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The Big C, Student Protests and Escape Routes: Legends of UC Berkeley

Written by Cindy Marie Jenkins on Friday, September 1st, 2017 at 10:22am.

In 1868, the private College of California merged with the public Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College in Oakland, and the University of California, Berkeley was born. It began with a mere 40 students and 10 teachers, growing to over 1,500 full time faculty serving 27,000 undergraduates. Who knew the sort of legends that would grow out of the first of the University of California system, now the top public university in the United States?

As with many stories told through many years, this leading research institute carries in its campus many mythologies and trivia. We dug into its history to deliver the fast facts that you never knew about UC Berkeley! It’s up to you to decide if they’re true or not.

  • A Chancellor escaped from Vietnam War protesters through a series of elaborately interconnected underground steam tunnels.  They were built in the 1900s to generate power, and bored or adventurous students often explored them, against the University's wishes. When the Chancellor found himself locked in his office because students in the 1960s disagreed with policies, well, the rest is history.

  • I love this one. Anybody who's ever tried to find their way around Dwinelle Hall knows what an absolute Labyrinth it is; one that would be put even The Goblin King to shame. Folklore around the campus blames it on a horrible feud between the two architects, so bad that they stopped talking to each other during the Hall’s design. This probably isn't true, but it does make a fun story to ponder as you navigate through that back staircase just one last time to see if you missed an exit the last ten times you passed it.

  • Ludwig’s Fountain was named after a dog. A German short-haired pointer, to be exact. This pup thought the fountain was the perfect place to romp for a bath and took advantage of it every days starting in 1960. By 1961, campus officials relented and named the fountain after its loyal resident.

  • The Free Speech Movement began at UC Berkeley in 1964. First inspired by the civil rights protests of its time, students also included marches against the Vietnam War. Likely thanks to its proximity to Haight Ashbury and the free thinkers there, UC Berkeley became known as the birthplace of the 1960s student protests.

  • Park in the Foothill Parking Lot at Chapel Hill for a dollar and y can take a beautiful, moderate hike to see The Big C. Built in 1905 by the 1906 and 1907 classes and with upkeep maintained by sophomores (including cleaning and painting it gold), this idea has caught on at other University of California campuses. Don't let the gold exterior distract you, however; once you're at the top, enjoy that gorgeous view of campus.

  • The Campanile, or Sather Tower, is the third largest bell and clock tower in the world, standing high at 307 feet tall. Not only is the tower an impressive structure, but inside it houses fossils from the La Brea Tar Pits and studied by the Department of Integrative Biology.

To see homes around Berkeley and fact check for yourself, check out our new Search With Style® app or contact us.

 

 

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