26 February 2015

Tour of the Kael-Basart House & Environs


Courtesy of Committee to Preserve the Jess Murals & Kael-Basart House

2419 Oregon Street, Berkeley
Sunday, 15 March 2015
from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Admission $20
(tax deductible)

In 1956, legendary film critic Pauline Kael engaged artist Jess Collins to paint murals in her 1904 brown-shingle house. The murals are a veritable treasure trove (see article by Greil Marcus in ARTFORUM), and the Committee to Preserve the Jess Murals & Kael-Basart House was formed to ensure that both house and murals remain so.

On this benefit house tour, sponsored by BAHA, you will see Jess’s remarkable murals up close and learn about key figures that contributed to Berkeley’s post-WWII artistic renaissance.


Photo: Daniella Thompson, 2014

Walking Tour of the Neighborhood

What links Pauline Kael to famed Japanese-American painter Chiura Obata, beat poet Robert Duncan, Max Scheer and his Berkeley Barb newspaper, jazz critic Phil Elwood, 1960s singer Country Joe McDonald, the Jabberwock folk music club, and the pioneering James Leonard family that owned a quarter-square mile of Berkeley in the mid-19th century?

Berkeley historian Steven Finacom will connect the dots as he leads a walking tour on Oregon Street in the immediate vicinity of the Kael-Basart House. The tour will depart at 1:30, 2:45, and 4:00 pm and will last about 40 minutes.

Tickets may be purchased in advance or on tour day (advance reservations required) and will be handed out at the ticket table on site. Advance purchase may be made via PayPal or by check sent to:

BAHA
P.O. Box 1137
Berkeley CA 94701

Landmark designation for the Channing Apartments


The Channing Apartments (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2014)

The Channing Apartments, 2409 College Avenue, were designated a City of Berkeley Landmark on 5 February 2015. This is the oldest surviving apartment building designed by the important Berkeley architect Walter H. Ratcliff, Jr. The building was constructed in 1913 by the Alameda County Home Investment Company, which was founded by Ratcliff and his partner, Charles Louis McFarland.

The Channing Apartments are distinguished by its graceful façade, which echoes that of the Hearst Memorial Mining Building on the University of California campus. It was featured in the October 1914 issue of The Architect and Engineer as part of a 23-page lead article on Ratcliff’s recent work.

In the mid-1920s, Alameda County Home Investment Co. sold the Channing Apartments to John Weston Havens, a nephew of Francis K. Shattuck and heir to his estate. Following Havens’ death in 1929, the building passed into the possession of his only son, John Weston Havens, Jr., who kept it until his own death in 2001. The Havens estate sold the building in 2005.

When the Channing Apartments were built, the Ellsworth Tract and its neighboring blocks were among the most elegant neighborhoods in Berkeley. Over the decades, campus expansion has brought about the destruction of several residential Southside blocks and the degradation of many surviving buildings. The Channing Apartments now face three institutional blocks that were almost completely cleared of their original buildings for the construction of Unit 1 and Unit 2 residence halls and the Underhill parking structure and athletic field. On its own side of the street, the Channing Apartments building is the only unaltered survivor from the first half of the 20th century.

The landmark application is accessible here.

05 December 2014

Jerry Arthur Sulliger (1 Nov. 1944 – 25 Nov. 2014)


Jerry Sulliger volunteering at BAHA’s Julia Morgan House Tour, 2 May 2010 (photo: Daniella Thompson)

It is with deep sorrow that we report the death of BAHA board member Jerry Sulliger, who passed away after a prolonged illness on Tuesday, 25 November 2014. He had been a BAHA member since 1998 and a director since 2004.

It is hard to overestimate the magnitude of Jerry’s behind-the-scenes contributions to BAHA. The important digital historic databases he created form the backbone of our daily research work. He donated numerous books and photographs, carried out seminal research work, and wrote articles on topics that would have stumped most other writers. In addition, Jerry was the historians’ historian—the person to whom we and all historians turned whenever we needed to separate fact from fiction.

Jerry began the monumental task of scanning the fragile Donogh real estate files of all Berkeley addresses, completing many streets before turning the task over to others. The file had special meaning to Jerry, as his mother had worked for Ormsby Donogh, and he was pleased to find a letter written by her in one of the folders.

Jerry was born in Los Angeles to Arthur and Gladys Sulliger. Both his father and his grandfather were engineers and Cal graduates (the grandfather graduated in 1900, the father in 1938). Jerry attended Bullard High School in Fresno, where he was a member of the California Scholarship Federation and of the student council.

