Friday, July 14, 2017

The Downtown Davis Rail Corridor in the Classic Era: A Few Glimpses (268)

Given that we now have an officially named Downtown Davis Rail Corridor,* I thought it might be of interest to bring together a few photographs of some aspects of it from what can be called its “classic era.”
The most familiar and even iconic of such photos have been published several times so I will not repeat many of them here.** Let me strive, instead, for what little new material I can scavenge from my files. I offer seven glimpses with brief explanatory captions.
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1. Image 1 is a well known but too nice not to repeat. We are standing northeast of the train depot looking northeast toward 3rd Street crossing in the mid-distance. The building in the center-left is where the current 901-07 3rd building now stands and where the Trackside Center would be. The water tower is also on that site and is estimated to rise about 60 feet.  (That tower might well have been a sun blocking blight for then bucolic Old East Davis.)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Design Guidelines Historical Error That Fosters the Trackside Debate and the Real Question: What Do We Want There? (267)

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1. Overview. In this post I will argue that the brouhaha over Trackside is in part a result of an historical error appearing on pages 74 and 75 of the Davis Downtown and Traditional Neighborhood Design Guildenes (images 1 and 2). Inferences based on that error versus historical accuracy contribute to opposing development decisions.  But beyond such historical/conservation technicalities, the real question is brute policy: “what should be built there, anyway?”

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 2. Trackside Proponents. Among other facts supporting their project, Trackside proponents point to the historical fact that Davisville north-south railroad corridor development was of larger scale than in the areas to the east and west. The scale of the proposed Trackside building is therefore simply a continuation of the larger scale of the Downtown Rail Corridor that was created at the founding of Davis and that persisted until not very long ago. Trackside is consistent with, and is in the spirit of, that history, the argument goes.

3.Trackside Opponents. Opponents of Trackside read pages 74 and 75 in the Guidelines (images 1 and 2) as calling for “a transition zone from downtown, from taller buildings to smaller residences . . . .” (Miller, image 3).

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Eleven 1950s-60s Home Movies of Davis Life Filmed By UCD Avian Disease Expert Arnold Rosenwald (266)

Browsing at an estate sale recently, I happened onto a cardboard box containing a couple of dozen of those little yellow boxes in which Kodak used to mail developed movie film back to the home moviemaker.

Surprised that such seemingly private items would be on public sale, I asked the estate sale official if they were really for sale or left at the home inadvertently. I was assured that “the family” had indeed consciously decided to sell the movies (as well as about a thousand letters the couple had written each other over the 1930s and 1940s, hundreds of family photographs and other personal documents). So assured, I bought the lot.

Veterinary medicine doctor and UCD Avian disease expert Arnold Rosenwald made the movies over the mid-1950s and early 1960s. Rosenwald was himself a figure of some significance in UCD history as an avian disease expert in the extension service who traveled the state dealing with disease outbreaks in chicken flocks. While not a professor, he was nonetheless very much a researcher and scholar who was preeminent in avian sciences. He retired from UCD in 1977, but continued to practice his profession. His active career had spanned more than 70 years when he died at age 98 in 2008. (To boot, In WWII he served as a veterinarian -- with the rank of Captain -- in the U. S. Army carrier pigeon corps.)  

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Iconic Brinley Building Over a Half-Century (265)

Nighttime 1965

On reason I collect DHS and UCD yearbooks is the startling and enlightening historical photos I sometimes happen onto in them. I was recently fortunate to have yet another such positive experience when an old friend emailed me that she had acquired a 1965 DHS yearbook that, if I did not already own it, I could buy from her for the $10 she paid at a garage sale. I did not own it and I was delighted to pay $10 in order to hunt for a remarkable new photo (among other topics I peruse in these volumes).  

I was not disappointed. Spanning pages 146 and 147 and measuring 13 inches wide by eight inches tall, we are given the glorious view of the Brinley Building ablaze at night seen here and labeled Nighttime 1965. (It is of course best viewed on a large screen desktop computer and after you have clicked on it in order to zoom it up to full-screen.)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

In Fond Memory of RIchard Berteaux, 1929-2017 (264)

                                                                       Davis Enterprise photo, July 16. 2013

Davis: Transformation, page 87.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The 1926 University Farm Sewage Treatment Plant (263)

1. One of two photos on the cover of the April, 1930 issue Pacific Municipalities. Looking northwest. 
2. Caption to the two photos on the April, 1930 cover of Pacific Municipalities.

From the beginning, agricultural research and education at the UC Farm created an unusual density of humans and other animals in adjacent corners of rural Yolo and Solano counties. Not commonly recognized but of fundamental import, that density produced a large and increasing stream of what is politely termed “sewage.”

Merely to avoid inundation--much less health and aesthetic disasters--significant control measures were required. One of these was a “sewage works” plant constructed in 1926 in the northeast section of the intersection of Old Davis Road and the South Fork of Putah Creek (images 1, 2 and 8).

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Oldest Known Film of the UCD Campus? (262)

Still picture from the California Sewer Works Association film linked below.

The UCD Department of Special Collections website includes a selection of “Historic Picnic Day Films,” one of which is reported to be “the oldest known footage of campus,” here: https://www.library.ucdavis.edu/dept/specol/collections/media/?media=picnicday

That footage is dated April 22, 1939 (screenshot below).

“Est” declarations, such as “oldest,” tallest,” “fastest,” “best,” and the like, are implicit challenges and, I suppose, even part of human DNA. Once issued, an “est” challenge sets a benchmark for evaluating future events of that type.

So, when I came onto a film made on the UCD campus on April 21, 1930, one of my thoughts was “this might be the oldest UCD campus film!” In that spirit, I call attention to it on Davis History Today.*