27 June 2004
Frank Tape tells tall tales
Frank Tape and his mother Mary, 1922
(photo courtesy of Jack Kim)
The saga of the Tape family continues.
At the turn of the 20th century, Joseph Tape and his son Frank were active firefighters in the Peralta company of the Berkeley Volunteer Fire Department. The company was stationed on Shattuck Avenue near Russell Street.
In November 1941, Frank Tape was interviewed by columnist Hal Johnson of the Berkeley Daily Gazette. Among other fabulous stories, Frank decribed how, some forty years earlier, he had saved the life of Berkeleys first fire chief, James Kenney. This story may be perfectly true, but coming at the end of a long chain of tall tales about the Tape familys noble origins and Franks own alleged exploits as a secret service operator, one cant help but wonder.
The interview may not reveal much accurate information about Berkeleys early days, but it does make for vastly entertaining reading.