39 California counties disaster areas after storms and floods battered two-thirds of the state.
Downey in 2001
Morton Downey Jr., singer, songwriter and abrasive, chain-smoking, pioneer host of “Trash TV” talk shows, died in Los Angeles at age 68.
Government in 2007
A federal district court in California halted the sale and planting of Monsanto’s genetically modified alfalfa, Roundup Ready.
Business in 2007
New Century Financial Corp., headquartered in Irvine, the largest independent U.S. subprime mortgage lender, announced a halt to financing. This pushed the company closer to bankruptcy, given dwindling cash and $8.4 billion in obligations.
Fires in 2007
Southern California firefighters faced another day of scorching heat and dry weather. They tried to corral a wind-whipped blaze that damaged two homes amid what was one of the driest years yet.
Government in 2010
San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom announced he was running for the office of California lieutenant governor.
Crime in 2012
Ross Mirkarimi, San Francisco Sheriff pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of false imprisonment in an incident in which he allegedly bruised his wife.
Accidents in 2012
San Bruno accepted a $70 million payment from Pacific Gas & Electric for suffering caused by the 2010 gas pipeline explosion in a residential neighborhood.
Business in 2012
The first electric Coda sedan rolled off an assembly line in Benicia. It was largely built in China and priced at $37,250.
Government in 1846
José Castro, Governor of Alta California, declared John Frémont and his party a band of highwaymen and told him to leave. Castro believed Frémont was encouraging independence from Mexico among American settlers.
Inventions in 1883
Anna Sherman, of Alameda, patented a steam cooker.
Post offices in 1888
A U.S. post office opened in Orinda Park. The name changed to Orinda post office in 1895. Forbes ranked this Contra Costa County town as the second most friendly in America.
Education in 1897
San Diego State University began as the San Diego Normal School for training elementary school teachers. It had seven faculty and 91 students. Enrollment today is more than 35,000 students.
Accidents in 1928
The St. Francis Dam collapsed, the second-greatest disaster in California history. A 100-foot high wall of water swept 54 miles west to the ocean in 5 1/2 hours. It demolished 1,200 houses, washed out 10 bridges and knocked out power lines. Between 400 and 600 people died, their bodies washed ashore as far south as San Diego.
Coulter in 1936
William Alexander Coulter, maritime artist, died in Sausalito at age 87.
Labor in 1970
San Francisco Public Library librarians joined a four-day city employees’ strike that ended when Mayor Alioto granted a cost of living increase and agreed to establish a salary-increment plan and recognize collective bargaining rights.
Sports in 1983
The Birmingham Stallions beat the Oakland Invaders, 20-14, in the first US Football League overtime game.
Crime in 1986
Ed Balatti, a San Francisco used car dealer, was arrested and charged with fencing everything from TVs to vintage wines. This climaxed an 11-month undercover investigation. Balatti had played on the original San Francisco 49ers football team in 1946-48.
Crime in 1997
Eddie DeBartolo, owner of the San Francisco 49ers, was awarded a Louisiana casino license one day after paying former Governor Edwin Edwards $400,000 in cash. DeBartolo never received the license, was fined by the NFL, and barred from active control of the 49ers for one year. Governor Edwards went to prison.
Business in 2000
The Tribune Co., headquartered in Chicago, bought The Los Angeles Times in a $6.5 billion merger with the Times Mirror Co. This ended 119 years of ownership of The Los Angeles Times by the Otis and Chandler families.
Sports in 2004
Robotic vehicles began a 200-mile road race in the first DARPA Grand Challenge near Barstow. The Pentagon sponsored race ended without a winner, as none of the vehicles traveled farther than 7 miles from the starting line.
Business in 2006
The McClatchy Co., headquartered in Sacramento, announced a deal to buy Knight Ridder Inc., the second-largest U.S. newspaper publisher, for about $4.5 billion in cash and stock.
Government in 2009
The state of California announced a new $8 billion shortfall by July 2010 due to declining tax revenues.
Livingston in 2009
Alan Livingston, the music executive who created Bozo the Clown and signed the Beatles, died in Beverly Hills at age 91. He came up with the Bozo the Clown character for the 1946 album “Bozo at the Circus,” which became a hit and spawned a merchandise industry and the television show featuring the wing-haired clown.
Environment in 2012
Vance Vredenburg, San Francisco State University biologist, reported the chytrid fungus had spread to nearly 600 frog species and driven some 200 species to extinction. He called it the “worst population crash of animals in history.”
Government in 2013
Ken Salazar, U.S. Interior Secretary, announced plans for two large federal solar projects in the California desert.
Business in 2013
Silver Spring Networks, headquartered in Redwood City, launched an initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange. The value of Its stock increased from $17 to $22, raising some $4.75 million for the maker of smart meter technology.
Exploration in 1828
Jedediah Smith named the Yuba River. The trapper and mountain man was the first American to follow an overland route into California.
Parks in 1870
California legislators set aside 1,017 acres in an area called the Outside Lands to establish Golden Gate Park.
