For Presidents Day we offer these images from the Berkeley Daily Gazette of a visit to the city and UC Berkeley by Harry Truman, who delivered the commencement speech at Memorial Stadium in 1948.
Many of you know that a general strike has been planned for February 17th as a way of resisting the Trump administration. Our immediate reaction was to support this action in spirit, but it is difficult for a small business to forfeit even one day’s income. Still, after discussing this with the staff we have decided that we will close the store for the day. We do understand that not everyone can join the strike, but we urge you to spend some time on February 17th thinking about the state of the country, and that you consider resisting this regime in your own way.
The management and staff at Moe’s Books
A color view of the El Cerrito Plaza station before the opening of the Richmond line in
January 1973. (Photo courtesy El Cerrito Chamber of Commerce).
BART rolls into the El Cerrito Plaza station on the first (and rainy) day of service on the
Richmond line on Jan. 29, 1973.
The Richmond line of the BART system began operation 44 years ago this week, on Jan. 29, 1973. The first portion of the system, Oakland to Fremont, opened on Sept. 11, 1972, and other legs were rolled out in succession, with the Richmond-Fremont line being the second. (Concord followed in May 1973.)
BART ran along the Santa Fe Railroad right of way through Albany and El Cerrito and Santa Fe service continued until 1979, meaning a double dose of train watching or disruptive noise, depending on your point of view.
Abandonment by Santa Fe of the right of way led to the creation of the Ohlone Greenway, cited by BART as an early example of cooperative development of the communities it would be serving: “BART’s widely-known ‘linear park,’ for example, was constructed under the aerial right-of-way through Albany and El Cerrito to demonstrate how function could combine with aesthetics to enhance community environments.”
The story of the transit district’s rather unlikely road to reality is told in the new book “BART: The Dramatic History of the Bay Area Rapid Transit System,” authored by retired transit district spokesman Michael C. Healy and published by Heyday Books of Berkeley.
Here are some views of the opening of the Richmond line and the development along the way.
Groundbreaking for the downtown Berkeley station in 1966.
Elevated track under construction in Albany in 1968.
Excavation on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley in 1969.
Passengers at the Richmond station await the arrival of the first train in January 1973.
The inaugural train on the line arrives at the Richmond BART station.
Richmond-bound train arrives at the El Cerrito Plaza in the rain on the first day of service.
A postcard view of the downtown Berkeley station from 1974. The station is now undergoing
BART under construction in Albany in 1968.
The H.J. Heinz Co. Factory at 2900 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley has been called “Berkeley’s most elegant industrial building” by the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association. The building was constructed in 1927-28 and it operated as a factory until Heinz relocated operations in 1956. A good description and history of the building is available on the BAHA website.
The building has since had other tenants and now is a retail and office center. The building was given city landmark status in 1986 and it is also listed in the California State Historic Resources Inventory.
A 1940s view looking north of The Heinz Building at San Pablo and Ashby avenues.
The same view today.
Looking south in 1945 at the Heinz Building from San Pablo at Heinz Avenue. Note the two
lines of streetcar tracks. Update and correction: John Stashik, our resident rail expert,
points out that these are not streetcar tracks. “Those tracks in the photo on San Pablo Avenue
were Shipyard Railway tracks. Streetcar service ended in the 1930s north of Ashby. So the
tracks needed to be replaced for the Shipyard service from 1942-45 on San Pablo north of
Ashby and on Grayson Street.”
The same view today, with the tracks long removed and a median and left turn lane added.
A 1966 Berkeley Gazette ad for the Packaging Company of California, housed in the
Tonight’s performance (Nov. 17) of the Youth Musical Theater Company production of “Into the Woods” will have seats available on a “pay as you will” basis, with tickets available for cash only
Chris Strachwitz and Down Home Music in El Cerrito are the subject of an upcoming city proclamation, a documentary screening and a portion of a PBS show.
A Blessing of the Animals event will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Oct. 16 on the outdoor patio at St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Ave. in Berkeley.
“Come, bring your pets (cats in carrier, dogs on leash) and favorite stuffed animals to be blessed. Worship will be outdoors; wear layered clothing and bring a hat.”
The announcement was made early this morning in an email from resident and event organizer Heather Marléne Zadig that gave the reasons behind the decision:
Dear fellow concerned community members,
I am deeply saddened to cancel this event based on new information and input from many community leaders and residents. First, it has been just now fully brought to my attention that there is a severe conflict with another, more crucial event in the neighborhood that is actively attempting to solve local community problems, and that this march was drawing needed attention away from that event, which has been planned for quite awhile. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/power-of-faith-2016-together-we-serve-tickets-26692456857
Second, I have received several messages indicating community outrage at the nature and tone of this event, specifically that the event did not overtly focus on the murder victim and other victims of violence, and that it had a focus on public safety, which was construed as being self-serving. This was completely the opposite of my intent. The updated route was chosen to weave through specific sites of recent violence and end at the site of the recent murder. My reasons for not emphasizing the victims in announcements about the event was not at all for a lack of concern, but rather only because of the intended family-and-small-children emphasis on community engagement against the violence. To be clear, I am outraged and sickened as a mother that Ignacio Francis Jr.’s mother had to bury her child, and that the other recent victims—young teenagers—were also in fact children. This is one of many reasons why I wanted to get children involved.
It has become clear from these many messages that to continue with this march would not only upset some members of the community but also cause divisions, which is completely anathema to the goals of the march. In fact, it renders the march entirely pointless. I am devastated that people have felt slighted by what was intended as a positive way to engage residents such as young families and children who may otherwise feel powerless to constructively contribute.
I appreciate the outpouring of support from others, the vast amounts of time people have spent trying to help make this happen, and I hope to achieve the goals of this march in other ways.
The Berkeley Police Department, which had planned to participate in the march, issued the following announcement:
Today’s scheduled Safer Streets March has been cancelled by its organizer, who is guiding concerned community members to consider attending another community event, entitled “Power of Faith 2016 – Together We Serve”, which will be held at the Ed Roberts Campus from 4 PM -7 PM. The march had been scheduled to begin tonight at 5:00pm from the parking lot of the Sweet Adeline Bakeshop.
The Berkeley Police Department stands in support of all efforts to build a safe and caring community. For our part, extra patrols in the areas affected by violence will remain in place, as we work to ensure that residents are safe in their homes and on the street, and that our Department is committed to strong and safe neighborhoods. Our vigorous investigation into the two homicides and several shootings continues.
Our efforts to engage and inform our community will continue.
Vintage views of Shattuck Avenue in downtown Berkeley, when electric rail service was still a common sight. Click the images to see a larger version.
A 1930s view of Shattuck
Residents in South Berkeley are holding a Family March for Safe Streets on Sept. 29 in response to several recent incidents of gun violence in the area.
Heather Zadig, a South Berkeley mother and