The bout of stormy weather in Northern California 75 years ago finally seemed to come to at least a temporary halt after 19 days of rain. But the Feb. 14 and 15, 1938, issues of the Berkeley Daily Gazette carried plenty of local and state news of flooding and other damage from the storms.
An estimated 50,000 acres of farmland were under water. "Two huge slides" had temporarily closed the new Broadway Low Level Tunnel (today's Caldecott) and in Marin County, "gigantic slides rolled down the hillside with a terrific roar across the Waldo approach of the Golden Gate Bridge."
The report noted that "Government officials said property damage of the 19 day storm period would reach millions of dollars. Highways were wiped out by slides and floods. Residences and business buildings were destroyed. Orchards and vineyards were washed away. Thousands of acres of crops were covered with silt."
North Berkeley had a brief water shortage February 12. "For nearly 40 minutes residents in the hill areas bounded by Arlington and Shattuck Avenues had no water when the pumping station broke down -- and on a Saturday, too!"
On Feb. 15, 1938, the City of Berkeley honored nine employees -- seven of them firemen -- for 20 years of service. "The fact that we have with us many employees who have worked earnestly and hard in public service for 20 years or more shows that created here is an ideal situation--one in which men and women make a career of their positions in the city government," said City Manager Hollis Thompson.
The employees received "solid gold service buttons."
In other municipal news, the old, unused, City of Berkeley incinerator at Second and Gilman streets was going to be made available "for scientific experiments intended to blast fog from airports and increase the safety of air travel."
A business called the No Fog Corporation would conduct experiments there for three months. The owners "had been experimenting for two years with a chemical that can be dropped for airplanes to blast holes in dense fog," the Gazette reported on Feb. 15.
Dr. Valentine T. McGillycuddy was feted at an 89th birthday party at the Claremont Hotel on Feb. 14, 1938. Named for the day of his birth, the physician proclaimed he hadn't been sick in 75 years.
He had been surgeon of the Seventh Cavalry but was with another detachment when Custer led the regiment to disaster at the Little Big Horn.
The McGillycuddys had lived in Berkeley for 23 years, "moving into the Hotel Claremont on the day it opened."
On Feb. 13, Vernon McKinney of 1631 Fifth St. found and rescued a purebred collie that was trapped by a fallen rock on the storm-swept seawall at the Berkeley Yacht Harbor. The boulder had broken the dog's leg.
McKinney wasn't able to extricate it on a first try, but returned two hours later and, with the help of the head of the Berkeley Humane Society, succeeded in freeing the dog.
It was recovering at the Humane Society and the rescuers were in search of the owner.
On Saturday, Feb. 20, 1938 local Bluebirds (girls age 7 to 9) gathered at Lake Temescal to plant California poppy seeds.
The girls had purchased the seeds with pennies they had donated in the amounts of their individual ages. In March, older Campfire Girls would plant toyon bushes on the dam at Temescal. The same article in the Feb. 17 Gazette reported that 3,000 redwood seedlings for planting in the regional parks had arrived from Fort Bragg, the first shipment of a planned 10,000.