Cesar Chavez Park began as a mountain of garbage, and is tied up with the whole history of European settlers dumping garbage in the Bay. (The original inhabitants elected to dump their garbage on land, forming shell mounds.) Here are some readings I found interesting.
A People’s History of the Albany Waterfront, by Gordon McCarter. The birth of Albany “grew out of the outrage of local residents at the abuse of our waterfront by a foreign-owned corporate land-owner.”
About Us: Urban Ore.Com. Short history of how Berkeley gradually pulled itself out of the dump era into the recycling and reuse era, and of the company that played a role in the transition.
Albany’s Forgotten Garbage War. The surprising story of the pistol-packing women who kept Berkeley from trashing their neighborhood.
At 50, Save the Bay looks back at history, forward to Cargill project. S.F. Examiner story on the Save the Bay Movement, without which there would have been no Cesar Chavez Park, or anything else of beauty on the waterfront.
Berkeley Historical Plaque Project – Berkeley Meadow. The Berkeley Meadow, a/k/a McLaughlin Eastshore State Park, is the next door neighbor to Cesar Chavez Park. The plaque briefly outlines its history.
Berkeley Marina – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Short, useful historical intro to the area.
Berkeley North Waterfront Park, an Interim Report, by Nikki Wright and Jazz Duberman, January 1990. Report by two gardeners working to establish viable native grasses in the challenging conditions of a recently closed landfill.
Berkeley Recycling- History How Ecology Action, the Ecology Center (EC) and the Community Conservation Centers (CCC) moved Berkeley out of the dump epoch into the era of recycling.
Burrowing Owl Survey Protocol and Mitigation Guidelines, Prepared by the California Burrowing Owl Consortium (1993)
Cesar Chavez Commemoration – Ecology Center. Short items about Chavez and the issue of environmental justice.
Cesar Chavez Park – City of Berkeley, CA City website dedicated to the park.
César Chávez Park – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Brief, informative.
CREATING THE EASTSHORE STATE PARK, AN ACTIVIST HISTORY, BY NORMAN LA FORCE. Extensive, detailed history of the decades-long fight to prevent and reverse environmental degradation of the Bay shore, written by a leading participant in the struggle. Essential reading for anyone interested in the modern history of the region.
Establishing Native Plant Communities on a Coastal Landfill, by David Amme (1987). A scholarly paper that details the initial botanical conditions of the park and the efforts in 1981-1984 to establish the native plant communities that today make up the forested grove on the west side.
History and Future of the Berkeley Waterfront. Handout prepared by Susan Schwartz for participants in a waterfront walk. She says the bumps in the eastbound lane of University Avenue next to McLaughlin Park are from the timbers of the original pier; garbage has settled between them. A PDF version is here.
North Basin Bird Study. Conducted between 2004 and 2007, this is the only comprehensive census of the bird population of this body of water. Rich in insights and cautions.
Ohlone revival of the wetlands crafts. Slide show focusing on Ohlone civilization, on the importance of the Bay wetlands in it, and on measures to restore wetlands.
Proceedings of the California Burrowing Owl Symposium (2007). Monograph by Institute for Bird Populations. Reviewed here.
Radical Roots- Finding Environmentalism Amid the Schisms of mid-’60s Berkeley – California Magazine Memoir of early environmental radicalism by the son of David Brower; it mentions Cesar Chavez Park.
Remembering Schoolhouse Creek, by Rebecca Sutton — Extensively researched detailed history of this creek, a lens through which important features of the history of Berkeley also emerge.
Status Assessment and Conservatin Plan for the Western Burrowing Owl int he United States — Biological Technical Publication by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2003. Eight expert authors, 120 pages. Interesting but nothing in it about owls wintering.
The Brief History of OCSC and the Berkeley Marina – OCSC SAILING Well done historical sketch with rare photos of the dump, a history the famous sailing club shares with its neighbor, the park.
The Country in the City, by Richard Walker. Encyclopedic and vivid overview of the long struggle for environmental progress in Northern California, by UC Berkeley geography prof Richard Walker.
Trash Dumps and the Hidden History of the Bay Shoreline – Save The Bay Blog Interactive map and story by Maya Wolf illustrating the Dump Era and contrasting it with the greener present.
What we can do to help our birds survive. Op-ed on the importance of preserving bird habitat in this era of climate change. Cesar Chavez Park is an important bird habitat.
Where No City Has Gone Before- San Francisco Will Be World’s First Zero-Waste Town by 2020 – Alternet According to the authors the first city to operate without dumping any of its waste will be not Berkeley, but San Francisco. Shame!
Women, Guns, and Garbage. Lurid history of the 1908 Garbage War that led to the founding of the City of Albany. Theirs was not a nonviolent resistance.
There’s many other sources. Want to add something here? Please post a comment. Thank you.
Oh, and let me add my own little book of photos with a short historical sketch: From Trash to Treasure, the Splendors of Berkeley’s Cesar Chavez Park.