BAHA History, Year by Year
JoAnn Price, President
Board of Directors: Fillmore Eisenmayer, Administrative Vice-President; Lesley Emmington, Communications Vice-President; Evelyn Humphrey, Recording Secretary; Joan Mastronarde, Corresponding Secretary; Tom Tellefsen, Treasurer; Lisa Bruce, Membership; Ed Phillips, Public Affairs; Richard Ehrenberger, Projects Coordinator; Jackie Reinier/Jeffrey Dwelle, Research; Dan Dean, Publicity; Anthony Bruce, 1976 Calendar.
The year’s highlights
BAHA documents outstanding Berkeley structures and launches oral history project.
The Research Committee, formed in 1974, continued its documentation of a list of outstanding Berkeley structures. A subcommittee was formed to record oral histories documenting significant buildings, sites, and neighborhoods throughout Berkeley.
BAHA’s first newsletter
During BAHA’s first year, there had been much talk about publishing a newsletter. An editor could not be found, so president JoAnn Price took it upon herself to write and design Volume I, Issue 1. The board was delighted with the finished product, and the Membership Committee arranged for the first newsletter mailing party.
The first issue reported on the annual meeting at Finnish Hall and announced the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s upcoming national conference on the Economic benefits of Preserving Old Buildings (click the thumbnail to read the first page). The July calendar announced activities for the month.
18 July 1975
Farewell party for Richard W. Longstreth
Richard was a dynamic member of BAHA during the early years, writing articles for the newspaper series and sharing his expertise at board meetings. He left with the promise of a manuscript for BAHA’s first monograph and admonished us to be ever vigilant, warning that cars parked on front lawns are often the first sign of a neighborhood’s decline. Shirley and Dan Dean grilled shish-kebabs on a hibachi, and Mai Tais were served at the party attended by board members and other BAHA members.
24 July 1975
Robert Judson Clark lectures on Louis Christian Mullgardt.
“Mullgardt Lecture a Midsummer Hit!!!,” proclaimed the August 1975 newsletter. Robert Judson Clark was in Berkeley for the summer, teaching a class in architectural history at the U.C. summer school. He was introduced to BAHA via one of our spring walking tours and became an active supporter. Before returning to Princeton, Robert gave a slide lecture on Mullgardt to a small group of BAHA members at the restored Mullgardt–designed home of Anita and Robert Stein in Piedmont.
The weekly series in the Berkeley Daily Gazette continued. Articles often featured endangered buildings or served as a public announcement for a BAHA event. People with special expertise, such as Joan Draper, who wrote her master’s thesis on the work of John Galen Howard, were asked to contribute commentaries. The articles shown were written by Joan Draper (Hearst Mining Building), Mary Ann Beach (Bancroft Apartments), Anthony Bruce (Frank M. Wilson House, Cragmont School, James L. Barker House), and Paul H. Williamson (Samuel Willey House).
9 September 1975
The California Historical Society presented its Second Annual Award for Historical Preservation to Newton B. Drury at the Town and Gown Club in Berkeley. BAHA was one of the event sponsors.
30 September 1975
BAHA’s Fall Membership Meeting
The hand-colored nesletter of September 1975 invited members to a meeting to be held in the “Henry Gutterson-designed home of Florence Reinke.” Upcoming projects were to be presented, and the publication of the 1976 calendar celebrated.
11 October 1975
Conference on Neighborhood Preservation
South Berkeley Community Church
1802 Fairview Avenue at Ellis Street
Speakers: Allan Temko, Shirley Dean, and John Beach
Launch of Bicentennial Neighborhood Survey
“An exciting new 2-year project involving an inventory of every one of the 40,000 structures in Berkeley is being initiated by BAHA.” This excerpt from Newsletter No. 3 announced the beginning of the comprehensive neighborhood survey that became the nucleus of BAHA’s extensive building files and archive.
Every community in the nation was in busy planning for the bicentennial celebration in 1976; BAHA joined the existing Berkeley Bicentennial Committee to organize the process for broad data gathering from every neighborhood. The purpose of the survey was to “help every citizen become more aware of the architectural heritage that is Berkeley’s—and its value—while also pointing out the special historical and architectural identity that belongs to each neighborhood.”
