Look at these Berkeley souvenir spoons! Souvenir spoons convey a memory of a place or event, or serve as a travel trophy – I was there! They can be made from sterling silver, nickel, or steel. Most of the spoons shown here are sterling and most date from the 1890s through the 1910s.
I met Ken Stein through Daniella Thompson. When I mention Daniella’s name, I am not name-dropping, I am reporting a fact. And the fact is that Daniella is a frequent and brilliant source of knowledge for me. Ken wrote an article that Daniella sent me, about the relief sculptures on Sather Gate. She connected me with Ken.
Ken is pure Berkeley. Cut him and he bleeds Berkeley. He has lived here since 1969, working for most of those years as a disability rights advocate. He is a collector, a storyteller, and a historian – he is co-founder and past president of the Berkeley Historical Society. For seven years he was a commissioner and president of the Berkeley’s Landmarks Preservation Committee.
One of his several collections is of Berkeley-themed souvenir spoons. He talks about the spoons and what they depict with fervor and humor. It’s a great combination. Here the spoons are:
Are you ready for your close-up, Ms. Desmond? I originally envisioned a spoon-by-spoon process here with subject, manufacturer, date. But that felt like I was putting them in a prison of names and dates. Instead, I will highlight some of the designs.
The Greek Theater is the single most popular subject for the spoons. It was designed by John Galen Howard, the first university building of his, built and dedicated in 1903.
Howard’s design was based directly on the design of the ancient Greek theater of Epidaurus, which Polykeitos the Younger designed in the 4th century BC.
For me, the seminal moment in Greek Theater history was December 7, 1964, when Mario Savio was hauled away from the microphone during a university convocation about the FSM. But this isn’t about that. This is about spoons:
Several spoons depict Douglas Tilden’s Football Players sculpture from campus.
About the sculpture: “It was in Paris that Tilden created and exhibited “The Football Players”. Using two Frenchmen as life models, Tilden froze a moment of athletic camaraderie in bronze. Despite the title of the sculpture, the uniforms appear to resemble British rugby clothing more than the American football uniforms of the time, but whatever the liberties taken with the equipment, the statue makes a compelling statement about male bonding in the realm of sports competition.” Thanks berkeley.edu for that. Athletic camaraderie and male bonding indeed. Cal beat Stanford in 1898 and again in 1899, winning the sculpture.
Always popular to visitors – the Claremont Hotel.
It opened in 1915. The architect was Charles William Dickey. Dickey was best known for a style of Hawaiian architecture. I don’t see that in the Claremont.
Speaking of Berkeley High School (I know – I wasn’t – humor!) –
Dig the miner on the handle! The building was dedicated on October 26,1902, after a 1900 ballot measure authorizing the funding for construction barely squeaked through with the super-majority required. For the record – West Berkeley was NOT in favor.
Hearst Hall is featured on several spoons.
Hearst Hall opened in 1898, a gift from Mrs. Phoebe Apperson Hearst. It burned in 1922. Too bad!
The campus in general, and the front campus in specific, is shown on different spoons.
It is not a surprise that there is a spoon honoring the Campanile.
John Galen Howard designed the Sather Tower. It was completed in 1914 and opened to the public in 1917.
This is one of 20 in Chiura Obata’s “Seasons at California” portfolio published by California Monthly in 1939/40. Obata was commissioned to produce a series of paintings showcasing the campuses of the University of California across the state.
The design is derived from the bell tower of St. Mark’s Bascilica in Venice, Italy. Fossils are stored in some of the seven floors leaving up to the observation deck.
The original library has at least two spoons dedicated to it:
California Hall was opened in time for the fall semester in 1905.
It was an original classical core campus building, part of the Phoebe Hearst master architectural plan.
And then there are the spoons that simply declare “Berkeley,” mostly from the 1890s.
As they say on the night that is different from all other nights, this collection of Berkeley spoons would have been sufficient. But – another side of Ken Stein.
During his photography years (in his thirties and forties when he was working with Grassroots newspaper), he would hand his Canon SLR off to friends and family members and climb up and pose with statues. Many of the photos shown below were taken by Shelley Bergum, a high-power, high-impact disability rights activist who died in early 2016. Others were taken by Betty Marvin, the decades-long mainstay of the City of Oakland’s Oakland Heritage Survey Office.
