04 August 2022

Come see us at the Solano Stroll

We look forward to seeing you on Sunday, 11 September 2022, at the 46th annual Solano Stroll. The BAHA booth will be located at 1741 Solano Avenue, on the north side of the street, near Ensenada Avenue.

28 July 2022

Berkeley’s Ultimate Bungalow: Greene & Greene’s Thorsen House

Lecture & Visit
Sunday, 18 September 2022

2:00–3:00 pm
Lecture by Professor Margaretta M. Lovell
Sproul Room, International House
2299 Piedmont Avenue

3:00–5:00 pm
Thorsen House Visit & Reception
2307 Piedmont Avenue

Tickets: $45Sold out (waitlist available)
Space is limited to 75 participants.

Designed in 1908 for William and Caroline Thorsen by legendary architects Charles and Henry Greene, this landmark house is one of the great architectural treasures of the nation. The only Greene & Greene “Ultimate Bungalow” in Northern California, the Thorsen House is a work of art exhibiting the goals of the international Arts & Crafts movement, the materials available on a global market a century ago, and the exceptional skills of these renowned architects and their craftsmen.

In her lecture, Margaretta M. Lovell, the Jay D. McEvoy Professor of American Art and Architecture at U.C. Berkeley, will discuss the history and significance of the house, as well as the Thorsen family and the social life of this extraordinary work of craftsmanship.

This is a rare opportunity to visit one of Berkeley’s most remarkable houses. Home of the Sigma Phi Society since 1942, the house has been maintained by the chapter members, some of whom will be on hand.

Paid parking is available at the nearby Stadium Parking Garage, 2175 Gayley Road.

29 June 2022

Help save three Berkeley treasures

Berkeley is about to lose three iconic structures that represent pinnacles of architectural design and are associated with pioneering California women. We are petitioning the Governor and key state legislators in a last-ditch effort to secure and direct funding in the next state budget to ensure their existence for future generations of Californians. The first step is to direct that funds already allocated for the University of California in the current draft budget be applied to secure these buildings immediately.

The buildings, which are owned by UC Berkeley, are:

  • The magnificent Hearst Memorial Gymnasium (Bernard Maybeck & Julia Morgan, architects, 1925–27).

  • The Anna Head School, built for pioneering women’s educator Anna Head, is one of Berkeley’s oldest Shingle Style buildings and the most famous among them.

  • The historic William H. Smyth House/Fernwald is the oldest structure in Berkeley (c. 1867) and was remodeled by Julia Morgan in 1911.

Our plea for money in this year’s state budget is due to the acute situation caused by UC’s failure to protect these important state properties from squatters and the effects of the elements. The cost to secure them immediately and then renovate them for future generations of Californians is minuscule in comparison to the millions being spent on less worthy projects.

Please go here to watch the video, read more about the endangered buildings, and sign the petition today.

For additional information on the endangered landmarks, please see Three Desperate Monuments.

Photo of Hearst pool courtesy of Noll & Tam Architects. Photo of Anna Head School by Daniella Thompson.

22 June 2022

Jane Ann Simmons Edginton (1936–2022)

Photo: Daniella Thompson, 2008

We were saddened to hear of the passing, on 1 May 2022, of long-time BAHA board member and past president Jane Edginton.

Jane spent almost her entire life in Berkeley. Both her parents were born in Fresno and studied at U.C. Berkeley. Jane, however, was born in Bishop, Inyo County, where her father, Albert Edward Simmons, a civil engineer working for the California Division of Highways, was stationed at the time. The young family soon returned to the East Bay, residing first in Albany and then on Berkeley’s Northside, where Jane grew up.

Jane’s mother, Dorothy Delaware Peters, was a librarian, and Jane developed literary habits from a young age. At Berkeley High School, she contributed articles to the Daily Jacket. Beginning with her freshman year at U.C., she served on the editorial staff of the Blue and Gold and joined the Pelly Girls, a squad of coeds who sold the fabled college humor magazine California Pelican on campus. She also joined the Mu chapter of Chi Omega and was a member of the U.C. Rally Committee.

After graduating in June 1958 with a Bachelor’s degree in History, Jane found work in the medical division of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games Committee. In June 1960, she married John Arthur Edginton (1935–2008), a U.C. graduate who had just completed three years of service in the U.S. Navy and was about to enter Boalt Hall School of Law.

Both John and Jane Edginton developed a deep interest in architecture, and especially in the buildings of Bernard Maybeck. In 1975, they fulfilled their dream of owning a Maybeck-designed residence when they acquired the J.B. Tufts House (1931) in La Loma Park, at the heart of Maybeck Country. In 2002, the house was designated a City of Berkeley Landmark on their initiative.

