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With a burgeoning of interest in the northernmost reaches of Rancho San Antonio, by the middle 1870's population began to trickle in. Few came with the thought of making a home, most newcomers’ interest was in the likely profit to be gained in resale. As there remained no unexploited land in the vicinity of the University site, and the BLTIA had control over most of the property in Ocean View, it was the central part of Berkeley that offered the only good opportunity for wholesale land speculation. Nevertheless, there were a few recent land merchants who arrived to trade in the premium East Berkeley properties. The Berkeley Real Estate Union (BREU) was one.


The "North of Campus" Development

In the early 70's, as the area offered more and more promise, new names began to emerge in the local register, names which would endure as they lent appellation to the tracts of land which they developed. Among these was T. M. Antisell, known as well as Thomas Murphy, within his role as a BLTIA functionary. Antisell acquired a choice tract of land north of the University, situated between Arch Street and Shattuck Avenue, Cedar and Rose Streets. This venture involved Antisell's sister and her husband, Joseph E. Marchand. Antisell owned land in other parts of East Berkeley, including the Villa Tract which was developed by Henry Durant and Sam Merritt. Antisell owned, in partnership with his sister, the northeast corner of Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way (later the site of the Alta Vista Apartments), and sold it at in short order a good profit. This property contained a portion that was known as "no man's land" in the 1960's, which became an issue during the Free Speech Movement. By 1883 Antisell’s interest in Berkeley had come to an end, and he moved himself and his family from their Cedar Street home to their new residence in San Francisco.

Immediately west of the Antisell tract, was another owned by Hiram Graves and John Taylor which was purchased in 1869; theirs lay between Shattuck Avenue and Grove Street. To the north of both the Graves & Taylor and the Antisell properties was a tract owned by Felix Chappellet and Henry Berryman. These three tracts represented the heart of the North Berkeley development, and they encompassed all the land enclosed by Cedar Street on the South, Eunice Street on the north, Grove Street on the west, and Arch Street on the east. With the extension of the railroad to Vine Street (and beyond), this area came to be known as Berryman Station.

Antisell's property was slowly traded and sold, the each remainder being redivided into smaller and smaller parcels (at prices that remained the same, regardless of their diminished size) as the demand increased. Graves & Taylor, soon after acquiring their property, traded a portion for shares in the BLTIA. Graves, a principal in the BLTIA, was employed as the secretary of the Wentworth Boot & Shoe Company, the industry which occupied the building and the several blocks of West Berkeley land that had been vacated by the Cornell Watch Company in the BLTIA Tract B.

The major thrust of the development of North Berkeley is traditionally, but not with particular accuracy, ascribed to Felix Chappellet and Henry Berryman. These men bought property from several local owners, including Napoleon B. Byrne whose elegant home in Berkeley was for many years the oldest in Berkeley and the showpiece of the local historical societies.


N. B. Byrne

Napoleon Byrne arrived in Oakland with his wife Mary Tanner Byrne in a covered wagon from their home in Missouri. The year prior he had alone spent some time scouting the area in search of a suitable place to bring his family. They left Missouri in March of 1859 and arrived in California the next September. Settling first in Oakland, Byrne purchased the "squatters rights" to a tract of land from Stephen and Francis Connolly, James Leonard's in-laws, for $1250. The sale took place on the 31st of March, 1860. Three days later Byrne purchased an additional 160 acres from Margaret Adams, plot 84, for $2000. On May 15th he paid Horace Highly $4600 for plot 85, the same for which he had already obtained the squatters rights from Connolly. Nobody seems to know how Highly obtained his title to this land.

It was not until 1868 that Byrne built his home on this property. In March of that year he sold the southwest portion of his land to George Tait for $10,000. This portion soon became the Graves & Taylor Tract. In April of 1873 Byrne sold ten acres of the eastern most plot, land which was to become the Berkeley View Homestead, situated east of Arch street, between Cedar and Vine Streets. It was developed by Berryman, Chappellet, and William Stuart.

