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5 Fun Facts About September 23 In California History

---Learn Every Day: CA Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history ca To: 618-270-4005---

1. On September 23, 1846, the Donner Party, a group of pioneers headed to California, reached the Truckee Lake (now called Donner Lake) in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. They would ultimately become stranded there due to harsh winter conditions, leading to a tragic episode in American history.

2. In 1875, the first balloon flight in California took place on September 23. John Wise, a famous aeronaut, launched his balloon from the San Francisco Bay and flew over 30 miles in just over an hour.

3. On September 23, 1952, Richard Nixon gave his famous "Checkers Speech" in response to allegations of financial improprieties. The speech was a defining moment in his political career and helped him secure his place as the Republican Party's vice presidential nominee alongside Dwight D. Eisenhower.

4. In 1973, Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in the "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match, held in the Astrodome in Houston. However, many people don't know that the inspiration for the match came from a similar event that occurred on September 23, 1973, at the San Diego Tennis and Racquet Club. There, a local women's tennis team challenged a group of male tennis players in a similar exhibition.

5. On September 23, 1991, the largest wildfire in California's history up to that point began in the Oakland Hills. The fire ultimately destroyed over 3,000 homes and resulted in 25 fatalities.
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