I recently ran across an old map of the campus from the late 1940s. On it Boalt Hall was labeled as “Joaquin Hall.” Was that an earlier name for the law school? –IS, Albany
A. Someday someone will invent a Time Borer that will give us the capability of drilling down through time at any specific point on the planet. When that happens, somewhere between Café Zeb and the saber-tooth tigers we will pass through a sepia-washed abode called Joaquin Hall. It will be filled with studious young women, but it will not be the law school.
A women’s dormitory called Joaquin Hall first appears in the Blue and Gold yearbook for 1943, with an address of 2723 Bancroft Way. Then, inexplicably, it drops out of sight for the next two issues, reappearing in 1946 along with an image of the house that shows it to have been an idyllic retreat, with brick steps, mullion windows and a small front porch. Right about where the desk of the California Law Review editor now sits, once grew birch trees.
1947 would see the arrival in Joaquin Hall of an eager young co-ed named Babette Barancik, who as Babette Barton would in 1965 (after several years as a lecturer) be appointed to the faculty of Boalt Hall to teach Income Taxation. (Bob Berring once lived in Simon Hall, back when it was Manville Hall dormitory. Some professors just can’t escape these particular geographic coordinates.)
But the picturesque women’s dormitory would be short-lived, bulldozed in 1950 to make way for the new Boalt Hall. Its valedictory entry in the Blue and Gold is one of those perfect preserved-in-amber descriptions of a different era, not necessarily better or worse for Berkeley women, but so distant from our experience that it might as well be ancient Mesopotamia:
“The year 1949 marked the last year that Joaquin Hall would stand in its ideal proximity to the campus on College avenue and Bancroft way. The girls were busy with open houses, fashion shows, exchange dinners, a Christmas party, and a picnic at the Adobe Creek Lodge. Joaquin claimed one of the many queens on campus — Amy Markson, Snow Queen of the Cal Ski Club. Spring rites of sun-bathing on the porch and lawn often elicited responses from the neighbors, but the girls valiantly pursued their tanning crusade in the face of all obstacles. They wistfully bade farewell to their beloved ten-minute dashes to the seclusion of Wheeler, however, and were ready for a different location with a new motto — ‘Go gettum, Joaquin on Piedmont.’”
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