Exploration in 1542
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo anchored in Santa Monica Bay. The Portuguese explorer, sailing under the Spanish flag, was the first European to navigate and chart California’s coast.
Missions in 1776
Father Francisco Palóu dedicated Mission San Francisco de Asís. The 6th of 21 missions, nicknamed Mission Dolores, was first built with logs and thatch.
Missions in 1791
Father Fermín Francisco de Lasuén dedicated Mission Nuestra Senora de la Soledad. The 13th of 21 missions, near modern Soledad, was established to convert Ohlone, Esselen, and Yokut people living in the area to Catholicism. By 1803, 627 Indians lived at Mission Soledad. Today the ruins have been restored.
Electricity in 1936
The Hoover Dam on the Colorado River began transmitting electricity to Los Angeles, 266 miles away. It generates 4.2 million megawatt-hours of electricity yearly for Nevada, Arizona and Southern California.
Television in 1967
KGSC-TV channel 36, in San Jose, began broadcasting. It is currently the longest continuously operating commercial UHF television station in the Bay Area. Today it is KICU-TV.
Sports in 1988
Dennis Eckersley, Oakland A’s, was the first pitcher to save all 4 games in a championship series.
Sports in 1989
In the first NFL game coached by a black man, Art Shell led the Los Angeles Raiders to beat the New York Jets, 14-7.
Labor in 2002
West Coast longshoremen returned to work at ports crammed with cargo after an 11-day lockout that ended only after President George W. Bush intervened.
Sports in 2005
Tiger Woods won the American Express Championship at San Francisco’s Harding Park on a second sudden death hole, beating John Daly.
Nye in 2005
Louis Nye, comic actor, died in Los Angeles at age 92. He was part of the Golden Age of Television (1950s-1960s), with Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Jack Lemmon among others. Nye also voice acted in animated films, like “Inspector Gadget” (1999).
Business in 2006
Google Inc., in Mountain View, agreed to acquire YouTube Inc., a video-sharing site, for $1.65 billion in stock.
Business in 2008
Wells Fargo & Co., in San Francisco, proceeded with plans to acquire Wachovia. Citigroup said it would not pursue additional legal actions to stop the takeover and the Federal Reserve approved the acquisition on October 12.
Communication in 1858
The Butterfield Overland Mail delivered the first overland mail to San Francisco. That service would soon have competition from The Pony Express.
Crime in 1881
Charles Bowles, English born poet bandit known as Black Bart, held up Wells Fargo Stagecoaches 28 times. The 18th took place at Montgomery Creek in Shasta County.
Rancherias in 1910
Upper Lake Indian Rancheria was formed. This 119-acre home of Habematolel Pomo, Wappo and Lake Miwok people is in Lake County. Today they own the Twin Pines Casino and Hotel in Middletown.
Transportation in 1930
A Southern Pacific Railroad bridge over the Carquinez Strait, from Benicia to Martinez, opened. It was the longest railway bridge west of the Mississippi River.
Government in 1911
Women’s suffrage, the right to vote, passed in California. It was defeated in San Francisco but supported in Los Angeles and won statewide by 3,587 votes. California was the 6th state to recognize women’s right to vote.
- Women’s suffrage march in California. Courtesy The California Museum
Accidents in 1960
Sixteen California Poly football team members died in plane crash in Toledo, Ohio.
Johnson in 1967
Sargent Johnson, artist, died in San Francisco at age 79. He was a painter, potter, ceramist, printmaker, graphic artist, sculptor and wood carver, one of the first African-American artists in California to achieve a national reputation during the 1920s-1930s.
Music in 1979
Fleetwood Mac, the band, got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Wells in 1985
Orson Welles, actor, director, writer and producer who worked in theater, radio and film, died in Los Angeles at age 70. He is best remembered for “The War of the Worlds” (1938), one of the most famous broadcasts in radio history and “Citizen Kane” (1941), one of the greatest films of all time.
