Announcing our 41st Spring House Tour
and Garden Reception

Sunday, 1 May 2016, One to Five o’clock

Featuring ten open houses designed by Bernard Maybeck; John Galen Howard; William Raymond Yelland; A.H. Broad; Malcolm D. Reynolds; and more.

Tour map, illustrated guidebook & refreshments provided
General $45; BAHA members $35

(see member discount limits)

Order tickets online or use the ticket order form.

Tour-day ticket booth will open at noon at 1500 Euclid Avenue.

This year’s House Tour is concentrated in the area south of the Municipal Rose Garden. A City of Berkeley Landmark, the Rose Garden is one of Berkeley’s jewels, admired far and wide for its beauty and compared by visitors to an oasis—a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Built during the Great Depression as a Works Progress Administration project, the Rose Garden features a terraced amphitheater with a 220-foot-long redwood pergola. Sadly, the pergola has been declared unsafe and is slated for demolition. Since the City of Berkeley does not have sufficient funds for a complete reconstruction, the pergola will be only partially rebuilt this year, with completion foreseen for 2019. We hope the pergola will still be standing by tour day.

The earliest residential tracts south of the Rose Garden were subdivided in the 19th century, but the district remained sparsely populated until the first decade of the 20th century, when a Key System streetcar started running along Euclid Avenue, making it possible for hillside residents to commute to work in Oakland and San Francisco. New residents were attracted by the sweeping bay views and the quiet, leafy streets, located within easy walking distance to both the university campus and the surrounding hills.

When the Whitney Tract opened in 1905 between Bay View Place and Vine Lane, it was advertised by the realtors MacDermott & Bachelder as the “Nob Hill of Berkeley” and described as largely cultivated in fruit trees and offering unobstructed views. “Will not last long. Don’t miss this opportunity. Call at once and bring deposit,” advised the ad.

Buyers heeded the call. At the conclusion of the first decade of the 20th century, the neighborhood was well populated.

Then came 17 September 1923.

With the exception of the few houses that stood north of Hawthorne Terrace, the entire district north of the U.C. campus was decimated by the great fire.

New houses were quickly built to replace the older ones, with stucco largely replacing the old brown shingles as the wall cladding of choice. They were designed in the Period Revival and Mediterranean styles that were popular in the 1920s and that still dominate the district.

By the end of the decade, only a handful of lots remained vacant in this sought-after neighborhood.

Surviving pre-fire houses still stand along Bay View Place and the north side of Hawthorne Terrace. Two of them will be open on the tour: an Arts & Crafts shingled house designed and built by A.H. Broad in 1904, and a Mediterranean villa designed by Bernard Maybeck in 1921.

Among the post-fire houses open on the tour will be a quaint English-style cottage built for partners John Tupper and Lawrence Reed, owners of the famous music store; a half-timbered house designed by William Raymond Yelland; a Mediterranean-style house designed by John Galen Howard; a turreted fairytale “castle” faced in stone and half-timber; and a trio of board-and-batten cottages arranged around a hidden garden.

Join us on Sunday, 1 May 2016, for a ramble around the Rose Garden and the picturesque residential streets on its southern edge.

Order tour tickets online
(See instructions for using PayPal)

Or use the ticket order form to order by mail.

Tour docents receive complimentary admission to the tour.
To volunteer, contact BAHA.

Copyright © 2016 BAHA. All rights reserved.
Text & photographs © Daniella Thompson.