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Shattuck Avenue always the hub

By Susan Cerny
Saturday February 10, 2001

The picture above is a 1930s post card of Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley’s “main street” looking north from Dwight Way.  

Shattuck bears the name of one of Berkeley’s earliest landowners and most enterprising developers, Francis Kittredge Shattuck.  

Shattuck was born in New York in 1824 and arrived in California with his brother-in-law, William Blake, in 1850.  

After two years in the gold fields Shattuck, Blake, William Hillegass and James Leonard purchased a square mile of what would become Berkeley in 1852.  

The area is now bordered by Addison and Russell streets, Grove Street and College Avenue. Shattuck’s parcel was the mile long strip between Shattuck Avenue and Grove Street. 

In 1876, Shattuck convinced Leland Stanford to bring a Central (later Southern) Pacific spur line from Oakland along Adeline Street into what is now downtown Berkeley.  

The width of Shattuck Avenue today is the legacy of the old rail line. Shattuck Square and Shattuck Place were the location of the train station.  

The post card shows the second phase of public transportation, the era of electric street cars.  

Shattuck Avenue remains today the principal transportation route through central Berkeley with its modern-day BART trains now underground.  


Susan Cerny, author of Berkeley Landmarks, writes this column in conjunction with the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association