04 March 2018

Hicks House designated a City Landmark


Thomas & Louise Hicks House (photo: Shmuel Weissman)

The Thomas & Louise Hicks House, a 1904 Arts & Crafts residence built by Chapin A. Martin at 2901 Benvenue Avenue, was designated a City of Berkeley Landmark on 1 March 2018. One of the most distinctive and best-preserved houses in the Elmwood district, the Hicks House was among the earliest houses constructed in the Berry-Bangs Tract, and the first house on its block.

The Hicks House is distinguished by a cross-gabled roof with flaring eaves and upturned bargeboards; a symmetrical façade marked by large twin gables; a shingled second story overhanging a first story clad in heavily textured stucco; decorative rafter-tails in the eaves under the second story; an abundance of original wood-sash windows with latticed lights set in wooden muntins; clinker-brick base skirt, porch columns, porch parapets, and chimneys; and a central recessed portico with a heavy timber beam, exposed ceiling joists, and clinker-brick pilasters flanking the front door.

In its early days, the Hicks House was the home of a lumber dealer, followed in rapid succession by two executives of the Sherwin Williams paint company. For 37 years between 1919 and 1956, the Hicks House served as the manse of St. John’s Presbyterian Church and was the home of its pastors, notably Rev. Francis Wayland Russell, D.D., and Rev. Stanley Armstrong Hunter, D.D., both of whom were nationally known religious leaders. When St. John’s sold the Hicks House in 1956, it became the home and working studio of Mynard and Mary Groom Jones, two well-known concert singers and voice teachers who trained generations of classical singers.

The Hicks House retains integrity of location, design, materials, setting, feeling, and association. The landmark application is accessible online.

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