Iconic Hendrix Image Washed From Sather Gate

Photo: A restoration worker cleans the area of Sather Gate Bridge that until recently exhibited a popular imprint of Jimi Hendrix.
Chris Chung/File
A restoration worker cleans the area of Sather Gate Bridge that until recently exhibited a popular imprint of Jimi Hendrix.

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An iconic relic on the UC Berkeley campus disappeared late last week during the ongoing restoration of Sather Gate.

The face of legendary rock musician Jimi Hendrix, which had been imprinted on the northwest side of the Sather Gate Bridge railing since 1970, may have been washed away when the bridge was undergoing cleaning as a part of the restoration of the gate.

The restoration efforts began in October and should conclude by the end of the semester. Workers began putting up pieces of bronze from the gate yesterday.

Legend has it that in 1970, a poster was hung on the bridge to advertise a Jimi Hendrix concert in Berkeley. Rain caused the poster ink to sink into the concrete, according to campus tour guides.

Christine Shaff, communications manager for UC Berkeley Facilities Services, said she was not aware of the removal of the image from the bridge.

"I know that as a part of the project the bridge was cleaned, and that's it," Shaff said. "There wasn't any part of the bridge that was cleaned intentionally or not intentionally."

John Fizer, a campus character who can be seen playing guitar outside of Dwinelle Hall, said he saw a worker using industrial solvent to remove the remnants of Hendrix's face from the bridge on Friday morning. Fizer said he notified a UCPD officer, but was told to leave the workers alone.

"The workers laughed at me for objecting," he said.

Francisco Herrera, the worker Fizer saw cleaning the bridge, said he was removing poster glue and had not noticed Hendrix's face on the bridge.

"When I arrived, nothing was here," Herrera said. "But people have been asking me about its absence."

Junior Ryan Tucker, who was a CalSO counselor in the summers of 2007 and 2008, said he found the disappearance of Hendrix's face upsetting.

"Everyone thought it was really cool. Parents who were alive during the time of Hendrix especially got a kick out of it," Tucker said.

Fizer, who has been a regular presence on campus since 1965, said Hendrix's face has been pointed out by nearly every orientation group he has seen pass over Sather Gate Bridge.

"They capitalized on it to get students to come here," Fizer said. "The irony is that now the university will never be able to use it again."


Contact Anna Widdowson at [email protected]

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