header chapter 05

Prior to the commencement of American trespass, Domingo Peralta experienced his first measure of territorial compromise from his Mexican neighbor to the north. Victor Castro was the ninth son of Francisco Maria Castro, the grantee of Rancho San Pablo. He was heir to a 1/22nd share of the Rancho, his portion consisting of what is now Kensington and El Cerrito. Victor was also Domingo's first cousin, once removed. Victor Castro had a penchant for using Peralta land upon which to graze his livestock, not that he was lacking grazing lands of his own. This infringement was never contested, and was actually accommodated by Domingo in the spirit of good neighborliness.

With this "accommodation", Castro and his brothers had effectively established a concourse through Peralta lands, and succeeded in politically legitimizing this incursion as a county road. This was accomplished before any of the Peralta land was sold, bargained, conveyed, swindled, or otherwise dispensed with. Again, not much was made of this as it benefitted Domingo as well. But with Castro's cattle, the Peralta Road, and the ephemeral residency of Juan Espejo, the circumstances favoring exploitation had ripened.


The Seeds of the Ocean View Settlement

The western-most location selected by the new settlers was apparently of little importance to Domingo. After all, this was tidal land, in large part infiltrated by minor waterways, and was of little use to the Ranchero. Arriving fortuitously at about the same time as the partners in the "McAllister" sale, William Bowen established himself along the Castro, or San Pablo Roadway. Bowen placed himself as near as possible to the only other English speaking settlers in the area, James Jacobs and Michael Curtis. Curtis' land lay the eastern side of the roadway, where sometime in 1852, he had settled on land previously squatted by a man named () Randall.

The land chosen by Curtis lay originally between Schoolhouse Creek and Strawberry Creek and extended only as far west as the public road (San Pablo Rd.). After the survey, however, it lay neatly between Addison and Cedar Streets, and extended as far east as Sacramento Street. On the Kellersberger Map, the Curtis plot (#64), was nearly parallel with, but did not actually abut, the San Pablo Road. Michael Curtis obtained full ownership of his land, in 1859, by purchasing the property from J. A. Freanor, the banker, who had obtained his title from Gwin and Truett, of the original Deed of Partition.

The space between Curtis and the road consisted of a wedge-shaped sliver of property lying east of the San Pablo Road, a portion of Plot 65, which lay in its majority on the west side of San Pablo Road, extending westward as far as the water's edge. Plot #65 was claimed in the partitioning by Pioche and represented a most valuable parcel in that it embraced both the mouth of Strawberry Creek as well as an important stretch of the county road. The 10 acre portion east of the highway was later sold to a man named Rooney, and on this property (at Virginia and San Pablo) the permanent site of the Ocean View School (later renamed Franklin School) was located. The accepted boundary separating the Peralta Reserve and the McAllister purchase ( the McAllister line) runs through the middle of the school yard, making the contribution of this land half the generosity of the owners of the Reserve, and half that of the partners. As a result, many people would later take the opportunity quit claim this parcel to the Ocean View School district, an action which was done with much public show of "benevolence toward and support of education."

The commercial presence of Bowen and Jacobs, as Berkeley's first convenience retail outlet, appeared to Domingo Peralta as more an asset than a liability. Apparently it was not self- evident to Domingo that Bowen would be the harbinger of things so soon to come.


John Everding

Having operated his grist mill in San Francisco, where he suffered an inadequate water supply, in 1855 John Everding, an immigrant from Germany, moved his Pioneer Starch Works & Grist Mill (also referred to as Everding & A. Rammelsburg Starch & Wheat Factory as well as Pioneer Starch Works and Pioneer Starch and Grist Mill) to West Berkeley by way of an interim location in Oakland. The mill stood on 2nd St. between Delaware and University, a choice location inspired by the desirable availability of an abundant water supply. Everding purchased land that had previously been occupied by Juan Espejo and on it established what was the first industry in Ocean View. The installation of the mill brought with it the first real "population of Ocean View", consisting of the ten men hired as workers. In 1885, seven years after the town of Berkeley had been incorporated, Everding built a second plant, Berkeley’s first unsuccessful glass factory, on the waterfront just south of University Ave.

John Everding's sister, Catherine, married J. C. Schmidt, another early Berkeley resident who had also immigrated from Germany. Both families were active in buying up some of the choice portions of the Peralta Homestead, Domingo's last vestige of property.