He came to Berkeley as a UC student in the 1960s, majoring in Latin American Studies and History. Here he remained for the rest of his life, living on the Southside, in close proximity to the sites where the tumultuous events of the Free Speech Movement and the People’s Park protests took place.

For many years, Jerry managed the Shattuck Hotel, becoming an expert on its history. This interest grew to encompass all of Berkeley’s history, and as Jerry’s collections grew, so did his expertise. We are all the beneficiaries of his monumental work.

Rest in peace, Jerry. We miss you terribly.

04 November 2014

Harvey L. Smith presents “Berkeley and the New Deal”

Sunday, 9 November 2014
2 pm–4 pm
Berkeley History Center
1931 Center Street, Berkeley


Talk and book signing. Free admission.

Sunday, 16 November 2014
2 pm
Eastwind Books
2066 University Avenue, Berkeley


Book reading.

Berkeley’s 1930s and early 1940s New Deal structures and projects left a lasting legacy of utilitarian and beautiful infrastructure. These public buildings, schools, parks, and artworks helped shape the city and the lives of its residents; it is hard to imagine Berkeley without them.

The artists and architects of these projects mention several themes: working for the community, responsibility, the importance of government support, collaboration, and creating a cultural renaissance. These New Deal projects, however, can be called “hidden history” because their legacies have been mostly ignored and forgotten. Comprehending the impact of the New Deal on one American city is only possible when viewed as a whole.

Harvey L. Smith has been researching this part of Berkeley’s history for more than two decades. The images in his new book have been selected from local and national archives and from the author’s contemporary photographs of the living legacy of the New Deal.

 

27 October 2014

BAHA’s 40th Anniversary Celebration

Sunday, 23 November 2014
2 pm–4 pm

First Church of Christ, Scientist
2619 Dwight Way, Berkeley

Free admission

Join us to celebrate 40 years of preservation advocacy, education, and activism.

We welcome the entire community to this free event, which also celebrates the Landmarks Preservation Ordinance and the many struggles to preserve the heritage and texture of Berkeley.

Program
  • Organ Selections — William Ludtke

  • Greetings and Introductions — John McBride

  • Welcome — Fred Porta, Friends of First Church Berkeley

  • Before BAHA — Shirley Dean

  • Drafting the Landmarks Preservation Ordinance — Carl Bunch (introduced by Susan Dinkelspiel Cerny)

  • Early Days of BAHA — Trish Hawthorne

  • BAHA Goes to Washington to Save Ocean View — Stephanie Manning

  • Why Preservation Awards? — Mary Lee Noonan

  • Landmarks Preservation Commission Today —Austene Hall

  • Wins & Losses: Taking Stock of 40 Years — Daniella Thompson

  • Preservation is a Constant Surprise — The Committee to Save the Jess Murals & the Kael/Basart House

  • A Special Tribute to Sara Holmes Boutelle & Julia Morgan — Neale McGoldrick (research associate) along with members of Sara’s family

  • Cutting of the Birthday Cake in the Fireside Room

  • BAHA 40th Anniversary Wish

RSVP by e-mail or by phone (510) 841-2242.

BAHA History, Year by Year

We’re marking BAHA’s 40th anniversary with a new Web series, BAHA History, Year by Year.

The highlights of the first year, 1974–75, are already published on the BAHA website.

10 October 2014

BAHA’s 40th Anniversary and Measure R


Photo: Daniella Thompson, 2009

Dear Members,

This year, BAHA is celebrating 40 years since its incorporation (invitations will be sent shortly).

Throughout BAHA’s four decades, we have been closely involved in preserving Berkeley’s historic downtown, which retains one of the few surviving Main Streets in California.

BAHA conducted the first Downtown Survey in the late 1970s. A few years later, we formed the Downtown Steering Committee with local merchants and city government. Out of that committee came the Downtown Design Guidelines, as well as the Downtown Berkeley Association.

In the mid-1980s, BAHA board members Susan Cerny and Arlene Silk drew up the Preservation Element for Berkeley’s Downtown Plan. In 1991, Berkeley joined the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street program. More recently, our members were closely involved in the long deliberations of the Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee (DAPAC).

Which leads us to Measure R.

BAHA endorses Measure R for the same reasons that led us to oppose the 2010 Measure R.

The current Measure R offers the only avenue for rolling back some of the more harmful elements of the 2010 Measure R, including oversized development that offers no benefits to the community.

