History Repeating

Berkeley fireOn September 17, 1923, a huge fire swept through the hills of Berkeley, California. It started out of Wildcat Canyon, in an area now known as Tilden Park Click here to learn about third-party website links.

Here’s a description of the devastation it caused (from San Francisco Chronicle, September 17, 1998 Click here to learn about third-party website links):


Except for the 1906 earthquake-caused fire in San Francisco, it was the most destructive urban wildfire in Bay Area history until 1991, when the Oakland hills fire destroyed nearly 3,000 homes and took 25 lives.
The Berkeley catastrophe set what was thought to be a destruction record at the time, 584 structures in two hours…

As in the Oakland Hills Fire of 1991, the flames were fanned by the hot and dry Santa Ana winds. The landscape quickly turned into a forest of broken chimneys and blackened trees—a foreshadowing of the scene that would play out on the East Bay Hills’ southeastern end 68 years later. But, as though replaying scenes that followed the San Francisco quake of ’06, the residents who played host to the refugees from across the Bay demonstrated the same humor and resilience—cooking dinner and playing the piano in the midst of ashes. See pictures Click here to learn about third-party website links or view a movie Click here to learn about third-party website links of the Berkeley Hills fire of 1923.

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Guided By History

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