The following August, Byrne sold the northern half of both plots to Berryman and Chappellet, excepting the 10 acres he reserved for himself, his house, and all too optimistically as it turned out, his family. The selling price was $49,000. The house, abandoned by the Byrnes in 1873, was never occupied by them again. In that same year Byrne entered into a partnership with J. Mora Moss along with several other prominent locals, and together they purchased Venice Island in the delta region of the San Joaquin River. This experimental farming venture proved to be a financial disaster and Moss quickly backed out. However the Byrne family had already moved to Venice Island. Within the first year of their residence there, Mrs. Byrne died.

Napoleon finally left the island in 1880, returned to Berkeley. At this time he went into the wood and coal business on University Avenue. The city directory of 1883 lists the business as Byrne & Sons, located between Shattuck Avenue and Walnut Street. The site is presently occupied by a Thrifty, Jr.

A year after Byrne and his children arrived back in Berkeley, his daughter Edna married Frederick, the son of Henry Erskine Carleton. Carleton and his family had settled in Berkeley in 1854. A contractor and farmer by trade, he was later appointed to the job as county "roadmaster" by the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Frank Shattuck. The immediate result of this appointment is that Berkeley has since had a street which bears Carleton's name, as well as one bearing the name of the man who appointed him. Carleton died in 1877, thereby missing his son's marriage by four years. In 1881 James Byrne, Napoleon's son, successfully ran for town clerk. In his second term as clerk, James died, several weeks following the amputation of one of his legs. His brother, Peter Byrne, died two years prior while serving as Oakland's City Attorney. In 1887 Byrne was made Berkeley Postmaster and he too died on November 2, 1905, at 88 years of age.

The property conveyed by Byrne in 1873 included not only the initial 160 acres, but, because he had withheld ten acres for himself, an additional ten "at the top of the hill" was thrown in to make up the difference. The conditions under which he acquired this latter piece of property are not evident in the records available. In June of 1877, Byrne conveyed an additional 3.98 acres of the "Byrne reserve" which included his elegant home, to Louisa Berryman for $14,500. "The Cedars", as it had become known, now officially became the Berryman residence. Byrne himself occupied a smaller house on his remaining six acres. Tragically neglected and poorly maintained for many years, "The Cedars" was burned down under suspicious circumstances in the late 1980's.


Berryman and Chappellet

The property east of Byrnes', the "top of the hill", was purchased By Berryman and Chappellet on October 10, 1876 from Bartholomew McGrath (a man closely associated with both Connolly and Leonard) for $20,000. In February of 1866 Samuel Smiley had bought this plot from Francoise Pioche, and sold it twenty days later to McGrath. Smiley made less than $500 out of these dual transactions. Ten years later McGrath turned over his title to Berryman et al. for a neat profit of $18,500. This was plot 83; one hundred and sixty acres. A month later Berryman and Chappellet transferred their title to plot 83 to the Berkeley Waterworks Company. Henry Berryman was president of the Berkeley Waterworks Company. Title to the waterworks would change hands several times before it finally became identified as a portion of the East Bay Municipal Utility District.

Berryman and Chappellet are credited with founding North Berkeley's community of upper middle class homes, the prime residence of the academic genre. Berryman Station, centered principally around the Antisell Villa Tract (to the east of Shattuck Ave.) and the Graves & Taylor Tract (west of Shattuck) boasted having a nice hotel, a coal yard, a feed store, a drug store, a butcher shop and a market. From these bucolic and humble beginnings grew today's "Gourmet Ghetto".


