26 June 2016

2016 BAHA Preservation Awards

At the BAHA Annual Meeting on 26 May 2016, twelve rehabilitation projects received our Preservation Awards for renewing the life of historic properties in Berkeley.

See the winners and read about them on the BAHA website

18 June 2016

The Berkeley Unitarians and Architectural Innovation

First Unitarian Church (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004)

The Hillside Club Round Table Presents
A lecture by Daniella Thompson

The Hillside Club
2286 Cedar Street, Berkeley
Wednesday, 22 June 2016
7:30 pm

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.”

In her illustrated lecture, 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. Many rare images will be shown.

For information about the Hillside Club Round Table, please see this page.

01 June 2016

Visit us at the Bay Area Book Festival

Photo: Steven Finacom

Saturday & Sunday
4 & 5 June 2016
Berkeley Civic Center

Look for the joint BAHA/Berkeley Historical Society booth on Allston Way, in front of the Downtown YMCA and across from the Post Office.

We will offer dozens of titles of history and fiction about Berkeley, including many hard-to-find or out-of-print BAHA and BHS publications.

Authors’ book-signing schedule

Saturday, 4 June 2016

10 am–12 pm

Burl Willes, author of Tales of the Elmwood and lead author of Picturing Berkeley: A Postcard History.

Diane De Pisa, author of Berkeley Then: A Photo Diary of the Sixties Scene, featuring the photographs of her husband, Elio De Pisa, who managed the Cafe Med on Telegraph Avenue.

12 pm–2 pm

Lyndon Comstock, author of On Parker Street: The Evolution of a Berkeley Neighborhood 1855–1965, an in-depth history of the south Berkeley block where he lived.

Sue Austin, author of The Bamboo Garden, a gentle children’s novel about life and interracial friendship in 1923 Berkeley at the time of the great Berkeley Fire.

2 pm–4 pm

Sal Levinson, author of Butterfly Papercrafts, signing her book and also representing her brother, Bill Levinson, whose book, Firecats! is a children’s novel about the 1991 Oakland/Berkeley Hills Firestorm.

2 pm–3 pm

Aleta George, author of Ina Coolbrith: The Bittersweet Song of California’s First Poet Laureate.

3 pm–4 pm

Richard Di Giacomo, author of Historical Gems of the San Francisco Bay Area, a guide to local museums and historical sites.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

10 am–12 pm

Wendy Markel, author of Berkeley, California (Arcadia Postcard History series).

12 pm–2 pm

Alan Bern, career staffer at the Berkeley Public Library and poet, author of Waterwalking in Berkeley.

Harvey Smith, local historian and activist, author of Berkeley and the New Deal.

2 pm–4 pm

Susan Dinkelspiel Cerny, author of Berkeley Landmarks and An Architectural Guidebook to San Francisco and the Bay Area, and co-author of Picturing Berkeley: A Postcard History.

3 pm–4 pm

Anthony Bruce, executive director of BAHA, signing Home to Berkeley in 1912: A Centennial Remembrance, detailing the story of his family’s life in early 20th-century Berkeley through letters, postcards, and photos.

23 May 2016

2016 House Tour Photo Gallery

19 May 2016

Annual Membership Meeting & Preservation Awards Presentation

Thursday, 26 May 2016
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 Preservation Awards Presentation

* Dinner will be provided by Mediterraneo Catering. The $35 per-person price includes one glass of wine. Vegetarian option available.

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 2016–17

The duly constituted BAHA nominating committee carefully vetted and selected a slate of officers and directors for the 2016–2017 board. At its monthly meeting on 16 May 2016, the current Board of Directors held a hearing and voted to adopt the nominating committee’s recommendation for the following slate. This is the slate that is being presented to the membership at the annual meeting.

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

Directors at Large

  • Christopher Adams
  • Susan Cerny
  • Judith Harris-Frisk
  • Jane Edginton
  • Neysa Garrett
  • James Grandison
  • Glen Jarvis
  • Ann Killebrew
  • Lauren MacDonald
  • Jane McKinne-Mayer
  • Arlene Silk
  • 30 April 2016

    Community Day at the Hillside School

    Sunday, 15 May 2016
    2 to 5 pm
    Free admission
    Performances, music, food, drinks, Hillside 90 exhibition, activities for all ages.

