31 December 2007

Susan Dinkelspiel Cerny lecture

Thursday, 10 January 2008
7:30 pm
Chapel of the Chimes
4499 Piedmont Ave
Oakland, CA 94611

Susan Dinkelspiel Cerny will discuss and sign her latest book, An Architectural Guidebook to San Francisco and the Bay Area, which provides a historic record covering the full scope of Bay Area architecture. The lecture will focus on Oakland and how it developed into what it is today.

The lecture is sponsored by the Oakland Heritage Alliance. OHA members $8, Non-members $10.

26 December 2007

Two East Bay churches mark Christmas centennials

Christmas Eve children’s concert at St. Joseph the Worker (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2007)

In the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, East Bay population ballooned practically overnight, absorbing 200,000 refugees of which three-quarters remained permanently. To accommodate their burgeoning communities, Berkeley and Oakland acquired new housing developments, factories, and transportation routes, as well as a good number of churches.

Three of the earliest churches to be constructed after the earthquake were completed one hundred years ago this month. One of the three—First Presbyterian Church at Dana St. and Channing Way—was demolished in 1973. The other two—St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church at 1640 Addison Street and Shattuck United Methodist Church at 6300 Shattuck Avenue—are still standing..

Read the stories of these centenarian churches.

18 December 2007

1930s Japanese flower nursery demolished for condos

1800 San Pablo Avenue (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2006)

This Streamline Moderne building occupied a corner lot at 1800 San Pablo Avenue from 1946 until Saturday, 15 December 2007.

The San Pablo Florist & Nursery was established by the Iwahashi family. When they moved back to Japan in the mid-’30s, the business was bought by Hisako and Shigeharu Nabeta, who came from two of the earliest flower-growing families in Richmond.

This information was recently uncovered by historian and West Berkeley resident Donna Graves in the course of her work on the Preserving California’s Japantowns project.

The Nabetas were interned in a camp during World War II and returned to Berkeley in 1946. They built this building and a house next to it where they lived until Shigeharu’s death in 1994.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission declined to initiate this building several years ago, paving the way for demolition. The use permit calls for a four-story, 51-unit apartment complex with retail space and 67 parking spaces.

Another historically and architecturally significant building, the Mid-Century Joe Donham Willys Showroom (1952) at 2747 San Pablo Avenue, awaits the same fate (see plans for the five-story condo development that will replace it). The LPC voted almost unanimously not to accord the building any protection.

With the demise of these two buildings, little of architectural interest remains on San Pablo Avenue. The one notable exception is the landmark H.J. Heinz Factory (Albert Kahn, 1927).

17 December 2007

Richard Schwartz on KPFA

Local historian and author of three books on Berkeley’s past, Richard Schwartz chats with Denny Smithson on KPFA’s Cover to Cover.

The two discuss Eccentrics, Heroes, and Cutthroats of Old Berkeley, Berkeley 1900, and Earthquake Exodus, 1906. In his engaging way, Schwartz also describes some of his current political, cultural, and environmental involvements in the area.

Listen to the program.