As it has been noted, West Berkeley was first called Jacobs' Landing, and somewhat later, Ocean View. It grew in a slow but steady fashion for its first twenty years, unaffected by external influence, growing at the whim and predilection of its few residents. This early nucleus of Berkeley's first neighborhood clustered itself around Everding's mill, while the small roadway leading from Bowen's store to the wharf eventually became the town's first east-west route, Delaware Street. Bowen's store, on the corner of Delaware and San Pablo Ave., was in those early days, in the absence of a school house or other place of meeting, the inevitable center of local social life, drawing as it would from the few farmers that were located south of the Creek or spread out on the east side of the Road.

In 1856, coincident with the publication of Kellersberger’s map, a blacksmith named Peter Guenette settled in Ocean View, locating himself a short distance south of Bowen on what has since become the southeast corner of University and San Pablo Ave. This spot was chosen for three reasons. First it lay adjacent to the Creek. Second, it was handy to the County road. Third, the land west of San Pablo was not available because of the existing claim by Juan Ysunza. If he had chosen a spot any further south he would intrude into the property of Thomas Connolly, further west and he would be on Michael Curtis' land. What was left was the small ambiguous area that was created by the extension of Plots 65 (Pioche) and 62 (Ysunza) to the east of the San Pablo Road. Because of this scrap of land was apparently “cut off” from the existing plots, it gave an appearance of being “unclaimed”. It was there that Peter Guenette set up his forge.

In 1856 it was only Jacobs, Guenette, Bowen, and Everding who claimed land in West Berkeley, and only in very small parcels.

The Ysunza land, Plot 62, which originally included everything west of the roadway (and only later was the sliver to the east added), lay to north of a claim by a prior settler, Jean Noel (Plot 60); Ysunza’s claim and extended as far north as Strawberry Creek, and faced across the creek to Juan Espejo's claim. It included virtually all of what would become University Avenue between San Pablo Avenue and the Bay. Certainly a choice piece of property.

However, in 1855, prior to the Kellersberger delineation, Rosario Sisterna moved to the Bay Area from his home in Chile (South America), occupying a portion of Ysunza's (also from Chile) land which embraced what would later be the western end of University Avenue. The land reaches from Allston Way on a diagonal, sloping from about Fourth Street to the Creek, near 8th Street. Along the Bay it extends almost as far north as Strawberry Creek. The Sisterna family home was located at the southeast corner of University Ave. and Sixth Street. Sisterna purchased the "squatter's rights" from Ysunza, with whom Sisterna had enjoyed an earlier relationship, in Chile, before both men immigrated to North America.

For reasons that elude the historian, Sisterna did not purchase the full rights to this property until nearly another four years had elapsed. When Kellersberger drew his map, he recognized the allocation made by Sisterna and Ysunza and effected an official division of these two parcels, designating them as Plots 62 and 63. At some point, between 1856 and 1859, Sisterna's parcel of nearly 60 acres was sold to a James Foley (an early partner in the federated ownership of Alameda), by the banking firm operated by Sherman and Turner, to whom it had been assigned in the partitioning process. In May of 1858 Foley sold the 60 acres to Sisterna for $2,500. Ysunza later sold his "squatter's rights" to the majority of his property, but in doing so he retained a lot just a little short of four acres which is represented by a strip laying east of San Pablo Road, running from Allston Way to a few feet south of Bancroft Ave.

Shortly, three more settlers appeared in Berkeley. Peter Matthews, arrived in 1856 and settled on property which is now bordered by Dwight Way on the north, Russell Street on the south, Martin luther King Jr. Way on the east, and San Pablo Road on the west, a substantial portion of Berkeley real estate This is represented as Kellersberger’s plots #s 57 and 58. Two years later Michael Higgins purchased land on both sides of San Pablo Road, between Bancroft and Dwight Way, acquiring and sharing most of this with a man named William Tierney. In addition to the new occupants of the area, during this same period Ocean View would witness the arrival of its first nonresident tradesman.


The Heywoods

Zimri Heywood was born May 24, 1803 in Watersville, Maine. Growing up a farmer, he persisted in that occupation until 1833 when he moved to Calais, Maine. There he went to work in a saw mill, later making his living as a merchant. Widowed with four sons, he came to California with three of them, Samuel, Charles, and Franklin. The Heywoods left Maine in September of 1849, traveled around Cape Horn, and arrived in San Francisco on April 6, 1850. Zimri first worked the mines above Marysville, for about a month, before returning to San Francisco, living then like most others, in a tent. Remarried, Heywood proceeded to have another four sons with his second wife. Working hard to support his family, Zimri saved his money, purchased a piece of property at the corner of Pacific and Kearney, in San Francisco, and set himself up in the lumber trade. He was part owner of a lumber mill in Gualala, Mendocino County, and lived for awhile in that area before moving his family back to San Francisco in 1867. At that time he joined in a partnership with Captain Jacobs and they collaborated in building a wharf larger than Jacobs' original. Upon this new wharf Heywood established his Berkeley lumber yard. He remained in the lumber business until 1877.

