When Berkeley liked Ike: Presidential candidate made East Bay stops this week in 1952

D. D. Eisenhower

Dwight Eisenhower is met by a crowd of people, including many UC Berkeley students, at the Berkeley railroad station. (Oakland Tribune Photo)

D. D. Eisenhower

Eisenhower, the Republican nominee challenging Adlai Stevenson, made some brief remarks in his Berkeley whistlestop appearance. (Oakland Tribune Photo)

Republican presidential nominee Dwight Eisenhower was given a welcome befitting a war hero by Berkeley residents this week in 1952. The Oct. 8 appearance was part of a whistlestop swing by train through the East Bay on the way to a speech at the Cow Palace by the acclaimed World War II general. Other stops included Vallejo, Crockett and Richmond, along with a rally at City Hall Plaza in Oakland before he went via motorcade across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco and a scheduled speech at the Cow Palace. The appearances were partly a response to a similar trip through the area by Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson.
Accompanying Eisenhower on his trip through the area were California Gov. Earl Warren and U.S. Sen. William F. Knowland, whose family owned the Oakland Tribune.

eisenhower signs
Signs displayed during Eisenhower’s Berkeley visit included “UC likes Ike” and “Let it rain, let it pour, Ike will lead us safely now, he always has before.”

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How Berkeley Iceland kept the rink surface smooth before the Zamboni came along

bg zamboni 01 10 1945a

When Berkeley Iceland opened in November 1940 the invention of the famed Zamboni ice resurfacing machine, now a fixture at ice and hockey rinks, was still almost nine years away.

So how, you ask, was the rink surface at Berkeley Iceland kept smooth enough for skating? This 1945 photo in the Berkeley Gazette shows the answer — giant squeegees, an adaptation of the window-washing device invented in Oakland in 1936. Note that the smoothing task has been turned over to women skaters during the war.

For those wondering about the prose used by the Berkeley Gazette, “Atalanta is the female athlete in Greek myth” and “didoes” are “mischievous tricks or deeds.”


El Cerrito: Memories, artifacts and more at Portola Junior High celebration Sept. 26

portola 1953

The buildings of Portola Junior High School in El Cerrito are gone, but the memories of the generations of West County students who attended there live on and will be celebrated at a gala event from 7 to 10 p.m. Sept. 26 at the El Cerrito Community Center, 7007 Moeser Lane.
Tickets are still available for the Portola Junior High School History Celebration, which will feature dancing to live music by The Sundowners, a band of Portola alumni, no-host food and drink and a silent auction of artifacts from the school similar to those pictured here.
Tickets are $20 general, or $10 for past and present WCCUSD teachers, available by clicking here.
For more details contact Marnie Fricke Mufti at 510-410-5028 or marniemufti@gmail.com; or Donna Houser at 510-508-6830 houserini@sbcglobal.net.

portola fogerty 8th grade
Can you spot future music great John Fogerty in his Portola class picture from eighth grade in 1958-59? (Answer below).

portola growing up

portola polly posture


portola flier

(Answer: John Fogerty is in the front row behind the “6”.)


The first Oakland Raiders game at the new Coliseum was played 49 years ago today

The Oakland Coliseum hosted its first event 49 years ago today, when the Oakland Raiders played the Kansas City Chiefs.

News media tour of the new stadium, nearing completion in July 1966.

The completed Coliseum awaits its first crowd. (Lonnie Wilson / Oakland Tribune Staff Archives).

Action from Sept. 18, 1966 – the first Oakland Raiders game to be played at the newly dedicated Oakland – Alameda County Coliseum. (Russ Reed / Oakland Tribune Staff Archives)

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A rave review of the new stadium from the San Mateo Times, which notes that Charles O. Finley, owner of the Kansas City Athletics of the American League, was among those in attendance.

coliseum daily review
Photo coverage of the first Coliseum game from the Hayward Daily Review.


Richmond’s Salesian High raising funds for Middletown High School students in Valley Fire

Salesian College Preparatory in Richmond is raising funds for its counterparts at Middletown High School in the aftermath of the Valley Fire and is asking for community support. Salesian made the following announcement Thursday on the school’s Facebook page:

Salesian College Preparatory sends its thoughts and prayers to our long-time friends and sports rivals at Middletown High School who were affected by the Valley Fire. In order to show our support, the Salesian community members are organizing a fundraising drive for Middletown High. We are accepting cash or check donations and will be sending 100% of our collections to Middletown High School. We will be accepting donations throughout the end of day tomorrow and once again during the week of Triduum. Let’s join together to help our friends at Middletown High School.
For more information on how to give, contact us at (510)234-4433. Thank you for considering to help our friends in need.


El Cerrito: Free performances continue Sept. 12 and 19 at Down Home Music

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Blues Guitarist Pete Madsen

More free in-store concerts are coming up at Down Home Music, 10341 San Pablo Ave. in El Cerrito.

Blues guitarist Pete Madsen performs
at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12.

