27 July 2007

Oscar Maurer Studio celebrates its centennial

Photo: Daniella Thompson, 2007

On 24 July 1907, the Oakland Tribune announced, “Oscar Maurer, the local artist […] is having a studio built on Le Roy Avenue opposite his home and next to the studio of his brother, Fred Maurer, the musician. The structure is unique in design, with cement exterior and tiled roof.”

Five weeks later, on 1 September, the Tribune reported that “Maurer has recently taken possession of his new studio which has just been completed. It is one of the finest hereabouts, being built and furnished in the Spanish style of architecture.”

Designed by Bernard Maybeck, the studio foreshadows the architect’s eclectic design for the First Church of Christ, Scientist (1910). The elements assembled here include Mediterranean, Mission Revival, Neoclassical, and Modern.

Read more.

18 July 2007

Cultural Landscapes

Geological map of a portion of the Berkeley Hills (Andrew Lawson and Charles Palache, 1900. BAHA Archives)

Strawberry Canyon—Opposite the Golden Gate

A program sponsored by the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association & the American Society of Landscape Architects, Northern California Chapter.

Two summer evenings with
Charles Birnbaum
President, The Cultural Landscape Foundation, Washington, D.C.

An Ice Cream Social and Lecture
Town & Gown Club (Bernard Maybeck, 1899)
2401 Dwight Way, Berkeley
Thursday, 9 August 2007
Starting at 7:30 pm; lecture at 8 pm


Charles Birnbaum, noted leader in establishing the American discipline of cultural landscapes, will present a framework for his visit to Berkeley and for providing technical assistance regarding Strawberry Canyon and its potential significance as a cultural landscape on a local, state, and/or national level.

Recognized in 1865 by Frederick Law Olmsted, Strawberry Canyon is the headlands of Strawberry Creek, a primary water resource giving birth to the University of California. The canyon has continuously remained a natural hillside vista representative of the Coastal Range, providing ongoing cultural benefit to the University, the city, and the greater region.

The lecture will address the challenging issues in the design, treatment, and management of cultural landscapes that are rich in natural, scenic, and cultural values. Mr. Birnbaum’s illustrated presentation will raise questions about how one defines a holistic stewardship ethic when balancing these myriad resource values.

Four Rambles, with Guides
into, through, and above Strawberry Canyon
Friday, 10 August 2007
Starting at 5:30 pm
Panoramic Hill, led by Gray Brechin (sold out)
Panoramic Hill (recently listed, as a residential neighborhood, in the National Register of Historic Places) is the southern slope of Strawberry Canyon. Its natural setting and architectural development reflect the cultural aesthetic of those who lived in Berkeley after the turn-of-the-century and aspired to “build with nature.” $10
University Botanical Gardens, led by Ellen Petersen
Occupying an area of some 25 acres, the gardens were established in Strawberry Canyon in 1928 on an open site previously occupied by dairy ranches. Defined by a mild climate, they rank with the world’s leading gardens in number of different plants, arranged according to their geographical origin and including a large area devoted to California native plants. $10
Strawberry Creek—Its Sources, led by Robin Freeman
The South Fork of Strawberry Creek, originating from underground sources and streamlets, flows out of Strawberry Canyon toward the Bay. Behind Memorial Stadium, off Centennial Drive, the walk through the canyon reveals some of the open creek resources and shows evidence of the many changes that have occurred to the natural environment over time. $10
Monument Hill Vista, led by Michael Kelly

The surrounding ridges of Strawberry Canyon offer views into the entire canyon as well as beyond out to the Golden Gate. The southern ridge offers a story of the nearly 200 years of impact to the canyon since the settlement of the Spanish, early 19th century farms, the University, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, respectively, and its survival as a wild area in the midst of urban growth. $10

A Farmers’ Market Barbeque
Haas Club House (Wurster, Bernardi & Emmons, 1959)
Strawberry Canyon Recreation Area
Friday, 10 August 2007
Starting at 7 pm


All three events (choose one ramble) $50.
To reserve tickets, print and mail this form.

14 July 2007

Alameda Legacy Home Tour 2007

Walter Muller House (A.R. Denke, 1889)

Sunday, 23 September 2007
11 am–5 pm
Info & tickets: alameda-home-tour.org

This self-guided tour features the interiors and gardens of seven Victorian homes, including some of Alameda’s famous “Painted Ladies.” The tour is a fund-raiser for the Alameda Historical Museum and the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society.

Tickets are $20 per person in advance, $25 on the day of the tour. Advance tickets are available online at alameda-home-tour.org. On the day of the tour, tickets will be available at Franklin Park (at the intersection of Morton Street and San Antonio Avenue). For more information, call (510) 523-5907.

07 July 2007

Historic Japantowns of Berkeley
and Oakland

Oakland church (photo courtesy of Preserving California’s Japantowns)

Monday, 23 July 2007
12 pm–2 pm
Berkeley Methodist United Church
1710 Carleton Street

Preserving California’s Japantowns is the first statewide project to document historic resources of pre-World War II Japantowns. The initial task of the project was to identify Japanese American communities representative of the diverse regions, distinctive economic characteristics, and cultures features throughout the state. The initial phase involved reconnaissance surveys in 43 Japantown communities to identify historic buildings and landscapes associated with pre-WWII community.

Berkeley and Oakland were among the Bay Area communities selected for research, and surveys yielded a surprisingly high percentage of historic resources associated with Japanese American businesses, cultural institutions and community organizations.

The program on 23 July will include an overview of Preserving California’s Japantowns and highlights of the survey of historic Japanese American communities of Berkeley and Oakland. Community members are invited to bring historic photos that document community life. Local organizations will share brief summaries of their efforts to document Japanese American history through commemorative events, oral history projects, photo archives, or other activities.