Stebbins Hall, Berkeley Student Cooperative, 1975 Photos

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Stebbins Hall 1975 Big Picture
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Anne Devereaux, Ashok _______, Barbara Zaslow, Betsy Foxman, Bill McKinnon, Blair Swezey, Bruce "Lee" Williams, Chessa Kenrick, Chris _______, Clint Kellner, Dale _______, Dan Bolster, Dan Gilman, Dana Angluin, Dave Beherens, Debbie _______, Emily Platt, Frank _______, Gray Chang, Greg Lynch, Heather McGregor, Hort Newsom, Jan Pearson, Jan Vincent, Jan _______, Jane Cliggett, Jane Moorhead, Janice Frazier, Jim "Big J" Louchis, Jim Morrison, John Ju, John Lau, Larry Leskiw, Lydia Mechanic, Madeline Radkey, Mariko Frankel, Mark Rosen, Michelle Bashin, Michael Hintz, Mike Mace, Mike O'Toole, Naomi Scheck, Pam Westing, Pat Dodds, Paul Bishop, Rich Wade, Ross Dykstra, Roy Baker, Sandy Stedinger, Sara Imershein, Santa Claus, Shelly King, Steve Rosen, Stu Smith, Tom Raasch, _______ Heifetz, _______ _______.

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Also see Stebbins 1970 Photos by Rick Kent at the BSC (USCA) Alumni Association Facebook site

Origin of the Handprints on the Stebbins Building

The handprints came the late 1960s, when Stebbins was an all-women's hall and Cloyne was an all-men's hall. One night, as a prank, a group of men from Cloyne went out and painted a trail of giant green footprints going all over the UC campus, and ending at Stebbins hall with the two handprints on the front of the building. The perpetrators were caught and forced to clean up all the footprints on campus. However, they left the handprints on Stebbins and one block of footprints on the public service road along the west side of Etcheverry Hall; the remaining footprints were still visible in 1975. The handprints became an identifying mark of the Stebbins building. They were restored each time the building was repainted multiple times over the years. Anybody know why are the hands were "crossed," with the thumbs on the outside?

The Stebbins Telephone Switchboard

In 1970s, a single telephone number served all of the residents at Stebbins. At the front entrance, behind the small wall of mail boxes, was our PBX switchboard. When a call came in, if someone was on switchboard duty, that person would answer the phone, ask who was being called, ring the recipient's room, and connect the caller to the recipient's room phone by plugging wires into the appropriate receptacles on the switchboard. Switchboard duty was considered a "cushy" job, so a 75-minute shift was required to earn 60 minutes of work credit.

If no one was on switchboard duty, the incoming call would simply ring the phone in the lounge, and it would ring and ring until some good Samaritan picked it up and then went running to find the intended recipient.

To make an outgoing call, you'd pick up the phone in the lounge and dial out. There was a paper log where you were supposed to write down all of your long distance calls so you could be charged appropriately. Each month the bill would come in and there would be lots of unclaimed long distance calls. It was someone's job to do the detective work to figure out who made each call.

The Nuclear Reactor Across the Street

Across the street from Stebbins was a volleyball court. Directly beneath the court was a 1 Megawatt nuclear reactor, in the basement of Etcheverry Hall, the UC mechanical engineering building. This was a research reactor, not capable of exploding or melting down in an accident. Nevertheless, there were security and safety precautions taken.

Under the bench on the side of the volleyball court was a locked box labeled "Radiation Monitoring Equipment," probably containing film badges. This box was vandalized multiple times by anti-nuclear activists. They changed the label to say "Environmental Monitoring Equipment," which solved the problem.

There was a stairwell next to the volleyball court, leading down to a locked door. When we played volleyball, the ball would occasionally fall into the stairwell and someone would have to go down to retrieve it. While this was happening, the other players would verbally count off the rads of radiation exposure.

The nuclear reactor was decommissioned and dismantled in the late 1980s.