Sports in 1990
The Oakland A’s swept the Boston Red Sox in 4 games to win American League Championship.
Government in 2001
Representative Nancy Pelosi, of San Francisco, was elected House Democratic Whip, the highest post held by a woman in Congress.
Contests in 2005
Joel Holland, won the Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay. His gigantic pumpkin weighed 1,229 pounds, matching his winner in 2004. The contest began in 1974.
Business in 2005
Intel, in Santa Clara, introduced Xeon, a dual-core microprocessor. It was targeted at the non-consumer workstation, server and embedded system markets.
Crime in 2008
Leland Wong, former Los Angeles city commissioner, was sentenced to 60 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution for accepting bribes from companies seeking city business.
Crime in 2008
Ed Jew, former San Francisco supervisor, was sentenced to 64 months in prison. He pleaded guilty to mail fraud, bribery and extortion victimizing Chinese immigrants in the sunset District.
Contests in 2011
A 1,704 pumpkin won a prize of $11,224 in the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival. Leonardo Urena’s pumpkin set a state record, but was 106 pounds short of a world record set in 2010 by a Wisconsin grown gourd.
Protests in 2011
Occupy Oakland, an anti-Wall Street protest in Oakland, camped in front of city hall at Frank Ogawa Plaza.
Government in 2012
Oakland city officials filed suit to stop the federal government from closing one of its largest medical marijuana dispensaries.
Race relations in 1906
San Francisco public school board ordered Japanese students be taught in segregated schools, causing Japanese outrage. President Theodore Roosevelt requested the order be reversed and promised to reduce Japanese immigration.
Accidents in 1935
Five tons of molten glass escaped from a break in a furnace at a plant in San Francisco. An emergency pit caught most of the escaping glass.
Lange in 1965
Dorothy Lange, photographer, died in San Francisco at age 70. Among her famous photographs are from the Dust Bowl and images of Japanese Americans just before removal to Internment Camps during World War II.
Television in 1971
KMPH-TV channel 26 in Visalia-Fresno began broadcasting. it was the first television station founded by the Pappas brothers and served as the flagship station of Pappas Telecasting Companies.
Environment in 1972
The Lava Beds National Wilderness, covering 28,460 acres, opened in Siskiyou and Modoc counties. This wilderness is known for lava tubes and as the site of the Modoc War.
Sports in 1973
The Oakland A’s, defending world champions, beat the Baltimore Orioles to win American League Championship, 3 games to 2.
Foxx in 1991
Redd Foxx, comedian and actor, died in Los Angeles at age 68. He is known for comedy records, starring in “Sanford and Son” (1972-1977) and helping black comics get work.
Business in 2005
Google, in Mountain View, unveiled Google.org, a philanthropic organization for giving nearly $1 billion to help solve problems including poverty and environmental destruction.
Sports in 2010
The San Francisco Giants beat the Atlanta Braves, 3-2, to win the National League Championship.
Missions in 1812
Indians at Mission Santa Cruz killed Father Andres Quintana. He used a metal-tipped whip to punish Indian laborers at the mission.
Ranchos in 1835
Rancho Aromitas y Agua Caliente, a 8,660 acre land grant, was deeded. The name of this San Benito County rancho means “little perfumes and hot spring”.
Prisons in 1933
Alcatraz Island, in San Francisco Bay, became a maximum high-security federal prison to hold prisoners who caused trouble at other federal prisons. Today it is a museum that draws some 1.5 million visitors annually.
San Francisco in 1934
Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco opened to the public. It has a commanding view of the city and inside the memorial to Lillie Coit is murals painted by artists of the Public Works of Art, the first the New Deal federal employment program for artists.
Transportation in 1957
Pan-American Airways flew the first commercial flight from California to Antarctica, a charter flight for the U.S. Navy. Including two stewardesses on the flight was groundbreaking.
Environment in 1962
Typhoon Freda washed out the World Series at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. The series lasted for 13 days, because of rain in New York as well. The Yankees defeated the Giants in seven games.
