Berkeley Landmarks :: 2019 Designations

Berkeley Landmarks designated in 2019

Ormsby Donogh files, BAHA archives

Las Casitas Apartments
William Alexander Doctor (1927–1928)
1619 Walnut Street
Structure of Merit
Designated: 6 June 2019

Photo: Daniella Thompson, 2020

This Spanish Eclectic apartment building was an investment property built by William Irving Rush (1861–1946), a Pennsylvania-born contractor and real-estate dealer. The architect, William A. Doctor (1871–1949), a Canadian immigrant, had already designed for Rush a very similar apartment building, called Sunny Gables (1925), at 1631–1633 Walnut Street.

The distinguishing features of Las Casitas Apartments include a flat roof with parapet walls, narrow tile-covered shed roofs with regularly laid tapered Mission-style tile, asymmetrical façade, textured stucco walls, stained-glass windows, decorative window grills, decorative iron sconces and door knockers, and arcaded walkways.

The landmark application and associated reports are accessible online.

Marsh-Sperry House (BAHA)

Marsh-Sperry House
Henry Higby Gutterson (1924)
1440 Hawthorne Terrace
Designated: 5 September 2019

Sperry-McLaughlin House (Google Street View)

Sperry-McLaughlin House
Henry Higby Gutterson (1924)
1450 Hawthorne Terrace
Designated: 5 September 2019

On 17 September 1923, a fire decimated Berkeley’s Northside. Much of Hawthorne Terrace’s housing stock was obliterated in the fire, enabling James Clarence Sperry (1874–1942), a Magnavox executive, retired oil expert, and early leader in the Save the Redwoods League, to acquire three quarters of an acre bordering on Hawthorne Terrace, Vine Street, and Scenic Avenue. Sperry commissioned Henry Gutterson, who had already designed two other houses across the street, to create a family compound, consisting of two residences linked by a garage, at the eastern end of the parcel. Sperry and his family resided in the southern house (1450), while the northern house (1440) was owned and occupied by Sperry’s widowed sister, Marion Preston Marsh (1871–1959). Their brother, Willard F. Sperry, and his wife lived with Marion. On the western slope of the parcel, the two houses shared an expansive garden designed by landscape architect Mabel Symmes.

In the 1950s, the Sperry home was acquired by U.C. Regent Prof. Donald Hamilton McLaughlin (1891–1984) and his wife Sylvia (1916–2016). She would go on to co-found Save the Bay, Urban Care, and Citizens for East Shore Parks, and become known as the Grand Dame of environmentalism.

The landmark applications and associated reports are accessible online.


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