17 May 2018

Annual Membership Meeting & Lecture

Photo: Daniella Thompson

Thursday, 31 May 2018
The Hillside Club
2286 Cedar Street, Berkeley

6:30 Social Hour — no-host wine bar
7:00 Buffet Dinner ($35 by reservation)*
7:30 Business Meeting and Election of Officers & Directors
Free coffee & dessert for all
8:00 Lecture

Mt. Tamalpais from Berkeley, c. 1905 (Anthony Bruce postcard collection)

4,500 Years of Living in Berkeley

Speaker: Professor Kent Lightfoot
Introduction by Malcolm Margolin

Kent Lightfoot, Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, is an expert on the history of the West Berkeley Shellmound, the oldest known site of human habitation in the Bay Area. He will speak about what archaeology at the West Berkeley Shellmound tells us about our community’s first era of human habitation.

Buffet Dinner

Mediterranean Salad
Romaine Hearts with vine-ripe Tomatoes, Olives, shredded Carrots, Scallions, Feta Cheese, and Lemon-Mint Vinaigrette.

Spring Mix, Beets, Pear Salad, with Berry Vinaigrette
Organic Spring Mix, Beets, Pears, Berry Jam, Apple Cider Vinegar, extra virgin Olive Oil.

Jeweled Rice
Saffron Rice with Middle Eastern Spices, caramelized Onions and Carrots, Nuts and Raisins.

Roasted Vegetables
Assorted Vegetables, roasted with extra virgin Olive Oil and fresh Oregano.

Roast Chicken
Organic Mary’s Chicken Breast and Thighs with fresh Herbs, Garlic, Fennel, and Lemon.

Boeuf Bourguignon
Niman Ranch Beef Brisket, Red Wine, Onions, Celery, Olive Oil.

Dinner will be provided by Jasmine Catering.

* If you wish to order dinner, please purchase tickets online and include the names of your guests.

For further information, call (510) 841-2242 or e-mail to baha@berkeleyheritage.com.

Slate of BAHA Officers and Directors for FY 2018–19

President: Steven Finacom
Vice-President: Leila H. Moncharsh
Secretary: Carrie Olson
Treasurer: Stephanie Manning

Directors at Large

  • Jane Edginton
  • Mariana Gallardo
  • Neysa Garrett
  • James Grandison
  • Ann Killebrew
  • Jane McKinne-Mayer
  • Arlene Silk
  • 15 May 2018

    Judge rules for Berkeley in Post Office case

    Photo: Daniella Thompson

    On Monday, 14 May 2018, U.S. District Judge William Alsup found that the Civic Center District Zoning Overlay established by the City of Berkeley in September 2014 is not unconstitutional, as claimed by the USPS and the U.S. Department of Justice.

    Read the details of this case in Courthouse News, Save the Berkeley Post Office, and Berkeleyside.

    The full decision can be read here.

    07 April 2018

    Campanile Way designated a City Landmark

    Campanile Way, a historic roadway on the University of California campus, was designated a City of Berkeley Landmark on 5 April 2018.

    One of Berkeley’s oldest and most important landscape features, the “Way” leads downhill from Sather Tower, pointing directly toward the Golden Gate and San Francisco Bay.

    This view corridor was inspired by Frederick Law Olmsted in the early 1860s; he advised the private College of California on planning the new campus site and suggested that the magnificent and symbolic view towards the Golden Gate should be the organizing principle of campus design. In the 1870s, the first buildings on the campus were sited accordingly, flanking a “baseline for buildings” that matched the line of today’s roadway. In the 1880s, the first campus library, Bacon Hall (featuring its own bell, clock tower, and flagpole), stood at the top of the “Way.”

    In the early 20th century, Campanile Way took on its familiar classical form, flanked by John Galen Howard’s handsome granite Beaux-Arts buildings, lined with rows of pollarded London planetrees, and crowned with Sather Tower at its top. Since then, generations of campus users and visitors have been daily inspired by the view of the bay and the Golden Gate from the top of the “Way.” Several U.C. campus planning documents currently in effect recognize the importance of this view corridor.

