Photos: Steven Finacom
From Bears to Beasleys:
A Century of Public Art on the U.C. Berkeley Campus
Sunday, 9 March 2014To order, send a check made out to BAHA to:
10:00 am to 1:00 pm
$25 per person
Campus Art Walk
P.O. Box 1137
Berkeley, CA 94701
Include the names of people in your party and an e-mail address and/or telephone number. Attendees will be notified of the starting point.You may also order online via PayPal (see instructions).
Stroll the U.C. Berkeley campus in the company of two experts for a unique look at the university’s outdoor sculpture and public art, both old and new.
Renowned Oakland-based sculptor Bruce Beasley and community historian (and U.C. staff member) Steven Finacom will co-lead this excursion through a sculpture collection that dates back to 1900 and includes the works of notable artists, from Alexander Calder to Douglas Tilden and Gutzon Borglum. Beasley and Finacom will share the intricate history of outdoor art on the campus, from a larger-than-life bust of Abraham Lincoln to a bevy of golden bears, allegorical New Deal mosaics, and a set of silvery rings “floating” in a reflecting pool.
Finacom will talk about the history of the art collection and the stories of the older individual pieces. Beasley, who is a Cal alumnus and currently has five monumental sculptures from his “Rondo” series on exhibit on the campus, will discuss his own works and comment on the other pieces of art and his days as a young artist studying at Cal.
There will be a mid-walk break for coffee and light refreshments.
The walk covers most of the campus and may include steep paths and stairs, although alternative routes can be identified for the mobility impaired.
Outings on Fridays
Our popular series of guided tours, organized by Sally Sachs, returns this spring. A post-tour group lunch at a restaurant close to the tour venue is optional and not included in the tour price. Lunch reservation must be made at least 5 days prior to each tour.
Tickets: $15 per tour or $40 for the series
Friday, 7 March 2014
The Gardens at Lake Merritt
A hidden jewel in the city of Oakland, The Gardens at Lake Merritt is a seven-acre collection of themed gardens, including Japanese, Mediterranean, Bonsai, Palm, Lavender, Native Bee, Edible, Bay-Friendly, and other garden types.
Friday, 4 April 2014
Dockside tour of USS Potomac
The “Floating White House” was originally commissioned the USCG Cutter Electra in 1934. In 1936 it was renamed the USS Potomac and served as Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Presidential Yacht until his death in 1945. We will visit the restored 165-foot-long vessel, now a National Historic Landmark.
Friday, 6 June 2014
Built in 1882–1884, the Cohen-Bray House typifes the Stick style of architecture and still contains many original furnishings in the Aesthetic style of Charles Eastlake. The original interior decoration is a quintessential example of the Anglo-Japanese design craze of the 1880s. The house is listed in the National Register of Historic Places in addition to being a designated City of Oakland Landmark.
To order tickets, print and fill out the ticket order form and mail it with a check made out to BAHA and a stamped, self-addressed envelope to:You can also pay for tickets by credit card via PayPal (see instructions).
Outings on Fridays
P.O. Box 1137
Berkeley, CA 94701
Berkeley History Chats
The Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association and the Berkeley Historical Society present a new series of informal lectures, featuring local experts, each talking about a topic of local historic and/or cultural interest.
Berkeley History Center
Veterans Memorial Building
1931 Center Street, Berkeley
Fortnightly on Thursdays
13 March–24 April 2014
Admission: $10 per talk by reservation (Space limited!)You may also order online via PayPal (see instructions).
Photo: Daniella Thompson
13 March 2014
Daniella Thompson: The Berkeley Unitarians and Architectural Innovation
In the late 19th century, several religious denominations founded vigorous congregations in the neighborhoods around the U.C. Berkeley campus. Early Berkeley Unitarians, whose membership included the Maybecks, the Keelers, and fellow founders of the Hillside Club, held a progressive view of architecture. Their first church building at Bancroft Way and Dana Street, designed by A.C. Schweinfurth and completed in 1898, incorporates startling architectural features and has been characterized as a powerhouse (it is now the Dance Facility on the U.C. Berkeley campus).
