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How the West Has Changed the World: In celebration of the magazine's 120th anniversary, we look back at the innovative people, places, gardens, homes, ideas, and events that helped shape the Way We live.

Oceans define not only beaches and borders--but also, in our case, an entire magazine.

IT'S BEACH TIME. Not to dis mountains or canyons, but from our first issue (whose cover shows the Pacific across a bridge-less Golden Gate), Sunset lived for surf, sand, beach barbecues, and, oh, a tropical cocktail or two. So potent was the magazine's love for the sea that for a while its full, official name was Sunset: The Pacific Monthly. And why not? The West is blessed with 7,623 miles of Pacific coastline, and from Zuma Beach to Santa Cruz, from Bandon to Waimea Bay, you'll fine mile after mile of salt-sprayed joy.

Look, for example, at our July 1911 cover, with its Gibson girl surfer genteelly shredding the Southern California waves. But we didn't want our readers to merely admire--we wanted them to join her. "It's easy--when you know how!" we proclaimed in our January 1926 guide to mastering the sport, "Rough Riders of the Surf." We helped readers learn how--as we would eventually do for bodysurfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, stand-up paddleboarding, and even submerging (safely, in cages) to snap selfies with the great white sharks of Baja California's Guadalupe Island. And if you just wanted to go to the beach and catch some sun and not do anything, that was cool too. Here, try a Sunset mai tai.

The magazine's love for our ocean had--and has--its serious side, especially as it became clear that the water and its shores, and the remarkable creatures that inhabit them, were not immune to the depredations of man. In the 1970s, articles campaigned forcefully for the act that established the California Coastal Commission, opening the state's coastline to the public. We honored coastal heroes-scientists, politicians, community activists. We hailed oceanic successes: the return of the sea otter and the humpback whale from the brink of extinction, the cleanup of San Francisco Bay, and the rise of Monterey Bay as one of the world's centers of ocean research.

In 2018, the original full name may be gone from our cover, but we're still the Pacific Monthly. "Bluest of blue skies; sea of jade and topaz; white beach flooded with sunlight." That's how the author of "Rough Riders of the Surf" described his Pacific. Who could resist? Not us. Not you.

By Peter Fish

Start at the beginning...


Sunset is founded by Southern Pacific Railroad to entice travelers west.

Some 30,000 prospectors rush toward Dawson City and Klondike gold fields in the Yukon.


An April 1903 article touts a solar motor installed on a Pasadena ostrich farm. Today, Hawaii draws 33 percent of its electricity from rooftop solar, and the 579-megawatt Solar Star power station, which began operations in California's Antelope Valley in 201S, is said to be the largest operating solar farm in the world.


Colorado River floods, forming the Salton Sea in California.


San Francisco quakes and burns.


Hawaiian George Freeth introduces surfing to the mainland with demonstrations at Redondo Beach.


Colonel Allen Aliens-worth founds an African American agricultural community in California's San Joaquin Valley.


The first big cache of Jurassic-era dinosaurs is uncovered at Carnegie Quarry, UT;in 1915 it becomes Dinosaur National Monument.


The Inaugural Pendleton Round-Up is held in Oregon.


New Mexico becomes the 47th state; Arizona becomes the 48th.

Hawaiian icon Duke Kahanamoku wins a gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle at the Stockholm Olympics.


Highest temperature recorded in Death Valley, CA: 134[degrees].


California's Lassen

Peak erupts


William Boeing tests his first airplane, a seaplane, on Wash ington's Lake Union.


Pebble Beach golf course opens in California.


Idaho native Philo Farnsworth starts work on what will one day become television.

Jazz icon Charles Mingus is born in Nogales, AZ.


LA. debuts the Hollywoodland sign.


Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby, a student at Spokane's Gonzaga University, begins singing and playing drums with a group called the Musicaladers.


Gunnar Kaasen arrives in Nome, AK, on dogsled (led by the famed Siberian husky Balto), carrying diphtheria serum from Bluff. The feat will inspire the Iditarod Trail dogsled race, first run in 1973.

Wyoming's Nellie Tayloe Ross becomes the first woman sworn in as governor in the United States.


The Royal Hawaiian Hotel opens at Wai-kiki Beach, launching a new era of travel.

Ryan Airlines of San Diego builds the Spirit of St. Louis, which Charles Lindbergh flies to Paris.


Herbert Hoover becomes the first Westerner elected president.
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Author:Fish, Peter
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2018
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