Berkeley Landmarks :: Young-Ghego House


Young-Ghego House
(Heywood-Ghego House)

1809–1811 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA

Daniella Thompson

Designated as the Heywood-Ghego House, this city landmark at 1809 Fourth Street was never owned or occupied by any Heywood. (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2008)

16 September 2008

The Young-Ghego House is the last pioneer building on the 1800 block of Fourth Street. Designated as a City of Berkeley Landmark on 21 June 1982, the symmetrically designed two-story Italianate building has been the victim of mistaken identity for many years.

Landmark plaque at 1809 Fourth Street (courtesy of Jean Darnall)

Long thought to have been built by the family of pioneer lumberman Zimri Brewer Heywood, the building stands on land owned by the Heywoods from the 1870s or earlier until 1907 or thereabouts. Although its architecutral details distinguish it as an Italianate Victorian from the late 1870s or early 1880s, the provenance of this building is unknown, since it wasn’t built on this site.

It was John Young, an Irish miner-turned-concrete worker-turned dairyman, who purchased the site from the Heywood family and moved the building—a pair of flats—to the site, which was located directly behind his own residence at 1808 Fifth Street. That residence used to be Charles Warren Heywood’s house, and was acquired by Young around 1902.

Young was first assessed for the improved parcel—lot 18 in block 74 of the Berkeley Land and Town Improvement Association tract—in 1908. The Sanborn fire insurance maps below reveal that the parcel was vacant in 1903. By 1911, it had been improved with a two-story pair of flats and joined to the parcels in the rear, fronting on Fifth Street. (Open each image in a new window to enlarge.)

The vacant parcel, outlined in purple, in 1903 (Sanborn map)

The improved parcel, shaded, in 1911 (Sanborn map)

Young and his wife Jane divorced a decade after their arrival in Berkeley, and the Fourth Street flats were sold to the Italian immigrant Luigi Quartucci. Ten years later, Quartucci sold the building to Peter and Pauline Ghego (or Ghigo), Italian immigrants like him.

The Young-Ghego house in 1978, before rehabilitation (BAHA archives)

Members of the Ghego family were still living in the house when the Redevelopment Agency purchased it in 1978. In 1992, the Redevelopment Agency sold the house to Abrams, Millikan & Associates, developers of the popular Fourth Street retail district. Adapted to commercial use, it is now a unique feature of the Fourth Street commercial district.

The building’s notable features are the tall paired sash windows topped with ornate bracketing, a shallow hipped roof with a flat apex, and diagonally clipped eave corners.

Read more:

Zimri Brewer Heywood: Separating Fact From Myth

On the Trail of Zimri Brewer Heywood’s Residence

Charles W. Heywood House


Copyright © 2008–2021 Daniella Thompson. All rights reserved.