I pledged that my mission was to discover, inventory, photograph, and write about contemporary material culture. I gave that pledge up quickly and have enjoyed trips down memory lane, to a quirky Berkeley of the past.
Emeryville Driftwood Sculptures
We had the very quirky driftwood sculptures in the tidal flats and marshes of Emeryville. And then we didn’t.
Communes, Collectives, Iconic Figures
They are mostly gone, but there are buildings to see, images to remember. We had a lot of them, very different characters. Here is what remains.
Telegraph once ran from Bancroft to the Sather Gate, a whole other block of architecture and stores. The block was wild. Torn down now. Gone.
Telegraph Avenue was home to many bookstores in the golden age of the 1950s and 1960s. A few stand. Most are gone.
The Alta Vista Building, the Berkeley Inn, and the Sequoia Building once stood proud on Telegraph. The wrecking ball took them all, two after fires. Gone.
Telegraph Avenue once hummed with the words and images of the counterculture. Underground newspapers, journals, and comics flourished. The Barb, the Tribe, the Black Panther, the Telegraph Avenue Liberation Front, Don and Alice Schenker’s Print Mint, Don Donahue and Dori Seda, and Bud Plant’s Comics & Comix. It rocked.
Telegraph Avenue: Church and State
On the Church team: Holy Hubert and Richard “The Hippie Priest” York. On the State team: Robert Scheer, Big Bill Miller, Jerry Rubin, and Stew Albert. What a mix!
McCallum’s, Brennan’s, Celia’s, Edy’s, Ozzie’s, Caffe Espresso, Espresso Forum, Buttercup, Robbie’s Hofbrau. We ate there when we were young.
When the folk music revival hit in 1958, we were there with The Steppenwolf and the Blind Lemon. Then the Cabale, the Questing Beast, Babylon, Freight and Salvage, and the Jabberwok on Telegraph. All gone.
We started a year before Newport Beach. From 1958 until 1970 – a world-class folk music festival.
From 1980 until 1994, Barry Smiler and Julie Bidou gave us Julie’s Place, a moveable feast of acoustic and folk music. The idea lives on in Julie’s living room at Strawberry Lodge.
Gone: Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac
We weren’t Greenwich Village and we weren’t North Beach, but we had both Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac here in the mid 1950s. A look here at Ginsberg’s time on Milvia and Jack’s time on Berkeley Way.
When C.J.’s Motors on Telegraph in the late 1960s, it was reborn as C.J.’s Old Garage, an indoor space for hippie businesses – crafts and food. To a few, even now 2566 Telegraph is known as C.J.’s Old Garage.
The Sexual Freedom league we had with us from 1966 until 1967. Shock! Outrage! And other manifestations of the political sexual revolution and body freedom.
Berkeley was once a city with many, many movie theaters. Here are images and names of many that were gone before any of us were here to remember them.
Gone – Movie Theaters We Remember
These are the theaters that are gone (or in limbo) that the older among us remember. They were open at least into the early 1960s, some into the new century. We were better when they were with us.
My love of Berkeley’s murals has taken me into the past. Here are photos – mostly black and white and grainy – of murals that once informed us but now are gone. RIP old murals.
Barrington Hall Murals – Screen Shots
While posting on lost murals, I found a 1988 home movie of the walls of Barrington Hall. I made screen shots and present them here. Too many to include with the other lost murals.
Elio De Pisa’s Photos – Telegraph and Campus
A Berkelyside Post showcasing Diane De Pisa’s publication of many of her late husband Elio’s most wonderful photos of Telegraph, 1960-1972. Must see!
Metal lived and made art in Berkeley from the early 1950s until his death in 2007. Here – a look at his work, his life, his family. He epitomized the freedom of Berkeley before the Big Changes.
Bruce Duncan was an outsider’s outsider in Berkeley until his death in 2009. Here – a small glimpse at Duncan during his years at Oxford School and Garfield Junior High.
So – 50 years since the Summer of Love. It was more of a San Francisco thing that a Berkeley thing, but here – history lite of our town in that year, mostly courtesy of the Barb.
For four years, I searched without success for a photograph of the Fuji Inn on Telegraph – Jack Kerouac used to eat there. In late June, my obsessive search paid off – two photos in one night! Rapture!
The Print Mint – Alice and Don Schenker
The magic journey of Alice and Don Schenker, from the Beat movement to 20 years on Telegraph with the Print/Reprint Mint, selling art prints, posters, and underground comics.
Liane Chu – Five Amazing Years in Berkeley
From 1964 until 1969 – the Free Speech Movement, the Red Square Dress Shop, People’s Park, and the crown of Miss Chinatown SF 1965. Only here. Only then.
FINALLY – photographs of Allen Ginsberg’s cottage behind 1624 Milvia, where he lived in 1955 and 1956. Dennis Starleaf lived in the cottage two years later and sent five GREAT photos. History! Berkeley!
I was saddened to hear about the closing of the Cafe Mediteraneum in November of last year after 60 years in operation.
Although its popularity had waned in the ensuing decades, largely due to a proliferation of other coffeehouses throughout the town, nevertheless it was a true Berkeley countercultural (no pun intended) icon and a major symbol of Telegraph Avenue life.
The Cafe Med was the first espresso house in the East Bay and one of the first in the Bay Area, quickly following on the heels of opening of the Cafe Trieste, the first espresso house in San Francisco which opened earlier that year in 1956.
Both coffeehouses were meccas for students, beat poets and artists and it is likely that the poet Alan Ginsberg wrote much of his famous poem “Howl” at The Med.
The local artist Martin Metal, profiled elsewhere on Quirky Berkeley was also a habitué of The Med.
It is purported that The Med was also the birthplace of the Caffe Latte, supposedly created in response to American palates that found espresso a little too strong-flavored.
No doubt the Cafe Med helped inspire Dutchman Alfed Peet to open his lengendary roastery and coffeehouse across town.
I just discovered your website. All I can say is Thank You. Thank you X 10000000 for bringing back memories of a life that will never be seen again. We thought we had problems & division then…..at least the people had a voice & the right to use that voice. This no longer exists. Regardless the number of voices or loudness of those voices it lands on the deaf ears & lame minds of the ones in control. Those ‘ones’ are focused on profits, $$$$ & their own gain. However, your preservation of memories is priceless. Once again thank you.