President Franklin Roosevelt swept through the Bay Area 75 years ago. He arrived July 14, 1938 by train from Texas, via Nevada, inspected the naval base at Mare Island, motored around the north edge of the Bay, crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, went to San Francisco Civic Center, and then Treasure Island for lunch, a "major address" to 1,000 people, and to visit the site of the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition. From the U.S.S. Houston, Roosevelt then inspected some 70 naval vessels in the Bay, then headed for Yosemite where, among other things, he dedicated the O'Shaughnessy Dam in Hetch Hetchy.
"The fleet was in, the Democratic faithful assembled, and Democratic rebels had warmed up their attacks today," the Berkeley Daily Gazette reported July 13. The next day Roosevelt received "a thunderous welcome by 250,000 to 300,000 spectators packed on sidewalks, on roofs and at windows" along his motorcade route through San Francisco. "Civic authorities said it was the greatest ovation ever given a public figure in the San Francisco area."
At Treasure Island, Roosevelt "sounded a call for world armaments reduction." He also complimented the Bay and Golden Gate bridges and said "when you people out here in the West set out to do something I think you do it better than it's done anywhere else in the United States."
Roosevelt had visited the Bay Area three times previously: as a presidential candidate; as a vice-presidential candidate in 1920; and as assistant secretary of the Navy in 1914, when the trip included Berkeley. There was no official East Bay stop in the 1938 visit.
A crash between two Berkeley cars in Marin killed a 10-year-old boy on Sunday, July 10, 1938.
Edward Raftery, who lived at 802 Indian Rock, was thrown from a car driven by his father when it collided with a car driven by Henry Gustafson of 2539 Milvia Street "near Bolinas Lagoon on the Coast Line Boulevard."
"Tentative plans for the formation of an organization which would coordinate the work of various agencies for the aid of handicapped individuals were made at a meeting last night at the Berkeley YMCA," the Gazette reported July 8. "A committee was appointed to investigate the possibility of securing the donation of quarters in Downtown Berkeley, which would serve as a clearing house for the activities of the handicapped. It would include an employment bureau, a general information bureau and facilities for the sale of articles made by handicapped persons."
Under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration, "the first of a series of monthly informal musical programs" was held at the McKinley School 2419 Dwight Way the evening of Monday, July 11, 1938. The music ranged from operatic arias to "Stephen Foster's melodies," under the direction of WPA-employed music teacher, Mrs. Elizabeth Cox.
Charles A. Robertson of 1850 Arch Street was in Oakland on Telegraph Avenue when a stranger jumped onto his running board and asked him to chase that man's stolen car. Robertson obliged. They overtook the stolen vehicle some blocks away and engaged in "a fistic battle" with the driver, who was then arrested.
The Gazette carried a story on July 6, 1938, surveying demographic trends.
"The movement of population into California between 1920 and 1930 was the largest ever recorded for any state in a single decade," it reported. In that decade California saw 1,650,000 new arrivals from other states and 300,000 from other countries.
A cited study projected the population of the United States in 1980 would be 158,335,000. (The actual 1980 population was a little over 203 million.)