The Kelseys

Near the turn of the century the Stein Block was constructed at the southwest corner of Walnut and Vine. Built by North Berkeley's first butcher, it has since been metamorphosed into "Walnut Square". Another block up the street, at the sw corner of Vine and Oxford, was the home and offices of Dr John Edson Kelsey. Kelsey was the son of John T. Kelsey who had come to the area in 1852. The elder Kelsey was an orchardist and nurseryman of wide repute, and had furnished many of the shrubs and trees with which the trustees of the College of California had planted to adorn its intended site. He is also credited with having introduced raspberries into the state of California. John T. married Harriet Carmichael and built a house in Berkeley in 1860 on what is now Kelsey Street. Kelsey served on the Oakland City Council in 1853, making him a Carpentier appointee, and was one of the founding fathers of the Berkeley Presbyterian Church, in 1878. The Kelseys had five children, the youngest of which was John E. Another son, Harry, was a pharmacist in Berkeley, the man who has been credited with starting Berkeley's public library. Harry was also superintendent of streets for a time. It was Doctor John E., at his Vine Street clinic, who supervised the birth of the son of the builder of the Stein Block, the yet to be venerable Louis Stein.


Henry Berryman

Henry Berryman was born in England and arrived in California in 1849, locating himself in Alameda County in 1853. Berryman, together with his partner Felix Chappellet, followed his acquisition of the Byrne property with the immediate procurement of the University Waterworks, the “Simmons” utility located above the University campus that had only recently been developed by the trustees of the College of California. Assuming the responsibility for the community's water supply, Berryman and Chappellet built the Berryman Reservoir, just east of what is now Euclid Avenue, near its intersection with Rose Walk.

In November of 1876 Berryman and Chappellet, acting as the Berkeley Real Estate and Water Company, conveyed their title to the utility land to the Berkeley Waterworks Company. The Berkeley Waterworks Company retained Berryman as President, and appointed William Stuart as Secretary. In July of 1877 Chappellet sold out his interest in the entire project to Berryman for $20,000.

Berryman meanwhile had initiated a business association with J.J. Dunn. Dunn, who worked for Berryman on and off for many years, left his employ momentarily to open a rock quarry on the Berryman Ranch in 1878. A year prior, in 1877, Dunn had built the Golden Sheaf Bakery on Shattuck Avenue, a business operated by J.G. Wright. The Golden Sheaf occupied Berkeley's first business block, between University and Addison St. and provided baked goods to the community, as well as restaurant food service to working people and students at the University. Dunn's quarry was relocated further east, to a site near La Loma Park, in 1892. During the 1880's, Dunn was contracted by the town for the grading and occasional maintenance of Shattuck Avenue. Then, and for some years to come, Shattuck was a dirt road, annoyingly dusty in the summer, a veritable bog during the winter rains.

Twenty three years later, and five years after the quarry was closed, the site became the home of J.M. Mackie, the Ventura, California lima bean king and business associate of James Leonard. His house on Buena Vista was constructed atop what had been the foundation for the quarries rock crusher.

In 1878 Berryman took the lead in organizing support for the extension of the Central Pacific railroad northwards from Center Street, up Shattuck to "Berryman Station". The new station was located on the east side of the street between Vine and Rose; in 1882 it was moved a few feet south and closer to Vine Street. After operating along this route for three years with some obvious difficulty, the Central Pacific R.R. Co informed the Berkeley town fathers that the grade between University Avenue and Vine Street was too great for their engines. If service was to be continued, the roadway would need to be regraded, leveling out particularly the sharp incline north of Virginia Street. In June 1882, Dunn and his crew were hired to dig a trench of increasing depth from University to Vine, down the middle of Shattuck Avenue. The trench was 22 feet wide at the top and 13 feet wide at the bottom. It was 7.5 feet deep at its maximum. Because the trench effectively prohibited all east-west traffic, besides being a general nuisance, it was universally hated, much derided, and referred to locally as the "Railroad Canal".

Upper Shattuck
Eventually, the side streets were regraded, along with the existing roadway, to conform to the level of the railroad track. Many houses were moved back from the street in order to accomplish this grading, and many still remain perched awkwardly over the roadway. The greatest elevation remains most conspicuous around the intersection of Cedar and Shattuck.
Berryman, who was residing in the former Byrne home on Oxford Street, sold the house in 1900.


