"City Manager Hollis R. Thompson revealed during the regular weekly meeting of the City Council this morning that East Bay cities are now rapidly moving forward toward the proposed $60,000 survey of the sewage disposal problem." The Berkeley Daily Gazette said that Berkeley had pledged $9,420 for its share of the study, which would ultimately help lead to the creation of a regional sewer treatment system.
Three UC Berkeley students had passed entrance examinations for the Naval Academy at Annapolis, the Gazette reported May 24, 1939. "In competition with candidates from all the Naval ROTC units and military educational institutions throughout the country designated by the War Department as honor schools, the California candidates passed as Numbers 1, and 7." They would report in June for physical examinations.
That same week, the newspaper was full of dramatic reports of the Navy submarine Squalus, which was stranded 240 feet beneath the surface of the Atlantic, 16 miles east of Portsmouth, New Hampshire on May 23. A valve had jammed, flooding part of the vessel and drowning 26 crew members. Other Navy ships brought a diving bell and rescued the surviving crew over the next two days, with each step in the saga reported in the Gazette.
On Memorial Day, May 28, 1939 Berkeleyans participated in the city's annual "Service on the Waters," held this year on the USS Wasmuth, a torpedo boat. Participants were bused to San Francisco to board the vessel, which then took them into the Bay where they scattered wreaths and flowers.
Among the participants were two Oakland parents whose son, a torpedo boat crewman, had died on a trip through the Panama Canal. The service also honored the seamen lost on the Squalus.
Seven smiling men attired in white pants, dark blazers and yachting caps posed for a photograph that ran in the Gazette on May 24, 1939. They were the officers of the recently formed Berkeley Yacht Club that was planning for a clubhouse at the Berkeley Marina. Those pictured included the Alameda County District Attorney Ralph Hoyt, UC Engineering Dean Frank Probert, and Berkeley city engineer Harry Goodridge.
On the evening of May 21, 1939, an Army fighter plane, flying in clouds, crashed into the main building at UC's Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose. The pilot and his one passenger were killed as the plane broke through two brick walls and came to rest in a corridor. There was no damage to observatory equipment.
On May 29, 1939, members of a notable UC expedition to South America returned to the Bay Area on a freighter from Peru. They had been part of a large effort, led by Harper Goodspeed of the UC Botanical Garden, to collect plants throughout South America. "They worked inland from both the east and west coasts and obtained thousands of rare floral specimens for the gardens of the nation."
Some plant specimens had already been sent ahead and were blooming at the Golden Gate International Exposition and in the UC Botanical Garden. This was one of six expeditions Goodspeed would arrange to South America for research and collecting purposes between 1935 and 1958.
Professor Joseph Grinnell, "generally rated as the world's most eminent vertebrate ecologist, conservationist and mammalogist of national repute and director of the University of California Museum of Vertebrate Zoology since 1908, passed away suddenly at his home, 2737 Forest Avenue, last evening," the Gazette reported May 28.
Two natural areas along Strawberry Creek on the Berkeley campus were later named in honor of both Goodspeed and Grinnell.