Part of the Bay Area News Group

El Cerrito shop’s Little Free Library is recovered

By Chris Treadway
Friday, February 28th, 2014 at 3:09 pm in business, community, Crime, El Cerrito

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The Little Free Library that was stolen from in front of The Glenn Custom Framing shop on Stockton Avenue on Monday night or Tuesday morning has been recovered.
Shop owner Kathleen Glenn, who received the take-a-book, leave-a-book library last year as a birthday gift from her daughter, plans to have it back on the sidewalk as soon as weather permits and possibly with some modifications to make it harder to take.
The library had been secured to its post with long screws, but the perpetrator was able to pry it off.

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Views and mementoes from the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island 75 years ago

By Chris Treadway
Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 at 11:58 pm in Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, History, Richmond


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.

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Chesterfield, semi-official sponsor of the World’s Fair on San Francisco Bay. Just ask your guide.


A nighttime view of Treasure Island from its Siamese twin, Yerba Buena Island.


San Francisco Mayor Angelo Rossi went on stage when “King of Swing” Benny Goodman and Goodman and his orchestra wowed a packed house in July 1939.


California Gov. Culbert Olson wanted to shake hands with Mr. Goodman.


Nighttime view of the statue of Pacifica.


A promotional card from the PG&E exhibit.


Postcard of Court of the Hemispheres.


Souvenir stamps.

Bet you’ve never heard the official theme of the GGIE.

The Tower of the Sun.

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Saga of Patty Hearst kidnapping began 40 years ago on this date

By Chris Treadway
Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 at 5:53 pm in Berkeley, Contra Costa County, History


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.

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Richmond and its industrial neighbors in 1939

By Chris Treadway
Monday, February 3rd, 2014 at 11:45 pm in community, Crockett, El Sobrante, Hercules, History, Pinole, Port Costa, Richmond, Rodeo, San Pablo

Above, is an early 1939 promotional aerial view/map of Richmond and its surrounding area. Much of the Richmond shoreline in the foreground has yet to be reshaped for the Kaiser shipyards, including leveling a large hill.
In the background (below) are the West County towns past Richmond on two-lane Highway 40 and San Pablo Avenue, including the forgotten heavy industry company settlements, such as Giant (dynamite manufacturing), Oleum (oil refinery) and Selby (metal smelting).
Click on each photo for a larger view.

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Free Berkeley community event will celebrate Pete Seeger on Feb. 3

By Chris Treadway
Thursday, January 30th, 2014 at 11:07 pm in Contra Costa County

Holly Near will host and Ronnie Gilbert will be a guest at a free “special community gathering this coming Monday paying tribute to Pete Seeger’s music, activism, and life” announced at The Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St. in Berkeley.
Remembrances of Seeger, have been made around the country since the announcement on Jan. 27 that the folksinger, songwriter and activist had died on Jan. 27 at age 94. El Cerrito native and Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame member John Fogerty wrote in an online post that along with being an early influence, “On top of everything else, Pete Seeger was also the greatest entertainer I ever saw. This world needs more people like Pete Seeger.”
The Freight & Salvage tribute will start with a song circle in the lobby at 7 p.m. on Feb. 3, followed by the show at 8 p.m.
Along with Near and Gilbert, the program will include Vickie Randle, with more guests to be announced.

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Morrie Turner and “Wee Pals” blazed a new trail in the comic strip world of 1965

By Chris Treadway
Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 at 3:52 pm in Art and entertainment, Berkeley, History

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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.

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El Cerrito: Don’t underestimate the selling power of a scantily clad woman

By Chris Treadway
Friday, January 24th, 2014 at 11:00 pm in El Cerrito, History

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Looking for an investment idea for that extra income burning a hole in you pocket? Consider old matchbooks — particularly matchbooks with scantily clad women.
Two 1960s matchbooks from the It Club in El Cerrito were listed for bidding on eBay this month and attracted spirited bidding.
The most recent brought a final price of $20.50 (plus $1.50 shipping and handling) on Jan. 19.
Not a bad return for a free item someone picked up off the bar at a strip joint half a century ago. Two weeks earlier in January, a similar matchbook from the It Club, the longest running of the El Cerrito nightspots from the city’s era as “Little Reno,” did even better, selling for $38.50, plus shipping and handling.

