Seventy-five years ago, Oct. 28, 1938, leaders of the annual Berkeley Community Chest campaign gathered at the YWCA Cottage (near where Sather Gate is today) to assess the results of their fundraising. The goal had been $140,000 for 23 local agencies in the coming year. A total of $121,149 in pledges were reported at the event, leaving the effort 13.5 percent short, according to the Berkeley Daily Gazette.

Although the campaign officially ended Oct. 28, continued solicitation efforts unofficially added to the total. The Gazette noted in an editorial that the fundraiser volunteers had included 650 local women and 150 men. The paper chastised locals for not giving more, noting that "two women, working for three hours and making 40 calls in a section of the city where the character of the homes precluded any excuse of poverty, collected in all the sum of $8.00."

Tunnel traffic

Remember all the traffic that Berkeley noticed coming down Tunnel Road 75 years ago after the opening of what is now the Caldecott Tunnel? It gave the Claremont neighborhood second thoughts about the tunnel, and city officials obliged one of Berkeley's "high class" residential districts by seeking creation of a new road connection between the tunnel and the top of Alcatraz Avenue. This would have, Berkeley officials hoped, diverted the new tunnel traffic to north Oakland.

"The main purpose of the new highway now sought is to relieve the growing congestion and mounting noise from automobiles and trucks at all hours of the day and night," said Berkeley City Manager Hollis Thompson in the Oct. 26, 1938 Gazette.


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The next day, city and neighborhood representatives went to Sacramento for a conference with the State Director of Public Works. Berkeley's city engineer had already drawn up plans for an $800,000 road that would extend from Alcatraz and College to Chabot Road and thence to the "Broadway low level tunnel."

Navy Day

On Oct. 27, 1938, 3,000 male students at UC participated in a celebration of Navy Day on the Berkeley campus. "The combined Army and Navy units of the University R.O.T.C. will present a mass formation to which the public is invited," the Gazette reported the day before.

In addition, "many service clubs and patriotic organizations have held and will be holding Navy Day programs" in Berkeley. The campus review was on the baseball field between Edwards Track and what is now Haas Pavilion; the Recreational Sports Facility now covers the south end of the field.

The Gazette noted in an Oct. 27 editorial that Navy Day marked the founding of the United States Navy by the Continental Congress in October 1775, and had been officially established in 1922. It was also, coincidently, the birth date of former President Theodore Roosevelt, who had been an ardent booster of the Navy.

Fog test

An experimental plane circled in a fog bank off San Francisco's Cliff House on Oct. 26, 1938, spraying "a new chemical compound which is being manufactured by Aircraft Safety Devices of 1976 Center Street" in Berkeley. While there was no mention of the chemical composition of the compound, it "cut a clean hole nearly 1,000 feet wide through the mist," the Gazette reported the next day. The experiment was heralded as a breakthrough in helping planes land in fog. The 1976 Center St. address appears to have been at or near the southwest corner of Center and Milvia, which would put it right about where the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Building now stands.

Deathless record

As of Oct. 31, 1938, Berkeley had experienced 112 consecutive days "without a traffic fatality" and hoped to close in on the 1936 record of 132 "deathless days."