Jan. 1, 1870: William N. Ballad, former state agent for the San Jose and Los Angeles line, became the proprietor of a stage line between L.A. and San Bernardino.
Jan. 31, 1880: Chute Landing, financed by prominent Santa Maria businessmen, was incorporated.
Jan.13, 1881: The Sisquoc Post Office opened with Frederick Wickenden as postmaster.
Jan. 1, 1883: An Odd Fellows lodge was chartered in Santa Maria.
January 1884: The project began of moving bodies from the Thornburgh Cemetery to the Santa Maria Cemetery.
January 1884: The Santa Maria Times moved into the first brick building in the 100 block of South Broadway.
January 1891: Construction began on the Santa Maria Union High School, and was finished in June of 1892 at a cost of $12,000.
January 1897: Work began on the building of Union Sugar Factory. The first sugar produced at the factory came to Santa Maria on Sept. 20, 1899.
Jan. 11, 1900: The Santa Maria Hotel went up in flames, taking with it all of the wooden buildings in the area.
January 1901: “The Gap” was officially closed when the Southern Pacific Railroad coastline track was completed at Gaviota, thus eliminating the need to take a stage from Santa Barbara to Los Olivos to connect with the Narrow Gauge Railroad to San Luis Obispo.
January 1904: Santa Maria Union High School graduate Evelyn Stokes purchased the Guadalupe Moon.
January 1907: The Minerva Library Club purchased a lot on South Broadway for $750, a lot intended for use as the site of the Carnegie Library. However, Carnegie decided to use city property instead. The Minerva Club property is now owned by the First United Methodist Church.
Jan. 6, 1907: A storm rolling in from the ocean stalled over the Central Coast, where it remained for four days, leaving the Lompoc Valley soaked with 7 inches of rain. Before the ordeal was over, train tracks and ties were torn up, the Robinson Bridge that had been enlarged the year before collapsed and 40 acres of crop land were washed away. On the positive side, though, thousands of acres were layered with rich black sediment, the gophers were gone and Lompoc Valley’s flower industry began.
Jan. 7, 1907: Santa Maria Gas & Power Company was organized with Madison Thornburg as president. Pipelines were put down from the Brookshire Oil Lease to Santa Maria. Natural gas began serving the city on April 3.
January 1909: Rev. Junjo Izumida arrived in Guadalupe to serve as the first resident minister of the Guadalupe Buddhist Church.
Jan. 18, 1910: The Women’s Improvement Club took on the board of trustees (now the City Council) for allowing Buena Vista Park to be used as a smallpox quarantine camp, calling it a “menace to the public.”
Jan. 27, 1913: Frank Crakes became the city’s fire chief, earning $25 per month. Firemen received $2 an hour, but only while they were fighting fires.
Jan. 24, 1916: The Supreme Court declared income tax constitutional.
Jan. 15, 1920: Twenty-one local girls met to form the A to Z Club.
Jan. 16, 1920: Prohibition began.
Jan. 17, 1921: Fire broke out at Roemer, Roemer and Silva, at the corner of Broadway and Mill Street, destroying the entire business and contents. Damage estimated to be $100,000.
Jan. 18, 1924: Fire broke out at the Chinese Buddhist Church in Guadalupe. The fire spread to surrounding structures, with damage estimated to be $100,000.
January 1927: Property located at Boone and Lincoln streets, the future site of the Minerva Club’s clubhouse, cleared escrow.
Jan. 14, 1928: The First National Bank of Santa Maria, which was organized in 1915, was sold to the Bank of Italy.
Jan. 5, 1929: Santa Maria’s population reached 7,097.
Jan. 21, 1929: For the first time in many years, the hills surrounding Santa Maria were covered with snow.
Jan. 30, 1929: The Daily Times reported that 16,500 acres of Santa Maria Valley property were being leased by oil companies.
Jan. 15, 1933: The new St. Peter’s Episcopal Church was consecrated.
Jan. 1, 1934: Groundbreaking took place for the new City Hall, Santa Maria’s first city-owned municipal building.