The first three streets of the Berkeley Villa tract were named Louisa, Milvia, and Henry. Mr and Mrs Berryman with Chappellet's wife in between. Louisa St. has since been renamed Bonita St.



Felix Chappellet

Chappellet, a native of France, arrived in California in December of 1849 and located himself in Oakland Township in 1853. His wife was the former Milvia Frick. During the early 1870's Chappellet owned and operated a tile company, F. Chappellet & Co. in Oakland, employing during that period Edward Constant Robinson, the brother in law of Frank Shattuck, as Collector, Bookkeeper, & Foreman.

Chappellet teamed himself with Henry Berryman during this same period, and remained in that partnership until the two men split over the local political issues of the mid 1870's. In July of 1874 The Berkeley Ferry and Railroad Co. formed (Rammelsburg, Durant, et. al.) with William Stuart as Secretary and Felix Chappellet, Treasurer. The BLTIA put forth the first of many unsuccessful plans to established a prime transportation route up University Avenue. This endeavor was made in explicit competition with the Shattuck / Barker / Carpentier / Central Pacific route up from Oakland. It was a question whether the major access to the town center at University and Shattuck would come from the west or the south. Berryman unquestionably favored the north south route. Chappellet held the opposing view.

Ironically, on January 22, 1877 Chappellet obtained a franchise to operate a horse railroad along Shattuck Ave. from the terminus of the Central Pacific Railroad at East Berkeley, to Codornices Creek. Six months later, having a major change of heart, Chappellet on July 30, 1877 sold out his share of their business interests to Berryman and devoted his efforts to support the remaining projects of the then moribund BLTIA. Singularly, a bad choice.

Berryman meanwhile completed the transportation link to their property by securing the extension of service from the Central Pacific Railroad. In doing so, he had explicitly thrown his lot in with the Shattuck / Barker camp. Berryman temporarily located the new office of the Berkeley Waterworks Company in the just built, BLTIA sponsored Antisell Block, on the southwest corner of Shattuck and University Avenues. In 1881 he moved the offices of the Waterworks Company to Berryman Station along with other local businessmen, including Antisell who owned the Berryman Station Shattuck Ave frontage.


Rose Street to Martinez

As an adjunct to the development of this North Berkeley neighborhood, Rose Street was formally laid out in 1877 as the primary route from the new Berkeley wharf to the commercial and political centers in Contra Costa County. With its origins in Ocean View, the route crossed San Pablo Road, took a bend as it entered into the patchwork street plan of the Peralta Homestead, continued on a straight course until it exited from the Homestead, bending once again to the configuration of streets in Berryman's Villa Homestead Tract. Connecting at Shattuck Avenue with the new terminus of the railroad, Rose continued to the point where it joined with what is now Spruce Street. Following Spruce, a route laid out and constructed by Berryman, the roadway completed a torturous pathway through the Berkeley Hills, then up and over the top, through Wildcat Canyon, and onward to Martinez. In its meanderings, it passed a saloon, or roadhouse, near the intersection of Spruce and Los Angeles Street. Cognizant of local ordinance, this establishment was situated the requisite one mile from the U.C. campus. It is of interest that in those early days, Vine Street, originating then at what is now Martin Luther King Way, or Grove St, maintained its linear course up and into the hill where it became continuous with the rudiments of Euclid Ave, thence to the crest of the hills.

While the North Berkeley area was being prepared for habitation, "Downtown" Berkeley was evolving along the lines established by the area's organizers. This group, which included the College of California, Henry Durant, and Horace Carpentier, was significantly augmented in its efforts when Carpentier became involved with the "Big Four" of the Central Pacific Railroad. It was in that association that Carpentier acquired, as something of a legacy, a man named James Loring Barker. Barker would become for a short while, as circumstances afforded, the last singularly influential man in Berkeley real estate.