Zimri Heywood died on the morning of July 31, 1879 at the age of 76 . His estate, valued at $170,264.37 was divided between his wife and the four sons from the prior marriage. In 1882 Zimri's son Walter helped to organize Berkeley's first volunteer fire department and became the Assembly representative for the East Bay. Zimri placed his other son William in charge of the ferry service he had been operating with Captain Jacobs. William was the president of first fire department in West Berkeley. In July of 1882 the wives of William B. Heywood and Albert Heywood were drowned in an accident at the ferry slip. That same year, Sam Heywood was elected to the board of trustees for town of Berkeley, and he was reelected in 1890. He was also a member of the Berkeley School Board until well into the 1880's. The Heywoods were active in the early development of West Berkeley, and continued to play significant roles in the community’s continued growth.

Early Ocean View was thus made up of a few farmers and their families, the handful of mill workers who were living in small homes adjacent to the mill, and the few tradespeople who had located within this area. This pattern of slow, gradual growth progressed over the twenty year period between 1853 and 1873. With the announcement in 1868 of firm plans for a railroad line that would transverse this community on its way north (significantly the same year that Zimri Heywood located himself in this now burgeoning community), these properties caught the notice of a number of business types who became quite interested in the development of East Bay real estate. By 1874 the areas which had now become known as Ocean View had grown to include only 45 families. In the following three years the population nearly tripled, reflected by a total count of 131 families and a daily school attendance of eighty four.


The Peralta Reserve

In November of 1861, Jose Vallejo, a son-in-law of Domingo Peralta, promised to sell to August Rammelsburg and James Jacobs a ⅔ share of all of his part of the as yet unclaimed and undivided portions of the Peralta Reserve, what he estimated would come to about 310 acres, for $8266. This sale was completed on December 1, 1861, after the buyers had the opportunity to confirm that title was in fact clear and vested in this sellers name. In January of 1862 Jacobs sold his portion to Rammelsburg for $2000. In November of 1863 Rammelsburg sold back to Jacobs the 1/4 interest for the same amount. Make of that what you will.

In February of 1862 Vallejo sold to Jose Ramon Peralta, his brother-in-law, a quarter interest in "all the undivided" Domingo Peralta Reserve, for $15,000. He retained, presumably, the final 1/12th for himself. The volume of land he estimated to constitute about 3000 acres! The description of the property is the same from one deed to the other, only the designated acreage of the property differs. This sale made the new owners joint partners, varying only in the size of their interest, of the totality of the “Reserve”.

In March of 1862 Jose Ramon Peralta deeded an unspecified portion of this same property to the attorneys Cipriano Thurn and Felipe Fierro (whom it should be noted were the law partners of Horace Carpentier). This transfer was made in payment for the legal services provided to him and his father. In June of 1864 Fierro sold his share to Edson Adams for $600. The transfer of title from Thurn to Carpentier was not recorded.

While these transactions remain less than definitive in their meaning or implication, the result was the joint but equivocal ownership of the undivided and otherwise unclaimed portions of the Reserve by the Carpentier consortium along with the ever ambiguous "others".


First Approach at Projected Development

In 1869, Horace Carpentier, in concert with "others", hired a man named Ezekiel Brown to act as agent and to obtain purchase agreements on the West Berkeley properties that the intended railroad would eventually require.

Very little is known of Brown. What is known is that he was a failed politician from San Francisco who had run as Alderman on the Democrat ticket in the 1855 election. Later, following his assignment in the Ocean View project, he was found to be living in Oakland at 15th and Webster (within the development which was situated upon the site of an early Oakland graveyard), listing his occupation as that of miner. In 1875 he represented himself as a "peat manufacturer" and was living on San Pablo Road between 17th and 18th Streets. A year later Brown is listed as the "proprietor of Blake House". This establishment, owned by Milliscent Blake, was the former Blake Seminary for young ladies. The seminary had been relocated to the former home of J. Ross Browne in 1860, providing the additional room needed for her increased enrollment. The old school building had been converted to a rooming house. There will be more to say about Blake, the property, and the Seminary later.