    The landmark application is accessible online.

    31 March 2018

    BAHA 2018 Spring House Tour

    Sunday, 6 May 2018
    1:00 to 5:00 pm

    See the House Tour page

    Photo: Daniella Thompson, 2018

    04 March 2018

    Hicks House designated a City Landmark

    Thomas & Louise Hicks House (photo: Shmuel Weissman)

    The Thomas & Louise Hicks House, a 1904 Arts & Crafts residence built by Chapin A. Martin at 2901 Benvenue Avenue, was designated a City of Berkeley Landmark on 1 March 2018. One of the most distinctive and best-preserved houses in the Elmwood district, the Hicks House was among the earliest houses constructed in the Berry-Bangs Tract, and the first house on its block.

    The Hicks House is distinguished by a cross-gabled roof with flaring eaves and upturned bargeboards; a symmetrical façade marked by large twin gables; a shingled second story overhanging a first story clad in heavily textured stucco; decorative rafter-tails in the eaves under the second story; an abundance of original wood-sash windows with latticed lights set in wooden muntins; clinker-brick base skirt, porch columns, porch parapets, and chimneys; and a central recessed portico with a heavy timber beam, exposed ceiling joists, and clinker-brick pilasters flanking the front door.

    In its early days, the Hicks House was the home of a lumber dealer, followed in rapid succession by two executives of the Sherwin Williams paint company. For 37 years between 1919 and 1956, the Hicks House served as the manse of St. John’s Presbyterian Church and was the home of its pastors, notably Rev. Francis Wayland Russell, D.D., and Rev. Stanley Armstrong Hunter, D.D., both of whom were nationally known religious leaders. When St. John’s sold the Hicks House in 1956, it became the home and working studio of Mynard and Mary Groom Jones, two well-known concert singers and voice teachers who trained generations of classical singers.

    The Hicks House retains integrity of location, design, materials, setting, feeling, and association. The landmark application is accessible online.

    08 February 2018

    A new Structure of Merit designated

    Google Street View

    The George A. Mattern Building, 2500 Shattuck Avenue at Dwight Way, was designated a City of Berkeley Landmark, Structure of Merit on 1 February 2018.

    The building’s architect, Louis Maylon Upton (1879–1943), made his name by designing elegant Pacific Heights mansions in San Francisco. Although he lived in Berkeley, Upton is known to have designed only four buildings here. Three of those projects, including this handsome, mixed-use corner building, were commissioned by the knitwear manufacturer George Alfred Mattern (1864–1945).

    Constructed in 1923, the Mattern Building was originally clad entirely in buff-colored pressed brick on its street façades, and its corner storefront was designed to house a branch of the Berkeley Bank of Savings and Trust Company. When Bank of America took over the space in 1936, its exterior was clad in stucco. Today, the unpainted brick face remains on the second floor, on the southernmost Shattuck Avenue storefront, and on the western part of the Dwight Way façade.

    Among the Mattern Building’s notable features are a cornice undermounted with dentils; horizontal bands of decorative brickwork below the cornice, above and below the second-floor windows; six fluted pilasters with four capitals incorporating a stylized BA motif; a cutoff corner with a balcony on the second story; double casement windows along the upper-level façades; and a five-part clerestory with turned-wood mullions above the entrance to the southernmost Shattuck Avenue storefront.

    The Mattern Building anchors the northern end of a largely intact block of late 19th- and early 20th-century commercial structures. It is also a relatively rare surviving example in Berkeley of a multistory, brick-clad, mixed-use building that retains much of its original design and its original unpainted brickwork.

    The landmark application is accessible online.

    06 February 2018

    C. M. Cook, the mysterious architect

    Courtesy of Anthony Bruce

    In 1904, upper Telegraph Avenue underwent a character-changing transformation. The stretch between Bancroft and Channing ways, then an elegant residential enclave dotted with imposing mansions, was invaded by commerce. The person responsible was the developer John Albert Marshall, who dared to defy the resident millionaires by erecting the neighborhood’s first mixed-use building.