Daniella Thompson will trace the history of the Unitarian community in Berkeley, introduce its cast of leading characters and the significant houses they built, and discuss the links between culture and nature embodied in its church buildings.
Photo: Tom Dalzell
27 March 2014
Tom Dalzell: Quirky Berkeley
Many Berkeley front yards and gardens contain unusual, eccentric, and curiously alluring displays of art, landscape, and artifacts. Walk down a Berkeley residential street, and you never know what you’ll see from the sidewalk: A giant chicken? A miniature landscape of plastic toys? A panda in a speedboat? An elaborate spiritual shrine? “Art cars” at home? All those, and more, are being catalogued by urban explorer Tom Dalzell, who walks through Berkeley, documenting our “oddball, whimsical, eccentric, and the near-rhyme quirky material culture.”
Tom Dalzell’s illustrated talk will cover this evolving work, looking at Berkeley and environs from out-of-the-way corners of the hills to hot dog stands, the now-vanished driftwood sculpture of the Emeryville mudflats, and the history and stories he’s discovering behind the art.
Thursday, 10 April 2014
Karin Sveen: The Immigrant and the University: Peder Sather and Gold Rush California
When Norwegian poet and writer Karin Sveen first arrived at the Berkeley campus as a visiting scholar, she saw the dedicatory inscription to Peder Sather on Sather Gate. “Who was this man with a Norwegian last name, and why was he so prominently honored in Berkeley?,” she wondered. Her research over several years has made her the expert on a remarkable man who left his Norwegian family farm in the 1830s to travel to the New World, where he started as a clerk and became a successful businessman, banker, and trustee of the College of California. Sather was a fervent promoter of education on both East and West coasts, and his fortune later paid for two of Berkeley’s most iconic structures, Sather Tower and Sather Gate, as well as for enduring academic programs.
Karin Sveen’s biography of Sather, The Immigrant and the University: Peder Sather and Gold Rush California, has just been revised and published in English by U.C. Press. It will be the focus of her talk about Sather’s life. Copies will be available for purchase and signing.
Courtesy of Stephen Barton
24 April 2014
Stephen Barton: Stitt Wilson, Berkeley's First and Only Socialist Party Mayor
In 1911, in the midst of an era of local, state, and national progressive reform, Berkeley voters elected Berkeley”s first (and, to date, only) Socialist Party mayor. Canadian born Jackson Stitt Wilson was an energetic California immigrant via Chicago, a Methodist minister who preached a Gospel of social justice and service to the poor, and a stalwart evangelist for a society based on cooperation rather than competition. As mayor for two years, he championed public utilities, labor, women’s rights and civic improvements, and opposed alcohol, tobacco, and mandatory vaccination. Family tragedy ended his elected service after one term, but he continued to be a popular speaker and later ran unsuccessfully for mayor and Congress before his 1942 death at his Berkeley home. Wilson’s children had deep connections to the California theater and film scene.
Stephen Barton, Ph.D. has extensively researched Wilson, his life, and his political philosophy and era. His talk will illuminate this largely forgotten figure from Berkeley’s activist past, including both his political activism and family life.
More BAHA Spring Events
To be announced:
39th Annual Spring House Tour, Sunday, 4 May 2014
Annual Meeting & Preservation Awards, Thursday, 29 May 2014
Colton Mausoleum, Mountain View Cemetery (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2011)
Berkeley Historical Society Spring 2014 Walking Tours
Tours start at 10:00 am and end at approximately 12:00 noon. Sometimes they are slightly longer, so some extra time should be allowed in case the walk meets an informative passerby or dwells at an interesting site. Tours are limited to 30 paying participants unless noted otherwise. Pre-paid reservations are required and tickets are not refundable. Tours are conducted in rain, shine or Berkeley fog and are wheel chair accessible unless otherwise noted.
Saturday, 8 March: McGee-Spaulding District
Led by Paul Grunland
A walk in an old Berkeley neighborhood, identifying present buildings and the homes of prominent people, including some famous radicals. We will learn of the evolution from Berkeley farms into a tight-knit residential neighborhood. Wheelchair accessible.
Saturday, 29 March: Claremont Court Neighborhood Sold Out
Led by Burl Willes
A walk in a unique Berkeley neighborhood of large single-family homes that have existed for nearly 100 years. We will learn about the fascinating people who lived in many of these homes. An easy, flat 90-minute walk.
