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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.

 

 

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Federal order in 1942 hits the Japanese American community in Richmond and El Cerrito

richmond independent enemy aliens 1942

The 75th anniversary of the imprisonment of Japanese Americans on the West Coast during World War II is today, Feb. 19.

The initial coverage of the upcoming removal plans from the Richmond Independent on Feb. 2, 1942, noted that the federal order would impact the substantial and long-established Japanese American flower-growing industry in Richmond and El Cerrito.

 

richmond independent enemy aliens 1942a

The story of the Japanese American nursery families is Richmond and El Cerrito and their experiences during and after the war is told in the documentary “Blossoms and Thorns,” which is shown at 2 p.m. Thursdays at the Rosie the Riveter Visitor Education Center, 1414 Harbour Way South in Richmond.

 

 

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TBT: Vintage and current views of the Heinz Building in Berkeley

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.

san pablo and ashby 1940s

A 1940s view looking north of The Heinz Building at San Pablo and Ashby avenues.

 

san pablo near ashby  today2

The same view today.

 

san pablo near ashby  1945

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.”

 

san pablo near ashby  today

The same view today, with the tracks long removed and a median and left turn lane added.

heinz building 1966 ad

A 1966 Berkeley Gazette ad for the Packaging Company of California, housed in the 
Heniz Building.