October 28Exploration in 1769
Gaspar de Portolà’s expedition camped at Half Moon Bay. They began marching from San Diego on July 14, 1769, looking for Monterey Bay to establish a colony but overshot their goal and would soon find San Francisco Bay.
Missions in 1845
Pio Pico, the last governor of Mexican California, finalized the sale of the missions, a process that began with Mexican independence from Spain in in 1821. Pico was of African, Indian and Spanish descent.
Overland Trail in 1846
James Reed reached Sutter’s Fort after being expelled from the wagon train for killing a man in a fight. He organized a rescue party but deep snow blocked him from reaching his family.
Movies in 1929
Universal Pictures, headquartered in Los Angeles, joined with Transcontinental Air Transport to offer in-flight movies for air passengers bound for California.
Sports in 1973
Elmore Smith, of the Los Angeles Lakers, blocked 17 shots in a game against the Portland Trail Blazers, a NBA record.
Sports in 1989
The Oakland A’s won the earthquake-interrupted World Series, completing a four-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants.
Amsterdam in 1996
Morey Amsterdam, comedian and television actor, died in Los Angeles at age 87. He was best known as Buddy Sorrell on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” (1961-1966).
Fires in 2003
Fires burned 600,000 acres in Southern California that involved over 11,000 fire fighters. Arson was suspected in 10 fires. 20 people died. In 2009, Rickie Lee Fowler was indicted on murder and arson charges for a 2003 wildfire that destroyed nearly 1,000 homes in San Bernadino County and in 2013, he was given the death penalty.
Martin in 2008
Bill Martin, Mendocino realist painter and art teacher, died in Stanford at age 65.
Business in 2010
Intel, in Santa Clara, announced plans to team up with Taiwan to set up a multi-million dollar Internet computing research laboratory.
Protests in 2011
Police arrested 51 people in San Diego who occupied Civic Center Plaza and Children’s Park for three weeks. Occupy San Diego protesters vowed to return to the civic plaza behind City Hall.
Sports in 2012
San Francisco Giants defeated the Detroit Tigers in game four to take the 2012 World Series. Pablo Sandoval was the Most Valuable Player.
Exploration in 1796
The Otter, a U.S. man-of-war was the first American ship to anchor at Monterey Bay. The captain broke Spanish law by putting ashore 11 English sailors who secretly boarded the Otter in Australia.
Entertainment in 1849
Rowe’s Olympic Circus and the Ethiopian Serenaders performed in San Francisco.
Inventions in 1889
Adeline Evans, of St. John, patented a combined flour sieve and scale.
Environment in 1921
The Link River Dam, a part of the Klamath Reclamation Project, was completed.
Literature in 1996
The first Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize was awarded in San Francisco to Alan Brown, author of Audrey Hepburn’s Neck. The prize was to nurture understanding and cooperation among the countries and peoples of the Pacific Rim.
Yaka in 1997
Yaka, an orca, died at Marine World / Africa USA in Vallejo at the age of 32 after performing for 27 years. Its body was stripped and rendered and the bones buried at the Coyote Point Museum in San Mateo.
Fires in 2006
The Esperanza Fire, a wind-driven, wildfire was started by arson near Palm Springs and burned over 61 square miles.
Business in 2012
The Walt Disney Company, headquartered in Burbank, purchased Lucasfilm Ltd., of San Francisco, and its rights for “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” for $4.05 billion.
Clubs in 1849
A Masonic lodge was formed at Benton City. Peter Lassen chartered this lodge with Saschel Woods. They met while Lassen was forming his wagon train to California.
Theaters in 1850
The Jenny Lind Theatre opened above Tom Maguire’s Parker House on San Francisco’s Portsmouth Square.
Atherton in 1857
Gertrude Atherton, author of the memoir Adventures of a Novelist (1932), was born in San Francisco.
Japanese American Internment in 1942
Fresno Detention Camp closed. This detention camp was part of the mass incarceration of some 110,000 Californians of Japanese ancestry during World War II.
Crime in 1966
The Zodiac killer murdered a female college student in Riverside.
Science in 1968
Luis Alvarez of U.C. Berkeley won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the bubble chamber, which has to do with particle acceleration.