James Loring Barker

Mr. Barker was born on June 12, 1841 under the shadow of james loring barkerBunker Hill, in Charleston, Massachusetts. There he completed high school while working at his father's hardware business. James remained with this occupation to the age of 21, at which time, sailing from Boston, he came to San Francisco, and arrived in 1862. His first ten years in the Bay Area were spent as a salesmen for L. B. Buckley & Co., Marsh, Pilsbury & Co., and/or Everson and Company, all engaged in the hardware business. It is likely that all of these firms were subsidiaries of, or otherwise intimately connected with, the operations of Huntington and Hopkins Company. The record appears to indicate that Barker was continuously employed by these men for the same period of time.

In November of 1867, while a resident of Oakland, and employed in the iron and pipe business in San Francisco, Barker bought from Frank Shattuck forty acres of land between Dwight Way and Bancroft Way, Shattuck Avenue and Grove Street. This, of course, was the same land promised by Shattuck to the College Homestead Association, land which had become available when the association defaulted on their agreement to complete the purchase. The sale to Barker gives every indication of being substantially encouraged by his bosses in the railroad business.

A year after buying into Berkeley, Barker married Mary C. Rasche on April 21, 1868 in San Francisco. His wife was the daughter of a pioneer family from Germany. His children were: Georgia Loring, Lydia Gertrude, Frederick Po

llard, and Loring James. Using his property in Berkeley as collateral, Barker effected several mortgages, the first in August of 1868, and another in April of 1869, and possibly one outright sale of partial interest in June of 1869. With these funds he launched himself into the hustle of East Bay real estate.

In 1872 Barker left Huntington and Hopkins to start his own plumbing supplies and iron pipe store at 406 & 408 Market St. San Francisco. He remained in this location until 1880 when he sold it to open a hardware store in Oakland, with his new partner R. W. McKinney, at 8th and Franklin. In parallel fashion, Barker's two occupations were pursued, both with considerable success.

In 1874 he formally allied himself with Shattuck and the development of what were now their joint Berkeley interests: the railroad spur to central Berkeley. While Carpentier labored to enthuse his partners, Shattuck politically championed the railroad project from his position on the county board of supervisors, while Barker worked at the local level, circulating petitions and securing right-of-way.

In January of 1875, Barker redeemed one of the loans he had let on his Berkeley property, and paid off the debt of $3,500 to a William C. Bartlett. Bartlett would later become affiliated with the local efforts of Barker, promoting the East Berkeley property from his position as local journalist.


William Bartlett

William Chauncy Bartlett was a Congregationalist minister. Having lived in Nevada City and then Grass Valley, he became a journalist writing for the San Francisco Bulletin between 1866 and 1893. He was also a co-editor of the Overland Monthly with Bret Harte between 1868 and 1871. Bartlett was a long standing friend of Henry Durant and served as the President of the Board of directors for the School for the Deaf, Dumb and Blind between 1875 and 1892.

With the fortuitous demise of Henry Durant in 1876, Barker stepped into Durant's shoes as the grand master of real estate manipulation in and about Berkeley. He immediately affiliated with the BLTIA, came into titular possession of some of the choicest pieces of property in Berkeley, and moved himself and his family onto his Berkeley property in 1877. On a spacious lot just west of Shattuck Avenue, Barker built an Italianate residence at 2031 Dwight Way. It was one of the pioneer residences in Berkeley and it was ready for his occupancy early in 1878. In March of 1877, while he was still advertising as an importer of plumbing supplies at 408 Market St. in San Francisco, Barker was instrumental in the founding of Berkeley's first newspaper, the Advocate, with H.N. Marquand as editor. This paper served as the principle champion of the BLTIA. Initially located in Ocean View, the paper's offices were relocated to a more central location in the Antisell Block, in 1881. Published weekly, the Advocate was the forerunner of the Berkeley Gazette and served during its time to chronicle the ignominious fiscal collapse of the BLTIA.

In 1878, Barker vigorously led the movement for the incorporation of Berkeley, and with his new partner George Dornin, carried the "Bill to Incorporate the Town of Berkeley" to Sacramento.