    “Ground was broken to-day for a three-story business block at Telegraph avenue and Bancroft way, to be erected by J. A. Marshall at a cost of $40,000. Five stores will face Telegraph avenue and two on Bancroft way,” announced the San Francisco Call on October 17. Construction of the Marshall Apartments was the shot across the bow that set the millionaires fleeing.

    The architect of the Marshall Apartments was one C. M. Cook, who had his initial foray into Berkeley only two years earlier. Within less than a decade, Cook’s buildings proliferated through Berkeley. Many of those structures survive, and a few have been designated City of Berkeley Landmarks.

    It all came to a stop in 1910, and the architect remains a cypher—two initials and a short surname. The C. M. Cook mystery is all the deeper, since his 1940 U.S. Census record reveals that the architect’s education did not go beyond the fourth year of high school. Who, then, was Cook, how did he become a sought-after architect, and what led to his sudden disappearance following a brief, meteoric career?

    The mystery is solved in this newly published article.

    03 February 2018

    Paul A. Grunland (1924–2018)

    Photo: Daniella Thompson, 2008

    It is with great sorrow that we learned of the death of longtime BAHA member and well-known and loved community volunteer and historian Paul Grunland. He was 93.

    Paul was active in the Berkeley Historical Society, the Berkeley Path Wanderers Association, the El Cerrito Historical Society, and the Sierra Club, among numerous other organizations. He regularly led informative walking tours in Berkeley and Kensington, conducted interviews for oral histories, and documented the history of the Berkeley Woods tract, where he made his home with Mary (“Peggy”) Post Grunland, his wife of 62 years.

    Before retiring, Paul managed the Capwell’s department store in El Cerrito Plaza. In 2013, he presented an illustrated lecture on the history of this shopping center to the El Cerrito Historical Society.

    Paul was a nature lover, a lifelong outdoorsman, an avid skier and hiker. He was active through his 80s, participating in physically demanding Jepson Herbarium botanical workshops in remote locations. He was seen at practically every lecture in town, and attended a lecture in the Tilden Botanic Garden on Saturday, 27 January.

    Paul passed away on Friday, 2 February 2018, after suffering a a massive brain hemorrhage.

    We will miss you, old friend.

    24 January 2018

    Winter 2018 Walking Tours

    Enjoy a series of four walks in February and March, led by expert local guides exploring lesser-known aspects of Berkeley’s historical and architectural heritage. Space is limited; paid reservations are required.

    Admission per walk: $15 general; $12 BAHA members

    Purchase tickets online or by mail.

    Ticket holders will be notified of the starting location(s) by e-mail.

    BAHA archives

    Berkeley Deco and Moderne
    Sunday, 18 February 2018
    1:00 pm–3:00 pm
    Leader: Steven Finacom

    Berkeley is not commonly known as a center of Deco-era architecture, but we actually have many fine buildings designed in the cutting edge styles of the 1930s and 40s. They are concentrated in the downtown area and on the U.C. Berkeley campus. The walk will visit most of these buildings, including what was once the largest academic building in the world, Berkeley’s near-forgotten 1940s Moderne downtown bus station, the narrowest commercial building in town, and possibly a look inside our finest movie palace.

    Courtesy of Tom Dalzell

    Unknown South Shattuck
    Sunday, 4 March 2018
    1:00 pm–3:00 pm
    Leader: Steven Finacom

    People may speed through Berkeley’s South Shattuck district regarding it only as Berkeley’s “auto row,” but it’s actually a fascinating neighborhood that includes rare 19th-century buildings, reminders of the railroads, pleasant tree-lined residential blocks of handsome bungalows, Victorians, and Colonial Revival residences, two magnificent Moderne buildings built as Berkeley’s indoor recreation hubs, and the site of Berkeley’s early traveling circus grounds. We’ll sample the rich history of the blocks south of Dwight Way, between Fulton Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way.

