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[By California Beat | 17 Nov 2009 | No Comments]

Timothy Hopkins

1859 – January 1, 1936


Had it not been for the famous family who adopted him, chances are Timothy Hopkins might never have become anyone important in California. Had it not been for Timothy Hopkins, one can only speculate how a map of the Peninsula would have looked and had it not been for Timothy Hopkins, one can only wonder how differently Stanford University could have become. Though his name is largely forgotten today, Timothy Hopkins had the honor of closely associating himself with two of the state’s best-known historical figures and built his own reputation because of it.

[By California Beat | 10 Oct 2009 | 5 Comments]


It started out as just another ordinary night for Paul Lee Stine.

The 29 year-old Yellow Cab driver had been working the night shift to put himself through school and was very near to earning his doctorate from San Francisco State University. But what he believed to be a routine pick-up from Union Square to an upscale residential neighborhood would turn into a fatal trip that would leave him shot to death in the front seat and a city in panic.

[By California Beat | 11 Sep 2009 | No Comments]

If you were to visit the Lake Merced area on the border between San Francisco and San Mateo counties, you probably wouldn’t expect it to have been the site of anything important, let alone that of a high profile murder. But tucked away in a small residential park behind a private tennis court was the site where a powerful United States Senator was killed by a bullet fired by the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court.

This was no modern day political assassination however. Instead 150 years ago this month, it was all about honor when Sen. David Broderick dueled with Chief Justice David Terry.

[By California Beat | 20 Aug 2009 | 2 Comments]

Bernice Layne Brown

November 19, 1908 – May 9, 2002

First Lady of California

There is no denying that since the 1950s, the Brown family has contributed heavily to California politics. With two stints as Governor, possibly a third next year in 2010, and various state and local offices at one time or another, this single family have created much history in this great state. But behind every great family, there is a great matriarch and for the Brown family, that matriarch was Bernice Brown.

[By California Beat | 21 Jul 2009 | No Comments]

When Fr. Francisco Palou established Misión San Francisco de Asís, little could he know just what he was establishing. Today, 230 years later, that small mission has resulted in one of the recognizable cities in the world.

Officially established on June 29, 1776, Misión San Francisco de Asís was the sixth of the total twenty-one California missions and has been designated San Francisco Historical Landmark # 1. Better known as Mission Dolores, the old mission is located on the corner of Dolores and 16th Street and is open daily. Admission is free but there is a suggested donation of $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and students.

[By California Beat | 8 Jun 2009 | No Comments]

Phillip Burton

June 1, 1926 – April 10, 1983

United States Congressman

California has had many distinguished United States Congressmen and Congresswomen through the years, but very few can say that they accomplished and controlled so much during their lifetime as Phillip Burton. However for all that he accomplished, few even know his name. Perhaps the epitaph that marks his grave best describes why Phil Burton is a California Beat hero:

“His motivation was the common good.

His life was service.

His love was the people.”

[By California Beat | 27 May 2009 | No Comments]

Sara Allen Plummer Lemmon

1836 – 1923


Sara Lemmon is a name that most people probably have never heard of before. However she was a major player in helping to designate one of California’s most important and well-known symbols. So important was this symbol that it was even honored with its own day in 1974. It is because of Sara Plummer Lemmon that the Golden Poppy would be designated as California’s state flower.

[By California Beat | 3 Apr 2009 | One Comment]

Herb Caen

April 3, 1916 – February 1, 1997

Newspaper Columnist

Herb Caen . . . Do I really need to say anything more? He was a San Francisco legend whose written words could make or break you. His unforgettable personality made him a leading icon in a city built by icons and his memory is one that can never fade away with time.

[By California Beat | 6 Mar 2009 | No Comments]

George Calvert Yount

May 4, 1794 – October 5, 1865

Napa Valley Pioneer

George Yount is an honored name in California. Unfortunately most people probably don’t know who he is. However his name is an important one in the Napa Valley as he was the starting point for a region which has become one of the state’s most important.

Coming to California in 1836, he steps into California history by being the first American citizen to be granted land in the Napa Valley by the Mexican government. In 1855, he contributed to the Napa Valley again when he hired a surveyor to establish the town of Yountville.

[By California Beat | 3 Feb 2009 | No Comments]

Timothy Ludwig Pflueger

September 26, 1892 – November 20, 1946


San Francisco native Pflueger is, in my opinion, one of the most forgotten architects of California. Many people probably don’t know his name but they do know some of the projects he has been involved with. Because of this, he has earned a place as a California Beat hero.