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.

05 June 2015

Look for us at the Bay Area Book Festival

Saturday & Sunday
6 & 7 June 2015
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.

The booth will be open from 10 am until 6 pm on both days, offering dozens of titles of history and fiction about Berkeley, including many hard-to-find or out-of-print BAHA and BHS publications.

Author book signings:

  • Burl Willes, author of Tales of the Elmwood and editor of Picturing Berkeley: A Postcard History, 10–11 am, Saturday.
  • Dave Weinstein, author of It Came From Berkeley, 11 am–1 pm, Saturday.
  • Shirley Streshinsky, author of Atomic Love (Robert Oppenheimer and his Berkeley days), 1–3 pm, Saturday.
  • Tonya Staros and Jeanine Castello-Lin, co-authors of Crowden School oral history, 2–4 pm, Saturday.
  • Shelley Rideout, co-author of Berkeley Bohemia, 10 am–1 pm, Sunday.
  • Susan Cerny, author of Berkeley Landmarks and the Architectural Guidebook to San Francisco and the Bay Area, 11:30 am–1:30 pm, Sunday.
  • Susan Austin, author of The Bamboo Garden, a children’s novel of interracial friendship against the backdrop of 1923 Berkeley and the Berkeley Fire, 12–2 pm, Sunday.
  • Roy Fisher Doolan, long-time Berkeley resident and author of a new memoir about his life, including World War II experiences, 2–4 pm, Sunday.
  • Sarah Wikander, co-author of Picturing Berkeley: A Postcard History, 2–5 pm, Sunday.
  • Harvey Smith, author of Berkeley and the New Deal, 2–5 pm, Sunday.

14 May 2015

Annual Meeting & Preservation Awards Presentation

Thursday, 28 May 2015
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.

To reserve, please send a check made out to BAHA (to reach us no later than 25 May) to:

2318 Durant Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704

You may also order online. Please include the names of your guests.

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

Sitting in Style: Unabridged Reflections on the Swedenborgian Chair

Sunday, 7 June 2015
5:00 pm
San Francisco Swedenborgian Church
2107 Lyon Street, San Francisco

If you’ve missed Tim Hansen’s fascinating lecture about the birth of the Mission-style chair in our Fall 2013 series, here’s another chance. This free illustrated talk will focus on American Arts & Crafts design; A.J. Forbes & Son, the manufacturers of the Swedenborgian chair; and the question of the chair’s designer and its influence.

07 May 2015

New Landscapes in Preservation

Thursday, 21 May 2015
7:30 pm
Berkeley City Club
2315 Durant Avenue, Berkeley

Tickets $15 at the door or in advance.

Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne will discuss how the historic preservation movement in California has become slow and reactive, and how it can get back ahead of the curve of public taste. The talk will feature several case studies, including a guest house by Julia Morgan on the Hearst-Davies beachfront estate.

05 May 2015

History of Solano Avenue and environs

Historian Richard Schwartz will deliver an illustrated talk about the early history of the area around Solano Avenue at the Thousand Oaks Neighborhood Association’s annual meeting. The meeting will be held at 7:00 pm on 21 May 2015 at the Thousand Oaks Baptist Church, 1821 Catalina Avenue (use the side entrance).

04 May 2015

Save the Golden Gate View from Campanile Way

26 March 2015

Berkeley Historical Society Spring 2015 Walking Tours

Regional Parks Botanic Garden (Courtesy Friends of the Regional Parks)

Saturday, 28 March:
Regional Parks Botanic Garden, Tilden Regional Park

Led by garden Volunteers

Founded in 1940, the Botanic Garden at Tilden Regional Park is a beautiful 10-acre living museum of California native plants. Explore the Garden’s many habitats and plant communities, from the high sierra to the Coast Range and from the Northern Rain Forests to the Southern Deserts. Not all of the Garden is wheelchair-accessible, but the staff can arrange a modified tour.

Maple Avenue, now Stuart Street, in the Kelsey Ranch, c. 1900
(Illustrated History of the University of California)

Saturday, 11 April
The Kelsey Family

Led by Burl Willes

The influential Kelsey Family settled in the Elmwood in 1860, before there were elm trees. On still bucolic Kelsey street can be seen remnant buildings of their Kelsey Orchard. Nearby, Ishi lived with the Watermans. On College Avenue, we’ll stop to remember the historic “firsts” made by businesses in this pedestrian-friendly two-block commercial district.

Morrison Library (Courtesy UC Berkeley)

Saturday, 25 April
Exploring UC Berkeley’s Libraries

Led by Bill Roberts

NOTE: This walk will begin at 1:00 pm, as some libraries are not open in the morning.

How many libraries are there on the UC Berkeley campus? We’ll take a walk through the campus and find some of the more interesting and unusual ones. Most of the libraries have open stacks where materials may be used without formal affiliation with the university; some require only registration with identification, some require a university affiliation. What is your interest? We’ll see if we can find a collection especially for you.

Berkeley City Hall (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004)

Saturday, 16 May
Berkeley City Beautiful: A Century Later

Led by Steve Finacom

In 1915, German city planning expert Werner Hegemann published a master plan for Berkeley and Oakland. Following “City Beautiful” ideals, the plan called for a grand Berkeley civic center, extensive park development, and public improvements to residential districts and streets. At the same time, the University of California was rapidly building a neo-classical campus. This walk will trace built landmarks and ideals of that era from the 100-year-old Campanile to City Hall, and explore how those ideals could still inform municipal planning in Berkeley today. Wheelchair accessible. The walk will conclude at the Berkeley History Center where, for those who can stay past noon, the guide will give a brief gallery talk on his exhibit on Berkeley’s role in the San Francisco world fairs of 1915 and 1939/40.

The Carbone orchid nursery, late 1930s (McCullagh photo courtesy of Louise Colombatto)

Saturday, 23 May
Berkeley Woods

Led by Paul Grunland

This subdivision became part of Berkeley in 1959, along with the neighboring subdivision of Park Hills, rounding out the north and east boundaries of our city. Starting at the EBMUD reservoir at the top of Spruce Street, we will explore an area once used by plant nurseries and the Pacific Lutheran Seminary at the top of Marin Avenue. The route is uphill, so prepare for an aerobic walk.

For additional information and ticket orders, visit the BHS website.

15 March 2015

BAHA 2015 Spring House Tour

BAHA Spring House Tour
Sunday, 3 May 2015
One to Five o’clock

Featuring 11 open houses designed by Bernard Maybeck; Julia Morgan; Walter H. Ratcliff, Jr.; John Hudson Thomas; Maury I. Diggs; Charles Manning MacGregor; William Porter; and more.

See the House Tour page for information and tickets

13 March 2015

Preservation, Rehabilitation, Restoration & Reconstruction: What’s the Diff?

Architect Jerri Holan, FAIA, will be exhibiting examples of her preservation work at the Alameda Museum during the month of April, 2015. The exhibit will illustrate the differences between the four fields of preservation architecture through award-winning examples of her historic building projects.

Opening Reception
Saturday, 4 April 2015, 1 to 3 pm
RSVP: info@holanarchitects.com

The Alameda Museum
2324 Alameda Avenue
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 521-1233

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:

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.