Berkeley Landmarks :: Joseph Clapp Cottage


Joseph Clapp Cottage

2009 Berkeley Way, Berkeley, CA

Susan Cerny

Photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004

8 December 2001

The house in the photograph was built around 1876 for Joseph Clapp, a farmer who arrived in Berkeley in the mid-1870s from Norwood, Mass.

According to the 1878 Thompson and West Historic Atlas, Clapp and his wife, Mary, owned about 15 acres bordered by what is now Berkeley Way and Delaware Street, Shattuck Avenue and Milvia Street. When the Berkeley branch line of the Southern Pacific Railroad was extended to Vine Street in 1878, Joseph Clapp was among the many farmers who subdivided their land into building lots.

In 1880, Clapp opened a real estate office on the corner of Milvia Street and Hearst Avenue.

The Joseph Clapp Cottage is popularly known as Morning Glory House, because it was once covered with morning glory vines. It is one of the few surviving Gothic Revival Victorians in Berkeley, clad in vertical and horizontal board-and-batten siding and crowned by steeply-pitched intersecting gabled roofs. Its style is similar to those popularized by the book The Architecture of Country Houses by Andrew Jackson Downing in 1850.

The Sanborn Map of 1894 shows the footprints of buildings that were standing at that time in Joseph Clapp’s subdivision, and today eleven houses are still standing there.

While the Clapp cottage remains the only house on its block, there is a row of eight pre-1894 houses on the north side of the 2000 block of Hearst Avenue in close-to-original condition. Behind 2034 Hearst Avenue there is the recently discovered base of a windmill tower, bringing the number of known windmill structure remnants in Berkeley to five.

This article was originally published in the Berkeley Daily Planet.


The Joseph Clapp Cottage was designated a City of Berkeley Landmark on 16 July 1979. It is listed in the California State Historic Resources Inventory. Clapp himself never lived at this address; his home was located on the southwest corner of Hearst Avenue and Milvia Street.



Copyright © 2004–2017 Daniella Thompson. Text © 2001–2016 Susan Cerny.
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