29 March 2010

Cheney House reduced to rubble

Photo: Daniella Thompson, 26 March 2010

Last week, U.C. tore down the landmark Warren and May Cheney House (1885) at 2241 College Avenue, on campus. Last fall, the University of California’s Real Estate Services Group issued a request for proposals for the purchase and relocation of the house. No buyer came forward, and the university took advantage of the Spring Break to demolish it.

Still standing is the second Cheney house, built in 1902 by Carl Ericsson. It is located next door, at 2243 College Avenue, and can be seen in the photo above. The house has been acquired and will be moved to 62nd Street in South Berkeley.

27 March 2010

In the matter of 2707 Rose Street

Photo: Berkeleyside

By now, practically everybody in Berkeley knows that on 28 January, the Zoning Adjustments Board approved a use permit for a nearly 10,000-square-foot house and garage at 2707 Rose Street. The story got national play because the property owners are Mitch Kapor and Freada Kapor Klein.

Along the way, some very basic preliminaries fell through the cracks. The Structure History report submitted on 19 May 2009 claims that “there is no architect of record and no associated persons of historical interest” for the existing structure on the property. Both assertions are wrong.

As it turns out, the existing house at 2707 Rose Street did have an architect with excellent credentials, as well as a notable first owner.

Find out who they were in BAHA’s letter to the City Council. The Berkeley Daily Planet published my commentary, If You Don’t Want to Find Anything, Don’t Look Anywhere.

For background information on the ZAB decision and neighbors’ appeal, see 2707rose.org.

23 March 2010

Two pre-House Tour lectures

Our Spring House Tour, Looking at Julia Morgan: Early Residences in Berkeley, will be preceded by two interesting lectures.

The first lecture, to take place at the Berkeley City Club (Julia Morgan, 1929), will feature architectural historian Betty Marvin, well-known for appearing as Miss Morgan (see photo on left), as well as for her thorough knowledge of the architect’s life and work.

The second talk will occur a week later at the Hillside Club. Inge Horton, author of the upcoming book Early Women Architects of the San Francisco Bay Area: The Lives and Work of Fifty Professionals, 1890–1950, will give an illustrated lecture on Julia Morgan’s cohorts.

A Visit with Julia Morgan
An impersonation by Betty Marvin
Thursday, 22 April 2010 at 7:30 pm
Berkeley City Club
Members’ Lounge (2nd floor)
2315 Durant Avenue, Berkeley
Tickets $15

Julia Morgan’s Cohorts
Speaker: Inge Horton
Thursday, 29 April 2010 at 7:30 pm
The Hillside Club
2286 Cedar Street, Berkeley
Tickets $15

Advance tickets may be purchased by mail or online. See our 2010 Spring House Tour page for details.

10 March 2010

On Photoplayers and bakeries in West Berkeley

Joe Rinaudo plays his Fotoplayer, manufactured in 1926 at the Van Nuys plant.

The contraption you see in the video above was developed and first manufactured in Berkeley by the American Photo Play Company, which opened its factory on the corner of Addison and Bonar Streets in 1912. It remained at this location until 1925.

But photoplayers (so named because they served to accmpany silent films) were only one type of product manufactured on the block that now makes Strawberry Creek Park. To learn about the history of this block, read Bread and Music Were Staples of West Berkeley Block.

07 March 2010

Our 2010 House Tour: Looking at Julia Morgan

Photos: Daniella Thompson, 2010

BAHA’s next house tour is devoted to everybody’s favorite architect. Looking at Julia Morgan: Early Residences in Berkeley will take place on Sunday 2 May 2010.

A pre-tour lecture on California Women Architects will be given on Thursday, 29 April 2010, at 7:30 pm, at the Hillside Club. The speaker is Inge Horton, author of the upcoming book Early Women Architects of the San Francisco Bay Area: The Lives and Work of Fifty Professionals, 1890–1950.

For complete information and ticket orders, visit the 2010 House Tour page. Tour docents receive complimentary admission. To volunteer, e-mail BAHA.