In late 1869 Brown approached each of the land owners whose property lay at or around the mouth of Strawberry Creek, establishing with them options for the purchase of their property within the following six months. These transactions followed upon an outright purchase, or repurchase, in May of 1869, of Peter Mathews' interest in a small parcel of bayshore property. Matthews had previously been sold this parcel by Carpentier, who now apparently wanted it back. After this transaction was completed, Brown approached Jacobs, Heywood, Sisterna, Duffy, Carleton, Higgins, and Henry Durant, in that order, with offers to buy their land. The prices "per acre" varied, depending upon the nature of the property. Those holding an interest in the land that Matthews had sold, received offers in excess of $2000 an acre. Those with adjacent land, about $20 an acre. The importance of the Heywood property cannot be doubted.

In April of 1870, Brown petitioned the county board of supervisors for the right to establish a wharf at "Berkeley Point". This designation is curious in that the name "Berkeley" had, since 1866, been adopted only for the area around the College grounds, near the hills; while the land near the bay was consistently referred to, and would be for at least another half dozen years, as Ocean View or Jacob's Landing. It is even more curious if the area referenced was the portion where the wharf was eventually installed, around the foot of Strawberry Creek, in that it could hardly be described as a "point". It is quite possible that Mr Brown was alluding to that which had been for some years called "Flemings Point". This is given some limited credence in that it adjoined the land already owned by Horace Carpentier. Forever hedging his bets or offering a competitive threat, Horace held open the option that this would be a potential location for the primary point of embarkation to San Francisco.

In 1870, J. Ross Browne, a muckraking journalist, an intrepid and annoyingly moralistic government agent, and a man known to have a particular fondness for Mr. Carpentier, authored a tract extolling the virtues of life in "Lower Berkeley" (again anticipating a name that had not yet even been considered). In this tract he encouraged the purchase of property there, celebrating the value of life in this portion of the East Bay. Nowhere does Carpentier's name appear in any of these activities; his characteristic presence remains, nonetheless, unmistakable.

With the exception of the Matthews transaction, the sales as promised were never consummated. It would be three years later that the Berkeley Land and Town Improvement Association, (the BLTIA) with Carpentier as a silent partner, would actively pursue the organized development of the Ocean View properties.


The 16.05 Acres

By 1868, Henry Durant, whose reputation as a real estate manipulator was already outdistancing his reputation as an educator, had come into the partial, undivided possession of a 16.05 acre parcel of Ocean View soil, laying along the bay shore between the property of John Everding and that of Rosario Sisterna. This critical section of waterfront footage had been created by the terms of the purchase, which categorically excluded from sale the mouth of Strawberry Creek. Everding's (indirect) purchase of land from Espejo went only about as far as the Creek, thereby leaving a triangular slice that extended along the Bay almost to Addison Street and which intersected the Creek at about 4th Street. The northern boundary of this parcel was said to contain a public street, or roadway, possibly (but not at all certainly) the beginnings of what has since become Hearst Street. Regardless, within this 16.05 acres lies the foot of University Avenue, and it embraces the mouth of Strawberry Creek. Henry Durant owned a critical piece of West Berkeley real estate.

This land, technically, constituted a part of the heretofore unclaimed portions of the Peralta Reserve. Early in 1862, Carpentier acquired title, generally or specifically, in whole or in part, righteously or otherwise, to all of the "Undivided Peralta Reserve". That is, all that had not yet been sold, or otherwise claimed. In September of 1864 he sold a portion of his interest in the 16.05 acres to Peter Matthews for $9,000. In September of 1865 he sold another portion to John Everding for $1000. Like so many of the transactions of that day, the sale to Henry Durant was never recorded and was thus never subject to public scrutiny. However Durant came into possession of his share of this sliver of land, in July of 1868 he was able to sell a 3/5ths portion of that share to Everding for $15,000 in addition to securing for himself an option on the property Everding already owned, that which was under and around his starch mill. Matthews sold (all or part of) his share to Ezekiel Brown and Brown's partners William Knight, John Johnson, and James Mars, in May of 1869 for $40,000. In this transaction Peter Matthews realized a profit of some $31,000 on a $9,000 investment in a scant five years. Such was the value of this 16.05 acre slice of West Berkeley. This was the only actual sale of all those that had been negotiated by Brown.