    Come celebrate the 90th anniversary of the historic Hillside School, now owned by the German International School of Silicon Valley (GISSV).

    Designed by Walter H. Ratcliff, Jr., the landmark building has just undergone extensive restoration and is looking magnificent.

    Learn about the exciting programs that are taking place at the school and meet members of the Hillside School Alumni.

    08 April 2016

    Berkeley! How We Got Our Name

    17 April – 24 September 2016
    Berkeley History Center
    Veterans Memorial Building
    1931 Center Street

    In 1866, the private College of California, predecessor to the University of California, was getting ready to subdivide and sell some of the land it owned north of Oakland and south of the college site to help pay for building a campus. The college trustees knew that a name was needed if they were to sell home sites. They had turned to Frederick Law Olmsted for guidance. Would we have been better off living in Shelterdue, Havensholme, or even Billingsgate, as Olmsted suggested? How did we end up with Berkeley?

    This new exhibit at the Berkeley Historical Society commemorates the 150th anniversary of the official selection of the name Berkeley on 24 May 1866. Curators Steven Finacom and Phyllis Gale, using documents, manuscripts, diaries, maps, images, and other sources, follow a committee of college trustees as they gathered on Founders’ Rock, an outcropping now found on the corner of Hearst Avenue and Gayley Road, to name the hamlet. It will retell the story of George Berkeley, how his name came to be attached to our campus and town, and who was involved in the naming.

    Admission free; donations welcome; wheelchair accessible. Telephone: (510) 848-0181. Regular hours: Thurs.–Sat., 1 pm–4 pm. berkeleyhistoricalsociety.org

    16 March 2016

    BAHA Spring House Tour, Sunday, 1 May 2016

    Featuring ten open houses designed by Bernard Maybeck; John Galen Howard; William Raymond Yelland; A.H. Broad; Malcolm D. Reynolds; and more.

    Information on the House Tour page.

    27 February 2016

    BAHA Spring House Tour

    BAHA Spring House Tour
    Sunday, 1 May 2016

    Stay tuned for future announcements.

    22 February 2016

    Second Annual Artistic License Lecture

    Thursday, 10 March 2016
    8:00 pm
    Hillside Club
    2286 Cedar Street, Berkeley 94709

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

    Artistic License presents The Ornamentalist in Florence: Painting, Shoes, and Prosecco, presented by Lynne Rutter. Lynne is a decorative artist, designer, and muralist based in San Francisco. For more than 30 years, she has been decorating, restoring, and gilding the ceilings and walls of beautiful interiors the world over. Her obsession with historic painted ornament has taken her all over Europe and led to the creation of her blog, The Ornamentalist. She is currently working on a book of the same title and recently spent three months in Florence collecting material for it.

    Artistic License is a guild of Bay Area Period Revival Artisans.

    20 February 2016

    Berkeley Historical Society Spring 2016 Walking Tours

    Old Art Gallery, U.C. Berkeley (photo courtesy of Mosaic Spotter)

    Tours start at 10:00 am and end at approximately 12:00 noon. Tours are limited to 30 paying participants unless noted otherwise. Pre-paid reservations are required, and tickets are not refundable. Tours are conducted in rain, shine, or Berkeley fog and are wheelchair-accessible unless otherwise noted.

    Ticket Order Form
    BHS members $8; General $10

    Saturday, 12 March 2016
    Sites and Stories of Berkeley’s Art Museums

    Led by Steven Finacom

    The University of California Berkeley Art Museum reopened in January at its new site in Downtown Berkeley. It’s the second “Berkeley Art Museum” downtown; the first was in the 1920s. In conjunction with the BHS Real and Imagined Art Museums and Galleries in Berkeley exhibit, this walk will visit, on and off campus, several intriguing buildings or sites of early public or private art exhibit facilities dating back to the 19th century.