George Dornin

George Dornin, born on December 30, 1830, was raised in New York City and came to California with the gold rush, around Cape Horn, arriving in San Francisco in August of 1849 on the Panama. Dornin was a S.F. merchant until moving back into the gold country, living in North San Juan, Nevada County. He served in the U. S. Legislature between 1865-66, and in 1871 became general agent for Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., and its Vice President in 1873. He was president of the Village Improvement Association in 1880 and built his own home in Berkeley in 1874.

Barker, a civic minded man, insinuated himself into a wide variety of community functions, and was among those who were instrumental, in February of 1879, in the acquisition of property for the first high school at the corner of Oxford and Center Street. This property, owned by his partner H. A. Palmer, and consisting of five lots in Block B of the Blake Tract, was purchased by Barker, Bartlett, Dornin, Palmer, and Shattuck, from Palmer, for $2000 on February 3, 1879. The contract for constructing the school was won by George Embury. Mr Embury, an inside tracker with the town's influential men, had the good fortune to always submit the lowest bid for construction of public buildings. By the year's end, the school enrollment had begun.

Along with Dornin and Beardslee, Barker's business interests soon included his being an agent for Fireman's Fund Insurance Co. c.1880. Among his various Berkeley properties was a tract in North Berkeley known as Golden Gate Homestead, situated between Shattuck and Milvia, Virginia and Cedar. This was property that was previously owned by Henry Durant. With these same partners, Barker established the "Village Improvement Association" in 1880, which was incorporated some three years later. The singular purpose of this "organization" was to encourage the sale of their property, sales of which at the time was in a definite slump. In the incorporation of the Improvement Association, they managed to add the names of local citizens, making this, as it were, a kind of grass roots movement. The rhetoric supplied by Bartlett, who published in praise of the Berkeley location, leaves no doubt as to their fundamental purpose.

While still referring to himself as vice president of the long defunct BLTIA in 1886, Barker left the area for an extended visit to Chicago (returning in September of 1877) with the purpose of making the necessary arrangements to secure street lighting for Berkeley. It is of interest that his older brother, George Barker, was intimately involved in the new electrical light industry, and unquestionably assisted James in this project. There is in this the color of vested interest and personal profit.


George Barker

George Barker was born in Charleston, Mass. on June 14, 1835. He died in 1910. He was connected with many institutions of higher learning, from Yale University in 1856, through Western University of Pennsylvania, Wheaton College in Illinois, Albany Medical College in Albany, New York, Williams College, and finally the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia. While he has been variously listed as a chemist, physicist, and physician, his major claim to fame was his role as a supporter of and the principle advocate for the inventions of Thomas A. Edison.

From Barker's efforts, the Berkeley Electric Light Company was formed on November 29, 1887. Electric lighting was introduced into the City of Berkeley in 1888.

On December 1, 1890 Barker reopened his plumbing business (which was the importing of iron pipe and plumbers' supplies) in Oakland at 407 8th Street, and later expanded his business into a trade in lumber. The lumber firm of Barker & Hunter is said to have built 150 residences in 1896. In 1900 R. W. McKinney and James Barker incorporated as Barker and McKinney. They built a three story building (The Barker Block, costing an estimated $325,000.00), on the corner of Dwight & Shattuck in 1905. Barker sold out to McKinney in 1906 at which time he dedicated himself full time to his real estate ventures.

In 1890 Barker, long an outspoken Berkeley prohibitionist, headed up a local committee to ban all alcohol beverages from Berkeley, arguing for the restoration of the two mile limit. Barker and Naylor offered to reimburse the Town for the revenue lost from the sale of liquor licenses. Their efforts were to no avail; the one mile limit remained.

Barker with Shattuck, Naylor, and others was an organizer, and one-time president, of the 1st National Bank of Berkeley. In 1904 with A. W. Naylor and a number of South Berkeley citizens, he organized the South Berkeley Bank which later merged with the Berkeley Bank of Savings and Trust and by 1892 became the South Berkeley branch of the Mercantile Trust Co. of California. The oddly scaled but lovely South Berkeley Bank Building still graces the northwest corner of Adeline and Alcatraz. As his career and reputation developed, he tended to increasingly disassociate himself from his earlier affiliation with Huntington, Hopkins and Carpentier. Barker owned ranches in Napa Valley and Santa Cruz County, and had various other pieces of property throughout the state.

