The San Francisco that I Met in 1973

[ A Work In Progress ]

The Embarcadero Freeway


May 25: The Navy discharged me in California. I stayed in the Bay Area instead of going back to Alabama. This is a short list of eye-opening events in my first few years in San Francisco.

Jun 3: Gang leader Yip Yee Tak shot in the sixteenth Chinatown youth gang murder.

Jul 4: Sutro Tower sent its first television transmission.

Aug 12: Wayne Fung shot in the seventeenth Chinatown youth gang murder.

Sep: Several hundred singles took part in the “first national singles convention” held at the Jack Tar Hotel.

Oct 19: Quita Hague hacked to death with a machete and her husband Richard badly wounded in the first Zebra murder.

Oct 21: Oakland Athletics win second consecutive World Series.

Oct 29: Frances Rose shot in second Zebra murder.

Nov 25: Saleem "Sammy" Erekat bound and shot in third Zebra murder.

Dec 6: Juan Corona, who had killed 25 people with a machete in 1971, was stabbed 32 times in his cell at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, CA, because he had bumped into a fellow inmate in a corridor and failed to say, "excuse me."

Dec 11: Paul Dancik shot in fourth Zebra murder.

Dec 13: Marietta DiGirolamo shot in fifth Zebra murder.

Dec 20: Ilario Bertuccio shot in sixth Zebra murder.

Dec 22: Neal Moynihan shot in seventh Zebra murder.
Dec 22: Mildred Hosler shot in eighth Zebra murder.

1973: Reverend Jim Jones of the Peoples Temple declares, "For some unexplained reasons, I happen to be selected to be God." After eight members defect, Jones first mentions "revolutionary suicide."


Jan ??: Angelina Alioto disappeared. She was offended when her husband Joe, Mayor of San Francisco, failed to mention his family as they sat behind him at a campaign event during his run for governor. She excused herself to go to the restroom and did not return for eighteen days. She had enough cash with her to tour the California Missions without leaving a trace.

Jan 28: Tana Smith shot in ninth Zebra murder.
Jan 28: Vincent Wollin shot in tenth Zebra murder.
Jan 28: John Bambic shot in eleventh Zebra murder.
Jan 28: Jane Holly shot in twelfth Zebra murder.
Jan 28: Roxanne McMillian shot in thirteenth Zebra murder.

Feb 4: Patty Hearst Kidnapped.

Apr 1: Thomas Rainwater shot in fourteenth Zebra murder.

Apr 3: Patty Hearst announced on an audiotape that she had joined the Symbionese Liberation Army and assumed the name "Tania".

Apr 15: Patty Hearst was photographed wielding an M1 carbine while robbing the Sunset District branch of the Hibernia Bank at 1450 Noriega Street in San Francisco.

Apr 16: Nelson "Nick" T. Shields IV shot in fifteenth Zebra murder.

May 1: Seven suspects arrested in the Zebra murders.

Jun 7: The Steve Silver show Beach Blanket Babylon premiered at the Savoy Tivoli in San Francisco. Nancy Bleiweiss was the original star of the show

Oct 17: Oakland Athletics win third consecutive World Series.

1974: Reverend Jim Jones leases more than 3,800 acres of land in Guyana and begins to build Jonestown.

1974: The Board of Directors of Synanon passed a declaration proclaiming it a religion


Aug 18: Over 90% of SF's 1,935 police walk out in pay dispute.

Sep 5: Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme tried to shoot President Gerald Ford in Sacramento's Capitol Park. She did not have a round in the chamber. She was tackled by the Secret Service.

Sep 22: Sara Jane Moore shot at President Gerald Ford near the St. Francis Hotel. She barely missed. She raised her gun to shoot again and Oliver Sipple grabbed her arm and wrestled her to the ground.

1975: Reverend Jim Jones reaches his height of power in San Francisco, helping elect George Moscone as mayor and Harvey Milk as city supervisor. Moscone, in turn, names Jones as head of San Francisco's Housing Authority.


Feb 5: Snow blanketed much of San Francisco.