Saturday, 12 April: West Berkeley Artisans and Industries
Led by Jana Olson
A walking tour showing examples of artisans and industries operating in the southwest Berkeley area west of San Pablo between Dwight Way and Ashby Avenue. Some sites are not wheelchair accessible.
Saturday, 3 May: Mountain View Cemetery
Led by Dennis Evanosky
A walking tour of one of the first cemeteries in the East Bay. Many early prominent Berkeley citizens are interred there, as Berkeley has no cemeteries. The beautiful, extensive grounds are on a hilly area with spectacular monuments and views. Not wheelchair accessible.
Saturday, 31 May: U.C. Housing South of the Campus
Led by several people
Various types of student housing near the U.C. Campus will be toured. This will include: Unit One U.C. dormitory, Wesley House (tour will be led by architect Kirk Peterson) ,and St. Mark’s Student Housing. Not wheelchair accessible.
Berkeley’s first Town Hall on the move from University Ave. at Sacramento St. to Grove St. at Allston Way, 1899 (Berkeley: The Town & Gown of It)
The Heart of Berkeley: The Historic McGee-Spaulding District
13 October 2013 – 29 March 2014
ThursdaySaturday, 1 pm4 pm
History Center, Berkeley Historical Society
Veterans Memorial Building
1931 Center Street, Berkeley
The McGee-Spaulding-Hardy Historic Interest Group brings to the Berkeley History Center an extraordinary exhibit following the evolution of the district from the Ohlone Indians and Domingo Peralta to the 1854 James McGee farm; from rural to urban life in the early 20th century to the radical communes of the 1960s and ’70s and the mayoral race of Jerry Rubin.
The historic McGee-Spaulding-Hardy District (bounded by Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, Dwight Way, Sacramento Street, and University Avenue) is a residential area rich in historic architecture; a civic area with major government buildings, including Old City Hall, numerous schools and churches of all types, and an historic commercial zone running along University Avenue. Strawberry Creek, an original source of water now covered with asphalt and earth, runs through it to San Francisco Bay. In the last quarter of the 19th century, thanks to a gift of land from Irish immigrant farmer James McGee, the first Catholic church, convent, and schools were built in the district, making it the hub of Catholic life in Berkeley.
Catherine & James McGee
Well into the 20th century, the district consisted mostly of rural farmland, separating older Ocean View on the west from the burgeoning university community to the east. All major periods of Berkeley domestic architecture are represented here, from old Victorians, bungalows, and craftsman cottages to 1940s wartime tract-style houses, making the district a sort of unofficial preservation park. Beginning in the 1950s, seeds took root that fostered the area’s radical communes and political activism of the sixties and seventies. Even today, despite gentrification and soaring house prices, the district remains one of the most solidly left-wing areas of Berkeley.
Admission is free. For additional information, visit the BHS website.
Information for a self-guided walking tour of the McGee-Spaulding-Hardy District.
Oakland Heritage Alliance Spring Events
Details are available here.
Free Guided Tours of the Oakland Museum
Founded in 1971, the Council on Architecture at the Oakland Museum of California supports the museum and celebrates its exceptional architecture. Its members are interested in promoting greater understanding and appreciation of the built environment through architectural tours, exhibits, and lectures.
On the first Sunday of each month, at 1 pm, members of the Council on Architecture lead tours featuring the museum’s architecture and gardens. There’s much to talk about with the exciting enhancements to the building by Mark Cavagnero Associates.
For additional information, call Sandra Coleman, (510) 451-6796.
Guided Tours of the Paramount Theatre
Public tours of the Paramount Theatre are given on the first and third Saturdays of each month, excluding holidays and holiday weekends. No reservations are necessary. Tours begin promptly at 10:00 am at the Box Office entrance on 21st Street near Broadway. The tour lasts about 2 hours and provides a full and informative view of the Theatre. Cameras are allowed. Admission is $5.00 per person. Children must be at least 10 years old, and adult chaperones are required. Please note that some areas of the tour are not wheelchair accessible.
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Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association
2318 Durant Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704
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