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:

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.
Dr. Nicholas Pinhey of the California Water Environment Association History Committee drew my attention to this film and I thank him and his Association very much for permission to publish it on YouTube and for their more general help. Dr. Pinhey has published an article on this 1930 visit and matters related to it, which can be read here:

The film was made by A M Rawn (no period after the A or M) for the California Sewer Works Association and was a segment of a longer film showing sewage plants in several Northern California locations.

Built in 1926, the UCD sewage plant was state-of-the-art at the time and winner of the association’s Plant of the Year Award for 1929. It’s 1930 spring conference was held in Sacramento and, as the top plant of the year, conference-goers were given a tour of the plant. These are the people seen in the film on and around the plant. The film can be viewed here:

Of course, the views--shot near the intersection of Old Davis Road and the South Fork of Putah Creek--are not nearly as scenic as those of Picnic Day on and near the Quad. But they are very much the UCD campus and the matters shown are arguably more fundamental to the campus than Picnic Day.

The next post on this blog--#263, "The 1926 University Farm Sewage Treatment Plant"--provides more information on the tour and on the plant itself (including its current status).

Screenshot from the Special Collections website page linked above.

Reproduced from the Nicholas Pinhey article linked above.