If you’re a pre-war acoustic old-time blues kinda gal, come out to Down Home Music THIS SATURDAY to hear local guitar maestro Pete Madsen take us on a journey through early blues traditions as we celebrate the lives of Gus Cannon (b. 9/12/1883), Texas Alexander (b. 9/12/1900), and Frank Stokes (d. 9/12/1955). A professional guitarist and educator for over twenty years, Pete has authored three books of guitar instruction for Hal Leonard, and written numerous lessons and reviews for Acoustic Guitar, Play Guitar and Frets magazines. Pete’s solo act (which is what you’ll hear Saturday) is rooted mainly in acoustic blues, ragtime, and slide guitar, but he can also be heard at times playing with the whacky Bungee Jumping Cows — a group of musicians and educators who play science-themed Rock and Roll.

Bay Area country music group Crying Time will put on a show at Down Home at 2 p.m. Sept. 19.


Point Richmond presenting string band and slide guitar at free show Friday

Slide guitar artist Dennis Johnson.

Here is the lineup for the next show in the Point Richmond Music concert series from 5:30 to 7:45 p.m. Sept. 11 on the outdoor stage at Park Place and Washington Avenue:

Friday, September 11th
The Rusty String Express (Bluegrass) www.facebook.com/therustystringexpress
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
The Rusty String Express (RSE) celebrates string band traditions of the past while stretching into the unknown, creating original music with unique and familiar flavors. The RSE is an exciting mash up of acoustic excitement, bubbling creativity, and excellent musicianship, with Aaron Balano on dobro, Alison Bailey Streich on violin, Greg Dunn on bass and Morgan Cochneuer on guitar. These four magnetic musicians are masterful wielders of their instruments, and their music ranges from sensitive and soulful interpretations to wild and unexpected music you’ve never heard before.

Dennis Johnson & the Mississippi Ramblers (Slide Guitar) www.dennisjohnsonslide.com
6:45 pm – 7:45 pm
Slide guitarist Dennis Johnson is one of the elite slide guitar players performing today. Drawing comparisons to Robert Johnson and Roy Rogers, Dennis Johnson masterfully elevates the art of slide guitar across many genres of music including Blues, New Orleans, Rock, and Swing. Dennis Johnson and his band, The Mississippi Ramblers, deliver stirring live performances that move audiences and get people dancing!

This year’s series concludes with this concert on Sept. 25:

Soji & The Afrobeats (Nigerian) www.sojisoundz.com
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Nigeria’s legendary guitar master and singer Soji Odukogbe was the lead guitarist for the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s groundbreaking Afrobeat band. Odukogbe draws on an extensive background in Nigerian Afrobeat, highlife, and spiritual music, bringing a unique sensibility to his highlife guitar interpretations. His Afrobeat Band features guitars, drums, and horns. He and the band set the dance floor afire with a churning, polyrhythmic style that he simply calls “authentic original Afrobeat like Fela’s type of music, the traditional Afrobeat that nobody does” in a world of endless Afro-fusions.

Sol (Latin) www.solrocks.com
6:45 pm – 7:45 pm
SOL’s infectious Latin beat warms the souls of all audiences and gets people dancing to the rhythms of Salsa and Funk and Soul. Led by the versatile vocalist Myrna Farias, SOL covers popular songs from Santana to Celia Cruz and Tito Puente to Tower of Power. The high energy band is driven by a hard rocking rhythm section, Latin percussionists, and four horn players. Based in San Francisco, The SOL musicians bring a diverse blend of influences from Latin, Rock and Jazz to create their own unique mix of Latin music for the 21st century.


When Mickey Mantle and other baseball stars came to Billy Martin’s night club in El Cerrito

A piece of memorabilia capturing a moment in baseball and El Cerrito history has been listed for bidding at online auction site eBay.
The item is an autographed 1961 menu from the opening of Billy Martin’s Cerro Square, a gala event attended by numerous major league baseball players of the day along with former teammates of Martin’s from the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League.

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Autographed menu from the opening of Billy Martin’s Cerro Square, offered for auction on eBay.

“Signatures on this menu include Billy Martin, Jim Gentile, Jackie Jensen, Don Drysdale, Mickey Mantle, Bud Foster, Cotton Pippen, Tom Louderback, Ray Larnernno, Woody Hall, Augie Galan,” states the auction listing, reflecting just some of the sporting world figures who attended the event.

At the time of the club opening, the always-combative Martin was nearing the end of his playing career. The Berkeley native, a regular presence in El Cerrito both as a youth and in later years, opened the night club venture at the former New Six Bells owned by the Figone family on San Pablo Avenue at Central Avenue (now a Burger King).

Despite its star-studded opening, the venture was short-lived. The era of clubs and bars that once dominated El Cerrito nightlife for decades was winding down, in part due to the growing presence of television in homes. In addition, according to a former relation of Martin’s by marriage, it wasn’t enough for the ballplayer to have his name on the club — people expected him to be there nightly to greet and talk to them.

cerro square 1961
Longtime Yankees teammates (and carousing pals) Mickey Mantle and Billy Martin, joined by other ballplayers at the opening of Cerro Square in El Cerrito. Photo from the collection of Jack Newell.

Cerro Square matchbook.