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Berkeley

Berkeley: A City in History

CHARLES WOLLENBERG
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Pages: 240
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1ppx83
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  • Book Info
    Berkeley
    Book Description:

    The Railroad Age, The Depression, World War II, The Atomic Age, The Sixties-these periods shaped and were in turn shaped by Berkeley, California-a city that has had a remarkable influence given its modest size. This concise book, the only up-to-date history of Berkeley, is a rich chronicle connecting the people, trends, and events that made the city to much larger themes in history. From the native builders of shellmounds to the blue-collar residents of Ocean View, the rise of the University of California, the World War II shipyards, and today's demographics and politics, it's all here in this fascinating account of the other beloved city by the bay. Along the way, we find the answers to many intriguing questions: Why is Adeline Street is so oddly aligned? How did Berkeley benefit from the 1906 earthquake that destroyed much of San Francisco? What differentiated Holy Hill from Nut Hill?Berkeley: A City in Historyoffers a delightful sense of place to anyone who has lived in, worked in, or traveled through this unique city.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93425-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. CHAPTER ONE FIRST SETTLERS
    (pp. 1-14)

    In the year 2000 the Berkeley city council approved formal landmark status for the Indian shellmound that once stood near the mouth of Strawberry Creek in West Berkeley. Scientists estimate that the mound, actually a giant midden filled with the debris and material remnants of the society that created it, was used for more than three thousand years, from 3000 b.c. to a.d. 800. Like dozens of similar features along the San Francisco Bay shore, the Berkeley shellmound was leveled and paved over in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. But some traces of the structure survive under the...

  6. CHAPTER TWO A TALE OF TWO TOWNS
    (pp. 15-32)

    Berkeley had not one but two beginnings. Two separate communities, with very different roots and traditions, formally came together on April Fools’ Day 1878 to establish the city of Berkeley. The social, economic, and cultural differences between those communities and the political conflicts they engendered have shaped Berkeley history ever since. When Berkeleyans distinguish between the hills and the flats, East Berkeley and West Berkeley, or town and gown, they are referring in part to divisions that derive from the city’s dual origins.

    The first of the founding communities was Ocean View, an informal, unincorporated settlement located along the bay...

  7. CHAPTER THREE ENTER THE OCTOPUS
    (pp. 33-46)

    In 1878 the borders of the newly incorporated Berkeley stretched from the bay to the crest of the eastern hills and approximately from what is today Eunice Street on the north boundary to Derby Street on the south. This area included the populated parts of Ocean View and the campus community, but it also contained thousands of acres of open space, including the fields and vacant lands between the two settlements. Incorporation, then, did not end the physical separation between East and West Berkeley, and it also failed to erase the social, cultural, and economic differences between the two communities....

  8. CHAPTER FOUR URBANIZATION
    (pp. 47-63)

    In 1900 most Berkeley streets were unpaved, many homes were still not hooked up to water and sewer lines, and there were still indeed farms in Berkeley. During the next two decades, however, the town became a city as a result of tremendous economic and population growth. From 13,214 residents in 1900, Berkeley's population increased to 56,036 in 1920. Most of that growth occurred between 1900 and 1910, when the population more than tripled to 40,434. During that decade, Berkeley was the fourth fastest-growing city in the United States, and by 1910 it was the fifth largest city in California...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE A SPECIAL PLACE
    (pp. 64-83)

    In 1905 the newly established Berkeley Chamber of Commerce promoted the city with pamphlets and magazine articles emphasizing the theme of “Berkeley the Beautiful.” One of the missives asked, “I suppose omnipotent power could make a better place for a city than Berkeley’s location, but has it ever done so?” The rhetoric was not limited to self-interested developers and businessmen. In 1911 the city’s Socialist Party mayor, J. Stitt Wilson, proclaimed that “any kind of a day in Berkeley seems sweeter than the best day anywhere else.”

    All this can be dismissed as typical American boosterism, and surely much of...

  10. CHAPTER SIX BOOM AND BUST
    (pp. 84-104)

    The emblems of the “Roaring Twenties”—bathtub gin, the Charleston, flappers—were manifestations of a great consumer-oriented economic boom. During the twenties the United States became the world’s first mass-consumption industrial society, and the result was a decade of material prosperity and growth that benefited many, though by no means all, of its residents. California was the boom state of that boom decade, the population increasing by about 60 percent in just ten years. Berkeley also boomed, its population growing from 56,000 to 82,000, a rate of increase almost matching that of the state as a whole. But after the...

  11. CHAPTER SEVEN WORLD WAR II WATERSHED
    (pp. 105-119)

    During the 1940s, theSan Francisco Chroniclecalled World War II a “second Gold Rush.” The newspaper was referring not to the international combat but to the social, demographic, and economic impact of the war on the San Francisco Bay Area. The war was to the 1940s, 50s, and 60s what the Gold Rush had been to the 1840s, 50s, and 60s: a watershed event that transformed and redefined regional history. In the very broadest sense, the war began what might be called the Bay Area’s defense period, a fifty-year span in which defense dollars, policy, and politics, the economic...

  12. CHAPTER EIGHT A KIND OF PEACE
    (pp. 120-134)

    On August 7, 1945, the United States destroyed most of the Japanese city of Hiroshima, dropping an atomic bomb fueled by uranium-235 made in Berkeley. Two days later another atomic weapon was dropped on Nagasaki. This time the bomb was fueled by plutonium, an element originally discovered in Berkeley by Glenn Seaborg and Edwin McMillan. Five days after the Nagasaki attack, on August 14, Japan surrendered, and World War II was over. In Berkeley, theDaily Californianput out a Peace Extra, and the Campanile bells played patriotic songs. Hundreds of students and residents paraded down Shattuck Avenue behind the...

  13. CHAPTER NINE THE HERITAGE OF THE SIXTIES
    (pp. 135-154)

    The mainstream of American politics is moderate to conservative, but the United States also has an important tradition of home-grown radicalism. Episodic rather than ideological, American radicalism usually appears attached to some great cause, such as abolition, women’s suffrage, trade union organization, or pacifism. Never dominant in these movements, the radical tradition has nevertheless profoundly affected them and occasionally profoundly affected the society and culture as a whole. Such was the case during the sixties, actually a decade stretching from about 1964 to 1974, when the issues of racial justice and the Vietnam War absorbed the nation. It was also...

  14. CHAPTER TEN BERKELEY IN AN AGE OF INEQUALITY
    (pp. 155-174)

    In the early 1870s, Captain R. P. Thomas moved his Standard Soap Company from San Francisco to Ocean View. Thomas became one of Berkeley’s most prominent residents and one of the first settlers in the Berkeley hills. His house was equipped with a cannon that he shot off each year to celebrate the Fourth of July. Thomas supported many civic improvements, including the first Berkeley-San Francisco ferry that ran briefly in the 1870s. But, most important, his Standard Soap Company provided jobs for several generations of working-class Berkeley residents.

    The company was taken over by Peet Brothers in 1916 and...

  15. PLATES: IMAGES FROM THE BERKELEY PUBLIC LIBRARY COLLECTIONS
    (pp. 175-204)
  16. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 205-210)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 211-224)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 225-228)