Berkeley Celebrates 125th Birthday on April 1st
Citywide Events Planned to Mark the Anniversary of Berkeley'sIncorporation
as a City
Berkeley, California (Tuesday, March 18, 2003) – Communitygroups,
local businesses, University officials, and City staff are joining in
a series of events to honor Berkeley's 125th birthday. Festivities will
be kicked off on April 1st - the official anniversary of the City's
incorporation - with a number of lectures, tours, and other events planned
throughout the month of April.
The Berkeley Birthday Committee - formed by the Berkeley Historical
Society, the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, merchant groups,
and other members of the community - is coordinating celebratory events
throughout the City. "For a small city, Berkeley has had a large
influence on the world," said Committee Chairperson Linda Keilch.
"Our goal has been to bring together the entire Berkeley community
to celebrate this wonderful and diverse heritage."
A Berkeley Community Photograph is scheduled Tuesday, April 1st, on
the steps of Old City Hall, 2134 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, at promptly
4:30 p.m. All Berkeley community members and City Staff are encouraged
to participate. "This is not an April Fool's Day prank - we are
really taking a Community Photo and hoping for a strong turnout of community
members. There will be even be a special appearance by "Bishop
Berkeley," jokes City Manager Weldon Rucker.
“I am honored to serve as Mayor during this historic anniversary.
For generations, Berkeley has been a beacon of tolerance, freedom of
expression, community involvement, and diversity,” said Mayor
Bates. “I certainly hope that the entire community will take advantage
of these events to enjoy themselves and learn a little about our history.”
Community Celebrates Berkeley's 125th Birthday
By Martin Ricard, Daily Californian, April 2, 2003
|Berkeley turned 125 yesterday.
A few hundred residents met on the steps of Old City Hall Tuesday to celebrate, remember and eat cake.
A dressed up "Bishop Berkeley," the city's namesake, kicked off the celebration with a speech.
"It's good to be here after 125 years," the "Bishop" said.
The collected residents, business-people and city dignitaries gathered on the Old City Hall steps for a group photograph and a commercial shoot for the city's public access television station. A cake was served at the City Council meeting that followed.
"I am very impressed and grateful for this city to come into a fashion of celebration of the city for 125 years," said Doris Branch Tabor, a Berkeley resident of 45 years.
The city's history stretches back far more than 125 years, however. Native Americans began settling the area that is now Berkeley around 3000 B.C. The Huichin, part of the larger Ohlone group that occupied coastal regions in the Bay Area, inhabited Berkeley when the Spanish arrived. The Huichin left little behind of their elaborate culture, however, except for the shellmounds that have intrigued and mystified archaeologists for years.
Before the city's incorporation, it was divided into two separate communities, Ocean View-now West Berkeley-and the area around UC Berkeley. Despite conflicting social, economic and cultural differences, the two communities formed common cause to create the city as it exists today. Both the residents of what became Berkeley and the university wanted to separate from Oakland, according to Phil Gale of the Berkeley Historical Society.
Berkeley has always been known for its conflicting views and unique ideas, but it was not always a liberal town.
"Before I got here in 1950, Berkeley was thought of as a college town and Republican," said UC Berkeley Librarian Tom Leonard. Despite owing much of its history and perhaps its very existence to UC Berkeley, the city has often had a rocky relationship with the university. University expansion has displaced long-time residents, taken property off the tax rolls and clogged the streets with cars, many residents believe.
On the other hand, the university has given the city an "economic anchor" by providing jobs, cultural enrichment and shopping, Leonard said.
"It has been a marriage of the university and the city," he said. "One cannot do without the other." In the popular mindset, Berkeley is Bezerkeley-known for protests, hippies and People's Park. But Berkeley was also the place where the helicopter was invented and where the Hall-Scott company first started making gasoline engines for buses. "Berkeley has always been known as a place to do things differently," said Gale.