Television in 1964
KCSM-TV channel 60 began at the College of San Mateo as a student training facility for radio and television broadcasting..
Radio in 1969
KDB-AM, in Santa Barbara, changed its call letters to KAPN.
Tao House in 1971
Tao House in Danville, Eugene O’Neill’s home, the home of America’s only Nobel Prize-winning playwright, was dedicated as a National Historic Site.
Sports in 1986
The California Angels were one strike away from winning the American League Championship when they lost to the Chicago Red Sox.
Denver in 1997
John Denver, singer-songwriter, died at age 53 when his plane crashed into the ocean near Monterey. He wrote “Leavin’ on a Jet Plane” (1966), that became a hit for Peter, Paul and Mary.
Contests in 1998
A 974-pound pumpkin won the Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay. It was raised from an Atlantic Giant seed by Lincoln Mettler of Eatonville, Washington.
Chamberlain in 1999
Wilt Chamberlain, the 7-foot 1-inch basketball legend known as Wilt “The Stilt,” died in Bel Air at age 63. During his years playing center for the Long Angeles Lakers (1968 – 1973), he was one of the most dominant players in the NBA.
Labor in 2003
Some 70,000 employees of Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons grocery stores went on strike in southern California, Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio. Health care costs was a main issue.
Kroc in 2003
Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, died near San Diego at age 75. In her will, she left hundreds of millions of dollars to National Public Radio and The Salvation Army.
Shoemaker in 2003
Bill Shoemaker, Hall of Fame jockey, died in San Marino at age 72. Over his career he won 8,833 races. For 29 years, Shoemaker held the world record for professional jockey victories.
Crime in 2005
A fire at Wines Central in Vallejo destroyed tens of millions of dollars worth of vintage wine, some 6 million bottles. Investigators determined it was arson and charged Mark Anderson, of Sausalito, in 2007. Anderson pleaded guilty in 2009. And in 2012, he was sentenced to 27 years in prison.
Accidents in 2007
Three people were killed and at least 10 injured when two trucks crashed near Newhall, in the southbound tunnels under I-5. Thirty commercial vehicles and a passenger vehicle were involved. Fire spread from vehicle to vehicle until flames filled the tunnel and shot nearly 100 feet into the air..
Sports in 2008
Hans Florine and Yuji Hirayama broke their own World Record for the fastest climb up the Nose of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. They made it in 2 hours, thirty-seven minutes and 5 seconds.
Business in 2012
Shares of Workday, a software company in Pleasanton, doubled in price the day they launched on the New York Stock Exchange. And although revenue doubled to $119.5 million in the first six-months, Workday lost $46.9 million for the year. Today it is an industry leader.
Ranchos in 1843
Rancho Olompali, a 8,877-acre Mexican land grant was deeded to Camilo Ynita, son of a Coast Miwok chief. It was the site of a Mexican-American War battle and home to the Grateful Dead during the 1960s. Today it is a State Historic Park in Marin County.
Overland Journeys in 1846
The Donner Party crossed the Humboldt Sink, a dry lake bed that was a dreaded section of the Overland Trail. One man who lost almost all his cattle, stopped to cache his wagon. Two other men stayed behind to help but returned without him, saying he was killed by Indians. Later one confessed to the murder.
Government in 1849
A state constitution was signed at Colton Hall in Monterey. Based partly on Mexican civil law, over time it has grown into one of the longest constitutions in the world.
Transportation in 1858
The California Central Railroad from Lincoln reached Folsom. Groundbreaking took place on June 1, 1858.
Japanese American Internment in 1942
Tanforan Detention Camp, on the San Francisco peninsula, closed. This detention camp was part of the mass incarceration of 97,785 Californians of Japanese ancestry during World War II. Today the site is a shopping center.
Sports in 1967
In the first American Basketball Association game, played in Oakland, the Oakland Oaks defeated the Anaheim Amigos,134-129.
