BPWA Walk in Point Richmond

Saturday, 7 October 2006

Photos by Daniella Thompson

Susan Schwartz led a Berkeley Path Wanderers walking tour around historic Point Richmond. The town developed at the turn of the 20th century around the Santa Fe Railroad tracks and the Standard Oil refinery (read a short history of Point Richmond courtesy of the Point Richmond History Association).

Susan’s introduction to the walk, Discovering Point Richmond, offers a map with several interesting routes you can cover on your own. She also offers ideas for additional activities in the area.

The Sentinel statue by Kirk St. Maur stands in the downtown Triangle at Park Place and Washington Avenue. It was erected in 1984 to replace the original statue that had stood on the site from 1909 until 1942, when it was scrapped after a truck had knocked it down. See a virtual reality panorama of the statue in the Triangle of Point Richmond.

A stone’s throw from the statue, the Point Richmond History Association maintains a museum in the town’s oldest commercial building, in operation since 1903. This diminutive structure with a large false front was saved from demolition in 1990. Here you can obtain a good map for a self-guided walking tour of downtown Point Richmond.

An unusual view of the Municipal Natatorium. “The Plunge” was built in 1925 by John McNicholl, who drilled for oil but found only an abundance of water. Seismically unsafe, the building has been closed since 2001 and awaits restoration.

The Ferry Point tunnel is one of the oldest in California. Built in 1899, it connected the Santa Fe railroad to the now abandoned pier that serviced the San Francisco ferries. The mural was painted by John Wehrle in 1996.

Breathtaking views await at the end of the tunnel.

While many of the newer bay-view homes are overscaled, this house makes a statement of modesty. Note the sign in the window: “Imagine peace.”

Superb Japanese craftmanship is displayed in the fence, the gate, and the house hidden behind them.

A flag flutters atop Lumiere, architect Walter Thomas Brooks’ home, “the first plastic shingled house in America,” according to the plaque on the fence (see Dave Weinstein’s illustrated article on Brooks in the SF Chronicle).

Another beautifully crafted gate. The front door is custom-made, but the windows, alas, are cheap aluminum.

This Mediterranean-style house features a large studio window.

A contemporary California take on the Swiss chalet

A Chevron tanker, Red Rock, the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, and, in the hazy distance, Mount Tamalpais and San Quentin.

Hundred-year old cottages still dot the hills.

A lone High-Peaked Colonial Revival house

Some grand turn-of-the-century town houses can also be found.

From the left: Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church (1903) and the First United Methodist Church (1907)

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