In March of 1873, immediately after the formation of the BLTIA, Everding sold, as he had promised, an equivalent amount of land to Durant for $9000, land upon which stood his starch mill, but excluded the mill itself. In May of 1873 Durant sold his remaining share of the 16.05 acres to the BLTIA for $10,535. The BLTIA owned or had options on virtually all the property that lay to the west of the San Pablo Road between Strawberry Creek and Codordinces Creek. Everding sold his portion to the BLTIA some four years later for $15,000, which is the same amount that he had originally paid. In April of 1873 William Knight, one of Brown's "partners", traded title to his (and I suppose his partners) share of this property to BLTIA for 100 shares of the Association; ten thousand dollars worth of BLTIA stock for the initial $40,000 investment. Possibly only a portion of their purchased interest was so traded, possibly all that he had left after other (possibly covert) transactions were completed. What is left, irritatingly unaccounted for, is the characterization of the ostensible relationship between Knight and Carpentier. Knight was known to be a San Francisco Harbor Commissioner, an Alameda County Public Administrator and a Bank Commissioner. His business dealings remain vague but it is known that he sold off his "merchandising interests" to William Ralston, who was often a partner of Horace Carpentier. Knight had earlier appeared as a major partner in another real estate consortium involving the purchase of property in Middle Berkeley.



Tidelands

On March 23, 1868, the Organic Act was passed by the State Legislature. This piece of legislation provided for the creation of the University of California, setting aside public lands, the sale or development of which would produce revenue for the advancement and maintenance of the University, hence the designation of the University of California as a "land grant" institution. Pursuant to this act, on July 15, 1872, when the Board of Tidelands Commissioners opened for business, James Jacobs and Zimri Heywood purchased seven tideland lots. Some of these cost as much as $15 per acre, others were had for as low as $1.50 per acre. In March of 1873 they bought several more, the cost now ranging as high as $31.50 per acre. On that same day, similar sales were made to Carpentier and to Rammelsburg. These purchases involved property that lay beyond the low water line. All were underwater. Today they constitute Interstate 80, and the entire Marina fill.


The Berkeley Land And Town
Improvement Association

In 1873, the Berkeley Land and Town Improvement Association, was formed with Henry Durant, then the Mayor of Oakland, as its president. This organization, the first formal collaboration between real estate minded citizens in the Berkeley area, was established, nominally, as a means of promoting a community and increasing the value of the land which the members of the Association already owned. The original officers included Thomas Murphy (Antisell), William Tierney, J. H. Jacobs, S. A. Penwell, A. Rammelsburg, and A. C. R. Shaw. The principals were Rammelsburg & Penwell.


The Published Intentions of BLTIA

The Association organized with the stated purpose of arranging land sales, opening stores, building wharves and promoting a modern ferry connection with San Francisco. As pronounced in its own by-laws, the explicit purposes were:

  1. The acquisition of land, or other real property, either by purchase or gift in ... Berkeley ... and the acquisition and sale of personal property at that place and elsewhere.
  2. The selling or donating of said lands in suitable lots, for mechanical, commercial, and homestead purposes.
  3. The projecting, opening and maintaining streets upon the lands of the corporation; the constructing and operating of street railroads upon the lands of the corporation, and from and over them to the bay of San Francisco.
  4. The building of wharves upon the lands of the corporation.
  5. The transportation of passengers and freight to and from the wharves of the corporation and other places at or near Berkeley.
  6. The lease, pledge, or mortgage of any real or personal property of the association as may be requisite to carry out the objects of the corporation.

The association was to exist for 50 years, to have a capitol stock of $300,000, with an issue of 3,000 shares valued at $100 each.
Under the auspices of the organization, there occurred a general accumulation of the shareholders' land under the BLTIA umbrella and a subsequent redistribution of that land as retail sales proceeded. Collectively the Association members pooled their resources in order to promote the community and the sale of lots. The land owned by BLTIA was transferred to and from the organization via stock and money and resold via money and sometimes stock. Everyone who owned any amount of land from Codornices Creek on the north, to approximately Bancroft Street on the south was involved, sooner or later. This section was named Tract B of BLTIA properties.

BLTIA’s Tract A was the block that lay between Shattuck Avenue and Milvia Street, University and Addison. There were other small tracts of Association property scattered throughout Berkeley, most representing contributions of real property in exchange for stock certificates. Some of these parcels proved to be among the most valuable real estate in the city. The land was sold in small lots at great profits.


Samuel Penwell

Penwell was a director of the Berkeley Land and Town Improvement Association in '73 and was heavily involved in BLTIA's Berkeley Ferry and R. R. Co. which formed in July of 1874. Sam Penwell was a school teacher in early Berkeley, and was the first to be teaching in the new school house at the corner of San Pablo Road and Virginia Street. With Rammelsburg he owned real estate between Virginia and Stanford (Cedar) Streets and together they sold BLTIA land from his Berkeley office at 5th and University, as well as from his office in San Francisco at 717 Montgomery Street. This office was located within the establishment owned by Halleck, Peachy and Billings. Sam Penwell later became a justice of the court, succeeded in this office by M. M. Gilman, Berkeley's first town marshal.


