The Oakland Tribune ran this depiction of the Bay in 1936 with Treasure Island added by an artist to the aerial photograph.
In 1938, with the fairgrounds still under construction, a live remote radio broadcast was held featuring a band performing on a plane circling the Bay while their vocalist sang simultaneously from Treasure Island. Art Linkletter emceed for the broadcast originating on KSFO and sent out on the CBS radio network.
The Court of Flowers at night.
Here are the official lyrics to “The Bells of Treasure Isle,” the anthem of the Golden Gate International Exposition that was played a lot in 1939 and probably never heard again for decades.
Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst was kidnapped by members of the Symbionese Liberation Army 40 years ago today from her apartment on Benvenue Avenue in Berkeley.
The kidnapping followed the assassination of Oakland schools Superintendent Marcus Foster by the SLA three months earlier and set off a long saga that lasted almost two years.
The site of the kidnapping is commemorated here.
From the Oakland Tribune comics page in April 1965.
Martha Ross has written a nice piece on cartoonist Morrie Turner, who died Saturday at age 90.
The piece notes that Turner “broke racial barriers in the 1960s when he became the first African-American to have a syndicated comic strip — the gently humored, ethnically diverse ‘Wee Pals,’ which still runs daily in the Oakland Tribune and Contra Costa Times.”
It might help to have some perspective on the world of comic strips when “Wee Pals” debuted in the Oakland Tribune in April 1965.
At the time, the only other sign of something on the comics page even remotely resembling diversity outside of Turner’s new creation was the strip “Li’l Abner” by Al Capp, which definitely reflected sensibilities of an earlier era with its world of hillbillies and “Injuns.”
Turner introduced a new sensibility to the comics page, delivering an ongoing message of equality and inclusiveness, and dropping in countless tidbits of otherwise unsung history along the way that educated young and old alike.
The following statement on the sale of historic post office buildings was issued Tuesday by the office of Congresswoman Barbara Lee:
Congresswoman Barbara Lee: Postal Service Must Halt Historic Buildings Sales
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Barbara Lee explained today that multiple provisions included in the omnibus appropriations bill unveiled on Monday urged the U.S. Postal Service to halt sales of historic post office buildings. One provision instructs the USPS to enact a moratorium on the sales until after the release of a pending Inspector General report on the legality of the sales. A second provision directs the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to issue a report on how to ensure the USPS follows the law in its sales of historic properties.
The Inspector General report, which Congresswoman Lee formally commented on, will also examine whether the USPS is following applicable historic preservation laws in their historic building sales procedures and whether they have solicited sufficient public input in this process. Many community leaders and government officials feel that the laws have been skirted in these sales.
“The language in the omnibus appropriations bill is clear: the USPS needs to put sales of historic Post Offices on hold while we wait to see what the Inspector General’s report and the ACHP reports say,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Buildings like the Berkeley Main Post Office are central to our communities and our cities, and while the USPS continues to grapple with financial woes, it must not resort to selling off historic properties without complying with federal historic preservation laws. Based on the legislative language included in the omnibus bills, I expect the USPS to immediately halt all pending sales.”
WriterCoach Connection is seeking volunteers for its upcoming training:
Volunteer Writing Coaches Needed for Teens: Free Trainings Start January 14
WriterCoach Connection volunteers help teens develop confidence and gain
competence in their thinking and writing skills. Our volunteers work with students
on their classroom writing assignments providing one-on-one support for every
student in a participating class.
No prior experience is necessary; you bring the commitment and we’ll provide the
training and ongoing support that you need to work effectively with students,
including your own.
If you can commit to a regular 1-2 hour time slot, 2-4 times per month during the
school day–we especially need coaches for 8:00 and 9:00 am class periods in some
locations– we invite you to join over 600 volunteers, many of whom feel this is
”the highlight of my week!”
We currently need coaches at: Albany Middle School; Life Academy and Fremont High
in Oakland; El Cerrito High and Portola Middle School in El Cerrito; Berkeley High
and King and Longfellow Middle Schools in Berkeley.
