31 July 2006

Mysteries of Captain Boudrow’s house revealed

Photo: Daniella Thompson, 2006

Captain Boudrow’s house at Sea Captain Corner is one of Berkeley’s oldest landmarks, not only because it was built in 1889 but because it was one of the first dozen buildings to be designated in Berkeley.

According to the 1976 landmark application, “The grand Queen Anne house was built for Joseph Hart Boudrow, who was the captain of a Nova Scotia windjammer, though he made most of his his money in wrecking steamboats and sailing vessels that were no longer seaworthy.”

That remained the prevailing wisdom until this year, when BAHA bestowed a Preservation Award on the current owners of the Boudrow House for the magnificent restoration on which they had spent two years.

Subsequent research revealed that the original owner was Charles C. Boudrow (1830–1918), a shipping magnate in San Francisco who owned many sailing ships. Captain Boudrow’s nephew, Charles E. Boudrow, was a ship chandler and dealer in ship material. It was he who bought the decommissioned sloop-of-war USS Marion from the War Department in order to break it up for materials.

Across the street from Boudrow lived his partner, Captain William E. Mighell. This would account for the Oxford-Cedar intersection’s moniker Sea Captain Corner. Before Mighell, the same house (no longer standing) was owned by Thomas Murphy Antisell, the man who subsivided that neighborhood and was a piano manufacturer to boot.

Read the full story of the Boudrow House.


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