Back to Berkeley: Berkeley Landmarks Are Everywhere You Look By DANIELLA THOMPSONSpecial to the Planet

Friday August 26, 2005

If you’ve driven around California, you’ll no doubt have seen the ubiquitous signs that grace the entrance to various cities, directing you to the historic district (often downtown) or what’s left of it. Berkeley has no such sign—probably because it’s preserved more of its historic heritage than most cities, and because our landmarks aren’t confined to one area but can be found all over town. 

At the heart of Berkeley is the UC campus, whose classic Beaux Arts core was designed by John Galen Howard between 1902 and 1924. The campus plan was created as a result of the Phoebe Apperson Hearst International Architectural Competition of 1898–99. 

Although Howard did not win the competition, he was appointed Supervising Architect and determined the look of the campus, designing two dozen structures, including its most famous sites: Sather Tower (the campanile), Sather Gate, Doe Library, Hearst Greek Theatre, California Memorial Stadium, Wheeler Hall, California Hall, and Hearst Memorial Mining Building. 

Many of the buildings are clad in granite (or stucco when the budget was tight) and surmounted by red tile roofs; a few are Brown Shingles in the Arts & Crafts style. As an ensemble, they constitute California Historic Landmark No. 946 and are also individuall y listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Berkeley’s earliest founding community was Ocean View, on the shore of San Francisco Bay. The former town, now West Berkeley, is home to a large collection of 19th-century architecture. Strolling along the 800 block of Delaware Street with its boardwalks, water towers, picket fences, and beautifully restored Victorians, the visitor can taste the rural character that once defined this neighborhood. 

At 834 Delaware St., you’ll see the charming ye llow building that served as Captain Bowen’s Inn since 1854. Queen Anne houses and 19th-century workmen’s cottages are scattered on surrounding streets, just steps away from the elegant shops and restaurants of Fourth Street. Delaware Street Historic Dist rict; National Register of Historic Places. 

Just south of UC campus, at 2315 Durant Ave., stands the Berkeley City Club, designed in 1929 by Julia Morgan. Like Morgan’s Hearst Castle, the six-story clubhouse combines Moorish and Gothic elements that earn ed it the moniker “The Little Castle.” 

Originally the Berkeley Women’s City Club, it was entirely financed by subscriptions from 4,000 women. The fabulous interiors include an indoor swimming pool, a ballroom, various reception halls, dining rooms, courtyards, and a terrace. 

The building is now run as a hotel, and the restaurant is open to the public. California Historic Landmark No. 908; National Register of Historic Places. 

About a mile north of the UC campus, the Berkeley Municipal Rose Garden is a favorite venue for June weddings, tennis games, picnics, hiking, or daydreaming. A Depression-era Civil Works Progress Project, the garden was opened in September 1937. 

Arranged in an amphitheater, wide stone terraces planted with fragrant rose bushes face west toward the Golden Gate. A semicircular redwood pergola draped with climbing roses crowns the terraces. 

Boasting 3,000 rose bushes and 250 varieties of roses, the garden, City of Berkeley Landmark #189, is considered by many to be the finest rose garden in Northern California.. A block to the south on Euclid Avenue, the famous Rose Walk (City of Berkeley Landmark #9), laid out by Bernard Maybeck, and lined with cottages by Henry Gutterson, is worth a look as well.