A brief timeline of the San Francisco Chronicle

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January 16, 1865: Daily Dramatic Chronicle makes its debut. Founded with a borrowed $20 gold piece by two teenagers, Charles and Michael de Young, then 19 and 17. Circulation: 2,000. San Francisco population: 60,000.

April, 1865: Dramatic Chronicle¹s first big scoop: Lincoln assassinated. As the city¹s only afternoon paper, the Chronicle beats all the competition and becomes a legitimate news source. Circulation: 5,000.

September 1, 1868: Dramatic Chronicle changes name to Morning Chronicle.

May 1869: Transcontinental railroad completed. 1870s: San Francisco population: 150,000.

April 1880: Issac M. Kalloch, the mayor¹s son and a minister, shoots Charles de Young in Chronicle offices, killing him. Michael de Young takes over.

1885: Chronicle looks south, notes that Los Angeles has but "two mediocre hotels," and advises building more and taking an optimistic view.

1890: Chronicle moves into a 10-story building at Kearny and Market streets, the first steel-framed building in the West and the tallest. San Francisco population: 300,000.

1894: Midwinter Fair, held in Golden Gate Park. It attracts 1.3 million people. Its legacy is the Japanese Tea Garden, the bandshell and the park museum, which years later becomes the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum.

1897: Gold discovered in the Klondike. Chronicle sends eight men to "penetrate the frigid and unknown country."

April 18, 1906: The famous quake hits at 5:13 a.m. Fire destroys San Francisco in the quake¹s aftermath. Three morning papers -- the Morning Call, the Examiner and The Chronicle -- produce a joint emergency edition on the Oakland Herald¹s presses.

December 24, 1909: Luisa Tetrazzini, the great opera star, gives a free concert in front of The Chronicle building on market street. About 200,000 attend.

1914: The Great War begins in Europe.

1915: Panama-Pacific International Exposition in the Marina District.

1917: America joins World War I.

1924: Chronicle moves into its present building at Fifth and Mission streets.

1925: M.H. de Young dies. George T. Cameron, one of de Young¹s sons-in-law, takes over.

1934: Chronicle wins first Pulitzer Prize for Royce Brier¹s reporting on the lynching of two alleged kidnappers in San Jose.

1935: Paul C. Smith, 27, named Chronicle¹s executive editor.

1936: Smith hires a young kid from Sacramento named Herb Caen to write a radio column.

1936: Bay Bridge opens.

1937: Golden Gate Bridge opens. December 7, 1941: Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, U.S. enters World War II.

1942: Chronicle wins second Pulitzer Prize for Stanton Delaplane¹s reporting.

1945: War ends, Bay Area booms.

1948: Chronicle circulation peaks at 180,000.

1949: KRON-TV begins broadcasting.

1950: Caen defects to Examiner.

1951: Chronicle circulation down to 152,672. Paul C. Smith resigns.

1952: Charles de Young Thieriot, M.H. de Young¹s grandson, names Scott Newhall to replace Smith. Circulation war begins.

1952: Chronicle wins third Pulitzer Prize for George De Carvalho¹s reporting.

1955: Charles Thieriot named publisher.

1957: Circulation grows to 194,000.

1958: Herb Caen returns to The Chronicle.

1961: Circulation hits 300,000.

1965: Circulation at 363,322. Chronicle leads Examiner by 60,000. Joint Operating Agreement formed. Examiner becomes an afternoon paper.

1968: Chronicle Books founded.

1977: Charles Thieriot dies. His son, Richard Thieriot becomes Editor and Publisher.

1980: Bloomington (Illinois) Pantagraph purchased by Chronicle Publishing.

1982: 49ers win first Super Bowl.

1986: Worcester (Massachusetts) Telegram & Gazette purchased by Chronicle Publishing.

1988: Motor Books, later renamed MBI, is purchased by Chronicle Publishing.

1990: Chronicle wins fourth Pulitzer Prize for Allan Temko¹s architecture criticism.

1993: John B. Sias joins Chronicle Publishing as president and CEO, the first non-family member to lead the company. Although Sias does not take the title, he also acts as publisher of The Chronicle. William German is named the paper¹s editor.

1993: SFGate.com opens for business on the Internet.

1996: Chronicle wins fifth Pulitzer Prize, a special award to columnist Herb Caen.

1997: Herb Caen dies at age 80.

May 10, 1999: Chronicle board of directors engages Donaldson, Lufkin, Jenrette to review strategic options.

June 16, 1999: Chronicle board decides to sell The Chronicle Publishing Company.

This article appeared on page B - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle


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