Jane joined the BAHA board of directors in 1986 and served as BAHA’s president in 1992–1994. For many years, she chaired the Events Committee and the Preservation Awards Committee. She was the go-to person when out-of-town groups approached BAHA with requests for guided tours of Maybeck Country.

An enthusiastic outdoorswoman, Jane was an excellent skier, hiker, and mountain climber. In 1992, the Sierra Club awarded her a Senior Emblem for having climbed 106 peaks on the club’s Peaks List. She and John led many Sierra Club excursions, both here and abroad.

Intrepid in every other way, Jane never took to computers and the Internet. To the last, she typed her Preservation Awards lists and House Tour guidebook articles the old-fashioned way, just as she had done at Berkeley High, and so we shall fondly remember her.

06 May 2022

Annual Membership Meeting

Annual Membership Meeting
Wednesday, 25 May 2022
7:00 pm

Online — Free admission by registration
Register on Eventbrite

Keynote Speaker: Cindy Heitzman, Executive Director, California Preservation Foundation

Topic: Historic Preservation in the time of Wiener—How we can protect our local community gems and change the dynamic to pro-preservation

  • Developments in the Legislature on affordable housing as it relates to historic preservation.

  • What the California Preservation Foundation has been doing to get language into housing bills that will exempt historic resources from the draconian aspects of the housing bills.

  • Whether historic preservation has morphed from the local city level to the state legislative level (it has!).

  • CPF’s experiences lobbying the Legislature and its team of attorneys who work on legislative changes.

  • What organizations like BAHA can do to support CPF’s preservation efforts.

Agenda

7:00–7:10 President’s welcome, introduction of officers and directors for FY 2022–23

7:10–7:15 Treasurer’s report

7:16–8:00 Keynote address

8:01–8:15 Q&A

8:16 Adjourn

03 April 2022

Our 2022 Spring Garden Tour

Sunday, 15 May 2022
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Featuring eleven gardens
on the banks of Harwood Creek

Tour handout with map provided

Tickets available on Eventbrite
General $30; BAHA members $25

See the tour page for information.

28 February 2022

Julia Morgan: An Intimate Biography of a Trailblazing Architect

A webinar with author Victoria Kastner

Wednesday, 23 March 2022
7:00 pm on Zoom
Tickets $15 on Eventbrite

Architectural historian and East Bay native Victoria Kastner will speak about her new book, Julia Morgan: An Intimate Biography of the Trailblazing Architect (Chronicle Books, 2022), which provides the first in-depth look at Morgan’s fascinating private life as well as her remarkable professional career.

Complete information and tickets are available on Eventbrite.

10 February 2022

The historic Montgomery-Spear House for sale at $1

Real-estate management firm SteelWave LLC, which is developing a property in West Berkeley, is offering an Italianate house standing at 2212 Fifth Street for sale at $1.

Known as the Montgomery-Spear House, the structure was the home of politician Charles Henry Spear (1862–1928), who began as Berkeley’s town clerk and was subsequently elected Alameda county recorder and appointed president of the State Board of Harbor Commissioners.

The seller will share the cost of moving the structure to the buyer’s site, which must be in Berkeley. Interested parties must demonstrate the ability to accept the building on the new site by May 2022.

Information on the offer is available here.

31 January 2022

When Your City Becomes the Campus

A webinar with Professor Davarian L. Baldwin

Thursday, 17 February 2022
6:00 pm on Zoom
Tickets $15
Book $22
(tax included)
Ticket + Book $37
See instructions for using PayPal
or send a check with your e-mail address to:
BAHA, P.O. Box 1137, Berkeley, CA 94701

Ever-higher property taxes. Loss of affordable housing. Destruction of historic fabric.

What do they have in common?

They’re all associated with the presence of a large university in your town.

The “gown swallows town” phenomenon is not unique to Berkeley. As universities are transforming themselves into billion-dollar hedge funds with schools attached, multiple cities nationwide face trials similar to ours.

In his book In the Shadow of the Ivory Tower: How Universities are Plundering Our Cities (Bold Type Books, 2021), Davarian L. Baldwin takes the reader to municipalities across the land, revealing the increasingly parasitic relationship between universities and our cities. Through eye-opening conversations with city leaders, low-wage workers tending to students’ needs, and local activists fighting encroachment, Professor Baldwin makes clear who benefits from unchecked university power, and who is made vulnerable.

Professor Baldwin’s talk will present case studies from various American cities and offer possible solutions, including a recent resolution between a state and a major university.