August Rammelsburg

Born in Hildesbelen, Germany, Mr. Rammelsburg came to this country when he was 8 years old. Within a few months both parents died of the cholera. He was adopted by an American family and raised in and about the State of Ohio. It was there that he learned the cabinet maker’s trade. In 1850 he came to California to join in the search for gold, and in this venture, prospecting in El Dorado County, he did quite well. He then returned to San Francisco in 1852 and entered the furniture business.

When his business was burned out the following year, Mr Rammelsburg, a committed bachelor, relocated himself to the area then known as Contra Costa, and employed for a short while in the dairy business. It remains unclear just when he moved to Berkeley, but on his arrival he purchased 150 acres in West Berkeley , built a house on 6th St., and lived there for the remainder of his life. Mr Rammelsburg, clearly a man of some means, personally held 2/3 of the BLTIA stock. He is given credit for arranging for the Cornell Watch Co. (on which he lost a lot of money), and then the Wentworth Boot & Shoe Co. (on which he lost more money), to locate in Berkeley, on BLTIA property.

Rammelsburg was a business associate of both Sam Penwell and John Everding and was a trustee of the Ocean View School district in 1864.



Thomas Murphy Antisell

Also active in BLTIA real estate was Thomas Murphy Antisell. Mr Antisell was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1839 and came to the U. S. in 1848 with his mother. They did not locate in California until 1859. Seeking opportunity in the Nevada silver rush, Thomas did some prospecting as well as operate a store in Austin, Nevada. It was there that he discovered the "White Pine" Mine; his interest in this enterprise, which he sold in 1868, netted him $200,000. Antisell served as the first recorder of that district in Nevada.

After selling his mining interests he moved to Berkeley, and began investing in Oakland and Berkeley real estate. In 1872-73 Murphy was doing business as a real estate entrepreneur in Oakland, and served as a member of the Oakland City Council; his office at that time was in the Broadway Block on the west side of Broadway between 11th and 12th Streets, his home on the southwest corner of Broadway and 12th. In 1873, while in New York, he married. His wife’s father was a piano manufacturer and Thomas was encouraged to take an interest in the business. On returning to the Bay Area, Thomas opened a piano factory in San Francisco. He and his wife had 5 children, and resided on Cedar Street east of Shattuck Ave. While substantially involved in Berkeley's development, by 1883 Antisell had moved himself and his family from his Berkeley home to devote himself to his major business interests in San Francisco.

In 1875 he built the Antisell Block at Shattuck and University, in an effort to help improve the East Berkeley property of the BLTIA of which he had been a founding member. Like many of the buildings erected during this period, the Antisell "Block" was an aggregate of offices and shops constructed as a single building. Some, like the Stewart and Trowbridge Block built at the corner of Dwight and Shattuck in the 1890s, contained many units and occupied a considerable area. The Antisell Block was of modest dimensions.

For reasons that have never been explained, T. M. Antisell employed the name of Thomas Murphy while doing a substantial portion of his business, and did so consistently in his role within the BLTIA. Even so, he did not use the Murphy name when identifying his block in Tract A, the corner of University and Shattuck.

Antisell had a brother William and a sister Alice Maud. Alice married a man named Marchand and together they shared in Thomas's real estate successes. Thomas sold the Marchands the property that is now occupied by the east side of Sproul Plaza, including the land upon which Sproul Hall now stands. In addition to this property, which he had bought from the real estate partnershp of Henry Durant and Samuel Merritt, Antisell owned and aggressively marketed the area between Cedar and Rose, Shattuck and Arch, which was known commercially as the Antisell Tract. This property was developed along with that owned by Henry Berryman into what was called Berryman Station (following the commencement of the steam locomotive), one of Berkeley's early "better" neighborhoods, with its center at Vine and Shattuck.


Alra C. R. Shaw

A singular presence among the founders of the BLTIA, A.C.R. Shaw soon became disillusioned with the organization, as well as the organizers, and quit. Not a great deal is known of Mr Shaw whose influence upon the development of Berkeley was quite substantial.

Alrah C.R. Shaw was born in Newark, NJ and had spent many subsequent years living in Illinois. He moved to Oregon in 1844 and remained there until 1867. While in Oregon Shaw served as the Superintendent of the Oregon State Penitentiary and retired from his position upon attaining the age of 50.

