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Explore California History

“There’s only the American Dream and the California dream.”
—Gov. Gavin Newsom

CAL@170 is a collection of 170 stories celebrating California’s 170 years of statehood. The aim is to offer examples of California’s unique character and that of its residents, past and present. That means among the good there will be some bad. For every success story, there’s a failure, a tragedy, an injustice. It’s from these mistakes that we learn and grow stronger together. Share a story with us that helps define what California means to you.

“The Mother of All Demos”

Engelbart's prototype of a computer mouse, as designed by Bill English from Engelbart's sketches. Image Courtesy:…

Political Assassination Roils California Politics

On November 27, 1978, angered that he wasn’t to be reappointed to the Board of Supervisors slot he resigned from…

A State Constitution Is Approved — Early!

Ten months before California becomes a state, voters overwhelmingly approve a constitution and elect a Legislature and a governor. There…

1966 Is An Election of Firsts

March Fong, California Historical Society On November 8, 1966, future President Ronald Reagan, a Republican, wins his first bid for…

Moving Day at the Governor’s Mansion

George Pardee [2006-0107] California State Library In November 1903, Gov. George Pardee and his family move into the Governor’s Mansion at 16th and…

Owens Valley Water Reaches Los Angeles

Arrival of Owens River water Nov. 5 1913 [2009-0782], California State Library On November 5, 1913, an estimated 30,000 Angelinos…

The First Wagon Train Arrives

John and Annie Bidwell, Chico. [2007-0017], California State Library A group of  70 men, women and children in 15 wagons…

John Steinbeck Wins the Nobel Prize

John Steinbeck’s "realistic and imaginative writing, combining as it does sympathetic humor and keen social perception” earns the Salinas native…

Chinese Residents Massacred in Los Angeles

Chinese Quarter, Los Angeles [2003-0283], California State Library One the ugliest and most violent attacks on any group of people…

First In-N-Out Burger Stand Opens

Replica of the Original In-N-Out Stand in Baldwin Park Newlyweds Harry and Esther Snyder open the first In-N-Out burger stand…

San Francisco’s First “Great Quake”

San Francisco’s “Great Quake” – at least until the 7.8 magnitude…

California Learns It’s the 31st State – 40 Days After the Fact

Semi-Centennial Admission Day Celebration 1850-1900 [2007-0127], California State Library Although Congress concludes extended and acrimonious debate that brings California into…