"A huge throng" gathered at Lake Anza in Tilden Park 75 years ago Sunday, May 7, "in the presence of a large crowd of Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and the general public."

The Berkeley Daily Gazette reported that "the lake, one of the most beautiful artificial bodies of water in the West, was officially named by Miss Margaret Magnussen, eighth grade Willard Junior High School student. She won the $25 cash prize offered by the Junior Chamber of Commerce after the board of judges, consisting of school superintendents of Alameda and Contra Cost counties, had examined several hundred submitted names."

The report noted that, "In announcing the winner, Elbert M. Vail, executive manager of the park district said 'it was Anza, the explorer, who first viewed this land, describing in his diary two peaks visible from one whereon I stand'. Those peaks are now known as Mount Diablo and Mount Tamalpais."

The dedication festivities included a parade of local Boy Scouts, boat races won by the Sea Scout craft "Rainbow," an "equestrian cavalcade," and a swim meet staged by the Oakland Women's City Club.

New home

The May 4, 1939 Berkeley Daily Gazette headlined that "300 local women see eye to eye on home." The 300 were members of the Women's City Club who participated in the planning of Sunset House, a model home to be built in the Berkeley hills.


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Designed by Clarence Mayhew (who, incidentally, would later design Alumni House on the UC campus), the home was "financed by Sunset Magazine in an effort to discover -- and actually build -- the kind of house that Western women want. Feeling that most model homes are both designed and promoted by men, Sunset decided to turn to the ultimate user -- the women who design and maintain the home -- and abide by their ultimate vote, without regard to architects' theories or manufacturers interests."

The women from the City Club met numerous times over several months to discuss and determine design details.

Construction on the house "is scheduled to start within a few days and upon completion it will be open to the public as one of the houses in the Exposition Model Home tour, the West's great home and garden show that will run until September 15."

On May 4 the women, escorted by Berkeley police, drove in a caravan of cars to the Park Hills site of the home for the dedication. It may have been a house designed by women, but in the publicity photo that accompanied the article, no less than eight of the 10 dignitaries pictured on the site surrounding a model of the model home are men.

(As a side observation, consider the speed and simplicity of home construction in 1939. Work on the house was not yet begun by the second week of May, but the organizers expected the house to be a full participant in a multisite house show that would end September 15.)

Meteorite shown

A "2,553-pound meteorite, which was brought to the East Bay this week from Goose Lake in Alturas County, was displayed on the University of California campus today," the Gazette reported Saturday May 6, 1939. "The meteorite, the largest ever found in California, will be displayed at the Alameda County Zoological Gardens in Oakland tomorrow."

Changes direction

Former California Gov. C.C. Young, resident of 275 Alvarado Road, accidentally shifted his car into reverse, rather than drive, on Oxford Street on May 9, 1939. The vehicle sped backward 100 feet, passed narrowly between a tree and telephone pole, and came to rest, tilted 45 degrees, on a lawn. Young and his wife weren't injured, but the car was.