On the Trail of Zimri Brewer Heywood’s Residence

Daniella Thompson

16 September 2008

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

Legendary lumberman Zimri Brewer Heywood (1803–1879) left behind many legends. Retracing his history through original 19th-century documents (see Zimri Brewer Heywood: Separating Fact From Myth) reveals that while some of the oft-recounted stories have no basis in fact, there are others, largely unknown until now, that are just as absorbing as the myths.

No one knows the exact date or even the year that marked Heywood’s arrival in the Bay Area. A reliable secondary source—an article in the California State Library titled “Statesmen of California” (1 January1885)—pinpoints the birth date of his eleventh child, Walter Minturn Heywood, at 20 November 1854, and the birthplace as San Francisco. The article further states that Walter’s “early childhood was passed in the city,” information that is bolstered by his father’s presence there when the 1860 and 1870 U.S. censuses were recorded.

Oakland city directory, 1872

Zimri made his first appearance in an East Bay directory in the early 1870s. The 1872 Oakland directory listed him as a San Francisco resident and partner in Heywood & Jacobs, lumber dealers, office with Grosso & Wilcox, west side of Broadway between Ninth and Tenth streets, Oakland (Grosso & Wilcox were importers and dealers of hardware and agricultural implements). Zimri’s partner, Captain James H. Jacobs, was listed as a resident of Ocean View, “five miles north of Broadway R.R. station.”

Zimri’s fourth son, Samuel Heywood (1833–1903), was the first to settle in Berkeley—probably when his father established the partnership with Captain Jacobs. The 1870 census located Sam, then 37, in Jacobs’s house (location given only as “Oakland”), along with the Jacobs family and four laborers—three Scandinavians and a German. Both Sam and Jacobs were listed as lumber merchants, suggesting that they co-managed the Heywood & Jacobs business.

Sam did not appear in the Oakland directory until 1876. His listing was “lumber, brick, lime and general building material, Second between Delaware and Bristol, West Berkeley.” By then, Jacobs had retired from the business, and Sam was now sole manager. His older brother, Charles Warren Heywood (1831–1913), worked for him as a salesman. Earlier, Charles had engaged in the dairy business, as recorded in the 1870 census. Might he have run his father’s Ramsey ranch in the North Berkeley Hills? No record has emerged to confirm his exact whereabouts.

Oakland city directory, 1876

By 1877, the company formerly known as Heywood & Jacobs had reincorporated as Z.B. Heywood & Co., and no fewer than five Heywood sons were associated with it and living in West Berkeley.

In those days, house numbers had not yet been introduced, so directory listings were necessarily vague about addresses. Zimri’s eldest living son, William B. Heywood (1830–1915) was a principal at Z.B. Heywood & Co. and probably had a managerial role, since his position was not listed. In the 1877 Oakland directory, his residence was given as the northeast corner of Bristol (now Hearst Avenue) and Fifth Street. The Sanborn fire insurance map of 1903 shows no house on that corner, but there were dwellings just off the corner, at 1825 Fifth and 809 Bristol.

Oakland city directory, 1877

Charles, now a teamster with Z.B. Heywood & Co., resided on the northwest corner of Fourth and Delaware. Again, there was no house on that corner in 1903, but a house stood just west of the corner, at 709 Delaware. Samuel, a foreman at Z.B. Heywood & Co., was listed as residing on the east side of Second Street between Delaware and Bristol. The residence, whatever it might have been (the 1903 map shows only a tenement on Bristol, east of Second Street), was located within the lumber yard.

Franklin Heywood (1837–1903), another principal without a specific job description in the company, was likely another manager and lived with Charles. Walter M. Heywood (1854–1924) was a clerk at Z.B. Heywood & Co. and lived on the north side of Delaware between Third and Fourth Streets, a location that matches 709 Delaware exactly. Zimri himself lived at 1519 Polk Street, San Francisco.

None of the buildings that housed the Heywood brothers in 1877 remain standing. The reason for investigating them will reveal itself shortly.

Berkeley city directory, 1878

By the following year, great changes had taken place in the Heywoods’ activities. They leased the lumber yard to John F. Byxbee, who renamed it the West Berkeley Lumber Yard. The brothers were now free to pursue their own enterprises, and the 1878 directory listed all but one of them as capitalists. The exception was Samuel, listed as lumberman and still resident on the lumber yard property.

Berkeley city directory, 1878

For the first time, Zimri was living in Berkeley, his address given as the corner of Fourth and Delaware, where Charles and Franklin also lived. The only son who had moved since the previous year was William, listed in 1878 on the west corner of Fourth and Folsom (now Virginia). Curiously, there were no houses on Folsom west of Fourth Street. In 1903, only one house stood on Folsom Street between Third and Fifth—it was on the north side of the street, and closer to Fifth than to Fourth. In the Sanborn map it was marked “cheap.”

This long enumeration of addresses leads to the point of the investigation. There are four designated City of Berkeley Landmarks associated with the Heywood family, two of them located back-to-back in West Berkeley: one facing Fourth Street, the other facing Fifth. About 1808 Fifth Street. there’s little doubt: it first appeared as an improved property in the 1879 tax assessments, and it was owned by Charles W. Heywood, whose directory listing placed him on the west side of Fifth near Delaware.