    Daniella Thompson

    The Berryman Neighborhood
    Sunday, 18 March 2018
    1:00 pm–3:00 pm
    Leader: Carrie Olson

    Browse one of North Berkeley’s most eclectic early residential districts west of the Gourmet Ghetto and near Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School, guided by a neighborhood native. Historic and architecturally interesting houses abound on quiet side streets. The walk route includes the early Berkeley home of the Maybeck family, Victorians and brown-shingles, the Edible Schoolyard, two hidden creeks, and even two of Berkeley’s oldest automobile service stations.

    BAHA archives

    Berkeley’s Shellmound Heritage
    Saturday, 31 March 2018
    1:00 pm–3:00 pm
    Leader: Stephanie Manning

    Explore the Bay Area’s oldest residential neighborhood—the vicinity of the West Berkeley Shellmound—where locals were living more than four thousand years ago. Learn about the ancient “pre-contact” history of this neighborhood and the modern movement to reclaim its native heritage. See buildings saved from the early neighborhood of Ocean View, where Berkeley’s post-Gold Rush settlement began. This is also where Berkeley’s modern preservation movement was born half a century ago, as residents and activists fought to preserve Ocean View from redevelopment into a warehouse district.

    All walks will generally be on public sidewalks, but some include some steep streets or narrow sidewalks. Unless otherwise noted, buildings will be viewed from the exterior.

    23 January 2018

    Pre-Contact and Wild Landscape of the East Bay

    Photo: Daniella Thompson

    Thursday, 22 February 2018
    7:00 pm
    The Ecology Center Store
    2530 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley

    Tickets: $10 (limited space; advance purchase recommended)

    This event promises to be an absorbing exploration of California’s landscape from ancient times until the arrival of Europeans. Kevin Dixon, naturalist for the East Bay Regional Parks, will speak on how we might recreate some of the native landscape with the use of indigenous plants, and how we can see pockets of it even today in various hidden places.

    Chef Vincent Medina (Chochenyo Ohlone) will speak on native use of the indigenous edible landscape, his specialty.

    22 January 2018

    Barcelona Art Nouveau

    Barcelona Art Nouveau

    An illustrated lecture by Erik Kramvik

    Wednesday, 7 March 2018
    7:30 pm
    The Hillside Club
    2286 Cedar Street, Berkeley

    Suggested donation: $10 general; $5 Hillside Club members

    Antoni Gaudí i Cornet (1852–1932) and Lluís Domènech i Montaner (1850–1923) were the greatest of the Barcelona architects who worked to create a new design spirit, combining the talents of many local artisans and bringing about the ultimate integration of craft and design.

    Erik Kramvik is a charter member of Artistic License, having devoted the past 35 years to the restoration and rehabilitation of period houses in the Bay Area and historic communities in California. Erik also explores the resy fo the world in an effort to document photographically the great achievements in architecture.

    Sponsored by Artistic License, a guild of artisans.

    20 November 2017

    BAHA Holiday Open House

    Photo: Anthony Bruce

    Thursday, 14 December 2017
    4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

    Join us for holiday cheer and light refreshments at the historic McCreary-Greer House.

    Meet and chat with our Executive Director, Anthony Bruce, and BAHA board members.

    Browse our bookshop for attractive and educational holiday gifts.

    We look forward to seeing you and your guests!

    26 September 2017

    The 2017 BAHA Preservation Awards

    The Blood (left) & Woolley Houses (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2017)

    Nine rehabilitation projects received our 2017 Preservation Awards. See them here.