January 1939: Vaqueros de Los Rancheros began at a meeting held at the Commercial Hotel in Guadalupe. Among the charter members were Dan Sheehy, Charles Maretti, Charlie Campodonico, Bob Camp, Eddie Fields and George Petersen.
Jan. 1, 1943: Leo Preisker, who served as Santa Barbara County’s Fifth District supervisor for 27 years, officially retired.
January 1944: Santa Maria Valley Railroad’s depot was destroyed by fire.
Jan. 30, 1945: A P-38 airplane, on routine maneuvers, crashed into Rusconi’s Café, tearing off the roof of the Economy Drug Store. Two hours later, another P-38 crashed in a field two miles southwest of Santa Maria.
January 1946: The Santa Maria Valley Roping and Riding Club was formed.
Jan. 7, 1947: The Santa Maria Country Club was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation.
Jan. 26, 1949: The Santa Maria Times announced that dial telephones would soon be installed in Orcutt.
January 1951: Morris Stephan was sworn in as justice of the peace of the 7th Judicial District of Santa Maria. By a decree of the Superior Court, the Justice Court became the Municipal Court in 1961. Stephan was later appointed by the governor as county Superior Court judge. He retired from the bench in 1972 after having served in judicial offices for 22 years.
Jan. 1, 1953: Associated Telephone Company became General Telephone of California.
Jan. 15, 1955: William Macdonald, who formed the Macdonald Seed Company on Bonita Road in 1925, was killed in a car wreck near El Capitan, some 30 miles north of Santa Barbara.
January 1959: “This is Our Valley” came off the press.
Jan. 9, 1961: The swing of a sledge hammer by Santa Maria Mayor Casey Kyle marked the beginning of the demolition of the first section of Whiskey Row to make way for the First Western Bank and Trust building on the northwest corner of Main and McClelland streets.
January 1963: Whiskey Row was demolished.
Jan. 26, 1963: Rex Café, located on the corner of East Main and Broadway, was torn down.
January 1964: The Santa Maria Jewish congregation voted to purchase 1⅔ acres of land on Alvin Street for $12,500 in order to build a synagogue.
Jan. 31, 1966: The Santa Maria Times announced that the city would soon receive $57,000 for development of Preisker Park, the city’s new central park.
Jan. 18, 1968: The Santa Maria Bank building, standing on the northeast corner of West Main and Broadway, became a pile of rubble as it was demolished to make way for a Mobil Oil service station.
Jan. 20, 1968: Union Sugar Company announced the closing of the town of Betteravia. The Betteravia Store, operated by Jack Burrow for 22 years, had a half-price sale to empty the store. Burrow had taken over the store in 1946.
Jan. 3, 1969: Work began on Santa Maria’s new Department of Motor Vehicles office at the corner of McClelland and Boone streets.
Jan. 20, 1974: The dedication and grand opening of the Santa Maria Valley Historical Museum took place at its new home at 606 South Broadway. The museum had been built on surplus city property with funds raised by the Historical Society’s members.
Jan. 16, 1980: Elwin Mussell, mayor of Santa Maria, announced that he would not seek reelection because of the illness of his wife. Mussell had served on the City Council from 1966 to 1974.
Jan. 23, 1980: Isamu Minami was chosen as Santa Maria’s citizen of the year by the chamber of commerce.
January 1987: Pine Grove Cemetery became part of the Santa Maria Cemetery District.
January 1990: Butch Simas was elected to the Santa Maria Sports Hall of Fame.
January 1993: Nipomo’s Community Presbyterian Church was dedicated.
January 1993: Scoop Nunes, Santa Maria’s “Mr. Baseball,” was inducted into the Santa Maria Hall of Fame. He had been inducted into the National Semi-Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in Wichita, Kansas, in August of 1977.
Jan. 10, 2006: Judge Zel Canter announced that he would retire after serving almost 25 years on the bench at the county's Superior Court.
Jan. 28, 2008: The North Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee awarded Hilda Zacharias its annual Sadie West Award, given to an elected official who exemplifies her values and ideals. Zacharias was sworn in as Santa Maria’s third female City Council member in December of 2006.