    Saturday, 9 April 2016
    Our Ocean View Victorian Berkeley

    Led by Stephanie Manning

    The evolution of research is reflected in this walk. We will talk about such things as what scientists used to think about the West Berkeley Shellmound, what historians used to think about the natives who lived here, where white people settled in the mid-19th century, and the gradual formation of what we see there today, including the changing demographics and architecture.

    Saturday, 23 April 2016
    The Ashby BART Neighborhood

    Led by Janet Byron

    The Ashby walk is in the area around the station of an early steam train line that ran from Oakland to Berkeley. There is a wealth of varied historic architecture, as well as culture and history from the Buggy Bank to the Berkeley Bowl, the home of a famous writer, churches and Buddhist temples, a storybook funeral home, and more. The 2.5-to-3-mile walk is fairly flat, mainly on sidewalks along tree-lined streets.

    Saturday, 7 May 2016
    Phoebe Hearst on Campus

    Led by Bill Roberts

    Phoebe Apperson Hearst (1842–1919) was “the best friend the University ever had.” On this walk, we will discover her many contributions, intellectual as well as physical, to the Berkeley campus and beyond. There are some hills on the campus, but the walk is wheelchair accessible.

    Saturday, 14 May 2016
    Authors & Artists of the Ina Coolbrith Era

    Led by Aleta George

    Join Aleta George, author of a new biography on California’s first poet laureate Ina Coolbrith, for a loop walk on North Berkeley roads and pathways. On the walk, Aleta will tell stories about Coolbrith and her colleagues Bret Harte, Charles Warren Stoddard, George Sterling, Joaquin Miller, and Charles Keeler.

    18 December 2015

    Julia Morgan’s Paris

    Monday, 11 January 2016
    7:00 pm
    Berkeley City Club
    2315 Durant Avenue

    Karen McNeill, Ph.D., historian, Julia Morgan expert, and Berkeley City Club Conservancy board member, will reprise her popular talk on our favorite architect’s years in Paris and the feminist foundation of her career. Presented by the Berkeley City Club Conservancy.

    $15 at the door
    Advance tickets at Eventbrite

    17 November 2015

    BAHA’s Holiday Open House

    Photo: Susan Cerny

    Thursday, 10 December 2015
    3 pm–7 pm
    McCreary-Greer House
    2318 Durant Avenue, Berkeley

    Join us for some holiday cheer at the annual Holiday Open House in our landmark headquarters building.

    Refreshments will be served and, of course, BAHA’s own publications—including our bestselling 41 Berkeley Walking Tours—will be available for holiday shopping. The common areas of the house will be festively decorated, and some decorations will be for sale, including poinsettias.

    Board members and BAHA staff will be on hand to greet and chat with you. Drop by and see us!

    RSVP to baha@berkeleyheritage.com.

    17 October 2015

    Hillside Club Art Show

    30 September 2015

    Guided Tour of the SF Conservatory of Flowers

    Friday, 6 November 2015
    11 am (meet at 10:45 am)
    Conservatory of Flowers
    100 John F. Kennedy Drive
    Golden Gate Park
    San Francisco

    Admission $15 (advance registration required)
    Please send a check, payable to BAHA, to:
    2318 Durant Avenue
    Berkeley, CA 94704

    Or order tickets online.

    Join BAHA Vice-President Sally Sachs on a guided docent tour of the fabled San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers. Learn about the Conservatory’s history and visit the five exhibit areas: Lowland Tropics, Highland Tropics, Aquatic Plants, Potted Plants, and the Special Exhibit, where you will “wash up” on an uncharted tropical shore to learn the ins and outs of island survival. Stroll through a living jungle of life-saving plants and discover the best sources of building materials, food and water, even weaponry.

    A Frank Lloyd Wright fundraiser on Panoramic Hill

    Feldman House (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2005)

    Sunday, 18 October 2015
    3 pm – 5 pm
    Feldman House
    (Frank Lloyd Wright, 1939; 1974)
    13 Mosswood Road

    Featuring Mark Wilson and Joel Puliatti, author and photographer of Frank Lloyd Wright on the West Coast.