Mar 13: Four suspects convicted in the Zebra murders.

Mar 20: Patty Hearst convicted of bank robbery.

July 15: 26 children and their bus driver were kidnapped in Chowchilla, California, by armed men who blocked the road around 4 p.m. The students, who were attending Dairyland Elementary School for summer school, were being dropped off on their way back from a field trip at the Chowchilla fairgrounds' swimming pool. The kidnappers hid the bus in a drainage slough and drove the children and bus driver around in two vans for 11 hours, eventually taking them to a quarry in Livermore, California. There, the kidnappers imprisoned the victims inside a buried moving van with a small amount of food and water and a number of mattresses.

July 16: Bus driver Frank Edward "Ed" Ray and the children stacked the mattresses, enabling some of them to reach the opening at the top of the truck, which had been covered with a metal plate and weighed down with two 100–pound industrial batteries. They wedged the lid open with a stick, Ray moved the batteries, and they removed the remainder of the debris that blocked the entrance. After 16 hours underground, they emerged and walked to the quarry's guard shack near the Shadow Cliffs East Bay Regional Park. All were in good condition.


Jan 9: Oakland Raiders win Super Bowl

Aug. 1: Reverend Jim Jones leaves for Guyana after a news story describing him as a cruel, paranoid criminal.

Nov 8: Harvey Milk elected to SF Board of Supervisors.
Nov 8: Dan White elected to SF Board of Supervisors.

1977-78: A "Concerned Relatives" group forms, and several lawsuits are filed for the return of children from Jonestown. Jones begins holding night meeti


1978: Nearly 1,100 people are living in the compound built for about 300. Food is in short supply. Reverend Jim Jones separates children from their parents and sometimes separates spouses.

May 18: Juan Corona's conviction was overturned by the California Court of Appeals

Oct 10: Paul Morantz was bitten by a rattlesnake which had been placed in his Pacific Palisades home mailbox by two members of the Synanon Imperial Marines, Lance Kenton and Joe Musico. A neighbor applied a tourniquet that saved Morantz’s life. Arriving fire department paramedics chopped off the snake's head with a shovel, and discovered that the rattles had been removed so that the snake could attack without warning. Morantz was hospitalized for six days.

Nov 15: Rep. Leo Ryan, D-San Francisco, arrives at Jonestown with newspaper and TV journalists, plus relatives of Jones' followers.

Nov 18: Rep. Leo Ryan leaves with his group, which includes 16 defectors. They reach the airstrip six miles away, but a handful of Temple members arrive and begin shooting, killing Ryan, three reporters and a defector, and wounding several others, including Jackie Speier. Back at the compound, Jones calls everyone to the pavilion area and tells them there is "no hope," that they must all commit "revolutionary suicide" to avoid having U.S. forces take and torture their children. Armed Temple members surround the people to ensure everyone takes the poison. After all 912 have been killed, Jones dies from a bullet. About 85 people survive, most because they are away.

Nov 27: Supervisor Harvey Milk assassinated in his office in City Hall.
Nov 27: Mayor George Moscone assassinated in his office in City Hall.
Nov 27: Supervisor Diane Feinstein sworn in as Mayor


Jan 17: Horrific BART Transbay Tube fire. One Oakland firefighter died; many other hospitalized including two that were written up in the medical journals for extreme measures.

Feb 1: Patty Hearst released from prison.

Mar 13: Michael Prokes, a Jonestown survivor, commits suicide at a Modesto motel with a reporter and photographer present, along with other media members.

May 21: Dan White convicted of voluntary manslaughter instead of first-degree homicide.
May 21: 5,000 rioters protested the verdict. 60 police officers were injured.

May 25: The last of 248 unidentified bodies from Jonestown — most of them children — are buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland.


1985-Sep 23: Juan Corona was again convicted of the 25 machete murders.

1985-Oct 21: Dan White committed suicide.

1989-Feb 2: Oliver Sipple died of pneumonia, at home, alone, one day after the VA hospital turned him away.