California’s state government was one of the early adopters of the Internet, aka the world wide web, as it was more commonly referred to in the 90s.
With the creation of the first web browser in 1990, home use of the internet exploded, and companies and governments took the opportunity to create their first web pages.
Below are some examples of what the California government’s official websites looked like in the mid-90s as taken from Archive.org.
California State Government (1996)
This early version of what is essentially the state government’s main website offered information on government services, election updates, and a link to download photos of then-Governor Pete Wilson and his wife.
State Assembly (1996)
The State Assembly and Senate websites, even in these early stages, allowed users to find their representatives and track legislation.
State Senate (1996)
In addition to the standard information you can still find on the Senate website today, this early version also housed two “on-line” political magazines, one written by Republican legislators called “Right from the Start” and the other written by Democrats called “Democrats-on-line.”
California Lottery (1997)
California didn’t yet sell Powerball lottery tickets when the California Lottery website was first put on the Internet and MegaMillions wouldn’t exist for another six years.
At that time, the only lottery in the state that had multimillion-dollar prizes was the SuperLotto, which continues to be played to this day.
California National Guard (1996)
The 1998 version of the California National Guard Website noted that this original version of the site was “visited 19,845 times from April 1996 to Oct 1997.”
The link reading “Purchasing & Contracting” led users to a page that seemingly remained “under construction” until the site was later reworked and the link was removed.
California State University (1996)
Students were able to apply online to individual CSU campuses as early as 1996.
California State Library (1996)
Like a lot of websites of the day, one of the state library’s main links was to a page dedicated to “Welcoming” visitors to the website.
California Science Center (1999)
Visitors to the California Science Center website could find information about the museum and a section of the website meant for kids, another common convention of websites built in the 1990s and early 2000s.
California State Fair (1996)
Included on the state fair’s website was its 1996 concert lineup which included country artist Tracy Byrd, the folk duo the Smother Brothers performing with the Sacramento Symphony, and comedian Weird Al Yankovic.