Reading old newspapers can give us a glimpse of what life must have been like a hundred or so years ago. Here are a few snippets we found.
Dec. 30, 1874: The Oakland Tribune editor had this to say about the city's water supply:
"One thing is observable in connection with this dry cold weather and that is the excellent character of the city water from the old reservoir. It is clear and sweet as the most fastidious could desire. The November rains added to the supply but did not rile up the lake and the long spell of cool clear weather has almost rendered it perfect.
"It is thought by those who ought to know that the new big reservoir constructed above San Leandro will contain such a vast quantity and the outlet will be so deep from the surface that the supply will always be just as free of earthy matter or coloring as the present source is at this time. The importance of such a condition cannot be overlooked."
Sept. 20, 1879: The editor at the Contra Costa Gazette approved heartily of the action taken by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors dealing with freeloaders at the county jail.
"The larger portion of the vagrant class of petty offenders convicted of misdemeanor consider it rather a privilege than a punishment to serve a sentence of ten, twenty or sixty days in our county jail, with nothing to do and free grub; and in many cases after expiration of a term, set themselves to the task of getting in again as soon as they have had a day or two's run outside. To check their inclination to quarter themselves on the county and live in idleness, the Board of Supervisors at the late meeting authorized the Sheriff to procure the necessary chains, balls and shackles, and employ such prisoners at work upon the public highways or elsewhere, as provided for by the Penal Code."
July 17, 1880: The Gazette editor bemoaned the fact that his city lacked swimming facilities on the bay.
"We learn that very good bathing facilities are provided in Benicia, and are liberally patronized. Formerly we had a bath house here which answered the requirements tolerably well but finally the railroad came along and cut off access to the water, the building went to decay, and since then we have had no convenient bathing place at any point on the bay. There are points that might be made available, and it seems to us that private enterprise would find a profitable investment in construction of a suitable house, and renting suits to bathers. We think our own people would patronize such an institution liberally, and many strangers visiting here would be glad to take a plunge in the waters of the bay."
Nov. 20, 1894: The Berkeley Gazette editor must have been relieved when the dusty, unpaved streets were taken care of.
"The city sprinkling carts were out laying the dust today. They were greatly needed as the dust was becoming very disagreeable."
Days Gone By appears on Sundays. Contact Nilda Rego at firstname.lastname@example.org.