When Shaw arrived in California in 1867, he was already retired and apparently of comfortable means. Upon his arrival he immediately purchased 40 acres of land from Michael Curtis and settled on his property which fronted on what would soon become University Avenue. It was on Shaw's property that the first permanent Town Hall, housing the Board of Trustees, would later be built.

In 1873 Shaw became a director of the BLTIA. In 1877 he served as, a trustee of the Ocean View School District. During the extended public debate on the incorporation of Berkeley, Shaw was one of the few to oppose what he regarded as a hasty venture, and was responsible for the official "minority report". Speaking from his own experience as a public servant, he was convinced that civic custodians were either incompetent or corrupt, and he left little doubt as to his attitude regarding the administrative aptitudes of his Berkeley neighbors. Following the town's incorporation, in the spirit of good fellowship, Shaw was offered the "Citizen's" ticket nomination for town marshall, which he accepted. Along with the remainder of the Citizens ticket candidates, he lost.

Shaw was a resident of Berkeley for only 13 years and died in 1880 in his home at the age of 63. His father, who had remained a member of his household, had died three years prior, and in 1886 the family was to suffer yet another loss with the death of Shaw's son Walter, who died at age 35.

In 1874, the year after the incorporation of the BLTIA, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors granted an overlapping franchise for the construction of a toll wharf at the foot of University Avenue and for the collection of tolls from that wharf, to August Rammelsburg and the BLTIA. This permission was granted despite protests of Zimiri Heywood, and his partner Capt. Jacobs. Jacobs and Heywood took issue with this plan because it would involve the building of a wharf but a few feet from their own, and would take business from their own. Jacobs was originally a partner of the BLTIA and had been led to believe that the Association would not be flagrantly operating in direct competition with its members. However, as it passed the County Board of Supervisors, it was the Jacobs - Heywood franchise that overlapped that of the BLTIA. The new wharf was built at the western edge of the 16.05 acres, at what would become the foot of University Avenue.


Berkeley Ferry and Railroad Company

In July of 1874, The Berkeley Ferry and Railroad Company was formed by the now extended membership of BLTIA. The principles included Hiram. T. Graves, president, William J. Stuart, secretary, Felix Chappellet, treasurer, Sam Penwell, A. C.R. Rammelsburg, Henry Durant, and Nathan. W. Spaulding. This ferry established service to San Francisco from Ocean View, making four trips daily. There had been earlier plans made for ferry service to San Francisco, but this was the first that was actually implemented.

The plan underlying the formation of this ferry service and street railroad (the latter, and for some time to come, still only proposed) was to compete with the land transportation facilities that were being planned, which would travel up Adeline Street from Oakland's ferry terminal.


University Avenue

Intending to provide the ultimate in east-west transport, the BLTIA had already carved out a main thoroughfare extending from their new wharf to the grounds of the University campus, which had been laid out only a few years prior. This roadway traversed a series of properties which Henry Durant had gone to considerably lengths to acquire. The resulting thoroughfare described a route spanning the distance not so much from the Campus to the Bay, as it did from the Bay to the North Berkeley real estate developments of the Association's officers. It was laid out in direct competition to the existing east-west road that had been previously established along Addison Street by the commercial opposition. In doing so, Durant established (or substantiated) the schism in relations between himself and Francis Shattuck, and in doing so did little to improve his flagging relationship with Horace Carpentier.

While never mentioned in the listing of principles of the BLTIA organization, Carpentier was clearly party to this developmental effort. He was not, however, either comfortable or happy with any sort of partnership in which he did not have a major control. In this instance he was especially displeased by the failure of his earlier efforts to gain control of the BLTIA. Not unexpectedly, the tidelands property at the western extremity of the new wharf was owned by Carpentier. This same property, the product of Berkeley's land fill, is currently occupied by a thriving fruit stand, immediately west of University Avenue's 580 overpass.

The wharf was completed in 1874, along with Willow Grove Park which was added by the BLTIA. The park was designed to serve not the Ocean View residents ,of which there were still virtually no more than a handful, but as an incentive for visitors who would hopefully be buyers. In that same year coal gas street lighting was also installed. A horse car line was established up "University Avenue" which remained the only east-west land transport for many years, in spite of the plan for a more proper railroad system along this route. In May of 1891 an electric line was initiated by the Oakland Consolidated Street Railway which ran from Shattuck Avenue down Addison to Sacramento St. From there it cut north to University and thence to the wharf. In effect, the BLTIA had been finessed.

