"High ranking officials" of the federal government visited Berkeley 75 years ago to participate in the first flag-raising ceremony at the new Farm Credit Administration Building on Milvia Street. The building was still several months from completion, but the visiting dignitaries "expressed pleasure at the rapid progress that has been made."

A building tour was led by architect James Plachek. "The structure will be a monumental one and its completion will see the entire FCA organization back in Berkeley, from which it was forced to move some years ago because of lack of available office space," the Berkeley Daily Gazette reported on July 31, 1939.

"It is expected that the City Park Department will lay out the adjoining area at the rear of the new building into attractive gardens and landscaping," the paper added.

Confused about the location of the building? It's 2180 Milvia St., later bought by the city, eventually renamed the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center building, and today functioning as the site of many city offices, including those of the City Council.

State post

"Miss Martha A. Chickering, named temporarily to the post of State director of social welfare, will fill the position permanently" the Gazette reported Aug. 1, 1939. "Miss Chickering is assistant professor of social economics in charge of the curriculum in social service on the Berkeley campus."


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Tennis stars

University of California student Robert Peacock beat Davis Cup star Gene Mako in the second round of the Meadow Invitational in New York, Aug. 1, 1939. "Peacock's attack was far too potent for Mako. The 21-year-old Californian, who looks like Don Budge in action, stormed to the net at every opportunity and volleyed and smashed his way to victory." Also in the hunt was Berkeley's Helen Jacobs, who advanced to the women's quarterfinals in the tournament.

Noted author

"Hildegarde Hawthorne, nationally known Berkeley author" would be at the Berkeley Women's City Club Aug. 2, 1939 to discuss her new, and locally best-selling, book, "Romantic Cities of California".

"Miss Hawthorne is well known to the reading public for her biographies of her own grandfather, Nathaniel Hawthorne and of his friend, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and for her mystery stories written for younger people," the Gazette noted Aug. 1, 1939.

Fuchsia prize

"The fuchsia garden of Mrs. H.W. Fenton, 565 Euclid Avenue, has been judged the best amateur garden in the city wide Berkeley Junior Chamber of Commerce fuchsia contest" the Gazette announced July 31. "The fuchsia is the official flower of Berkeley."

First prize was a $25 gift certificate to Berkeley Horticultural Nursery, which was widely known in that era for its fuchsias.

"Fifty-four Berkeley front gardens from all sections of the city were entered in the contest. Although more than 60 gardens were entered, some were eliminated because they were outside the city limits or were in back gardens. The judges, though unanimous in their choice of winners, felt that the fine exhibits of fuchsias they visited made the selection difficult."

World's Fair

Aug. 1, 1939, was "Moral Re-armament Day" at the Golden Gate International Exposition. Visitors to Treasure Island could also see free movies including "Story of Aluminum, Ore and Copper," "New Oregon Trail" and "Normandy," which was showing at the French Pavilion.

Concerts were being given by the Guatemala Marimba Band, the Western Bronc's Trio, and the Treasure Island Royal Hawaiians, among many others.

Visitors could also see demonstrations on "model boat building" and "the first national swine show west of the Mississippi," featuring 1,500 "pure bred porkers." Nearly 5.6 million visits had been made to Treasure Island to date.