New coach trainings begin January 14. Join us now for the best opportunity you’ve
ever had to learn to help teens think critically and find their voice.
For more information about our program, and to register online, please go to
On Saturday, Dec. 21, the Marine Mammal Center rescued a disoriented sea lion that had swum up tidal Cerrito Creek to Pacific East Mall, at the foot of Albany Hill. Most wildlife sightings are exciting: River otters are making their way into cities; F5C members recently enjoyed watching a great horned owl on the edge of Codornices Creek.
This sighting, however, was not good news. The young male sea lion was sick from domoic acid. This deadly toxin is produced by so-called “red tide” algae, and accumulates in shellfish and other prey that birds and mammals eat. Blooms of these toxic algae seem to be becoming more common in San Francisco Bay.
The likely reason seems surprising: The Bay is becoming clearer. Our cities discharge massive amounts of nutrients to the Bay in treated sewage. But a muddy bay kept sunlight from stimulating growth. Today, though, dams trap mountain erosion that formerly washed downstream. Mud washed down by hydraulic mining over a century ago is dwindling. The Bay’s hardened shorelines can’t erode. And recent lack of rain and storms means little new erosion or disturbance.
Our Cerrito Creek sea lion — still being cared for at the Marine Mammal Center as this is written — is not proof of anything. But life really is a web. Even lowly mud, or lack of it, has far-reaching effects. Our Feb. 3 Bay Currents talk, Mud Matters, will explore these fascinating interconnections, as well as some hopeful ways that mud may help us protect and revitalize the Bay. Please join us!
The Chung Mei Home for Chinese Boys was founded in Berkeley in 1923 and operated in El Cerrito from 1935 to 1954, but it was only this year that its historical significance received official recognition.
A reception tonight at El Cerrito City Hall celebrated the finding that the site of the former orphanage is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Also on display were bound copies of the home’s newsletters from 1928-44, recently donated to the El Cerrito Historical Society.
Several alumni of the home attended the reception and described their memories of life there to those in attendance, much of it involving the discipline and values stressed at the Baptist-sponsored Chung Mei.
In the video above, Paul Chan, now a Dublin resident, recites from memory the Chung Mei alphabet the boys had to repeat each day, each letter standing for a desired virtue.
Note the highlighted names in this article from the Dec. 10, 1949 Berkeley Daily Gazette.
The degrees of separation between Sundar Shadi, who started El Cerrito’s most beloved Christmas tradition, and the Grateful Dead, the San Francisco band that left a cult of followers as part of its legacy, is shorter than you might imagine. And earlier.
All three of Shadi’s daughters — Zilpha, Ramona and Verna — performed in concert with Phil Lesh, the future bass player of the Dead, 64 years ago this month with the Kensington School orchestra at a holiday pageant. The four were in elementary school and 9-year-old Phil (the Lesh family lived on Edgecroft Road in Kensington at the time) was then playing violin and would not meet Jerry Garcia for another 13 years. (Someone, somewhere must have a snapshot of this performance.)
You won’t find this footnote in the new documentary “Sundar Shadi’s Gifts,” but you will learn more about the man who gave a lasting gift and message to his community. You’ll also learn about the family that indulged Mr. Shadi’s passion for elaborate displays.
“Sundar Shadi’s Gifts” can now be streamed from the city’s website and will soon be available to borrow from the El Cerrito Library, 6510 Stockton Ave., or rent at Silver Screen Video at El Cerrito Plaza. (Full disclosure: The author of this post was interviewed for the documentary.)
You can also get a copy when the display, now staged by a team of volunteers, opens from 5 to 10 p.m. nightly from Dec. 14 to Dec. 26. Or better yet, you can be part of the tradition by volunteering.
Mr. Shadi’s figures in their original location on the Arlington.
Grateful Dead guitarist and vocalist Phil Lesh, here performing during the band’s 2009 concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, got his musical start in Kensington. (D. Ross Cameron/Staff)
The dappled sky above the West County Times office at Marina Bay in Richmond was quite striking and somewhat reminiscent of … something. Something we’d seen somewhere, maybe in Berkeley a few years back.
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.