Itís official: The Jim Berkland Bridge!
Photo by Alec Peters.
The Jim Berkland Memorial Bridge in Glen Ellen has been officially recognized by the County of Sonoma. Signage was recently installed by the county's Department of Transportation and Public Works.
The old truss bridge spanning Sonoma Creek at the north end of the Sonoma Developmental Center property was saved from demolition by Berkland in 1998, after he successfully campaigned to keep it from being replaced by something more generic - and less part of the rich legacy of the Valley of the Moon that he loved so well.
The bridge dates back to around 1931.
While Berkland was famous for his groundbreaking work in geology and seismology, he was known here for being an active part of the Glen Ellen community, where he had spent most of his long, generous life.
"His earliest memories, fishing our streams and wandering our hills, inspired a life-long love of and commitment to this place and its heritage," said Jim Shere, a longtime friend and colleague on the Glen Ellen Historical Society. "We can think of no better way to remember Jim's great contribution to our Valley than to name for him the bridge that he had worked so hard to preserve."
Growing up in Glen Ellen, Berkland left for 30 years, and then returned with his wife Jan in 1997, retiring after a 20-year career as the County Geologist for Santa Clara County. Berkland was educated in geology at U.C. Berkeley, San Jose State University, and U.C. Davis. His work history also included a 10-year stint with the federal Department of the Interior.
Berkland was the subject of a 2006 book, The Man Who Predicts Earthquakes - Jim Berkland, Maverick Geologist, by Cal Orey.
Berkland passed away in 2016.