1975 NBA Championship -- Golden State (Oakland) Warriors

One day I heard extremely loud, raucous shouting from the TV room, which was located by the front door of Stebbins. I went to investigate and found a bunch of guys crowded around the TV, watching a Warriors game. Every time the Warriors scored, these guys erupted into ear-shattering cheers. I wasn't a sports fan then (and I'm still not); I was amazed that anyone could get so excited about something on TV. I have a slightly better appreciation now, 40 years later, as the Warriors win their first NBA championship since 1975.

Feedback From Stebbins 1975 Alumni

Pat: I'm the tall, skinny one at the top of the big photo of everybody on the front of Stebbins Hall. I just stumbled across your wonderful photos. What a kick! I was at Stebbins from January 1974 to June 1975, when I finished my master's in journalism and left town -- so I know most of these people. My time at Stebbins was easily the highlight of my college career.

Sara: I was at Stebbins for only a single term, Spring 1975. My time there was a sentinel event for me. Cal was the first time I heard the word "recycling," and I often joke I was there during the post-drug "early granola days." I was lucky to get a spot at Stebbins, which offered instant community, and a great group of Californians from all different backgrounds, and an opportunity to learn and grow in a fun environment. Thanks for the walk-- rather the hop, skip, and jump - down memory lane!

Links to Stebbins Hall Information & History

Official Berkeley Student Cooperative Website -- Stebbins Hall
Stebbins Hall is home to students of all backgrounds: veteran co-opíers and sophomores fresh out of the dorms, junior transfers and foreign exchange students, engineers and sun worshipers, beer brewers and bread bakers, mushroom hunters and business majors, foresters and freegans, the gluten-intolerant and caffeine addicts -- Stebbins has them all. Because of our diversity, the house character is one of tolerance and collaboration. ...

Stebbins Hall Wikipedia Page
Stebbins Hall is named after Lucy Ward Stebbins, former Dean of Women at University of California, Berkeley. Lucy Ward was born in San Francisco in 1880. She was educated at the University of California, Berkeley and later transferred to Radcliffe College to receive her A.B. degree. She graduated from Radcliffe College in 1902 and worked in Massachusetts as a social worker until 1910 when she took the position as Assistant Dean of Women at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1912 the former dean retired and Lucy Ward was appointed Dean of Women. ...

Wikipedia page on "Ramona" author Beverly Cleary
During the Great Depression, Cleary was a member of the University of California Student Cooperative Association (UCSCA), which was established to offset the expense of attending college at Berkeley. Students lived in housing cooperatives, where they worked in exchange for lower rent. Cleary lived at Stebbins Hall, the first all-women's co-op created in the association, and referred to her time there as "two of the most interesting years of my life". One afternoon, during a break from her chores, she found herself having a sandwich with a young gentleman named Clarence Cleary, her future husband. They married in 1940 and they moved to neighboring Oakland, California. ...

Stebbins Hall Yelp Review Page
Review by Steve H. -- I lived at Stebbins in the 1971-72 school year, the first year it was coed. I was a senior coming from the south side highrise dorms and Cloyne Court the year before.  Stebbins was relatively quiet, very close to campus, sociable, and comfortable.  I had the nicest double in the house, 2nd floor, northwest corner, the room occupied by children's book author Beverly Cleary in the late 1930s.  Anyway, I met a very cute and sweet young lady there and we have just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary ...

Berkeley Student Cooperative Alumni Association Facebook Page
Alumni who lived, worked and learned together in the Berkeley Student Cooperative (formerly University Students' Cooperative Association or USCA); includes some Stebbins Hall 1970 photos

Stebbins Hall 2013 Reunion Facebook Page
Reunion Photos

Stebbins 1970 Photos

History of USCA/BSC
During the dire times of the Great Depression students strained for resources were starting cooperatives throughout the country to save money on food and housing.  Additionally, many students faced racial and religious discrimination when looking for housing.  In February 1933, Harry Kingman, former YMCA director, inspired 14 UC Berkeley students to start the first student housing cooperative in Berkeley. ...