Sports in 1993
The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim picked up their first victory in team history, with a 4-3 win over the visiting Edmonton Oilers. Ron Tugnutt was in goal for the milestone.
Sports in 2002
The Anaheim Angels routed the Minnesota Twins, 13-5, winning the American League Championship Series in five games.
Fires in 2008
Porter Ranch fire burned more than 22 square miles. It started near Oat Mountain oil fields when a power line fell on dry brush.
Environment in 2009
A 1-day record, 2.64 inches of rain, fell in San Francisco. It was part of the worst October storm since 1962 and knocked out power to 193,000 homes.
Sacramento in 1848
Sacramento, the current state capital city was founded by Sam Brannan and John Sutter, Jr. at the confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers.
Race relations in 1864
The Klamath Lake treaty forced Modoc and Northern Paiute people from their traditional homeland, removing them to a reservation on Klamath land, which set the stage for the Modoc War of 1872-73.
Inventions in 1879
Annie McFarlane of San Bernardino patented a mining cart.
Flight in 1947
“Chuck” Yeager became the first person to travel faster than the speed of sound when he flew the X-1 at Mach 1.07 from Edwards Air Force Base.
Sports in 1949
Ezzard Charles knocked out Pat Valentino, of San Francisco, in the 8th round of a heavy-weight boxing match, before a crowd of 19,950 at the Cow Palace in Daly City.
Historic Sites in 1971
Golden Gate Park Conservatory in San Francisco was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1878, it is the oldest building in the park, and the oldest municipal wooden conservatory in the U.S.
Government in 1986
Lotto 6/49, the California Lottery’s first online computer game, debuted.
Sports in 1998
The San Diego Padres won the National League championship, beating the Atlanta Braves, 5-0 in Game 6.
Sports in 2002
The San Francisco Giants won the National League Championship, beating the St. Louis Cardinals, 2-1 in Game 5.
Government in 2007
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation banning toys that contain toxic plastic softeners (i.e. phthalates), making California the first state to do so.
Fires in 2008
A downed electrical line sparked the Sesnon Fire, near Porter Ranch in northern Los Angeles. It burned 13,285 acres and destroyed 19 homes.
Crime in 2011
103 Norteno gang suspects were arrested over the three days as part of Operation Garlic Press. Charges included drug sales and possession of firearms and stolen vehicles.
Education in 1855
St. Ignatius opened for classes in San Francisco with 3 students. Today St. Ignatius College Preparatory is a leading private college preparatory school, still in San Francisco.
Cities in 1863
The first Cliff House, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, opened in San Francisco. It burned on Christmas Day 1894 and was replaced by a series of grander establishments.
Music in 1932
Puccini’s “La Tosca” was performed on the opening night at War Memorial Opera House, the first municipally owned opera house in the world. In spring of 1945, the United Nations held its first conference there.
Race relations in 1966
Huey Newton and Bobby Seale began the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. Their Ten Point Program called for adequate housing, jobs, education, an end to police brutality and more.
Business in 1969
The $100 million Bank of America World Headquarters in San Francisco was dedicated. In 1985 Walter Shorenstein bought it for $660 million. In 2005 a Hong Kong group offered $1.05 billion.
Sports in 1981
“Krazy” George Henderson, Professional cheerleader, lead the first audience wave during a nationally televised game between the Oakland A’s and New York Yankees for the American League Championship.
Environment in 1985
Humphrey, a 45-ton humpback whale, entered San Francisco Bay and swam up the Sacramento River to within 27 miles of Sacramento. He finally exited through the Golden Gate into the Pacific Ocean on November 4, 1985.
Sports in 1989
Wayne Gretzky, of the Los Angeles Kings, surpassed the National Hockey League scoring record of 1,850 points In a game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Radio in 2003
Federal officials raided an unlicensed radio station and confiscated its equipment, Liberation Radio that had broadcasted in San Francisco for 10 years.
Crime in 2007
Local and federal agents in San Diego seized over 5,000 trained birds in the largest cockfighting bust in US history.
