Dinosaurs have never featured in my life. I didn’t become obsessed with them as a boy, and as far as I can remember not many boys of my generation did. I have four children and none of them were ever obsessed with dinosaurs.
If this were truly all about me we’d quit now. But it isn’t. It is about Berkeley.
While we may not be Jurassic Park, we have a decent number of dinosaurs around town, enough to organize a Quirky Berkeley Dinosaur tour/treasure hunt for dinosaur-loving children.
The sculpture above is the most recent of Quirky Berkeley’s dinosaur finds. It is on the same block of Mathews as the Fish House, making that block a two-fer destination.
There is a fine line between quirk and just-stuff.
The dinosaur at 1256 Francisco is pure quirk. The rest of the yard walks the line.
This one was temporal, but I couldn’t resist.
Gone but not forgotten – once there were many dinosaurs and other figures glued on the fence here on Spruce. Somebody had a lot of fun doing this. They are largely gone now.
In my walks I took photos of occasional dinosaurs that obviously were not there for the long haul – but they were there.
We have no giant dinosaurs in Berkeley.
In 2011, the Lawrence Hall of Science had an exhibit with some giants for a few months.
And – sort of a mid-stride P.S. – a Quirky Berkeley reader suggested that I consider the Museum of Paleontology at Cal.
The preliminary ruling on this suggestion is:
The dinosaur skeletons are not quirky. They are bones.
Upon further consideration, I changed my mind.
A reader took the time to make this suggestion.
And not just any reader – a reader with aliases.
Mehmet Atalay is 70 years old. He lives in Oakland, CA; and previously lived in Piedmont, El Sobrante, and El Cerrito. Sometimes Mehmet goes by various nicknames including M B Atalay and Bilgin Mehmet Atalay. He currently works as a Board of Professional Engineers & Land Surveyors. I hope that I have the right Mehmet Atalay. Anyway, the new verdict is:
There are Sinclair gas stations in El Sobrante (11 miles away) and San Leandro (14 miles away). Sinclair gas stations are known for the large green cast-plastic apatosaurus somewhere on the premises.
Sinclair’s advertising writers first had the idea to use dinosaurs in 1930. Sinclair’s lubricants were refined from crude oil believed to have formed when dinosaurs roamed the earth. The original campaign included a dozen different dinosaurs, but it was the apatosaurus that who really caught on. Fiberglass Dinos began appearing at Sinclair stations across the country in the early 1960s. This is a great website about the Sinclair dinosaurs. The portion on the Sinclair exhibit at the1964 World’s Fair hit home with me.
There are great giant dinosaurs elsewhere in California which I wrote about a few years ago. The production values of the post are slightly lacking, but I covered some ground.
The sad story of Dixie/Benny in that post is really something. Dixie/Benny is now the subject of intense litigation. I’m sure that there are Quirky Berkeley readers with some relationship to Dixon or Benicia who might remember Dixie/Benny
Last night when I was working on this post, the above photo by Arthur Pollock showed up in my Facebook feed for no apparent reason. Coincidence? Of course there are coincidences. Of course. But some, like this, don’t seem like it.
My friend was busy reading a comic book when I took him the draft post to check out. I was annoyed – I had been talking with him about dinosaurs and this post and he was reading a comic. No good!
But then he showed me the comic.
All is forgiven! A quirky depiction of dinosaurs in popular culture. Very cool in fact. He had two more comics that Gabby had sent him.
I asked him about the dinosaurs of Berkeley. His exact words in response were: