Readers will remember the saga of the Vedanta Society that was denied a permit to build at Dwight and Piedmont in mid-1938. Neighbors of the site had successfully lobbied the City Council to reject the project based on stated concerns about having more traffic and a religious center in a residential neighborhood. There had also been a strong undertone of opposition to "Hindus" and non-Christians coming to one of Berkeley's more upscale neighborhoods.
It was 75 years ago, Oct. 25, 1938, that the Vedanta Society made a second try, applying "to the City Council for permission to erect a one-and-one-half story structure on the southeast corner of Bowditch and Haste Streets," a few blocks northwest of the earlier proposed location.
"It is planned to wreck the present building on the site and erect a church and rectory at a cost of between $20,000 and $25,000." A letter to the council stated, "lectures and interest in the society have reached such proportions that it is imperative to have a permanent church building in the best possible location in the East Bay which is, of course, Berkeley."
The council referred the request to the Planning Commission for a November 1938, hearing. Presumably it was successful, because the Vedanta Society building does stand there today, at the southeast corner of Bowditch and Haste.
"Describing his act as a 'parting shot at a hell of a world,' Guy Donald Bradshaw, 18-year-old University of California sophomore, ended his life in his basement laboratory at his home, 2500 Benvenue Avenue, about midnight last night, according to police," reported the Oct. 27, 1938 Gazette.
He reportedly took poison and left notes including one reading, "No good would have ever come to me," and that his reasons for dying were the same as those of "Muggsy."
Muggsy was reported to be his friend, fellow student Walter Richmond Latimer, who died just over two years earlier on Sept. 29, 1936, in what was variously thought to be a suicide, or an accidental shooting from a gun he kept in his room.
In fall 1938, the Berkeley Junior Chamber of Commerce began a weekly "Community Dance Party" as a "civic recreation function."
JCC President Floyd Talbot told the Oct. 14 Gazette that "It is our sincere hope during the coming years, to be able to build up a recreational center in Berkeley which will be second to none in the country. The whole hearted support given the dances leads us to believe that eventually a publicly-owned recreation center can and will be a reality in Berkeley."
The seventh dance was on Oct. 15 at the old Armstrong College (now part of the Dharma College buildings) at Kittredge and Harold Way, across from the downtown library. "Bob Saunders and his orchestra have been engaged for a return engagement by popular demand."
On Oct. 24, the Gazette noted that the Association of American Universities would be "coming home" to Berkeley for a conference in November.
The national organization, which represented elite universities with graduate schools, grew out of discussions between UC President Wheeler and Professor Armin Leuschner in 1900. They then enlisted the presidents of Harvard, Columbia, the University of Chicago, and Johns Hopkins, and the organization was formed.
The group had previously met at Berkeley in 1915 and 1930. Three west coast universities -- Cal, Stanford, and Caltech -- were members.
Cal's football team scraped out an unexpectedly close 14-7 win over Washington, at Seattle, on Oct. 22, 1938. The winless Huskies caught the Bears during a down week on their march to the Rose Bowl but Cal escaped with the victory.