In 1874 Ocean View's second major industry moved in. The Standard Soap Company, owned by Captain R. P. Thomas, purchased five acres south of and adjacent to the ferry landing at West Berkeley, and a main building, large enough to accommodate a football stadium three stories high, was erected. The factory stood between Addison St. and Bancroft Way, west of Third Street; it began making soap in 1875. The company, the largest soap factory in the country, was sold to the Peet brothers in 1916, and later went on to become a part of the Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Company. In 1925 the original building burned down.

Captain Thomas' home, built on land purchased in 1873, was on Buena Vista Way (where the Hume Castle now stands). Because of the cannon emplacement he had added to its design, it was known as Thomas' Fort. The guns were fired on patriotic occasions.

On June 2, 1876 the BLTIA yielded right-of-way through its Ocean View holdings to the Northern Railroad Co., insisting as a part of the bargain that there be at least four trains a day servicing the Ocean View community. This was to be the primary line of the railroad as it connected the terminus at Oakland with cities to the north. In 1877 the line finally arrived in Ocean View on its way north, a year after completing its route along the secondary line into East Berkeley and Center Street. With Ocean View officially designated a stop on this major route, further efforts were extended toward the development and sale of these properties. In 1876 gas mains were installed to provide service to the homes in Ocean View, and well water was pumped, for a fee, by the BLTIA windmill at University and Fifth Streets. The BLTIA well was not only an inducement to settlement and a timely improvement as well, for the region was in then in the midst of a serious drought. The drought accompanied an economic depression which first ravaged the land in 1873, reaching its peak in 1877. The drought was so severe that it killed off much livestock and ruined crops state wide, leaving the financial picture very bleak. Needless to say, business was not brisk for the developers of the Ocean View Community.

But with 131 families residing in Ocean View in 1877, a real sense of community had begun to develop. While San Pablo Road represented the major north-south artery for extended travel, Sixth Street remained the center of local commerce and community life. Churches were being built starting about 1876, with services up until then being held in a single room school house at 6th and Delaware. West Berkeley Presbyterian Church was organized in 1877 and its new building was built at 8th and Hearst (then called Bristol St.) in 1879. Sometime later, its name was changed to Westminster Church.

Ocean View's first school was opened in 1855, and later moved to a location south of Bowen's facility at San Pablo Road and Delaware. In 1876 the new school was built at Virginia and San Pablo, with Sam Penwell, the predominant developer of local real estate, as its first teacher. While Patrick Rooney has often been credited with the donation of this land, it has likewise been attributed to Domingo Peralta, Horace Carpentier, John Hays, John Caperton, W.H. Glascock, Benjamin Davidson, F. Sanjurjo, A. Bonneron, Aurelia Pfeiffer, Mr. and Mrs. William Gwin, Harriet Truett and M.H. Truett, widow and son of Henry Truett, and Catherine Schmidt, all of whom provided quit claims to the school district for the property in question.

It is important to note that Rooney hadn't even arrived in the area at the time of the deed, and that all those that signed the various quit claims might, but did not necessarily, have a clear title to the land donated. It was, quite simply, that the act of donating land for a school looked great on his resume. Everybody jumped on the bandwagon, pen in hand!

In 1878 Sisterna Hall was built as a community meeting place within a commercial block at 6th and University, and Workingman's Hall was constructed at 6th Street and Delaware. Both were used for local social events, augmenting the overused barn at Jacob's wharf which could not quite serve the community. In addition to family facilities, a number of saloons were installed in the Ocean View area, serving not only the local residents but those from the slowly evolving East Berkeley community surrounding the new University. The University community had insisted upon legislation that imposed a ban on drinking establishments within a two mile perimeter of the University. Later this was reduced to one mile.

Ocean View grew slowly for its first 20 years, and then it began to accelerate in its growth with the efforts of the BLTIA. Until the period of its active development by the BLTIA, and even then for yet a few more years, the Ocean View community clustered around Sixth and Bristol Streets and represented the only focus of social life in all of what is now regarded as Berkeley.

Berkeley was otherwise the home for the occasional farmer, most of whom dwelt in uncrowded serenity upon their 160 acres plots. East Berkeley, that which now is regarded as the center of educational, business and cultural life, was entirely uninhabited until the very late '60's and quite sparsely occupied well into the early '70's.


Middle Berkeley,

that arbitrary strip of land which separates the two primary districts, has had a history of its own. While this section of town was initially given over to agrarian interests, it was, from the middle 1860's on, the object of fierce entrepreneurial speculation, even apart from the scramble over the yet uncertain fate of the Peralta Homestead.

 

[Chapter 04] -[Chapter Index] - [Chapter 06]

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