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

The landmark at 1809 Fourth Street is another matter. Known as the Heywood-Ghego House, it bears a plaque announcing that the house was built in 1877 by the Zimri Brewer Heywood family. The landmark application for this building ascribes the house to William B. Heywood.

William, however, was never listed at this address, nor was any other Heywood. In the 1870s, Zimri Heywood owned the land on which this house stands, but there was never a buiding on this lot while it was owned by the Heywoods. The lot remained unimproved until 1907 or ’08, when John Young, a street-paving cement worker and former miner, bought it.

Until 1908, no building stood on the lot at 1809 Fourth Street. Zimri Brewer Heywood also owned 709 Delaware Street. According to 1878 and ’79 assessment records, he lived on that property. (detail from Sanborn fire insurance map, 1903)

The Irish-born Young, previously of San Francisco, was first listed in the Berkeley directory in 1902. Around that time, he acquired the former Charles W. Heywood house at 1808 Fifth Street. In late 1902, Young also purchased a San Francisco property near Golden Gate Park from Franklin Heywood.

1808 Fifth Street was available owing to Charles’s divorce from his wife, Mary. A childless couple, they adopted Bertha Ball (1881–1948), but the child apparently could not cement the marriage. Charles was last listed at this address in 1887, and Mary remained there only another year, although she continued to own the property until 1902.

Between 1899 and 1903, the house was let to tenants. The first renters were the widow Beulah MacCargar and her daughter Adaline, who held a short-lived position as Southern Pacific’s West Berkeley agent. In 1900, while Charles Heywood was living with his brother Franklin in San Francisco and Mary was living with Bertha (aged 19 and listed as a dentist) in Oakland, their Berkeley house was rented by Clara McDonald, a Scottish widow and music teacher, who lived here with her four children and two boarders. Mrs. McDonald’s daughters, Agnes and Stella, taught dancing at Sisterna Hall.

The Charles W. Heywood House, a landmark at 1808 Fifth Street, was owned and occupied by the Young family when the neighbor’s children posed for this photo about 1902. Note that there’s no house behind it on Fourth Street. (BAHA archives)

John and Jane Young had five children and made ample use of the large house and its double lot. Although Young was a hired laborer, thrift (or shrewdness) enabled him to increase his holdings. In 1907 or ’08, he doubled the size of his homestead by acquiring an adjacent lot on Fifth Street, as well as the lot behind his house, which faced Fourth Street.

In 1908, Young was assessed for the Fourth Street lot, with the improvements valued at $400 (his Fifth Street house was assessed at $1,200). As shown in the 1911 edition of the Sanborn fire insurance maps, this improvement consisted of a rectangular 2-story building containing a pair of flats, numbered 1809 and 1811 Fourth Street.

The current building at 1809 Fourth St. was placed there in 1907 or ’08 by John Young, whose property had expanded to four contiguous lots. (detail from Sanborn fire insurance map, 1911)

Since the building is too old to have been constructed in 1908, Young obviously moved it here from another site. Its original location remains to be discovered.

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

A decade after the Youngs moved to Berkeley, their marriage, too, ended in divorce. Jane moved out with the children, leaving John alone in the big house on Fifth Street. Around 1914, he started a dairy business and was still engaged in it in 1920. Three of the Young daughters became public school teachers.

The Fourth Street flats were sold to the Italian immigrant Luigi Quartucci, who sold it a decade later to Peter and Pauline Ghego (or Ghigo).

If the Heywoods never lived at 1809 Fourth Street, where was their home in 1878? I place my bet on 709 Delaware, which lay mid-block between Third and Fourh Streets, half a block away from the Heywood lumber yard. In 1878, the entire north side of Delaware Street between Third and Fourth belonged to Zimri B. Heywood. There was only one house on that stretch, and it was assessed at $1,500. An additional assessment of $200 for personal property indicates that the house was occupied by its owner. This assessment was repeated in 1879, the year of Zimri Heywood’s death. This house was the home of Zimri, Charles, Franklin, and Walter.

William’s assessment record for 1878 shows that he owned many lots on the west side of Fourth Street between Delaware and Folsom. A personal property assessment indicates that he lived on one of those lots, but the only house on the block other than 709 Delaware stood directly behind it to the north. Across the street, on the south side of Delaware, there were two saloons, and the Chicago Hotel and Bar was a neighbor on the northwest corner of Delaware and Third Street.

709 Delaware (but not the house behind it) still stood, albeit altered, in 1911, after Third Street had become a channel for the Southern Pacific railroad tracks. The SP depot stood on the southeast corner of Third and Delaware, the Chicago Hotel was now vacant, and the saloons had become stores.

By 1929, the house was gone altogether, and SP tracks and facilities had eaten into the block. In 1950, General Motors owned the entire block, and a Buick auto parts warehouse stood on the north side of Delaware. The same location is now part of the thriving Fourth Street retail Mecca. The old Heywood home site is occupied by Caf´┐Ż Rouge.

This is the second in a series of articles on the Heywood family.

Part 1: Zimri Brewer Heywood: Separating Fact From Myth

Part 3: Will the Real William Heywood Stand Up?

Part 4: Samuel Heywood and Sons: Lumber and Politics

Addendum: Zimri Brewer Heywood’s Wives and Children

This article was published in the Berkeley Daily Planet on 18 September 2008.


Copyright © 2008–2022 Daniella Thompson. All rights reserved.