As the railroad became more and more a reality, Barker focused his Dwight Way Station entrepreneurial efforts on the area which would become Berkeley's third train stop, Dwight Way Station. Already in possession of the north-west corner, he turned his attention to the southeast corner, the Stewart Block.
This property, a portion of Blake's plot 69, was first purchased by Steel, William Stewart and Elder in 1872, from George Blake. A year later, Steel bought out his partners and in 1876 sold the corner lot (Shattuck and Dwight) to a man named Bowman. The remainder of this property, extending east to Fulton Street and South to Parker, was sold in 1877 to partners in real estate James L. Barker and Charles A. Bailey. A year later, this affiliation was broken up and the Steel Tract was divided up between them. In 1885, Barker, in the name of the then defunct BLTIA built some 28 houses on this tract.


The critical southeast corner property was sold to H. H. Seaton by Charles Bailey; Barker blockSeaton, a nephew of C. P. Huntington and a junior partner in Huntington & Hopkins, sold the corner lots to J. K. Stewart who opened, in 1881, a feed, coal, and grocery business, the "Temperance Cash Grocery Store".

In 1890, Stewart developed the north-east corner of this intersection into the Stewart/Trowbridge Block.



Charles A. Bailey


Charles Bailey came from Wisconsin to Alameda County in 1856. From 1875 to 1888 Baily worked as a clerk for Huntington & Hopkins. A real estate go getter, he managed to insert his fingers into virtually every aspect of the Berkeley property pie from the early 1870's onward. There is evidence of his dealing in the College Homestead Tract, the Bryant, Allston, Raymond, Steel, Avery, Haft, Shaw, Rooney, Hardy, Virginia, Edith, and Grayson Tracts, University Terrace, and the subdivided Curtis Tract which he bought directly from the BLTIA. There is no evidence to suggest that he did this as an agent of his employer. But still. . .

In August of 1877 there is evidence of a "Blake & Bailey" selling in the Blake Tract, unquestionably a partnership established with George Blake’s widow, Millicent. In 1878 his occupation is officially listed as secretary of the Standard Soap Company, while he is still nominally employed by Huntington and Hopkins. In 1892 he advertised as a Berkeley land owner from his offices at 20 Montgomery Street, in San Francisco.


South Berkeley


South Berkeley grew more slowly than did its neighbors. Never certain as to whether it would be the southern part of Berkeley, or the northern part of Oakland, its settlement was sparse and did not move ahead until the railroad station at Alcatraz and Adeline Streets was actually installed in 1876, and the post office, under the supervision of Postmaster Lorin, was established in 1881. The neighborhood was exclusively dedicated to large farming tracts, dominated by the property of Peter Mathews and the Ashby Brothers, William and Mark.


The Ashbys

William Ashby, born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 1826, came to California in 1849 to hunt for gold. He was not very successful in the gold fields but he did manage to establish, a few years later, a feed and fuel business in San Francisco. At that time he was joined by his brother Mark, and together they managed this business for the next four years. On February 19, 1856 Mark and William Ashby bought the rights to a portion of land from squatters named S. D. Taylor and George B. Almy for $2000. On November 20, 1857 they added to their purchase by buying from Francoise Pioche the remaining 133 acres of plot 51 for $5130. Nearly two years later, in February of 1859, Mark Ashby bought an additional 24 acres which lay within the adjoining Vicente Peralta reserve from the Woolseys. James Woolsey had acquired this property in November of 1858 from Adams and Carpentier. It would seem that the purchase from Woolsey involved an undivided interest in a share of this 24 acres, for the price paid to Ashby was less than half of what the Woolseys had originally paid.

