Timeline: Religion in California

I’ve been thinking about religion in my home state. I’ve noticed there’s not much by way of a broad overview of the religious history of the state, so I’ve been collecting resources. Here’s a timeline and a few links that I’ve gathered thus far:

Timeline: Religion in California

1767-1784: Junipero Serra in Spanish California

1769-1821: Spanish Colonial Period

1769: Founding of Mission San Diego de Alcalá (SD)

1776: Founding of Mission San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores) (SF)

1849: The ‘Gold Rush’ begins

Sept. 9, 1850: California Statehood

1851: Temple Israel founded in Stockton (longest continuous Jewish community)

1852: Tin How (Tianhou) Temple founded in San Francisco (oldest Daoist temple?).

1857: Sze-Yap Temple founded in San Francisco (first Buddhist temple) (SF)

Oct. 9, 1890-Sep. 27, 1944: Aimee Semple McPherson (LA)

1889: Temple Beth Sholom founded in San Leandro (oldest standing synagogue)

1900: The ‘Old Temple’ founded in San Francisco (first Hindu temple) (SF)

Apr. 9, 1906-1915: The Azusa Street Revival (LA)

Apr. 18, 1906: 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

Oct. 24, 1912: Gurdwara Sahib Stockton founded in Stockton (first Sikh temple)

March 31, 1927-April 23rd, 1993: Caesar Chavez

1947: Founding of Fuller Theological Seminary

1949: Billy Graham’s Los Angeles Crusade

1952: Islamic Center of Southern California established (oldest mosque in California?)

1962: Graduate Theological Union (GTU) founded in Berkeley 

1964: The Council on Religion and the Homosexual (i.e. beginning of the California Gay Rights Movement) (SF) 

1965: Founding of the John Coltrane Church (N.L. Baham III,The Coltrane Church) (SF)

July, 1965: Jim Jones moves The Peoples Temple to Redwood Valley, CA 

Apr. 30, 1966: Founding of the Church of Satan by Anton LaVey (SF)

1968: The ‘Gold Base’ headquarters for the Church of Scientology founded in San Jacinto (LA)

February 15, 1968: Caesar Chavez begins his 25-day water-only fast in Delano

1970: Jim Jones and The Peoples Temple open buildings in San Francisco and Los Angeles (SF) (LA)

March, 1997: Heaven’s Gate suicide (Heaven’s Gate’s website) (SD)

May 21st, 2011: Harold Camping’s predicted day for the return of Christ

Online Resources:


California Pluralism Project

USC’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture

Clifton L. Holland’s ‘An Overview of Religion in Los Angeles from 1850 to 1930′


Eldon G. Ernst, ‘The Emergence of California in American Religious Historiography’


Theology and California: Theological Reflections on California’s Culture


Boom: A Journal of California


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