Workmen’s Cottages

1814 & 1812 Sixth Street, Berkeley, CA

Susan Cerny

Joseph Alphonso House, 1814 Sixth Street
(photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004)

4 August 2001

The 800 block of Delaware Street is the location of the first settlement in Berkeley that grew into a true community.

In the 19th century, Delaware Street connected Jacob’s Landing (1853) with Bowen’s Inn (1854) on the old Contra Costa Road (now San Pablo Avenue). The block is a city historic district, and the pioneer feeling of the streetscape remains somewhat intact.

The 800 block of Delaware Street

Photos: Daniella Thompson, 2004

The community that developed in the vicinity of Delaware Street was called Ocean View, because from here the ocean was visible through the Golden Gate. Remnants of 19th-century Ocean View still exist.

Queen Anne houses and workmen’s cottages are scattered on surrounding streets. Some are still on their original lots, while others were moved or raised to accommodate new uses.

The Joseph Alphonso House at 1814 Sixth St. was built around 1878. The small single-story structure sits on its original lot and has not been altered [see footnote].

The first floor is raised above the street about four feet to protect it from flooding, which was once common in West Berkeley.

It is interesting to note the care given to the decorative details of this tiny home, which is only 20 feet wide by 30 feet deep.

The most prominent elements of the cottage are the two tall sash windows containing eight lights surrounded by wide wood moldings.

The windows are capped with an elaborate hood molding that features curved brackets, floral carvings, dentils, and molded framed paneling.

There are carved wood moldings on either side of the entry, and above the front door is a transom window. Other Victorian elements include channel siding and an open gable with five triangular brackets.

Thomas Andrews house, 1812 Sixth St.
(photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004)

Although it is not known who built the workman’s cottage known as the Joseph Alphonso House, it is known that Thomas Andrews, who worked in Heywood’s lumber yard, was living next door at 1812 Sixth Street with his wife, Annie, in 1880.

Such information is sometimes found in old city directories, block books, and voter registrations available at the Oakland Public Library’s History Room or the Bancroft Library.

This article was originally published in the Berkeley Daily Planet.


The Joseph Alphonso House at 1814 Sixth Street, (c. 1878) and the Thomas Andrews house at 1812 Sixth Street (c. 1880) were designated City of Berkeley Landmarks on 15 June 1992. The Andrews house is listed in the California State Historic Properties Directory. Both houses have been remodeled. The Andrews house, originally a small one-story rectangle of 24’ x 36’, was raised in 1995 and is now an elegant two-story structure. The workman’s cottage’s front windows have seen the number of their panes reduced from eight to four.

See also:Bowen’s Inn



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