Oh! Lord, stuck in preschool again: John Fogerty, age 2, gets his picture in the paper

Here’s young John Fogerty in what we have to assume was his first media exposure. This 1947 picture on the local page of the Berkeley Gazette has him shilling for the annual Country Fair on the playground at El Cerrito Preschool Cooperative. Lucile Fogerty, the mother of the future rock and roll legend was a strong supporter of ECPC, founded in 1940 and still in operation today. (The address of the Fogerty family home in the original caption is slightly wrong, since El Cerrito High is on the even side of the street.)
Support for co-ops was not uncommon in the Fogerty family. Robert Fogerty, father of Credence Clearwater Revival founders John and Tom, was made general manager of the Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley in November 1944. According to the Berkeley Gazette item below, the senior Fogerty, who had formerly worked for the Gazette, helped found and managed the El Cerrito location of the famed Berkeley Co-op. While the item states that the store he had managed was at Colusa Circle, the 1943 telephone directory lists its address as 406 Colusa Ave., which would put it just north of Fairmount Avenue.



Port of Richmond dedicates one historic building, official says two more to be renovated

The restored exterior with sign of the Riggers Loft.

A dilapidated warehouse building that probably shouldn’t have survived until now is the newest example of efforts in Richmond to retain and restore historically significant sites.
The Riggers Loft and Paint Shop, one of the few remaining buildings from the four Kaiser shipyards of World War II that once dominated the city’s waterfront, was an unlikely candidate for renovation, a point that was made during City Council discussions on its fate.
Wooden beams holding up the roof were rotting and the ceiling was on the verge of collapse. The original metal roll-up doors were rusting.
Today, there is new timber next to original pieces of lumber supporting the ceiling. The corrugated roll-up doors have been replaced and the outside has replications of the original art deco letters used for the building signs.
The building, located in the Port of Richmond next to the SS Red Oak Victory, was dedicated at Veterans Day ceremonies on Nov. 11 and speakers lauded its completion and addition to sites in the city’s Rosie the Riveter national park (see video below) before cutting the ribbon that dedicated the renovation.
And it appears that two more buildings at the Port of Richmond that once were part of Kaiser shipard No. 3 will be renovated.
In his remarks in the video below, port director Jim Matzorkis says negotiations are being finalized with the port’s master tenant for revitalization of the General Warehouse building and talks are underway on renovating the remaining cafeteria building on the port property.

Anita Black is presented with a plaque in honor of her late brother Bill Jackson, chief engineer emeritus of the SS Red Oak Victory. Notice the new and old timbers in the ceiling.

Video of the dedication of the Riggers Loft includes remarks by the port director on plans to renovate two other former shipyard buildings:

This view shows the SS Red Oak Victory at left, the Riggers Loft at center and the General Warehouse at right.

A closer view of the General Warehouse.

The long-vacant building that was once a cafeteria for higher up personnel at the Kaiser shipyard.


BART track work will mean delays Sunday between North Berkeley and El Cerrito Plaza stations

BART has issued the following advisory:

Maintenance delays between North Berkeley, El Cerrito Plaza on Nov. 10

We are conducting track maintenance between North Berkeley and El Cerrito Plaza stations on Sunday, November 10 which may affect your travel. From 9 am to 3 pm you may experience 10 to 15 minute delays.

We appreciate your patience as we work to keep providing you with the high level of service you rely upon.

You can get BART Service Advisories (BSAs) on your phone. To sign up for BSAs, please visit us on the web at www.bart.gov/advisories. You may also call 511 to get up-to-date service information.


Richmond: Spam had competitors for the World War II home front processed meat market

No attempt is made to pretty-up this 1943 ad for Spam. The beans are caked to the side of the bowl and the slices are kind of plopped in. You have to admire the honesty and this could have been how dinner looked on home front tables at times.

When it comes to Span, one generation’s processed meat is another generation’s junk email.
Spam was invented/created/discovered in 1937, but truly became a household name during World War II, when cuts from the butcher were a luxury and luncheon meats were an alternative for providing that protein the family craved without cutting into the ration points. Besides becoming a staple in the lunch buckets home front war workers, Spam could be in the ration kits of soldiers and support personnel around the world. It remains a familiar presence on menus in Hawaii to this day.
It was the golden age for pork pieces repurposed into a loaf and shaped to fit into a rectangular can that requires a key to open and Spam wasn’t the only contender in the field challenging for the crown. Besides Spam, the entries (alphabetically) included Mor from Wilson & Co. Meats, Prem from the Swift Premium Family of fine foods, and Treet, the horse Armour Star had in the race. All were shipped to our fighting forces overseas during the war and tins were doubtless traded for with the locals for needed commodities.
With the public having acquired a taste for the product, all four continued to market heavily after the war. It may have been one of the “mystery meat” entrees in your school cafeteria.
Mor is gone, from what we can find; Treet carries on under Pinnacle Foods; owner of Armour Star; the Prem brand carries on as well, but Spam is the clear winner, name associations and all.