Cheap Place to Live (A UCSCA/USCA/BSC History), by Guy H. Lillian III, 1971
A womanís hall, Stebbins, opened on Ridge Road in the early months of 1936. The genesis of Stebbins Hall had its source in the activities of a man who would later become one of the U.C.S.C.A.ís most valuable benefactors, as well as one of the greatest educators in the history of the University of California, Clark Kerr. In 1935 Kerr was a graduate student directing a Works Progress Administration survey of the existing cooperatives in California ...



My 1975 Stebbins Diary

March 1, 1975 -- I move into Stebbins Hall from the Rochdale Apartments. I liked the privacy and self-reliance of apartment living, but I was getting lonely. A more social living situation was better-suited for me. At Stebbins I find a great bunch welcoming and accepting people.

April 9 -- The first of many Wednesday evening snack nights, a Stebbins tradition at the time. There was a slide show of someone's trip to Utah.

April 26 -- Stebbins has a picnic at Codornices Park. The park has good playground equipment, featuring a very long, smooth, and fast concrete slide. John L tries it and ends up in sitting in the mud.

April 30 -- Snack night, vegetables. Don't ask me why I wrote this stuff down.

May 4 -- Stebbins participates in a intra-co-op volleyball tournament and wins.

May 10 -- I go for a walk in the Berkeley hills and catch (and release) a gopher snake.

May 17 -- I take a group picture of Stebbinites at the front of the building. In the evening, we have a special dinner with our own hand-cooked food, place settings, and wine.

May 28 -- There's a heat wave, 86 degrees in the evening, so some of us sleep on the roof.

June 12 -- Final exams end. I take my first sip of an alcoholic beverage, a Margarita, prepared by Paul.

June 13 -- I go with a group of Stebbinites on a trip to San Francisco. We have Chinese food for dinner and visit several fancy hotels. We go to a hotel bar, where I order an orange juice.

June 14 -- Janice F hosts a swim party at her family's home.

June 15 -- I take one of several afternoon walks in the Berkeley hills with Clint, Madeline, Dana, and Betsy.

June 18 -- It's the first day of summer school. I take an obscure economics class on the development of railroads in Europe in the 18th century, taught by a young Englishman who paces back and forth in the front of the classroom as he lectures. Emily is a classmate.

June 29 -- I clean up a mass of accumulated cooking grease on the floor behind the stove.

July 4 -- Hort hosts a small group to watch fireworks from his family's boat.

captive mouseJuly 6 -- Betsy catches a tiny mouse on the kitchen floor by spraying water on it using the dishwasher spray faucet, then putting an empty jar over it. Nobody wants to kill it, but we don't want it in the house either. Chessa chauffeurs it in her VW to the Berkeley hills and releases it into the urban wild.

July 31 -- I interview for an engineering co-op job at American Microsystems Incorporated in Santa Clara. A week later, I'm offered the job, which I accept.

August 11 -- Hort organizes an evening trip to Fenton's ice cream parlor in Oakland.

August 13 -- I ask Betsy the meaning of the word "chutzpah," pronouncing it exactly as it's spelled, with the "ch" sound. She finds this very amusing.

August 21 -- I move to Santa Clara to start my first paying job, which runs through the Fall quarter. In the meantime, I occasionally visit friends at Stebbins on weekends.

December 13 -- During the Stebbins Christmas party, secret "fairies" give gifts to the residents. Bill lets me store some of my belongings in his room. Sandy lets me crash on the floor of her room. I borrow some of Dan Bolster's stash of foam cushions (Bolster's bolsters) from the hall closet to sleep on.

January 7, 1976 -- I move back into Stebbins for the winter quarter.




Time Machine 1970s  ©2015 Gray Chang. OK to print out photos for personal use.
Thanks to Pat Dodds for helping remember the names.
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