March 2, 1938: Floodwaters in Los Angeles River destroy Southern Pacific railroad bridge. Photo taken from North Figueroa street bridge.

Leaning Forward with California History

Cal OES doesn’t lean left, it doesn’t lean right. In our line of work we lean forward, ever-anticipating, planning and positioning for the next big event.  Writer and philosopher George Santayana is known to have famously said “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  So in that spirit, and for a little fun, we take a look back at what happened the week of March 2nd through March 9th in California history:

Government in 1857
Del Norte County was established at the far northwest corner of California.

Bridges in 1929
The San Mateo-Hayward Bridge opened. It was first known as the San Francisco Bay Toll-Bridge. The 7.1-mile span was the longest in the world at the time. The toll for cars was $0.45 cents plus $0.05 per passenger.

Environment in 1938
Flooding and landslides in Los Angeles County caused over 200 deaths. Two cyclones struck the region between February 27nd and March 3rd.


Sports in 1976
Bob Lurie and Bud Herseth bought the San Francisco Giants for $8 million, saving it from being moved to Toronto.

Computers in 1987
Much to the chagrin of IT departments around state offices, the Macintosh II computer was introduced. The first color Mac had a CPU speed of 16 MHz and sold for $3,898.

Government in 2010
Jerry Brown, former two-term governor, announced he would run for a third term as governor.










Government in 1855
The U.S. Congress appropriated $30,000 for an experiment using camels as pack animals to cross the desert to California. The experiment ended but the camel barns are still standing in Benicia, in Solano County.

Sports in 1959
The San Francisco Giants stadium was named Candlestick Park.

Crime in 1991
Amateur video captured Los Angeles police officers beating of Rodney King. When King resisted arrest, the police forcefully subdued him. Riots broke out in April when a jury found the officers innocent. Fifty-three people died, including 10 killed by police and military forces.

Government in 1881
California passed the first plant quarantine legislation in the U.S. It was to protect local crops from invasive plants and insects.”

Protests in 1968
Moctesuma Esparza, Chicano student organizer and later a film producer, lead the first East Los Angeles high school walkout protesting unequal conditions in Los Angeles high schools.

Flight in 1990
Ed Yielding and Joseph Vida set a transcontinental speed record, flying a SR-71 Blackbird from California to Virginia in 64 minutes, averaging 2,124 mph.


Overland Trail in 1847
A blizzard struck the Sierra for three days, trapping the rescuers and Donner Party survivors. They huddled around a fire and struggled to keep it burning for two days. After the storm, most of the survivors were too weak to move. James Reed and his companions took three children and left what became called “Starved Camp,” where three other people died and were cannibalized.

Music in 1967
The Doors, from Los Angeles, made their second trip to San Francisco. They played at the Matrix and Avalon clubs.


Labor in 1979
Cesar Chavez led some 5,000 striking farm workers on a march through the streets of Salinas.


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.

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.

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.


Source: This Week in California History

Featured Image: LA Times

Shawn Boyd

Shawn Boyd joined Cal OES as a public information officer in 2014 after a 20-year career in television news as a reporter, anchor and executive producer. He's a Cal State Sacramento alum and former US Navy yeoman and Air Force brat.

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