    Tickets: $45
    All proceeds go to BAHA’s Sara Holmes Boutelle Fund for architectural research and landmark applications.

    Owing to space limitations, attendance is restricted.

    Please send a check, payable to BAHA, to:
    2318 Durant Avenue
    Berkeley, CA 94704

    Or order tickets online.

    Between 1909 and 1959, Frank Lloyd Wright designed a total of 38 structures along the West Coast, from Seattle to Southern California. These include well-known structures such as the Marin County Civic Center and Hollyhock House in Los Angeles, and many lesser-known gems, such as the 1909 Stewart House near Santa Barbara.

    For the first time, the great architect’s West Coast buildings have been documented in a single book. At this fundraising reception, Mark A. Wilson and Joel Puliatti, author and photographer of Frank Lloyd Wright on the West Coast (Gibbs Smith), will present the gamut of Wright’s creations in the West. Signed books will be available for purchase.

    The reception will take place at the Feldman House, built in 1974–06 to Wright’s 1939 plans for the Lewis N. Bell residence in Los Angeles (unbuilt). Owned by Jeanne Allen and Marc Grant since 1980, the house boasts furniture designed by Wright.

    As a special treat, photographs that were not included in the book will be on digital display.

    15 September 2015

    Two talks by historian Richard Schwartz

    Saturday, 19 September 2015
    2:00 pm
    San Leandro Historical Society
    Little Brown Church (behind Casa Peralta)
    384 West Estudillo Avenue
    San Leandro

    The 1868 Hayward Fault Earthquake

    Did you ever wonder what it is like to be in largest known historic earthquake unleashed on the Hayward Fault? Richard Schwartz will share first-hand accounts of people who lived through the Hayward Fault Earthquake on 21 October 1868. Their stories are riveting. The severity of the damage caused by the 1868 Hayward Fault Earthquake will haunt you and it should. Fissures opened in the earth. Beds flew from one side of a room to the other and back. People in some locations fell and were unable to rise for the duration of the quake. Damage and deaths occurred around the bay. Special attention will be paid to the stories and events that day in San Leadro.

    Tuesday, 6 October 2015
    7:00 pm
    Eric Quezada Center for Culture & Politics
    518 Valencia Street (near 16th)
    San Francisco

    $10 donation requested.
    No one will be turned away.

    The Imperial Diplomacy of Norton I in Oakland & Berkeley

    A gathering to celebrate the Bay Area’s Emperor Norton I and his unknown life in the East Bay. and to promote the campaign to name the Bay Bridge after the man who first proposed the idea to build it.

    Almost invariably, Emperor Norton is identified solely as a San Francisco figure. In fact, he was a well-known presence in Oakland and Berkeley as well, making weekly visits to both places—and sometimes staying for days or weeks at a time. Berkeley historian Richard Schwartz will help explore an overlooked but importantpart of the Emperor’s story.

    08 September 2015

    PPIE Centennial lecture series

    7 & 22 October, 4 November 2015
    7:30 pm
    Hillside Club
    2286 Cedar Street, Berkeley

    Tickets $15 per lecture
    Please send a check, payable to BAHA, to:
    2318 Durant Avenue
    Berkeley, CA 94704

    Or order tickets online.

    Design, Color, and Light at the Exposition

    Wednesday, 7 October, 7:30 pm

    Laura Ackley, author of San Francisco’s Jewel City, who holds master’s degrees in architecture and architectural history from Harvard and the University of California, will explore the architecture of the palaces and courts of this most beautiful of world’s fairs. She will speak on the Exposition’s most splendidly realized achievements: color, sculpture, landscape architecture, spectacular lighting, and architectural design. Books will be available for sale.


    Thursday, 22 October, 7:30 pm

    In 1915, San Francisco became a prime destination for American and world travelers, when it hosted the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Lee Bruno’s talk on San Francisco’s first world’s fair will draw from his book, Panorama, the images and stories about the architects, builders, inventors, artists, performers, and celebrities who made the nearly year-long event one of the greatest of its kind. Lee Bruno’s great-grandfather, Reuben Hale (of Hale Bros. department store), envisioned a world’s fair celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal in 1904. Books will be available for sale.