Crime in 2009
Prosecutors in San Francisco filed a mail-fraud charge against Roberto Heckscher. They charged him with running a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors of over $20 million.
Business in 2009
Google Inc., in Mountain View, announced Google Editions, a new online service for booksellers that let readers buy books and read them on devices ranging from cell phones to possibly e-book readers.
Ranchos in 1841
Rancho San Pedro, a Mexican land grant covering 48,000 acres, was deeded. Today the Sepulveda family rancho, would include parts of Los Angeles harbor, San Pedro, the Palos Verdes peninsula, Torrance, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, east to the Los Angeles River.
Overland Journies in 1846
The Donner Party camped at Truckee River. Reaching this river brought great relief to exhausted travelers who had walked across the Great Salt Lake Desert. One member recalled, “The weather was already very cold and the heavy clouds hanging over the mountains to the west were strong indications of an approaching winter. Some wanted to stop and rest their cattle. Others, in fear of the snow, were in favor of pushing ahead as fast as possible.“
Forts in 1852
Fort Jones was established in Siskiyou County. This Gold Rush town was formerly known as Scottsburg, Scottsville and Ottitiewa. The population was 839 at the 2010 census, up from 600 as of the 2000 census.
Montebello in 1920
A community east of Los Angeles, Newark, changed its name to Montebello. It is home to the original Mission San Gabriel Arcangel and where oil drilling began in 1917.
Business in 1923
Disney Brothers founded Cartoon Studio in Hollywood. Today Walt Disney Animation Studios, headquartered in Burbank has produced 53 feature films.
San Francisco in 1938
Aquatic Park in San Francisco opened at the end of Polk Street and Van Ness Avenue after seven years of work and $1 million in costs. Today it is part of San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.
Movies in 1944
Woody Woodpecker’s first steady opponent, Wally Walrus, debuted in “The Beach Nut,” a Universal cartoon.
Business in 1952
Woolworth’s dime store opened at Powell and Market Streets in San Francisco.
Robbins in 1958
Tim Robbins, film actor, writer, producer and director, was born in West Covina. He is best known for “The Shawshank Redemption” (1994), “Mystic River” (2003) and as Senator Hammond in the superhero film “Green Lantern” (2011).
Music in 1965
The world’s first acid rock dance took place at Longshoreman’s Hall in San Francisco. Jefferson Airplane made its first concert appearance. The dance was organized by a group called the Family Dog.
Protests in 1966
Joan Baez and 123 other anti-draft Vietnam War protestors were arrested in Oakland.
Television in 1969
KHOF-TV channel 30 in San Bernardino / Glenda began broadcasting. The current KPXN-TV channel 30 signed on the air on January 7, 1994, airing a mix of religious programs, infomercials and movies.
Forts in 1970
Fort Point National Historic Site was established. The massive brick fortress, now beneath the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge, was built during the Civil War.
Business in 1985
Intel, in Santa Clara, introduced a 32-bit 80386 microcomputer chip.
Environment in 1999
A 7.0 earthquake, centered near Joshua Tree, struck in the Mohave Desert. It derailed an Amtrak train, but there were no deaths.
Government in 2006
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced plans to set up an emissions-trading scheme between California and other states to try to curb greenhouse gases.
Accidents in 2007
A sandstorm caused a pileup on the Antelope Freeway, north of Los Angeles. It involved 15 vehicles. Two people died and 16 injured.
Government in 2007
Oakland City Council adopted an ordnance banning smoking in ATM lines, parks, bus stops, and municipal golf courses.
Business in 2009
A 5-day event to help struggling borrowers drew thousands to the Cow Palace in Daly City. The Save the Dream tour was sponsored by Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America, a non-profit for helping people modify their home loans.
Accidents in 2012
The $8 million Oracle Team USA 72-foot catamaran flipped on San Francisco Bay during a training run for the America’s Cup. It drifted out under the Golden Gate Bridge before being recovered.