Major developers, who stand to be the principal beneficiaries if Measure R loses, are financing the No on R campaign, just as they financed the original Measure R four years ago. The current No on R campaign is as deceitful as the 2010 Yes on R campaign was. The much-ballyhooed “green vision” Berkeleyans voted for in 2010 has turned out to represent nothing more than the color of money that developers stand to reap from 18-story towers full of overpriced apartments.

We urge you to read the arguments for Measure R. It is also highly instructive to read what open-eyed BAHA members like Jacquelyn McCormick and Becky O’Malley have to say about this important issue.

Thank you for your attention.

04 October 2014

Three newly designated landmarks


2503, 2509 & 2511 Regent Street (photo; Daniella Thompson, 2014)

On 2 October 2014, the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated 2503, 2509, and 2511 Regent Street as City of Berkeley Landmarks, Structures of Merit. All three buildings were designed by the noted architect A. Dodge Coplin (1869–1908) in 1902–1903 and represent his earliest residential work in Berkeley.

The immediate area is rich in history and historic resources. Within a block and a half of the three houses there are nine other designated structures (including Berkeley’s only National Historic Landmark, the First Church of Christ, Scientist) and a designated site (People’s Park). An 11th landmark—the Woolley House—is scheduled to be moved to the parcel directly across the street by the end of 2014.

With the designation of the three Coplin houses, the north end of Regent Street has become a de facto historic district.

Find out more about these new landmarks here.

19 September 2014

BAHA endorses Measure R

08 September 2014

The Blood House on the move


The Blood House makes its way past People’s Park.

For 123 years, the Ellen Blood House, a Queen Anne Victorian and a designated City of Berkeley Structure of Merit, was a fixture at 2526 Durant Avenue. Designed by the architect Robert Gray Frise in 1891, the Blood House was the only 19th-century building—and the only single-family home—remaining on the 2500 bloock of Durant Avenue.

In 2003, developers Ruegg & Ellsworth sought a demolition permit for the Blood House. The Landmarks Preservation Commission denied the permit, and the Zoning Adjustments Board followed suit.

A few years later, John Gordon and Janis Mitchell stepped in, offering to receive the Blood house on an empty lot they own on the corner of Dwight Way and Regent Street and to rehabilitate it. The relocation scheme also includes similar plans for the John Woolley House (1876), a City of Berkeley Landmark currently located at 2509 Haste Street and owned by Ken Sarachan.

After 11 years of negotiations, the Blood House was finally moved to its new Regent Street location on Saturday, 16 August 2014. The Woolley House is still awaiting its move.

See the house moving photo gallery.

04 July 2014

2014 BAHA Preservation Awards


Photo: Carrie Olson, 2014

The 2014 BAHA Preservation Awards are available for viewing online.

Rose Walk House Tour photo gallery


Photo: Anthony Bruce, 2014

Photos from our 2014 House Tour, “Maybeck’s Rose Walk and Surroundings,” are now available for viewing.

06 May 2014

Julia Morgan: An American Architect in Paris

“Julia Morgan: An American Architect in Paris” is the topic of Dr. Karen McNeill’s talk at the Berkeley City Club on 29 May 2014, at 6:30 pm.

Tickets: $10 in advance; $12 at the door.

See additional information and purchase tickets at Eventbrite.

15 March 2014

2014 Spring House Tour and Garden Reception

14 March 2014

Benicia Vintage Home & Garden Tour


Fish-Riddell House

Saturday, 10 May 2014
11 am to 4 pm
Tickets: $25 advance; $30 tour day

Two Benicia landmarks will be among the properties to open their doors to the public as part of the Benicia Historical Society’s annual home and garden tour.

The Fish-Riddell mansion at 245 West K Street is an impressive Queen Anne Victorian with a turret, mahogany staircase and mantels, stained-glass windows, and decorative plaster brackets. It is the most elaborate of the 19th-century houses in Benicia.


Frisbie-Walsh House

The Frisbie-Walsh house at 235 East L Street is a Gothic Revival house pre-fabricated on the East Coast and shipped around Cape Horn to Benicia. Built for John Frisbie, General Vallejo’s son-in-law, this c. 1850 house is a virtually identical twin to Lachryma Montis, General Vallejo’s house in Sonoma.

Other houses and gardens will also be included in the tour. For further information, see the Benicia Historical Society website or contact Vicki Cullen at (707) 315-6434 or Jerry Hayes at (707) 746-6689.