The City of Fremont gives this description of “The Bear Hunt”:
Bear Hunt” sculpture by Douglas Tilden (1860-1908) dated 1892. Privately owned. Deaf since the age of four, Douglas Tilden attended California School for the Deaf when it was called the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind Asylum and was located in San Francisco. Mr. Tilden was the first California-born sculptor to receive recognition outside the U.S. During his six years in Paris, the art salons accepted five of his works of art. Four of Mr. Tilden’s pieces were exhibited at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.
The School for the Deaf is now in Fremont. So is “The Bear Hunt.”
A 45-ton concrete statue of a Gold Rush era miner stands at the entrance to Old Town Auburn, a small collection of shops, restaurants, and antique stores. The statue is a representation of Claude Chana (1811-1882), the prospector who discovered gold here in the foothills east of Sacramento on May 16, 1848. Auburn dentist Ken Fox, creator of the Great Statues of Auburn, sculpted the miner at the request of the town. It’s made of a rebar and wire mesh framework covered in concrete. Fox sculpted the miner between appointments at his still operating dental practice on the other side of town. You can see more of his statues, constructed in the early 1970s, in other parts of Auburn.
It’s big! Janet Stein took this photo.
This is “Youth” by Clara Huntington, found in the west court at the Berkeley City Club. From askart.com: “Born in Oneonta, NY on Feb. 2, 1878, the daughter of Henry Huntington who founded the Huntington Library & Art Gallery in San Marino, CA. Clara began her art studies in San Francisco at the ASL during the 1890s. Upon deciding on sculpting as a career, she further studied under Leo Lentelli in New York and for three years under Arturo Dazzi in Rome. She was married to Gilbert Perkins for several years until their divorce about 1915, and was related by marriage to sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington (wife of Archer Huntington who was the son of Henry’s second wife). By 1920 she had moved to San Francisco where she attended the Institute of Art, and by 1934 had moved nearby to Los Gatos. She appears to have lived in the the San Francisco Bay.”
Ken is either being fresh or modest in this photo. My gut tells me – fresh.
Who knows who this is? The photo was taken in 1980 with the old Embarcadero Freeway in the background. Ken doesn’t know who the statue is or who made it. Me neither.
Cervantes! Don Quixote! This is the Miguel de Cervantes Memorial on Tea Garden Drive,
Golden Gate Park. It was made by Jo Mora in 1916. Don Quixote and Sancho Panza (and Ken) kneel before a bust of Cervantes.
This statue of Captain Juan Bautista de Anza, founder of the City San Francisco, is located in a parking lot off Lake Merced Boulevard on the north shore of the Lake. A plaque, in both Spanish and English, on the statue base reads:
As a high tribute to an illustrious historical
figure born in Sonora, founder of
the City of San Francisco and with the purpose of
strengthening the friendly ties between the
peoples of Mexico and of the United States,
the state of Sonora of the Republic of Mexico
presents this statue to the City of San Francisco
this month of August of 1967,
at which time Lic. Luis Encinas was governor
of Sonora, the Honorable Ronald Reagan
Governor of California and the Honorable
John F. Shelly mayor of the City
of San Francisco.
The artist is Julian Martinez. He was is best known for his heroic Hispanic figures such as Pancho Villa.
This lion is at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco and was made by Roland Hinton Perry, who over the years made more than 30 major sculptures including the statue Commonwealth on top of the Capitol’s dome in Washington.
There are a pair of lions on pedestals outside the Art Institute in Chicago. It was made by Edward Kerneys in 1893. Samara Stein took this photo.
I showed the photos to my friend. “Tripping on those spoons, dude.” He then lingered over the Chicago photo. “We stayed there – once. The Palmer House.” I don’t know who he was talking about, whether it was a happy or sad remembering.
He had just found this mahogany Westclox clock at a yard sale in Vallejo. He was anxious to get it in the Perfect Place in his living quarters and so didn’t dally with the Palmer House story. Vallejo is getting bigger in his life. Some days when he is fed up with what developers are doing to Berkeley, he even talks about bailing on Berkeley, heading to Vallejo. “Shit is real there.” Leave me? I don’t think so, but he might.
Be that as it may – what of Ken Stein’s spoons and statue photos?