Berkeley parks

Trojans invade Cal for 1921 USC game


A century ago, the “great god of football,” according to the Berkeley Daily Gazette, inspired thousands of people to descend on Berkeley to watch the Golden Bears play against the USC Trojans at California Field on the UC campus. Berkeley.

The Gazette reported on November 5, 1921 that “for the past three days, inbound trains have delivered their shipments of local football fans, while the southern highways have been cluttered with machines, each with a load of rooters offering their support…. Hundreds of USC students had also arrived on the San Francisco waterfront aboard the specially chartered coastal steamboat Yale.

About 30,000 spectators filled the wooden stadium on the Bancroft edge of the Berkeley campus and overflowed onto the field, where the Hearst Gymnasium is now located. The Golden Bears would win the game 38-7.

Unemployment: The Berkeley Unemployment Commission voted on November 1, 1921 to ask city council to establish a temporary unemployment office in the city. Various charities and community service organizations reported that at least 300 people – mostly men – were out of work in Berkeley and interested in finding a job. The chairman of the commission “said he would assume that in normal times there would be perhaps 150 people out of work.” The action against unemployment has been particularly encouraged by the organization Mobilized Women of Berkeley.

Three days later, city council approved the commission’s proposal and appointed Hollis Thompson “industrial secretary of the YMCA” to head a new temporary municipal employment office with a salary of $ 100 per month. Thompson would become, years later, the city manager of Berkeley. The council also approved the hiring of 20 unemployed people to begin improving the Garber Park grounds at a wage of $ 2.50 per day each.

Park proposals: The Lincoln School in Berkeley had moved from Alcatraz Avenue and King Street to a new site on Ashby Avenue, and there was a debate over what should be done with the old school property, now surplus. On November 1, 1921, City Councilor Carl Bartlett suggested that the school district give it to the city as a site for a neighborhood park, noting that the city had already given the school district four more lots for school use.

Some neighborhood residents had, in turn, asked the school board to sell the land and use it to buy a playground next to the new Lincoln School site. Based on current circumstances, it appears that the property of Lincoln School – now Malcolm X School – has indeed been expanded, while the previous site has been sold, as there are now private buildings, two of which are churches at this corner. A century after Bartlett made his park proposal, this part of Berkeley has two tiny “mini-parks,” but no major parks.

Berkeley’s Ashby Club met on November 2 and approved their own park plan. The Gazette reported that “the plan includes the progressive purchase of strips for lawns and shrubs across the city at distances as nearly equal as possible, where fountains and ‘breathing spaces’ will allow families to enjoy the benefits. resting places and would beautify the city. The parks would be half an acre to an acre, according to the plan.

Hudson Fire: Across the country in New Jersey, a massive fire destroyed several piers on the Hudson River waterfront in Weehawken on November 3-4, 1921. Trains loaded with gasoline, 30 barges and a “huge warehouse.” containing flour were eventually destroyed along with five Erie Railroad jetties, it was reported in the Gazette.

“Embers from the terrible fire descended on New York’s theater and nightlife districts, as crews of ships going up and down the river were called to pull posts.”

Steven Finacom, a Bay Area native and Berkeley community historian, owns the copyright to this column.


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