Friday flashback: The Alameda at Hopkins in Berkeley today and in 1950

Southeast corner of The Alameda at Hopkins today and in 1950, when there was a Mobil
station on the corner, now Chevron.

Hopkins Street at The Alameda in Berkeley looks much the same in these views from 1950 and today. Sure, the cars have changed, power lines are not visible, potholes are larger, home prices have increased dramatically, and there’s now a traffic signal, but the visual landmarks are there and even many of the trees don’t seem much larger.

The intersection has long had a charm because of its neighborhood gas station, which retains much of its original architecture, even though some modern pump islands have been added.  Neighborhood service stations of this type are increasingly rare, particularly in Berkeley.

But as these photos show, there were once competing neighborhood stations across the street from each other. The Standard Oil station, predecessor to today’s Chevron, was once on the north side of the intersection, and a Mobil Oil station was on the south corner. The Chevron station today is on the south corner and a home occupies the north corner. Also note the interesting diamond pattern in the crosswalk in 1950.

Northeast corner of The Alameda at Hopkins Street today and in 1950, when the Standard
(Chevron) station was on the corner.


El Cerrito centennial: City rejects request to change its name in 1949

your city government el cerrito 1948-49

Locals have long puzzled over why El Cerrito is named for a landmark not only outside the city limits, but actually in another county.

But that was not the reason the city received a request that it change its name this month in 1949. The request came from the desert city of El Centro, the Imperial Valley county seat. El Centro, founded more than a decade before El Cerrito, claimed that mail addressed to one city or the other was being misdelivered, as the Oakland Tribune’s “Daily Knave” column reported on July 20, 1949.

The claim was that the United States Post Office had incurred a cost of $1,000 forwarding errant mail (see below), a cost that officials in El Cerrito scoffed at as minor (see below) in turning down the name-change request.


el cerrito el centro Oakland_Tribune_Wed__Jul_20__1949_

El Cerrito, on the other hand, could be justified in requesting that an unincorporated community in Riverside County that shares its name adopt another title. But no such request has been made and when we visited the namesake a few years back and asked about misdelivered mail, we were told it happened, but was rather rare. Maybe handwriting has improved over the years.


El Cerrito centennial: When the city was asked to change its name

El Cerrito, which had just turned 30 years old two years earlier, received a slap in the face this month in 1949 when the Southern California city of El Centro suggested that it change its name. (Never mind that an unincorporated community in Southern California in Riverside County already shares the name.)

Here’s what the Oakland Tribune reported in July of 1949:

el cerrito el centro Oakland_Tribune_Wed__Jul_20__1949_


El Cerrito groups holding centennial walking tour March 18

The historic Rodini house on Elm Street in El Cerrito.


The El Cerrito Historical Society and the El Cerrito Trail Trekkers will host “Architecture in the Flatlands,” a free walking tour of historical homes in El Cerrito, from 1 to 3 p.m. March 18.

“Let’s walk past and perhaps visit some of the more interesting historical homes in the city’s flatlands ranging from the early 20th through the mid 20th century.”

Meet by the historic Rodini house at 1715 Elm St. for the tour led by Dave Weinstein.