A leading urbanist, historian, and cultural critic, Davarian L. Baldwin is Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies and founding director of the Smart Cities Lab at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. His work largely examines the landscape of global cities through the lens of the African Diasporic experience. Baldwin’s related interests include universities and urban development, the racial foundations of academic thought, intellectual and mass culture, Black radical thought and transnational social movements, the politics of heritage tourism, and 20th- and 21st Century art, architecture, and urban design.

A link to the Zoom webinar will be e-mailed to ticket buyers before the event. Five books will be raffled.

27 January 2022

Storybook Style lecture

Thursday, 10 February 2022
7:00 pm
Presenter: Daniella Thompson
Free online event
Register here

Berkeley is a treasure trove of buildings that look as if they’ve stepped out of a Mother Goose fairy tale. In the course of this illustrated talk, we’ll pay a visit to and marvel at the fanciful work of specialists in the whimsical genre that manifested itself during the 1920s.

Architects and builders who left their mark on Berkeley’s “Hansel & Gretel” architecture include William Raymond Yelland, Jack Thornburg, Francis Harvey Slocombe, Carr Jones, Sidney & Noble Newsom, W.W. Dixon, and the Fox Brothers.

Editor of the BAHA website and author of the article series East Bay: Then and Now, Daniella Thompson will showcase both well-known and obscure examples of Storybook Style in the East Bay.

This lecture is presented under the aegis of Councilmember Sophie Hahn.

01 December 2021

John Sutton English (1936–2021)

Photo: Anthony Bruce, Aug. 2014

BAHA is mourning the passing, on 30 November 2021, of our old friend and stalwart supporter John English. A retired Oakland city planner, John was the ultimate authority on land-use matters in Berkeley.

Born in Washington, DC and raised in Sacramento, John lived in Berkeley since his student days in the late 1950s. Although he never worked for the City of Berkeley, his opinion was sought by Planning staff, city commissioners, building professionals, and preservationists alike.

John was an invaluable resource for preservation. He wrote numerous landmark applications and National Register nominations, including those for California Memorial Stadium; Mario Ciampi’s University Art Museum on Durant Ave-Bancroft Way; the Claremont Hotel; and Berkeley Iceland.

He was a constant presence in Landmarks Preservation Commission and Zoning Adjustment Board meetings, as well as at BAHA, where his deep knowledge, dedication, and attention to detail were relied upon again and again.

John was a quiet, unassuming man who gave his all to the causes he embraced. The fight for preservation will not be the same without him.

29 October 2021

SHRC votes to list People’s Park in the National Register

Photo: Daniella Thompson, 2020

The California State Historical Resources Commission voted unanimously today to list People’s Park in the National Register of Historic Places at the National Significance level.

23 July 2021

We’re back with Jacomena Maybeck! First live webcast of the year!

Jacomena Maybeck by Pam Valois

Blooming in Winter: The Story of a Remarkable Twentieth-Century Woman

Author Pam Valois discusses her new biography of Jacomena Maybeck.

Thursday, 26 August 2021
Zoom Webcast at 7:00 pm

Owing to the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant, this event will now take place online.

Tickets: $15 ~ Signed Book: $15
Box office at Eventbrite

When Pam Valois met her in the 1970s, Jacomena Maybeck was a model of zestful, hands-on living, still tarring roofs and splitting logs at age seventy-seven, and Pam was a young working mother trying to carve out time for creative projects. Pam and her husband rented Jackie’s cottage and eventually, with her blessing, married on the cottage lawn. Their friendship would blossom during Jackie’s winter years.

Decades later, after Pam and her husband bought Jackie’s home on Maybeck Twin Drive, Pam found she wanted to know more about her early years: What had shaped and supported this venerable and vibrant woman whom she and her family loved? Blooming in Winter tells this tale.

Please join us for an interesting conversation between the author and Berkeley historian Steven Finacom, direct from Jacomena’s former home, designed by her father-in-law. Signed books are also available for sale through the BAHA office.

25 April 2021

Remembering Dmitri Belser

We were saddened to learn of the death on 22 April 2021 of Dmitri Belser, who served on the BAHA board of directors in 2013–2015.

Dmitri and his partner, Tom White, received their first BAHA Preservation Award in 2008 for the interior and exterior restoration of their 1907 Colonial Revival cottage in South Berkeley. That was our introduction to their preference for intense, jewel-like paint colors.

In 2010, Dmitri and Tom rescued the landmark Cheney Cottage (Carl Ericsson, builder 1902) from demolition when they acquired it from the University of California for $17 and had it moved in two pieces—first to University Village in Albany, where it sat for a year while they navigated Berkeley’s inscrutable permit process, then to its final site on 62nd Street, where they restored it, again with their customary exuberant palette. This effort earned them a second BAHA Preservation Award in 2013.