    21 September 2017

    Treasure Island Museum lecture & tour of Admiral Nimitz House

    Eastern Span of old Bay Bridge and Nimitz House (courtesy of NoeHill.com)

    Saturday, 7 October 2017

    Lecture: 10:30 am
    Building One, Room 111
    Treasure Island

    Tour: 12:00 pm
    Nimitz House
    Yerba Buena Island

    Free of charge

    Lecture: Midway 1942: Time for a Command Decision
    Speaker: Michael Svanevik, Professor of History Emeritus, College of San Mateo

    After Pearl Harbor and other breathtaking military victories, Japan was intoxicated with feelings of invincibility. In June 1942, enemy forces maneuvered toward American-held Midway. Brilliant naval intelligence and the steadfast determination of Admiral Chester Nimitz altered the tempo of war, crippling invaders and taking to the offensive in the Pacific.

    Tours of Nimitz House: Rear Admiral John Bitoff, USN (ret), who lived in the house as Commander, Naval Base San Francisco in 1989–1991, will give an introductory talk and lead participants on a tour through the house. Built in 1900, the Classic Revival mansion is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

    For additional information, see the Treasure Island Museum website.

    04 September 2017

    The Berkeley Shellmound Fall 2017 lecture series

    Ohlone Indians in a Tule Boat on San Francisco Bay, by Louis Choris, 1816, published 1822

    The Hillside Club
    2286 Cedar Street
    Berkeley, CA 94709
    All lectures begin at 7:00 pm

    Tickets $15; $40 for the series
    Order tickets here.

    There is evidence of human habitation in Berkeley as long as 5,700 years ago. The Berkeley area’s first residents were Ohlone Lisjan native people; their descendants still live in this area. The West Berkeley Shellmound—a City of Berkeley Landmark—is the oldest known of hundreds of shellmound sites around San Francisco Bay. For nearly six thousand years, people have chosen Berkeley as a place to live.

    In the late 19th- and early 20th centuries, the above-ground portions of the Berkeley Shellmound were demolished, and streets and developments were laid over a good part of the site. However, much history and culture remains underground; previously unknown native burials were discovered as recently as 2016 along Fourth Street. One square block remains undeveloped, bounded by Fourth Street, Hearst Avenue, University Avenue, and the railroad tracks. A major commercial/housing/parking garage project is currently proposed for that block, and going through the City’s review processes.

    Thursday, 26 October 2017, 7:00 pm
    Archaeology and Mapping the Shellmounds

    Brian F. Byrd, Ph.D., a prehistorian and archaeologist specializing in the Bay Area shellmounds, and R. Scott Byram, P.h.D., an archaeologist and the author of Triangulating Archaeological Landscapes, will talk about the importance of the shellmounds in the mapmaking efforts of the U.S. Coast Survey more than a century-and-a-half ago.

    Thursday, 2 November 2017, 7:00 pm
    The Native Perspective

    Ohlone leaders Corrina Gould, Ruth Orta, and Vincent Medina will present a panel discussion on the ancient ancestral West Berkeley Shellmound site.

    Thursday, 9 November 2017, 7:00 pm
    Land Trusts, Conservancies and Cultural Easements as Tools for Preservation

    This panel will include Johnella LaRose and Corrina Gould from Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, speaking on their experience with cultural easements. Cory Wilkins will describe the work of The Archaeological Conservancy. We have also invited the Trust for Public Land.

    Photo courtesy of the Nels Nelson Archive, American Museum of Natural History

    The series is sponsored by the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, Indian People Organizing for Change, California Institute for Community, Art and Nature & Earth Island Institute’s Sacred Land Film Project.

    Come see us at the Solano Stroll

    The BAHA booth will be located at 1741 Solano Avenue, on the north side of the street, near Ensenada Avenue.

    08 July 2017

    Charles H. Spear House designated a landmark

    Charles H. Spear House (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2017)

    The Charles H. Spear House is one of the most notable and elegant Colonial Revival residences in Berkeley. Constructed in 1904, the building is remarkably intact, retaining a very high degree of its historic fabric and detail. Among the building’s significant features are a symmetrical façade; a cornice decorated with molded corbels and egg-and-dart molding; a central dormer with arched window; a pair of oval portholes set in wide, molded casings and ornamented with medallions and elaborate scrollwork; a central portico with a circular canopy decorated with dentils and egg-and-dart molding, supported by two round columns with Ionic capitals and flanked by two pilasters, also with Ionic capitals; and two large triple-window bays set in wide, molded casings and surmounted by arch pediments ornamented with dentils and scrollwork.

