Berkeley's unified Easter sunrise service drew "record attendance" 75 years ago on Easter Sunday, April 17, 1938.

The Berkeley Daily Gazette reported the next day that "10,000 worshipers of all denominations" had attended, hearing a sermon by the acting chaplain of Stanford University, Dr. Alexander C. Purdy.

"Cragmont Park, with its matchless view of the Golden Gate, the bay and the Marin hills, was flooded with sunshine for this traditional Easter service which is sponsored annually by the Berkeley Fellowship of Churches. As the throngs were wending their way to the hilltop the University of California Campanile Chimes rang out glad Easter hymns." including "Christ, the Lord, Is Risen Today" and "Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow."

Trombone player David Fulmer, the Berkeley Singers Choral, and local ministers all performed or spoke at the service.

The April 16 Gazette carried a full-page ad listing numerous local church congregations and their indoor Easter schedules and sermons. They included some two dozen Methodist-Episcopal, Methodist, Episcopal, Lutheran, Congregationalist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Christian, Baptist, and Latter Day Saints congregations, most of them in the same place as they are today.

Local business

Berkeley real estate agents had organized a photographic display of 70 local homes for sale, the Gazette noted April 16.


Advertisement

The display would be staged starting May 9 in the lobbies of the American Trust Company (now the Downtown branch of Wells Fargo Bank) and the Bank of America.

The Realtors were emphasizing that 80 to 90 percent federal loans could be obtained for the properties.

The paper also relayed from the Berkeley Board of Realtors "an authentic report that a large market enterprise will soon be under way on University Avenue, west of Shattuck Avenue. Negotiations have been completed for the erection of the market building on a large parcel of vacant property, the structure to cost in the neighborhood of $50,000. Plans and specifications are now in the making. Building of this edifice, the board expected, will mean much renewed activity in the west University Avenue area."

On April 18, Berkeley City Manager Hollis Thompson told the paper that "at least five new buildings in the downtown area will be under construction during the summer and fall months," and several national firms were considering locating factories in Berkeley.

"All of this indicates that business generally is recognizing Berkeley and the East Bay cities as a center for commercial and industrial activity."

Thompson noted that Forbes Magazine on April 15 described Berkeley as one of the best places in the nation for business activity.

Street opening

In City Council notes, the city was reported to be studying the possibility of opening Ellsworth Street south of Ashby Avenue along the line of the old Southern Pacific interurban rail line.

The city had an option on the property since the trains had been removed, but the Southern Pacific had "an opportunity to dispose of the property for home sites."

The property would ultimately go for development, not a street. Ellsworth today ends on the north side of Ashby, west of Telegraph. The old rail line crossed the street and curved southwest across what is now the Whole Foods Market parking lot. (A few weeks ago I referred to the "Red Trains" that ran on this route as operated by the Santa Fe Railroad; Phil Gale reminds me they were Southern Pacific.)

Lost dolls

Berkeley police had a "doll crib, complete with mattress, and two boxes of assorted toys" in the Downtown station, found by the train tracks at the intersection of Shattuck and Center. Police believed they probably fell off a truck during a move.