When the developers of Acheson Commons offered two historic brown-shingle buildings on the 1900 block of Walnut Street for $1 each, Dmitri and Tom answered the call. In 2017, they successfully moved the smaller of the two, a duplex, to 2214 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, where restoration was undertaken. The second brown-shingle, a sixplex, proved too large to move and had to be abandoned.

During his tenure as a BAHA board member, Dmitri took charge of the Kenney Cottage, a prefabricated panel house, built in 1887, for which BAHA had been trying unsuccessfully to find a permanent site and new ownership. Dmitri and Tom cared for the cottage on its temporary City-owned lot while continuing the search for a suitable site. Pressured by the City to move the cottage, BAHA transferred the title to Dmitri and Tom, who dismantled the cottage and put it in storage in 2018. With Dmitri’s death, the future of the cottage remains uncertain.

We send our heartfelt condolences to Tom and to the Belser family.

Photo courtesy of Sabastian Belser

09 December 2020

The intriguing H.J. Goetzman

1125 Bancroft Way (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2020)

How best to describe Henry J. Goetzman? Talented self-taught architect? Pioneering Yukon photographer? Brazen crook?

He was all the above, and perhaps more. In 1891 and 1892, this enigmatic man designed and built four of Berkeley’s earliest shingled houses, and then disappeared from our midst to take on new challenges.

The article The intriguing H.J. Goetzman built four of Berkeley’s earliest shingled houses follows the fascinating trajectory of a unique personality and a few of the houses he left us.

29 June 2020

Mourning former BAHA President Sally Sachs


Sally Katorski Sachs, 1935–2020 (photo: Daniella Thompson)

BAHA is mourning the death of its former president and longtime board member Sally Sachs.

BAHA treasurer Stephanie Manning posted this statement:

“Sally, 84, was a good friend to all of us, a former BAHA President and board member for over 35 years. She was a reliable volunteer at all our events and spoke at many city commission and council hearings on behalf of preservation. She also organized the Friday Outings series for many years. And she always participated, one did not have to coax Sally. She also contributed financially to BAHA. And in keeping with most of our board members over the years, she was very intelligent. Her departure is a real loss, not only to BAHA but to preservation in Berkeley.”

In the photo above, Sally is seen as a volunteer in our Panoramic Hill House Tour, 2005.

11 May 2020

Preserving the University Garage


Photo: Fran Cappelletti, 2020

As part of its current development plans, the University of California intends to tear down the landmark University Garage (Walter H. Ratcliff, Jr., architect, 1930). BAHA archivist Fran Cappelletti wrote an illustrated article titled Preserving the University Garage, describing the history of this unique building, which was threatened more than once in the past.

16 March 2020

BAHA’s 2020 House Tour is postponed.

Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, our 45th annual Spring House Tour, originally scheduled for Sunday, 26 April 2020, has been postponed to a later, as yet undetermined date.

We appreciate the understanding and ongoing support of those who have offered their homes for the tour, our tour volunteers, and our loyal membership.

30 January 2020

Elements of Japanese Architecture and Design

Artistic License :: A Guild of Artisans presents its annual design lecture:

Elements of Japanese Architecture and Design

An illustrated talk by Debey Zito

Wednesday, 4 March 2020
7:30–9:00 pm
The Hillside Club
2286 Cedar Street, Berkeley

$15 general (advance tickets); $10 HSC members (at the door)

Debey Zito is a highly regarded furniture maker and interior-design consultant based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

With lush imagery from a recent trip to Japan, Debey will focus on elements of traditional Japanese architecture. She will touch on how these details have influenced a few of our most brilliant designers in Art Nouveau, Prairie, and Arts & Crafts. She will also refer to Japan’s influence in the Mid-Century Modern movement.

Debey Zito has been designing and building furniture for over four decades. Many of the pieces include carvings by her partner, Terry Schmitt. Increasingly, interior design work has become a larger creative focus.

Debey has lectured across the country on Furniture Design, Arts & Crafts Furniture, and Japanese Design.

09 January 2020

A mystery building reveals its history


2028 Ninth Street (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2019)

The Niehaus-Rosano Building is a reminder of Ocean View’s melting-pot past.

The singular Stick-style Victorian building standing on the corner of Ninth and Addison streets is instantly recognizable to many Berkeleyans by the Drink NEHI sign painted on its northern wall. This sign evokes the days when a succession of grocery stores on the ground floor supplied this West Berkeley neighborhood with its comestibles.

Yet the building, unusually ornate on the upper floor and decidedly plain below, poses many questions that had remained unanswered for decades. Long believed to have been constructed in 1890, the building was revealed through recent extensive research to have had a far more convoluted (and more absorbing) history.

A newly published article by Daniella Thompson tells the story.


Photo: Daniella Thompson, 2019