Mines in 1878
The Tioga Consolidated Mine at Bodie was registered. Some $39 million in gold was dug from mines in this Mono County Town. Today Bodie State Historic Park is a ghost town.
Recreation in 1896
Sutro Baths, the world’s largest indoor swimming pool, opened in San Francisco. It had seven pools, one fresh water and six salt water baths.
Recreation in 1915
Carl Laemmle opened Universal City. He invited the public to see all the action for $0.05, which included a chicken box lunch.
Transportation in 1935
The 36 Folsom, in San Francisco, became first line to use 1-man streetcars.
Sports in 1963
Guy Rogers, San Francisco Warriors point guard, tied the NBA record with 28 assists in a single game. The record stood for nearly 15 years.
Labor in 1964
Some 200 demonstrators protested at a Cadillac agency in San Francisco over alleged discriminatory hiring practices. Police arrested 166 people.
Government in 1972
Governor Ronald Reagan granted Merle Haggard, singer, a full pardon for past crimes shortly after his song, “Carolyn,” became a #1 country hit.
Government in 2005
Richard Kramer, San Francisco Superior Court Judge, declared California’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.
Crime in 2006
FBI agents and local police raided 14 homes and arrested nine members of Project Trojans, a drug trafficking gang in Contra Costa County.
Education in 2007
University of California regents voted to raise student fees by 7% and professional school fees by 12%. California State University trustees voted a 10% increase. This marked the 5th tuition hike in six years.
Education in 2007
A $3 million evaluation of education in California public schools indicated deep flaws in the system.
Business in 2012
Owners of The Fairmont in San Francisco agreed to sell the Nob Hill hotel to Woodridge Capital Partners of Los Angeles, for some $200 million.
Gold Rush in 1848
The Californian broke the news of gold discovery. “Gold Mine Found. In the newly made raceway of the Saw Mill recently erected by Captain Sutter, on the American Fork, gold has been found in considerable quantities. One person brought thirty dollars worth to New Helvetia, gathered there in a short time. California, no doubt, is rich in mineral wealth; great chance here for scientific capitalists. Gold has been found in almost every part of the country.”
Accidents in 1910
When Union Oil Company’s Lakeview #1 in Kern County erupted, the gusher became the largest oil spill in history. It lasted eighteen months and spilled some 9,000,000 barrels of crude oil. Half was saved and sold.
Riots in 1966
Riots erupted again in the Watts neighborhood where people rioted for 6 days in August 1965, damaging hundreds of buildings. Thirty-four people died.
Protests in 2003
Many thousands of anti-war demonstrators against plans for a war with Iraq marched in San Francisco, Washington D.C. and around the world.
Fires in 2007
Fire burned a railroad trestle at the American River causing part of the bridge to collapse. This halted Amtrak and the Union Pacific trains on the main east-west route in Northern California.
Rosenberg in 2007
Stuart Rosenberg, television and film director, died in Beverly Hills at age 79. He worked with Paul Newman on “Cool Hand Luke” (1967) and other movies.
Museums in 2009
The History Guild of Daly City dedicated a museum at the former John Daly Library on Mission Street.
Science in 2011
Evan O’Dorney, age 17, of Danville, won the Intel Science Talent Search. His entry was “Continued Fraction Convergents and Linear fractional transformations.”
Ranchos in 1844
Cañada de los Pinos rancho was deeded to the Seminary of Santa Inez. It covered 35,499 acres in present day Santa Barbara County near Santa Ynez and along the Santa Ynez River.
Government in 1864
Alpine County was established in the Sierra Nevada between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park. It is the least populated county in the state.
Tong War in 1912
The Chinese tong war continued in San Francisco when four Ho Sing gunmen opened fire at the liquor store of Cham Kok, president of the Suey Sing tong.
Post Offices in 1949
A U.S. post office opened in Apple Valley. This San Bernardino County town was home to Western TV stars Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and the first intercollegiate rodeo in the U.S.
Radio in 1964
KCOY-TV began broadcasting in Santa Maria.
Accidents in 1991
A plane crashed near San Diego, killing 10 people including members of Reba McIntire’s band.
Crime in 2007
Ruby Ordenana, age 27, a transgender woman, was brutally killed in San Francisco. DNA evidence lead to Donzell Francis. Prosecutors charged him with murder in 2010 but he was already in prison.
Accidents in 2011
A 40-foot section of Highway 1 crumbled along the coast south of Carmel following several days of rain. The southbound lane was gone and soil under the northbound lane was giving way.
Crime in 2012
Balvinder Chadha, age 45, former manager of postal vehicle service operations in Oakland, was charged with illegally billing over $4 million for steering contracts to a truck-leasing company he ran with his wife. They pleaded guilty to conspiracy.
Accidents in 2013
A boy, age 14, and a man, age 68, were killed in Marysville when a sprint car ran off a track and into the pit during warm-up laps on opening day of the California Sprint Car Civil War Series.