"Announcement was made today of the organizing of the Berkeley Yacht Club, having as one of its principal objectives 'the fostering of aquatic sports for the youth of the community,'" the Berkeley Daily Gazette reported 75 years ago, Wednesday, April 13, 1939. The article said that "preliminary plans for the club were discussed Monday evening."

The Chamber of Commerce approved, noting that, "With the completion of the Berkeley Yacht harbor we have the best facilities around the Bay and the Chamber of Commerce has looked forward to the time when an organization of this high type would be formed."

The club established three membership classes: regular, for boat owners; associate, for those without boats, but interested in aquatic sports; junior, for those under 21.

Dog bites

It wasn't quite the legendary "man bites dog" article, but Gazette editors probably were amused on April 12, 1939 to run a story that Joan Taylor, age 8, of 1517 Lincoln St., and her brother, Ronald Taylor, age 5, were both bitten by different dogs in separate incidents on April 11. Their mother had just returned home from the hospital with Joan, when Ronald came in with his bite and she had to make a return trip.

"They say lightning never strikes twice in the same place, but that certainly doesn't apply to dog bites," she said. Interestingly, to stretch the metaphor, their home was only about a block and a half south of where lightening did strike last week, 75 years later, destroying a redwood tree.

Office moves

On April 13, the Gazette reported that the old Federal Land Bank Building at Fulton and Kittredge streets would be remodeled as a new home for the regional offices of the Soil Conservation Service of California and Nevada.

Now here's a set of building musical chairs. That building still stands west of Edwards Track Stadium. It would later be bought by the University of California and would serve for a while as home to the UC Press, after an extensive midcentury remodel.

The Federal Land Bank, which built the structure, had moved to new quarters at 2180 Milvia St., in what's now "new" City Hall, officially the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Building.

Reverend resigns

Also on April 13, the Reverend Fred Stripp, Jr. announced he was resigning from his pastorate of the Thousand Oaks Baptist Church after five years of service.

"He announced that he wished to return to the University of California for graduate study and planned subsequently to go into young people's work in teaching instead of the ministry."

Stripp was a former ASUC president and class of 1932 member. He would teach for many years in the Department of Rhetoric, serve as the first president of Berkeley's NAACP chapter, and narrowly lose an election for mayor in 1963 (the same election in which Berkeley voters repealed the local fair housing ordinance).

His UC obituary in 1990 states that he estimated he performed 3,200 marriages and officiated at 15,000 funerals during 60 years in the ministry.

Player dies

All-American Ralston "Rusty" Gill, "one of the greatest collegiate football players the Pacific Coast ever produced" died of heart disease April 13, 1939, at age 27. His parents lived at 2424 Dwight Way.

Gill played fullback, at Cal; "powerful and fast, he was an expert at crashing through opposing lines." Three of his four brothers had also been Cal football players.

Albania

Italy consolidated its Albanian invasion April 12 when the constitutional assembly "under the watchful eye of Italian Foreign Minister Count Galeazzo Ciano" offered the throne of Albania to King Victor Emanuel of Italy, replacing exiled King Zog.