    Berkeley at the Expositions

    Wednesday, 4 November, 7:30 pm

    Steven Finacom will talk about the many Berkeley connections to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915) and the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island (1939). Berkeley people helped shape and build both expositions and flocked to enjoy their glories. We will explore their contributions and experiences, as well as the tangible legacies of the fairs that remain in the East Bay.

    05 September 2015

    Hull Undertaking Co. complex designated a landmark

    Hull Undertaking Co. & Little Chapel of the Flowers (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2015)

    On Thursday, 3 September 2015, the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the Hull Undertaking Co. & Little Chapel of the Flowers complex a City of Berkeley Landmark.

    One of the most outstanding examples of Storybook Style architecture in Berkeley, the Hull Undertaking Company complex comprises five interconnected buildings constructed between 1923 and 1942. They include the original Undertaking Building at 3051 Adeline Street (1923); the Little Chapel of the Flowers at 3049 Adeline Street (1928); and three accessory buildings at 1905, 1909, and 1911–1915 Essex Street.

    The Undertaking Building is the most notable example in Berkeley of the work of the Oakland architectural firm Hutchison & Mills, which was active in 1921–1928, designing attractive store buildings and apartments that continue to contribute to the character of Berkeley’s built environment. Featuring a rolled-edge, thatch-like roof; half-timbering; stucco walls embedded with stones; leaded-glass windows; and numerous arched French doors, the Undertaking Building embodies the romantic tendency in the 1920s to borrow quaint, rustic elements from English vernacular architecture.

    The Little Chapel of the Flowers is the best surviving example (along with its 1933 replica in San Jose) of the work of architect Francis Harvey Slocombe, designer of the legendary Mapes Hotel in Reno. Featuring an organically shaped bell tower; a rolling, thatch-like roof with huge dormers; an abundance of leaded glass, stained glass, and steel sash; and the liberal use of brick and stone combined with rough stucco, this instantly memorable building is unique in Berkeley and has remained essentially unchanged over its 87-year life.

    The Hull Undertaking Company represented a continuous chain of ownership from Berkeley’s first mortuary, established by Frank W. Durgin in 1894. Durgin rejoined the business in the late 1920s, and the firm was known as Hull & Durgin until 1941.

    The Hull Undertaking complex is the only example of Storybook Style in the Ashby Station district, which comprises a very high percentage of Colonial Revival buildings constructed during the first decade of the 20th century. During the 1940s and ’50s, the Little Chapel of the Flowers was Berkeley’s most beloved wedding venue. Beginning in the mid- 1970s, the Hull Undertaking Co. complex underwent a transformation, becoming a hub for cultural uses. Long-term tenants included the West Coast Print Center, which served the literary community and printed hundreds of poetry books and literary publications; the Fifth String Music Store, an important gathering point for acoustic string players; and Marmot Mountain Works, a world-renowned wilderness equipment store.

    The landmark application is accessible online.

    02 July 2015

    Mountain View Cemetery guided drive-through

    Friday, 10 July 2015
    11:00 am to 12:30 pm
    Tickets: $15
    Advance registration required

    Mountain View Cemetery is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. On July 10 we’ll kick off our new season of Friday Outings with a guided drive-through of this beautiful historic cemetery. The tour will include the architecturally significant mausoleums and graves of the rich and famous.

    Register by sending an e-mail to baha@berkeleyheritage.com or calling (510) 841-2242. Registration cutoff is on Thursday, 9 July, at 4 pm.

    Payment may be made through the following methods:
    • By check made out to BAHA and sent to BAHA, 2318 Durant Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709
    • Electronically via PayPal
    • On tour day, handed in person to Sally Sachs (no credit cards)

    We will meet at the entrance gate, 5000 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland at 10:30 am to arrange carpooling for the tour and parking for the rest of the vehicles. The tour will last an hour to an hour and a half. As always, an optional lunch at a local restaurant is available. Let us know if you’re interested in this option.