"Perhaps activated by the belief that many persons would be drawn away from home by the warm weather, burglars were particularly active in all parts of the city over the weekend," the Berkeley Daily Gazette reported at the end of February 1938, 75 years ago.
The home of contractor Dennis Childers at 1605 Delaware St. was looted of "$140 in currency from a closet cache, two watches, 11 pairs of socks, a shirt, razor, hair brushes and suitcase."
The Mote home at 1162 Walnut St., was entered through a window, and the burglar took nearly $7 in change.
The home of Morse Frazier at 3058 Benvenue Ave. was entered through a basement window, and lost "approximately $10 in all from Mrs. Frazier's purse and a baby's bank."
The strangest break-in was at the home of ASUC Publicity Manager Walter Frederick at 555 Santa Barbara Road. A burglar ransacked the house, emptying closets and drawers. But police surmised he was then distracted by two large bottles of beer in the kitchen, followed by whiskey and soda found in the guest room.
"The combination of beer and whiskey must have done things to the burglar's mental equilibrium, in the opinion of Officer Rouse, for the only things reported missing by Frederick (aside from the two bottles of beer and the whiskey) are two fifths of brandy and a red plaid necktie that must have caught the intruder's fancy."
A car he was
The vehicle "pinioned him to the pavement" and he was seriously injured. Six ribs were broken and his spine was possibly fractured, as well, according to the Feb. 28 Gazette.
The university physician examined him and thought he might be able to play again come fall.
The American Municipal Association warned, in a Feb. 26 article, that house trailers were among the six "acute problems" facing cities in 1938. More trailers than fixed homes had been built in 1937, and cities were struggling with how to regulate their use as housing (or, perhaps more honestly, exclude their poor owners from rolling into town and setting up camp). The other major problems included adjusting to the loss of federal public works financing, providing low cost housing, "support of airports," "retirement systems for municipal employees" and "training for public employees."
"For Chicago and the East, 1938 is a Santa Fe Year," read a Feb. 28 ad in the Gazette Feb. 28.
The Santa Fe Railroad was promoting the replacement of many of its engines and railroad cars with new streamlined designs. "This fleet embodies the very latest in travel comfort, beauty and speed. It includes by far the largest array of ultra-modern passenger equipment on any American railroad. It adds new dash and joy to economy travel and deluxe travel alike. It will all be ready to fit into your spring and summer plans."
The train names and routes promised adventure. Super Chiefs, New Chiefs, El Capitans, Chicagoans, Daily Scouts, and San Diegans carried Californians from city to city, or across the continent, under 40 hours to reach Chicago from Los Angeles.
For those who preferred tradition to modernity, the Santa Fe was transferring the best of its older rail cars to the California Limited, "beloved of countless conservative Santa Fe patrons for 45 years."
The Santa Fe tracks ran diagonally across central Berkeley, crossing University Avenue at West Street where the old station is now a Montessori School.
"Details and reservations" could be had downtown, at 98 Shattuck Square.