Members of the BAHA and Bicentennial Joint Survey Committee included JoAnn B. Price (BAHA president) and Paul H. Williamson (Berkeley Bicentennial Committee chair), coordinators; Jeffrey Dwelle; Evelyn Humphrey; Lesley Emmington; Doulas Perry; Fillmore Eisenmayer; and Vivian Esslinger.
After the kick-off Neighborhood Preservation Conference, training sessions were held in private homes throughout Berkeley. BAHA prepared a survey manual that included references to architectural styles, and yellow survey forms were printed and stamped with address labels provided by the Alameda County Assessor’s Office. The City of Berkeley inserted an announcement of the survey in the refuse collection bills, in order to reach as many Berkeleyans as possible, and announcements were published in the Berkeley Daily Gazette.
Architectural photographer and BAHA member Johnnie Dell Robinson shot new photos expressly for the 1976 calendar. Marking the Bicentennial year, this calendar also included historic photographs in a nod to Berkeley’s past. Quotations from A Berkeley Year: A Sheaf of Nature Essays (1898) were chosen for each month, and Anthony Bruce provided decorations.
4 December 1975
Exhibit of Proposed Landmarks
BAHA and the Berkeley Bicentennial Committee cosponsored a photographic exhibit of the first nine proposed landmarks. It was held on the second floor of City Hall. The exhibit was conceived and designed by Robin Freeman; committee members included Lesley Emmington, Lisa Bruce, and Anthony Bruce.
29 January 1976
The historic Barker House is demolished after the filing of a landmark application.
The first landmark application by citizen petition was filed on 20 January 1976 in an effort to save the home of Berkeley pioneer James L. Barker from demolition by Herrick Hospital. Nevertheless, the Housing and Development Department granted Herrick a demolition permit a week later. The BAHA newsletter devoted the first two pages to this case, announcing, “As this newsletter goes to press, it seems imperative that BAHA itself must pursue a recourse to insure that the Landmarks Preservation Ordinance was not created in vain.”
The same issue also reported on the outcome of the public hearing in which the first nine landmarks had been designated. Improbable as it seems today, the owners of the First Church of Christ, Scientist and the Thorsen House appealed the designation of their buildings.
On the same page, concern was expressed for the fate of the historic Frank M. Wilson House at 2400 Ridge Road. Following a long fight, the Wilson House would be demolished to make way for the GTU Library.
Frank M. Wilson House (1894)
26 April 1976
The fight to preserve Cragmont, Jefferson, and Willard Schools
The Zoning Adjustments Board and the City Council opposed granting the Berkeley Unified School District a use permit to demolish and rebuild the three school buildings. BAHA organized an evening of talks on “Conservation with Creativity” with speakers Gerald Adams, Allan Temko, Loren Partridge, and Henrik Bull.
LPO amendments proposed
As a result of the adverse interpretation of the ordinance that led to the demolition of the Barker House, BAHA proposed amendments to the text of the LPO to ensure that no application for a permit filed after a landmark application had been submitted shall be approved while proceedings are pending on such designation. Click thumbnail to enlarge.
Women’s Faculty Club
John J. Costonis
6 May 1976The event was held at the Women’s Faculty Club on the U.C. campus. Dinner was catered by the then new Equinox Restaurant at the University YWCA. The keynote speaker was visiting law professor John J. Costonis, author of Space Adrift: Landmark Preservation and the Marketplace (1974). Prof. Costonis’s illustrated presentation, titled “Space Adrift—Revisited,” touched upon research he conducted while at U.C. Berkeley, preservation law across the U.S., and the preservation scene in Berkeley.
Second Annual Membership Meeting and Dinner
The third annual Spring Walking Tours included a Northgate tour that highlighted the endangered Wilson House.
Julia Morgan Park: Early Shingle Residences by America’s Foremost Woman Architect
Leader: Sara Holmes Boutelle
Flatlands: Layers of Neighborhood History Seen Through its Architecture
Leader: Mark A. Wilson
Northgate: Roots of Bay Region Architecture
Leader: Kathy DeVries
Tours $2.50 each.
Compiled and presented by Anthony Bruce & Daniella Thompson
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