Sports in 1974
Nolan Ryan, California Angels pitcher, threw the fastest recorded pitch in Major League Baseball history, clocked at 100.9 mph. Allen in 2000
Steve Allen, television entertainer, died in Encino at age 88. He created the “Tonight Show,” recorded 49 albums, wrote 53 books and appeared in numerous other television shows. Sports in 2005
The 10th running of the Illegal Soapbox Society’s Halloween derby took place in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood. While the derby is not against the law, the name means the event is not affiliated with any soapbox derby organizations. Music in 2005
Some 20,000 people gathered in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park for the Family Dog’s last Tribal Stomp, to celebrate the life of Chet Helms. Helms teamed up with a bunch of hippies in 1966 and put on some of the greatest rock events of all time. They called their company, The Family Dog. Crime in 2007
Orange County Sheriff Michael Carona was indicted on conspiracy, mail fraud and witness tampering. He and others allegedly accepted bribes in exchange for political favors. In 2009 a jury convicted him of witness-tampering but acquitted him of bribery. Environment in 2007
The San Francisco Bay area’s largest earthquake in nearly two decades rattled homes and nerves. The magnitude-5.6 temblor on the Calaveras Fault caused no serious damage or injuries.
Accidents in 2009
The tanker Dubai Star began leaking fuel oil in San Francisco Bay after a tank overflowed during refueling. Coast Guard officials later estimated that some 400-800 gallons of toxic oil leaked, killing at least 37 birds along the Alameda coastline.
Buffalo in 2009
Norton Buffalo, harmonica virtuoso and long time member of the Steve Miller Band, died of cancer in Paradise at age 58.
Exploration in 1769
Gaspar de Portolà expedition left San Diego on July 14th, searching for Monterey Bay to establish a colony. He missed his mark and found San Francisco Bay.
Ranchos in 1840
Rancho Isla de la Yegua was deeded. This rancho, now known as Mare Island, was home to a Naval Shipyard critical to victory in the Pacific during World War II.
Overland Trail in 1846
George Donner cut his hand badly while making a new front wagon axle for his wagon. His group lagged behind while the rest of the party moved on.
Transportation in 1913
The Lincoln Highway, the first U.S. transcontinental highway, opened. It ran from Times Square in New York City to Lincoln Park in San Francisco.
Radio in 1937
Radio broadcasting began in Santa Barbara when KTMS went live on air.
Eastwood in 1953
Alice Eastwood, curator of botany at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco from 1890 to 1949, died in San Francisco at age 94. She built a collection of some 350,000 plant specimens and wrote over 310 scientific articles.
Phoenix in 1993
River Phoenix, actor, musician and activist, died in Los Angeles at age 23. He was the brother of Rain, Joaquin, Summer and Liberty Phoenix.
Parks in 1994
Mojave National Preserve was established. This 1.6 million acre preserve is among the largest in the National Park System.
Smith in 2000
Willow Camille Reign Smith, singer, actress and dancer, was born in Los Angeles. She is the daughter of Will and Jada and sister of Jaden and half-sister of “Trey” Smith.
Crime in 2001
Sara Jane Olson, former Symbionese Liberation Army fugitive, pleaded guilty in Los Angeles to the attempted murder of police officers in 1975. She was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.
Prisons in 2002
Inmates at San Quentin performed “John Brown’s Body” by Stephen Vincent Benet under the direction of Joseph De Francesca.
Halloween in 2005
Some 30,000 people gathered in San Francisco’s Castro district for the annual Halloween party.
Halloween in 2006
Gunfire between two groups at a Halloween street party broke out in San Francisco’s Castro district, wounding at least 10 people, including innocent bystanders.
Restaurants in 2006
Enrico’s Sidewalk Café in San Francisco’s North Beach district closed after negotiations for a new lease collapsed. Enrico Banducci opened it in 1958.
Energy in 2007
San Francisco energy officials approved a new $230 million power plant near Potrero Hill. That let the city close an older, dirtier plant nearby.
Science in 2007
U.C. Berkeley physicists announced production of the world’s smallest radio out of a single carbon nanotube 10,000 times thinner than a human hair. They had it play “Layla” by Derek and the Dominos and said it could also function as a transmitter.
Missions in 1776
Father Junipero Serra dedicated Mission San Juan Capistrano, the 7th of Alta California’s 21 missions. Today the mission is famous for its ruins from an 1812 earthquake and swallows that return every March.
Exploration in 1793
Captain George Vancouver, on a 4 1/2 year voyage of exploration and diplomacy around the world, anchored in Monterey Bay. He had sailed as far north as Vancouver Island and west to Hawaii, then called the Sandwich Islands.
Cities in 1848
John Sutter, Jr. announced plans for a new town, Sacramento City, where the American River joins the Sacramento River.
Cities in 1852
Nearly half of the original settlers of Visalia, a San Joaquin Valley community, were school age children.
Public Health in 1876
Lucy Field Wanzer became the first female medical school graduate west of the Rocky Mountains when she graduated from U.C. Medical School. She and 10 other women established Children’s Hospital in San Francisco (1875).
Libraries in 1880
Miss Sara Plummer established Santa Barbara’s first library then sold it to the Odd Fellows after she married. Today’s Santa Barbara Public Library building, designed in 1924, is part of the heart of the city.