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Historic Pinole school bell will be celebrated Saturday

By Chris Treadway
Friday, January 24th, 2014 at 4:21 pm in community, Hercules, History, Pinole, Schools

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The bell that summoned generations of students to class at Pinole-Hercules School #1 has been refurbished and will be dedicated at a ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at Collins Elementary School, 1224 Pinole Valley Road in Pinole. Light refreshments will be served.
The bell is a remnant of the school that served children in Pinole and Hercules from 1906 to 1966. The school was demolished in 1968.
“The West Contra Costa Unified School District rescued the bell from its outdoor location at Pinole Middle School, where it had been subject to the elements
for several decades,” notes the Pinole Historical Society. “The bell, rusted and pock-marked, was placed in storage in several locations until mid 2013, when the WCCUSD authorized its restoration. The bell was sandblasted, power-coated with a satin black finish, and sealed.”

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El Cerrito: Ohlone Greenway reopens

By Chris Treadway
Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 at 1:45 pm in Albany, Cities, community, El Cerrito, transportation

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BART has completed seismic work on its elevated tracks in El Cerrito and sections of the Ohlone Greenway have reopened to pedestrians abd bicyclists. The transit agency is holding an informal celebration of the reopening from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday on the Greenway at Fairmount Avenue next to the El Cerrito Plaza station.

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A look at the history of the Albany Library

By Chris Treadway
Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 at 5:45 pm in Albany, community

Albany Library Manager Deborah Sica compiled a timeline of the history of the branch and other related details, along with sharing some historic images.The branch will celebrate its 100th anniversary at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 26 and the community is invited.

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Circa 1913 – The library is the second window on the right. The city offices were on the left.

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The second home of the Albany Library opened on Solano Avenue in 1952.

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Interior of the Solano Avenue location, that became cramped as the branch grew in popularity.

Historical Timeline:

· On April 12, 1909, the legislature of the State of California passed a law permitting the Board of Supervisors of a county to establish a county library system.

· The Alameda County Library system was established in 1910 and is governed by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.

· The Albany Library started as a takeout branch in a small room located on the south side of Solano Avenue.

· On December 4, 1913, under the librarianship of Mrs. Edith S. Hamilton, Albany Library opened in a one story store front building shared with Albany City Hall.

· On March 21, 1934, a second story was added to the building and the city offices remained on the first floor and the library occupied the second floor.

· On December 8, 1952, the Library relocated to 1216 Solano Avenue largely due to the dedication of Albany Citizen, Rosemary Paine, Vice President of the Albany Library Board.

· In 1969, the Friends of the Albany Library was founded and flourished due to the commitment of Mary and Bill Hartung and other dedicated community members. The first book sale was held on the patio of the library and raised $200 for the library. The Friends of the Albany Library continue to thrive and support the library with an annual operating budget of over $70,000.

· On January 24, 1994, the Library was relocated to 1247 Marin Avenue on the former site of the Albany Hospital.

· On January 26, 2014, the Albany Historical Society, in partnership with the Friends of the Albany Library, the City of Albany and the Alameda County Library, honored and celebrate the Albany Library’s Centennial.

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Clean Hands campaign – 1914

Librarian Lineage:

Mrs. Edith S. Hamilton (1913-1928)
Mrs. Kathleen Watkinson (1920-1928)
Mrs. Martha Woodworth (1923-1953)
Mrs. Mildred Hein (1928-1931)
Miss Shirley Preston (1931-1948)
Mrs. Kathleen Watkinson (1948-1962)
Miss Marian Blackie (1952-1954)
Mrs. Harriet V. Lee (1953-1954)
Mrs. Mary Popper (1954-1957)
Mrs. Elizabeth Anger (1962-1969)
Ms. Maria Jay (1969-1975)
Ms. Elaine Laessle (1975-1976)
Ms. Joan Ariel (1976-1981)
Ms. Ronnie Davis (1981-2013)
Ms. Deborah Sica (2013-current)

About the Alameda County Library: The Alameda County Library system provides and protects access to books, information and services that promote learning and enjoyment for everyone.

About the City of Albany: The City of Albany is dedicated to maintaining its small town ambience, responding to the needs of a diverse community, and providing a safe, healthy and sustainable environment.

About the Friends of the Albany Library: Friends of the Albany Library will act as a liaison between the community and the library; will help to extend and improve local library services; and will stimulate public support of the Library and other charitable organizations in the community.

About the Albany Historical Society: The purpose of the Albany Historical Society is to discover, preserve, and disseminate knowledge about the history of the Albany CA area. We encourage local residents to share their memories and knowledge of the past through story telling events and have begun to create a historical walking path in Albany using plaques commemorating important places and people. We hope to see you at one of our events soon.

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