Eshleman Hall is now a huge grey heap of rubble. A work crew has been demolishing the Lower Sproul landmark, from the top down, for the past month. On Tuesday, the ground floor itself succumbed to the jaws of the giant hydraulic excavator, a.k.a the “muncher,” as some call the demolition behemoth.
In addition to those following via webcam images online, a host of onlookers has been gawking at the tear-down, from across Bancroft Way, since it began May 30.
“I’m glad it’s been such a good show,” says Christine Shaff, communications director for Facilities Services at UC Berkeley. “I got a great email from one of the merchants across the street. She said she may have lost some business because she’s been outside watching, instead of helping customers.”
According to Shaff, the demolition crew will spend July and most of August clearing the site and prepping for construction of a lower but bigger building, part of new Lower Sproul complex. Materials from the demolition will go to a facility near San Jose, where they will be sorted for recycling, she says.
For the record, the building dates to 1965 and was named for John Morton Eshleman, who served as an early ASUC president. After graduating from Berkeley (BA 1902, MA 1903) he went on to serve as a State Assembly member and California lieutenant governor. Closely allied with the Progressive movement of his era, he was regarded as the likely successor to California Governor Hiram Johnson before his untimely death at 39. What is now Moses Hall was completed in 1931 as the Eshleman Memorial Publications Building; in 1965 the name “Eshleman Hall” was transferred to the Lower Sproul building.
• A new Lower Sproul, long a dream, is taking shape (NewsCenter, January 2012)
• Webcam offers birds-eye view of Eshleman demolition (NewsCenter, May 2013)
• Lower Sproul project website