Music in 1965
Bill Graham produced his first concert at San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium, which became a legendary venue. It was a benefit for the San Francisco Mime Troupe, featuring music and poetry from the local art scene and subculture.
Sports in 1966
Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, became the first 3-time Cy Young Award winner.
Sports in 1984
In the first NBA game played at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, the L.A. Clippers beat the New York Knicks, 107-105.
Presidios in 1787
At the Santa Barbara Presidio, there was one lieutenant, three sergeants, two corporals and 50 privates, plus 124 horses and 109 mules for transportation.
Overland Trail in 1846
The Donner Party was stopped by deep snow while crossing the Sierra Nevada and trapped until February. Nearly half the 87 people died from disease and starvation.
Fremont in 1847
General Kearny charged Lieutenant Colonel John Frémont with mutiny in a conflict over authority during the Mexican American War in California. Frémont later became the first presidential candidate of the new Republican Party (1856).
Amusement parks in 1895
The Chutes amusement park opened on Haight Street in San Francisco, featuring a shoot-the-chutes water slide. It relocated in 1902 and was the only amusement park that survived the 1906 earthquake.
Government in 1927
Federal agents raided an illegal brewery in San Francisco with nearly 2,000 gallons of beer brewing in four 500-gallon vats.
Business in 1934
A fight for control of the beer market expanded after Prohibition. San Francisco brewers matched the prices of Humboldt Brewery; $1 for 24 pints of beer.
Transportation in 1947
Howard Hughes, brilliant aircraft pilot and designer, flew the Spruce Goose over Cabrillo Beach, on its one-and-only flight. It was the largest fixed-wing aircraft ever built.
Roach in 1992
Legendary movie producer Hal Roach died in Los Angeles at age 100. He is best known for producing the “Laurel and Hardy” and “Our Gang,” later known as “The Little Rascals,” films in the 1920s and ’30s.
Fires in 1993
Fires in Southern California pushed through areas of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties, burning 35,000 acres and 200 homes.
Crime in 2000
Four Oakland police officers, known as “The Riders,” were charged with 48 felonies, including beating suspects and planting evidence. They were acquitted of misconduct charges in 2003, retried in 2004 but that trial ended in a mistrial in 2005.
Crime in 1883
Charles Earl Bowles, English gentleman bandit known as Black Bart who left poems at the scenes of his crime and held up Wells Fargo Stagecoaches 28 times, was wounded at Funk Hill in Calaveras County during this last attempt.
Business in 1930
The Bank of Italy, in San Francisco, became the Bank of America. Today it is a multinational financial services corporation headquartered in North Carolina and the third biggest company in the world.
Sports in 1962
Wilt Chamberlain, San Francisco Warriors, scored 72 points against the Los Angeles Lakers. The 7-foot 1-inch Chamberlain, who later played for the Lakers, was one of most dominant players in NBA history.
Sports in 1965
Sandy Koufax won the Cy Young Award unanimously. He won also in 1963 and 1966, making Kofax the greatest pitcher of his time.
Crime in 1970
Genie, a 13-year-old child was rescued in Los Angeles, after being locked in her bedroom for most of her life.
Internet in 1994
The first conference focused exclusively on the commercial potential of the World Wide Web opened in San Francisco.
Government in 1997
California law ended affirmative-action. That stopped programs to overcome discrimination by assigning quotas of jobs and resources for minorities and women.
Exploration in 1595
Sebastián Rodríguez Cermeño, Portugese explorer appointed by the Spanish king to find a safe harbor for ships returning to Mexico from the Philippines, landed somewhere between Point St. George and Trinidad Head in California.
Kumeyaay Indians in 1775
Kumeyaay warriors attacked Mission San Diego, killed Father Luís Jayme and burned the mission. It was the first of a dozen revolts during the Mission Period.
Overland Trail in 1841
The Bartleson Bidwell Party, the first overland wagon train to California, reached John Marsh’s rancho at the foot of Mt. Diablo. They traveled over 2,000 miles, averaging about 15 miles a day for roughly 5 months.
Cities in 1867
Ninety kegs of powder were used to blast rock from San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill for a seawall.
Inventions in 1873
John Beers, a San Francisco dentist, patented an improved gold crown device to restore broken or decayed teeth.
Sports in 1924
The California legalized professional boxing, which had been against the law since 1914.
Protests in 1959
A protest at Portsmouth Square in San Francisco opposed plans for an 800-car garage at a cost of $3.2 million. Later, 100-foot-tall trees in the plaza were cut down for the underground garage. Portsmouth Square was the center of Gold Rush San Francisco. Today it is the center of Chinatown.