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.

29 July 2006

The house that students built

Phi Kappa Psi in the 1970s (photo: Elizabeth Crews)

In 1901, when the Northide was still largely unpopulated, U.C. president Benjamin Ide Wheeler recommended it to the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity as a site for their new chapter house. The building was designed by fraternity member Harris C. Allen, a Stanford graduate who was instrumental in establishing the Berkeley chapter.

Although Allen was only 24 at the time, the building—his first— became the most admired and talked about “frat” house in Berkeley.

At its June 2006 meeting, the Landmarks Preservation Commission initiated the Phi Kappa Psi house. The public hearing on the designation proposal will take place Thursday, 3 August.

The landmark application provides the full story of this Berkeley Fire survivor.

28 July 2006

The Architecture of Ratcliff at the Oakland Museum Café

Walter H. Ratcliff, Jr. (courtesy of the Ratcliff family)

The photographic exhibit “The Architecture of Ratcliff” will be on display at the Café of the Oakland Museum of California from 1 October until 31 December 2006. The 100-year retrospective covers the work of the Ratcliff firm, which celebrates its centennial this year. Photos on display will showcase the work of three generations of Ratcliffs and will include Mills College, the Wells Fargo Building in Berkeley, U.C. Berkeley’s remodeled Life Sciences Building, Oakland Airport Terminal II, Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Palo Alto, Berkeley City College, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Fresno, and many more.  

26 July 2006

William Morris: Socialist and Shopkeeper

Lecture at the Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar St.
Tuesday, 15 August 2006, 8 pm

British design historian Alan Crawford is the author of Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1995) and C.R. Ashbee: Architect, Designer, and Romantic Socialist (1986). He is currently working on a history of the Arts and Crafts movement in England for Yale University Press, and on Court Barn, a new museum and study center in Chipping Campden devoted to the Arts and Crafts movement and its legacy in the north Cotswolds.

In his lecture at the Hillside Club, Mr. Crawford will focus on the contradictions in the career of William Morris, who was both capitalist and communist, socialist and shopkeeper.

$15 (refreshments provided)

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Berkeley, CA 94701
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