Berkeley Landmarks :: 2022 Designations

Berkeley Landmarks designated in 2022

Wurts-Lenfest House (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2021)

Wurts-Lenfest House
Builder unknown (1901)
2523 Piedmont Avenue
Structure of Merit
Designated: 3 February 2022

This well-preserved High-Peaked Colonial Revival house is the first of its type to be designated a historic resource in Berkeley. It is one of four adjacent houses constructed in 1901 by developers Myron and Rebecca Wurts (two of the others survive at 2522 and 2524 Warring Street).

The architect’s identity isn’t known, but it’s possible that the house could have been designed by the well-known and prolific architect A.W. Smith, who popularized the style in the East Bay, and who designed a High-Peaked Colonial Revival house for Mrs. Wurts’s brother at 2820 San Pablo Avenue.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission found that the house exhibits architectural merit as a good example of High-Peaked Colonial Revival, dating to the period during which this regional style emerged, and retaining all of its character-defining features, including original design, materials, and workmanship.

The Wurts-Lenfest House is also significant as the longtime home and workplace of the political activist David Mundstock (1948–2020), who was a key figure in the development of progressive politics and government in Berkeley—the author of major reforms in elections, fair representation, and local government structure and policies—and who also compiled invaluable records and analysis of this era as a community historian.

The landmark application and associated documents are accessible online.

Stocker–Ding House (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2021)

James T. Stocker-Loni Ding House
James T. Stocker (1901)
1940 Hearst Avenue
Designated: 3 March 2022

This shingle-clad dwelling was built in 1901 by carpenter James T. Stocker for his own family residence. It is the only house of its type in the Sea View Tract and possibly in all of Berkeley, with a rarely encountered hybrid style that crosses Arts & Crafts with Colonial Revival elements. Among the distinguishing features of the Stocker-Ding House are a side-gabled roof with gable-end returns; twin gable rooflets over second-story boxed windows; elaborate scrolled wooden brackets under flaring overhangs; scrolled corbels under the boxed windows; and beadboard soffits edged with heavy molding. The street façade of the Stocker-Ding House retains virtually all its original character-defining features.

The Stocker-Ding House is a survivor on a block that has lost 70% of its historic fabric and that faces blocks to the north and south that lost, respectively, 50% and 100% of their historic fabric. The Landmarks Preservation Commission found that the house contributes exceptional architectural value to the neighborhood.

The house was further designated on the strength of its cultural value, having been the home and workplace of the late multiple-award-winning filmmaker, acclaimed social documentarian, university instructor, and mentor Loni Ding (1931–2010), who acquired it in 1965. Ding’s work resulted in greater exposure and representation for Asians and Asian Americans in broadcast media as both the subjects and producers of content. Ding’s students often gathered in the house, which also served as a production studio and a repository for tapes and archives used in the development of her films.

The house is still owned and inhabited by Ms. Ding’s immediate family. With the help of architects Sandhya Sood and James Novosel, the house has recently undergone extensive rehabilitation and restoration that preserve its historic appearance and character.

The landmark application and associated documents are accessible online.

California Theatre (photo: Anthony Bruce, 2021)

California Theatre
Albert W. Cornelius (1913); Balch & Stanbery (1929–30); Carl G. Moeller (1952)
2113 Kittredge Street
Designated: 5 May 2022

A rare extant cinema with an Art Deco façade, the California Theatre was initially completed in 1914 as an early motion picture theatre for the Turner & Dahnken (T&D) Circuit. In 1929–1930, the theatre was altered in the Moderne style by its new operator, Fox West Coast Theatres.

Although it has undergone some remodeling and a seismic upgrade, the theatre remains a striking example of Art Deco in downtown Berkeley, retaining many of its character-defining features in this style, including simplified overall building form; linear massing and appearance; stepped outline; smooth wall surface; stylized, often geometric, ornamentation and detailing; fluting details; and low-relief decorative elements. The building is in good condition and retains all necessary aspects of design integrity.

The California Theatre is an important primary contributor to the establishment of a historic district in the greater Shattuck Avenue area. It expresses and embodies the history of Berkeley through its direct associations with the development of Downtown Berkeley as a center of commerce and transportation. The Shattuck Avenue Commercial Corridor Historic Context and Survey (2015) determined that this building, in its extant condition, “continues to represent commercial forms and materials that were prominent in the Downtown during the period of historical significance.”

Unhappily, the designation represents a hollow victory. The Landmarks Preservation Commission included only the façade in the features to be preserved, allowing the rest of the building to be demolished for a proposed housing development. The loss of this theatre, as well as that of the ten screens in the Shattuck Cinemas, leaves downtown Berkeley with a single commercial cinema in the United Artists theatre.

The landmark application and associated documents are accessible online.

Laflin House (photo: Mark Hulbert)

Addison & Carrie Laflin House
Walter H. Ratcliff, Jr. (1910)
2119 Marin Avenue
Structure of Merit
Designated: 1 September 2022

This two-story, Craftsman-style house was designed by Walter H. Ratcliff, Jr. as a speculative venture for the Berkeley Development Company, subdividers of the Berkeley Heights tract, where the house is located. The first owner-residents were Addison H. Laflin, a dried-fruit wholesale merchant, and his wife, Carrie. The Laflins’ descendants retained ownership of the house until 2013.

The house features a gablet-hipped roof with a front-facing, hipped dormer within the gablet, gable dormers projecting from both east and west sides, and a cross-gable section extending across the rear. Deep eaves wrap around the first floor, creating a covered porch across the length of entire front façade, where decorative brackets appear to support the upper story. The lower story is clad with redwood board siding, and the upper with wood shingles.

The Laflin House is among the earliest residential buildings in the Northbrae neighborhood and a contemporary of the Northbrae Public Improvements, which immediately abut the property.

The landmark application and associated documents are accessible online.


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