Col. Sanders wasn’t as big about chicken in 1943, apparently.

A July 1941 ad for Prem shows a couple unaware they will soon be eating the product regulary.

Armour Star went low-budget with this 1945 black and white ad, but knew its audience. It appeared in Family Circle, at the time a free magazine available in chain groceries.



Berkeley post office zoning issue coming before Planning Commission

Activists working to save the downtown Berkeley post office plan to attend the Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday to call for the zoning overlay that would restrict development on the property and issued the following announcement on Sunday:

Support the Zoning Overlay

WEDNESDAY, November 6th, 2013, at 7:00 p.m.
1901 Hearst, Corner of MLK
Zone for the Community, not the Developers
We need you to speak or be a supportive audience member.
Over 100 people came to the last Planning Commission meeting–60 spoke FOR the Zoning Overlay and only 3 spoke for the developers. At this next meeting, the Commission will finalize its recommendation to the City Council. It is possible that more will speak against rezoning, so we must be there!


Berkeley’s Planning Commission and City Council propose to place a Zoning Overlay on Berkeley’s existing Historic District. This area includes Berkeley’s Old City Hall, New City Hall, Berkeley High School, Veteran’s Memorial Hall, and the Berkeley Main Post Office at 2000 Allston Way. The Zoning Overlay would limit the area’s use to community, cultural, and civic purposes. It will make the Post Office less vulnerable to developers and help the USPS realize the value that Berkeley places on its public services.

Berkeley’s historic Civic Center District is our Public Commons. Let’s protect it with appropriate zoning. Although the uses of buildings change, the end result must be a stronger community, not a richer real-estate developer. Let us show that we are a city of caring citizens in community.


What was your telephone exchange? Albany, North Berkeley and El Cerrito anticipate dial phone service in 1940



North Berkeley and Albany (and the southern part of El Cerrito) still did not have direct dialing in 1939, and it looked like they would have to wait until 1940 for it.
Pacific Telephone & Telegraph received a permit from Berkeley to construct a $100,500 exchange (prefix) building at Solano and Ventura avenues that would provide the first dial service to the area, as the Oakland Tribune reported on New Year’s Eve of 1939 (above). The ornate brick building, still standing today and now carrying the AT&T logo (the historic name of Pacific Telephone’s parent company), is one of the more overlooked structures on Solano, even though it is at a prominent corner. You may recognize it from the Google Street View at this link.
The (52) LAndscape telephone exchange is still used in Albany, North Berkeley and El Cerrito and the post office across the street at 1831 Solano is called the Landscape Station.
So why is part of El Cerrito included in the exchange? When PT&T was wiring its network early in the century, the southern part of El Cerrito was connected out of Berkeley, the northern part out of Richmond. As a result, well into the 1940s, the southern part of the city could call Berkeley and Oakland with no added charge, while the northern part had to pay toll fees. The phone company, through its many changes of ownership in the last 30 years, still continues this division by distributing Oakland telephone directories to the southern half of El Cerrito and West County (Richmond) directories to the northern half.
By 1943, cities from Oakland through Richmond had dial service and new seven-digit phone numbers. (Cities in less populated central Contra Costa kept six-digit phone numbers into the 1950s.)
Those who wonder what telephone exchanges are can learn about them at this link.

PT&T explains service areas, exchanges and toll charges in its 1943 directory.

Pacific Telephone explains to customers how to properly use dial telephone service.

Telephone etiquette tips from PT&T in 1943.


Albany will hold next meeting on University Village project on Nov. 13

The following notice was sent out today by the Albany Community Development Department:

Notice of Public Hearing of the
City of Albany Planning & Zoning Commission

Date & Time: Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 7:00 pm
Location of Meeting: City Hall, 1000 San Pablo Avenue
Applicant: Oppidan Development (retail)
Belmont Village (senior housing)
Subject of Meeting: 1075-1095 Monroe St/1100 San Pablo Ave
UC Village Mixed Use Development
The 6.3-acre project site in University Village is located to the northwest and
southwest of the Monroe Street/San Pablo Avenue intersection. The proposed
project includes a 27,500 sq. ft. grocery store, 18,000 sq. ft. of retail space, and
a 175-unit senior housing project. Action may be taken on applications for
tentative parcel map and design review.