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Berkeley Observed Looking back, seeing ahead

By Susan Cerny
Saturday April 28, 2001

Development boom began over 100 years ago 


Henry B. Berryman came to California in the 1850s and made his money selling coal brought around the Horn of Africa as ballast in ships. He rented Napoleon Bonaparte Byrne’s elegant house at 1301 Oxford St. in the early 1870s when Byrne moved to the Delta to farm. He eventually purchased Byrne’s house about 1880.  

Berryman’s name is familiar today as the man who developed Berryman Reservoir on Euclid Avenue near the Rose Garden and gave his name to Berryman Street.  

By the late 1870s Berryman had purchased a large section of Byrne’s farmland and subdivided it into building lots.  

To facilitate access to his subdivision he and other businessmen extended the Berkeley Branch spur line of the Central (later Southern) Pacific Railroad from Shattuck Avenue north to Berryman Station at Vine and Rose streets in 1878.  

The population was large enough in 1885 that a neighborhood school was built at Rose and Milvia streets. Moved and enlarged in 1897, the Rose Street School is still standing (a residence since 1905) at 1329 Milvia St.  

Berryman’s subdivision, Berkeley Villa Tract, extended from Rose Street to Eunice Street and from Martin Luther King, Jr. Way to Euclid Avenue and included today’s Live Oak Park.  

There are only a handful of pre-1890 buildings still standing in the area. The majority of the older buildings date from the 1890s and retain their Victorian trimmings, while the simple brown-shingle houses date from around 1900 to 1915.  

May 6, the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association will hold its annual self-guided house tour in the Live Oak Park neighborhood. Call 841-2242 or go to 

Susan Cerny writes Berkeley Observed in conjunction with the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association