Berkeley Landmarks :: Hunrick Grocery
  


Hunrick Grocery

2211 Rose Street, Berkeley, CA

Susan Cerny


The building was constructed by George Hunrick in 1908
as a store and residence (photo courtesy of George Hunrick, Jr.).

7 October 2003

Berkeley is one of the older cities in the Bay Area, and a large proportion of Berkeley’s approximately 40,000 buildings is more than 60 years old. The city’s built environment gives it a physical quality not found in the newer California communities, where the majority of the state’s population lives. With the exception of areas just south of the University Campus, Berkeley escaped the massive urban clearances that other older cities experienced.

Over the years, Berkeley has made a strong commitment to preserve the diversity and quality of its architectural heritage in all sectors of the city: residential, commercial, and institutional.,The City’s Master Plan states: “Berkeley’s residents have always had a deep attachment to the physical character of the city.”

“Some mistakenly believe and complain that “only in Berkeley” would cultural resources be designated and protected, but the preservation of cultural resources is a nationwide mandate from the Federal Government.”

During the era of massive redevelopment, extending from the mid-1940s through the 1960s, many cities experienced the demolition of entire neighborhoods. The preservation movement, beginning with the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, was a response to this destruction. In the words of Richard Moe, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation:

Preservation is not creating museum houses [...] preservation is rooted in an appreciation of the value of history [...] the business of saving special places and the quality of the life they support [...] a partnership that makes for orderly growth and change between the past, present, and future.

The Preservation Act of 1966 established the National Register and state cultural resource surveys. The Act also created the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, which reviews federally funded projects for adverse effects on cultural resources.

In 1992 the State of California Governor’s Executive Order W-26-92 reaffirmed the Federal Preservation Act at the state level, and declared: “all state agencies shall recognize and preserve and maintain the significant heritage resources of the State.”

In order to identify the nation’s cultural resources, each state has established a cultural resource inventory process that is usually conducted at the local level. In 1977–79 the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, in conjunction with the City of Berkeley, prepared a State Historic Resources Inventory for the State Office of Historic Preservation. Berkeley’s was one of the first state inventories in California.

The more than 700 survey forms were reviewed by the State Office, and each property was rated as to its eligibility for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The state survey produced a representative rather than a comprehensive inventory. It was thought that representative buildings identified in the survey would serve to identify others of a similar period and cultural significance. Copies of these forms are available at the main branch of the Berkeley Public Library on Shattuck Avenue.

Berkeley’s Landmark Preservation Ordinance was passed in 1974, establishing a nine-person commission appointed by each of the nine City Council members.

The Ordinance goes further than merely mandating the preservation of buildings with special architectural character. It also asks the commission to consider structures and sites that have “special historical interests or value” by preserving “...unique and irreplaceable assets to the city and its neighborhoods, or which provide for this generation and future generations examples of the physical surroundings in which past generations lived.” The ordinance is specific and broad as to what may be considered a cultural resource and designated a Landmark or a Structure of Merit.


On the eve of demolition (photo: Daniella Thompson, April 2004)

The Hunrick Grocery, located at 2211 Rose Street, was designated a Structure of Merit in 1988 because it provides “this generation and future generations examples of the physical surroundings in which past generations lived,” and its designation conforms to the purpose and criteria of the ordinance.

The building was constructed as a grocery store and residence by George Hunrick in 1908. Hunrick had come to California to study banking with A.P. Gianinni, but never returned to Germany. He moved to Berkeley in 1906 and set up his first store at 2120 Shattuck. In 1908 he moved his business and home to 2211 Rose Street. Prospects were good in this location at the time, as the north Berkeley hills were just being developed, and a streetcar line was extended up Spruce Street in 1910.

Residential areas were linked to downtown and the rest of the Bay Area by streetcars and trains. The Berryman Station shopping area, where the Hunrick Grocery Store is located, had many small specialty shops. According to the late Louis Stein, whose father owned a butcher shop on Vine Street, it was customary to send employees out early in the morning to take orders, since there were no telephones, and make deliveries late in the afternoon by horse and wagon.

Hunrick operated the store at this location from 1908 until 1923, when he moved his home to Woolsey Street and opened a grocery on College Avenue at Ashby. The shop at 2211 Rose Street served as a small convenience store until 1966. The distinctive architectural feature of the now dilapidated building is its Mission Revival false-front parapet.

This article was originally published in the Berkeley Daily Planet.

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For seven years until it closed, the Rose Grocery was operated by the Pon family. Wing Gin Pon (1924–2003) continued to own the property until his death and tried to develop it since the late 1980s. Neighbor objections to the initial project (housing for low-income people with HIV) led to the property’s initiation in May 1988.


The renovated fašade (photo: Daniella Thompson, September 2005)

The Hunrick Grocery building was designated a City of Berkeley Landmark, Structure of Merit, on 19 September 1988. It was torn down in late 2004. Architect David Trachtenberg reconstructed the fašade and built two attractive townhouses in the rear. Now fronting a studio and garage, the fašade bears a plaque commemorating the original building.

 

  

Copyright © 2003–2014 Daniella Thompson & BAHA.
Text © 2003–2014 Susan Cerny. All rights reserved.