Berkeley Landmarks :: 1919 Tree Removal Protest

1919 Tree Removal Protest

2600 block of Le Conte Avenue, Berkeley, CA

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Berkeley, California
November 5, 1919.

To The
Honorable City Council
Berkeley, California


We, the undersigned property owners and residents of the district lying East of Euclid Avenue, North of the University Grounds and South of Cedar Street in the City of Berkeley, respectfully protest against the removal of trees or shrubs within such district, by employees of the City, without first submitting proposal for such removal to the majority of the property owners in said district, or to all the property owners within a radius of two blocks from from such proposed removal. This protest is made at this time, because of the removal of a large oak tree on Le Conte Avenue, near Le Roy Avenue, which tree is now in the process of removal, and which tree was in no dangerous condition, as claimed, and could have been brought back to the normal condition by the application of a small water-drip, as was suggested to the authorities by Mrs Perkins, et al, and as was done in the case of Le Conte and other oaks on the University Grounds with entire success.

We consider the removal of trees, especially native trees, without representation to the immediate districts concerned property owners in the immediate districts concerned, as a high-handed measure. The oaks and Native Trees and Shrubs in this district make it one of the most beautiful resident sections about the Bay Shore, they have attracted the present owners and helped to establish the present property values, which in turn react on the City Treasury; it is therefore imperative that the matter of the removal of these trees should be given due consideration, and submitted to the people most interested in their preservation, and not left to the uncertain judgment of ever changing and probably uninformed City employees, who may in a few moments, before protest may take effect, destroy one or more trees which may be the most prized asset of a district and are absolutely invaluable, in that they can never be replaced.

We trust that you will take decisive action in this matter, so there may be no danger of the removal of trees in future, without first submitting the matter for consideration, as suggested above.

Name Address
Fr C. Maurer 1726 Le Roy Av.

Fred. Maurer Jr. 1726 Le Roy Av.

Mrs. Mary Moody 1725 Le Roy Ave.
200 foot front
Mr. & Mrs. George Stone 1725 Le Roy Ave.

Mrs. Madge Maurer1725 Le Roy Ave.

Lydia Atterbury 2620 Le Conte Ave.
50 ft. front
Mary Jane Stockton 2617 Le Conte Ave.
50 ft front
Mary I. Stockton 2617 Le Conte Ave.
50 ft front
Julia L. Loveday 2617 Le Conte Ave.

S.F. Hammond 2621 Le Conte Ave.
50 feet
Anna F. Hammond 2621 Le Conte Ave.
50 feet
Mrs. W.H. Holt 2611 Le Conte Av.
50 ft
Mrs. J.M. Trainer [?] 2611 Le Conte Ave.
50 ft.
R.N. [?] Osborn 2627 Virginia St

Anna L. Osborn 2627 Virginia St

Norma Osborn 2627 Virginia St

S.V. Culp 2601 Virginia St

An additional sheet contains 30 names, all written by the same hand. It is possible that the page with the original signatures had been damaged or destroyed, requiring this substitution.

And what was the fuss about? Very likely the tree in the foreground of the photograph below, showing the 2600 block of Le Conte Avenue shortly after the street had been graded in 1909. The viewer is facing east from Le Roy Avenue, looking toward La Loma. On the right-hand side is Weltevreden and on the left, three residences that burned in the 1923 fire, all Brown Shingles. Farthest east on the north side of the street one can glimpse the upper story of the Bentley house. It appears that the large John Hudson Thomas (1911–12) to its immediate west was not yet built.

The 2600 block of Le Conte Avenue circa 1910 (photo courtesy of the Bancroft Library, U.C. Berkeley)

The 2600 block of Le Conte Avenue from the air in 1994 (at left is the LeRoy Avenue intersection). In order to preserve one of the oak trees growing in the middle of the road, the street was laid out in a curve to the extent of encroaching several feet into four lots of the north (uphill) side of Le Conte Avenue. Click the photo for an aerial view of Daley’s Scenic Park.



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