26 February 2014

From Bears to Beasleys: A Century of Public Art on the U.C. Berkeley Campus


Photos: Steven Finacom

Sunday, 9 March 2014
10:00 am to 1:00 pm
$25 per person
Attendance limited

To order, send a check made out to BAHA to:
BAHA
Campus Art Walk
P.O. Box 1137
Berkeley, CA 94701

Include the names of people in your party and an e-mail address and/or telephone number. Attendees will be notified of the starting point.

You may also order online via PayPal (see instructions).

Stroll the U.C. Berkeley campus in the company of two experts for a unique look at the university’s outdoor sculpture and public art, both old and new.

Renowned Oakland-based sculptor Bruce Beasley and community historian (and U.C. staff member) Steven Finacom will co-lead this excursion through a sculpture collection that dates back to 1900 and includes the works of notable artists, from Alexander Calder to Douglas Tilden and Gutzon Borglum. Beasley and Finacom will share the intricate history of outdoor art on the campus, from a larger-than-life bust of Abraham Lincoln to a bevy of golden bears, allegorical New Deal mosaics, and a set of silvery rings “floating” in a reflecting pool.

Finacom will talk about the history of the art collection and the stories of the older individual pieces. Beasley, who is a Cal alumnus and currently has five monumental sculptures from his “Rondo” series on exhibit on the campus, will discuss his own works and comment on the other pieces of art and his days as a young artist studying at Cal.

There will be a mid-walk break for coffee and light refreshments.

The walk covers most of the campus and may include steep paths and stairs, although alternative routes can be identified for the mobility impaired.

23 February 2014

Berkeley History Chats

The Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association and the Berkeley Historical Society present a new series of informal lectures, featuring local experts, each talking about a topic of local historic and/or cultural interest.

Berkeley History Center
Veterans Memorial Building
1931 Center Street, Berkeley

Fortnightly on Thursdays
13 March–24 April 2014
7:00–8:30 pm

Admission: $10 per talk by reservation. Space is limited! Order in advance to assure your seat.

You may also order online via PayPal (see instructions).


Photo: Daniella Thompson
  Thursday,
13 March 2014
7:00 pm

Daniella Thompson: The Berkeley Unitarians and Architectural Innovation

In the late 19th century, several religious denominations founded vigorous congregations in the neighborhoods around the UC Berkeley campus. Early Berkeley Unitarians, whose membership included the Maybecks, the Keelers, and fellow founders of the Hillside Club, held a progressive view of architecture. Their first church building at Bancroft Way and Dana Street, designed by A.C. Schweinfurth and completed in 1898, incorporates startling architectural features and has been characterized as a “powerhouse” (it is now the Dance Facility on the UC Berkeley campus).

Daniella Thompson will trace the history of the Unitarian community in Berkeley, introduce its cast of leading characters and the significant houses they built, and discuss the links between culture and nature embodied in its church buildings.



Photo: Tom Dalzell
  Thursday,
27 March 2014
7:00 pm

Sold Out!

Tom Dalzell: Quirky Berkeley

Many Berkeley front yards and gardens contain unusual, eccentric, and curiously alluring displays of art, landscape, and artifacts. Walk down a Berkeley residential street, and you never know what you’ll see from the sidewalk: A giant chicken? A miniature landscape of plastic toys? A panda in a speedboat? An elaborate spiritual shrine? “Art cars” at home? All those, and more, are being catalogued by urban explorer Tom Dalzell, who walks through Berkeley, documenting our “oddball, whimsical, eccentric, and the near-rhyme quirky material culture.”

Tom Dalzell’s illustrated talk will cover this evolving work, looking at Berkeley and environs from out-of-the-way corners of the hills to hot dog stands, the now-vanished driftwood sculpture of the Emeryville mudflats, and the history and stories he’s discovering behind the art.


Thursday, 10 April 2014
7:00 pm

Karin Sveen: The Immigrant and the University: Peder Sather and Gold Rush California

When Norwegian poet and writer Karin Sveen first arrived at the Berkeley campus as a visiting scholar, she saw the dedicatory inscription to Peder Sather on Sather Gate. “Who was this man with a Norwegian last name, and why was he so prominently honored in Berkeley?,” she wondered. Her research over several years has made her the expert on a remarkable man who left his Norwegian family farm in the 1830s to travel to the New World, where he started as a clerk and became a successful businessman, banker, and trustee of the College of California. Sather was a fervent promoter of education on both East and West coasts, and his fortune later paid for two of Berkeley’s most iconic structures, Sather Tower and Sather Gate, as well as for enduring academic programs.

