What’s the link between a WWII admiral and Berkeley?

Nimitz Way in Tilden Park. Photo: Wikipedia/Creative Commons
Nimitz Way in Tilden Park. Photo: Wikipedia/Creative Commons

While admiring the view at Inspiration Point in Tilden Park, have you ever wondered  why the nearly path is named after a World War II commander, Chester Nimitz?

Well we have. And lucky for denizens of Berkeley and history buffs, The Berkeley Historical Plaque project has two new entries that explain all.

Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. Photo: Berkeley Historical Plaque project
Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. Photo: Berkeley Historical Plaque project

A few fun facts:

  • The path, with its spectacular views of the hills and the bay, was built before World War II and later became the guarded entrance to a Nike missile site constructed during the Cold War.
  • The roadway was named after Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, the U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander who spearheaded Japan’s defeat.
  • Nimitz served as UC Berkeley’s first professor of Naval Sciences and established the Naval Reserves Officers’ Training Unit in 1926.
  • Following the war, Nimitz and his wife Catherine moved to the Claremont Hotel. They eventually bought a house on Santa Barbara Road.
  • Nimitz liked to hike the Inspiration Point trail, and he often scattered around wildflower seeds.
  • The trail was dedicated in his name in 1955.
  • In 1963, Nimitz fell at his house, prompting him to move to Treasure Island.
The Nimitz residence on Santa Barbara Road. Photo: Berkeley Historical Plaque Project
The Nimitz residence on Santa Barbara Road. Photo: Berkeley Historical Plaque Project

The Berkeley Historical Plaque project has just put up two new entries, one on Admiral Nimitz and one of Inspiration Point artwork that can be seen on Nimitz Way.


The non-profit Berkeley Historical Plaque Project is all volunteer run and relies on financial support from the community to keep going. Supporters can even sponsor a plaque.

Update 10/07: This article was updated to correct information on the path leading to the Nike missile site. It originally said it was built during WWII when it was built during the Cold War.

Related:
Berkeley Historical plaques highlight local history (o7.15.14)
Berkeley Historical Plaques: Crowd-sourcing history (08.13.12)

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