    Charles Henry Spear (1862–1928) was a well-known political figure in the State of California. He began his political career in 1884 as Assistant Postmaster of West Berkeley, rising to Postmaster in 1885. He served as Berkeley’s City Clerk from 1886 to 1893 and was elected Alameda County Recorder in 1894. In 1900, he was appointed Port Warden in San Francisco. In 1902, Spear acted as chairman of the state’s Republican Campaign Committee, and in 1903, Governor George C. Pardee made him president of the State Board of Harbor Commissioners. His term coincided with the 1906 Earthquake and Fire, and Spear received high praise from Commander Charles J. Badger, U.S. Navy, for restoring “normal business conditions in the shipping district in the shortest possible time.”

    In 1923, Spear was reappointed president of the State Board of Harbor Commissioners, this time by Governor Friend W. Richardson. Resigning from that position in 1925, Spear became general manager of Los Angeles Harbor, remaining in that office until 1927, when ill health forced him to retire and return to Berkeley, where he passed away the following year.

    The architect of the Spear House has not been identified, but the builder was well known in both building and political circles. As a contractor, Robert Greig (1861–1931) was Berkeley’s premier practitioner, constructing some of the city’s most prominent buildings, including City Hall (1908); the first public library (1904, demolished); Berkeley High School’s main building (1901, demolished); the Masonic Temple (2105 Bancroft Way, 1905); and the Barker Block (2486 Shattuck Avenue, 1905).

    Like Charles Spear, Robert Greig was prominent in the Republican Party. In 1915, he was appointed as Berkeley’s Building Inspector, and in 1924 he became Director of Housing for the State of California. “He was a recognized authority on building codes, and many of his suggestions were incorporated in the State Building Law and in housing regulations,” stated his obituary.

    When the Charles H. Spear House was built, the neighborhood north of Berkeley Way was purely residential, composed of Victorians and Colonial Revival houses. The area’s character persisted largely unaltered until the 1950s, when large, boxy apartment buildings began to replace many historic houses.

    In the 1960s, BART acquired and removed the houses along five and a half blocks on the north side of Hearst Avenue between Milvia Street and Sacramento Street. Concurrently, commercial establishments began replacing some of the houses along Grove Street. These days, the east side of the 1800 block and the west side of the 1900 block of M.L. King, Jr. Way are composed entirely of commercial buildings, making the Spear House a rare and noteworthy reminder of the street as it used to be a century ago.

    The landmark application is accessible online.

    26 June 2017

    The real story behind the “Morning Glory House”

    Photo: Daniella Thompson, 2007

    The Stick Style house at 2009 Berkeley Way was designated a City of Berkeley Landmark in 1979 under the name Joseph Clapp Cottage, although Clapp neither built it nor owned it, and had never lived in it.

    What is the real story behind this house? Read it here.

    09 June 2017

    2017 House Tour photo gallery

    Photo: Anthony Bruce

    See photos shot on the day of the John Hudson Thomas & Friends in Claremont Park House Tour.

    27 May 2017

    An Enchanted Evening to benefit Good Shepherd Church

    Sunday, 25 June 2017
    5:00 pm
    Selden Williams House (Julia Morgan, 1922–28)
    2821 Claremont Blvd, Berkeley
    Advance tickets: $30 via Eventbrite
    At the door: $40

    The Good Shepherd Church invites you to enjoy the wonders of the glorious Selden Williams mansion and a wonderful concert by the critically acclaimed soprano Shauna Fallihee and pianist Randall Benway.

    The evening’s enchantments include:

    • Mozart arias
    • Appetizers and wine
    • A silent auction

    All funds raised will support the Good Shepherd Pan de Cielo feeding ministries: the Monday sandwich ministry, the Friday hot lunches and food pantry, and more!

    For further information, please see the Good Shepherd website.