Karin Sveen’s biography of Sather, The Immigrant and the University: Peder Sather and Gold Rush California, has just been revised and published in English by UC Press. It will be the focus of her talk about Sather’s life. Copies will be available for purchase and signing.



Courtesy of Stephen Barton
  Thursday,
24 April 2014
7:00 pm

Stephen Barton: Stitt Wilson, Berkeley's First and Only Socialist Party Mayor

In 1911, in the midst of an era of local, state, and national progressive reform, Berkeley voters elected Berkeley”s first (and, to date, only) Socialist Party mayor. Canadian born Jackson Stitt Wilson was an energetic California immigrant via Chicago, a Methodist minister who preached a Gospel of social justice and service to the poor, and a stalwart evangelist for a society based on cooperation rather than competition. As mayor for two years, he championed public utilities, labor, women’s rights and civic improvements, and opposed alcohol, tobacco, and mandatory vaccination. Family tragedy ended his elected service after one term, but he continued to be a popular speaker and later ran unsuccessfully for mayor and Congress before his 1942 death at his Berkeley home. Wilson’s children had deep connections to the California theater and film scene.

Stephen Barton, Ph.D. has extensively researched Wilson, his life, and his political philosophy and era. His talk will illuminate this largely forgotten figure from Berkeley’s activist past, including both his political activism and family life.

08 February 2014

Letter to the Berkeley City Council

Read BAHA’s letter to the Berkeley City Council regarding the Council’s contemplated move out of Old City Hall.

31 January 2014

Outings on Fridays

Our popular series of guided tours, organized by Sally Sachs, returns this spring. A post-tour group lunch at a restaurant close to the tour venue is optional and not included in the tour price. Lunch reservation must be made at least 5 days prior to each tour.

Tickets: $15 per tour or $40 for the series

  Friday, 7 March 2014
11:00 am

The Gardens at Lake Merritt
Oakland

A hidden jewel in the city of Oakland, The Gardens at Lake Merritt is a seven-acre collection of themed gardens, including Japanese, Mediterranean, Bonsai, Palm, Lavender, Native Bee, Edible, Bay-Friendly, and other garden types.


  Friday, 4 April 2014
11:00 am

Dockside tour of USS Potomac
Oakland

The “Floating White House” was originally commissioned the USCG Cutter Electra in 1934. In 1936 it was renamed the USS Potomac and served as Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Presidential Yacht until his death in 1945. We will visit the restored 165-foot-long vessel, now a National Historic Landmark.


  Friday, 6 June 2014
11:00 am

Cohen-Bray House
Oakland

Built in 1882–1884, the Cohen-Bray House typifes the Stick style of architecture and still contains many original furnishings in the Aesthetic style of Charles Eastlake. The original interior decoration is a quintessential example of the Anglo-Japanese design craze of the 1880s. The house is listed in the National Register of Historic Places in addition to being a designated City of Oakland Landmark.


To order tickets, print and fill out the ticket order form and mail it with a check made out to BAHA and a stamped, self-addressed envelope to:
BAHA
Outings on Fridays
P.O. Box 1137
Berkeley, CA 94701

You can also pay for tickets by credit card via PayPal (see instructions).

17 January 2014

University Art Museum listed in the National Register

On 8 January 2014, the University Art Museum (BAM) was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. BAHA sponsored the nomination, which was written by John English.

The building is considered a masterwork of modernist design and has been called a “visual masterpiece.” In its scuptural forms, it outstandingly exemplifies the Brutalist style of its era. Especially impressive is the unique complex formed by the soaring atrium and spirals of multiple galleries and ramps. Also visually powerful is the building’s exterior, which strongly reflects the interior layout and presents staggered Cubist masses that rise and shift direction compellingly. BAM is a prime example of work by Mario J. Ciampi (1907–2006), an important Bay Area architect and urban designer with a distinctive modernist flair.

Art historican Sidra Stich notes that “At one time the museum was the center of contemporary art activity in the Bay Area. It produced internationally significant exhibitions, had its finger on the pulse of avant-garde activity, and was an energizing hub for people and ideas [...] aspects of the [museum’s] program still focus on the current era, offering insights into contemporary ideas and modes of expression.”

The museum has a continuing commitment to presenting new and experimental work. Also exceptional is the museum’s world-class Pacific Film Archive.