Berkeleyans provided an “avalanche” of tin cans for wartime recycling 75 years ago in April of 1942. The Berkeley Daily Gazette reported April 13 that the one day tin can drive on April 12 “poured more than 50,000 pounds into the coffers of the de-tinning plants, for bullets, for Army jeeps, for new cans of fruit and vegetables for men overseas, for all the many uses of the war production program. It was 50,000 pounds of united war effort by the residents of Berkeley.”
Freight cars were loaded on a railroad siding by the old city incinerator in West Berkeley from a fleet of garbage trucks and a conveyor belt. “All afternoon a continuous silver stream emptied into the Gondola freight cars at the incinerator plant.”
The drive was so successful that Owen Dyer, co-chair of the Berkeley Defense Council Salvage Committee, “announced today that his department has made arrangements for the regular weekly pick-up of tin cans, bottles, rags and scrap metal.”
So, organized weekly curbside recycling began in Berkeley a quarter century before modern municipal recycling began in Berkeley in the 1970s. And it even goes back further, since recycling was a foundation of the Mobilized Women program in World War I, a century ago.
The war wasn’t going to stop many Berkeleyans from their traditional summer camping, the Gazette reported April 15. “With the official approval from Government agencies already given to ‘civilian furloughs,’ Berkeley is preparing for record breaking attendance at the city summer vacation camps.”
Berkeley had adopted a slogan of “Furloughs for Forests,” and was planning to open Tuolumne and Cazadero camps on June 13 and Echo Lake Camp two weeks later.
On April 15, 1942, the Berkeley City Council named Bolivar Drive in Aquatic Park, “saluting one of Latin-America’s most revered liberators.” This was done, in part, in honor of Pan-American Day on April 14.
“Put away those well-thumbed blueprints of your dream house and forget those plans for remodeling the old homestead,” the Berkeley Gazette reported April 9. “The War Production Board shattered those hopes today by ordering virtually all non-essential construction halted for the duration. Materials, labor and equipment must be devoted to the war effort.”
In Berkeley, this would mean a halt to most new civilian development such as speculative single family home building, but many wooden simple apartment buildings for war workers would be built in the flatlands. And “the order does not affect ordinary maintenance and repair work to return a structure to sound working condition without a change in design.”
On April 9, American military forces on the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines surrendered to Japanese forces after a three-month defense. This left the fortified Corregidor Island in Manila Bay as the remaining American outpost. American generals pledged to fight to the end. “Corregidor can and will be held, Gen. Jonathan M, Wainwright said today (April 12) in an order of the day to the garrison.” It would fall, however, less than a month later.
A local connection was reported April 10. Warren, the son of Mrs. Zeralda Wall Owsley of the Berkeley Defense Council, was a Marine serving in Bataan.
On April 14, thousands of people at the shore near Jacksonville, Florida, saw a German submarine torpedo a merchant vessel off the coast. It sank, with 19 crew members killed.
Mandalay, in what was then British controlled Burma, was heavily attacked by Japanese bombers on the night of April 3-4, 1942, killing or injuring thousands and destroying square miles of the “fabled Burmese city.”
Published at Mon, 10 Apr 2017 18:50:53 +0000