However, whatever that arrangement, almost immediately Mark sold back to the Woolseys a total of almost 81 acres for a total of $6468.80. The Woolsey parcel came straight out of the middle of the Ashby holdings.

In 1865 the Ashby brothers divided their property, which by then had grown to a total of 187 acres and which extended in an irregular pattern from College Avenue to Adeline Street. William received the eastern most aspect, adjoining College Avenue, which, incidentally, was known at that time as University Avenue.

Of the Ashby brothers it was only Mark who attended the meetings held to consider the plan for the railroad and those convened to consider the incorporation of the town, and it was Mark who donated land for the railroad access; he did not however contribute the land upon which the railroad station was actually located. William Ashby, on the other hand, seems to have disappeared, effective with the division of their land. The Ashby property remained intact, and was partitioned for sale only after these lands were includedwithin the town limits of Berkeley. After 1892, the supply and demand equation was clearly in their favor.

While this southernmost section of Berkeley had been initially included in the plan for incorporation, it was excluded in the final version of the "Act to Incorporate." The majority of South Berkeley was added in 1891, and in 1892 the town boundaries were extended southward to Woolsey Street.

Ashby Station (originally called Alcatraz Station) was situated on Adeline Street adjacent to Alcatraz Avenue and became the very center of life within that community. Alcatraz was originally proposed in 1859 as a means of both delineating the privately owned portions of the Vicente Peralta Reserve from that land still actually held by Vicente; for many years it had provided access from this property to the San Pablo Road. Newberry Station, located several years later at what is now the intersection of Adeline Street and Ashby Avenue, represented the heart of a secondary South Berkeley community. It's location is now occupied by the Ashby Bart Station.

The railroad line to the center of what would become downtown Berkeley originated from plans drawn by the major property owners along its route and at its projected terminus. In so planning, they were considering only the certain increased valuation of their property. After all, they were all businessmen. Rural lands have a certain value; urban lands have more. There was conceivably no other reason to run a dead end spur line into an area that had neither population nor industry.

Horace Carpentier also wanted the railroad line that would substantially appreciate his holdings, and that of his myrmidons. Once he had maneuvered his way onto the board of the Central Pacific Railroad, and deflected the terminus from its original location in San Francisco, events proceeded accordingly. While the original plan was to extend the line directly out from the Oakland Wharf along Adeline Street, this plan was soon changed, and the the Berkeley line was designed more practically as a spur off of the coastal route that would run to Martinez and points north. This second plan was strongly supported by the property owners along this newer route, namely Emery, Wiard, and the four branches of the Dunnigan family. Emery and Wiard owned land along the Bay south of Berkeley, and are responsible for the development of Emeryville and the recreation area around Shell Mound Park. The Dunningns owned frontage on the proposed route, between The San Pablo Road and Sacramento Street.

The agreement of March 10, 1876 between the railroad and various property owners along the intended route was not given unanimous support. Of the three that did dissent, two were owners of such small parcels of land that any encroachment upon what they owned constituted a devastating loss. Two owners of the smallest parcels were Peter Maloney and Mary Townsend. Neither were interested in the profit that could accrue. The lot shared by these two early residents of Berkeley lay along the dusty east side of Guyot St, extending south of Channing Street approximately half the distance to Dwight Way. Haste Street had not yet been cut.

In April of 1868, Benjamin Haynes and Orlando Lawton purchased this property, referred to as Lot 8 in Block 3, from the College Homestead Association for $500. They held their property until July 22, 1874, at which time they sold it to Peter Maloney for $1000. On November 19, 1875 Peter sold a small portion of his modest lot to Mary Townsend for $400, and Mary assumed the remainder of his mortgage, for $500. Peter was now property ahead and devoid of his debt to Haynes and Lawton. The parcel that Mary bought constituted a fifth of what Peter owned, was not quite square, and measured fifty feet along Guyot St. (Shattuck Avenue) and extended between 134 and 138 feet eastward. By today's landmarks, Mary's property had its western boundary, and her front yard, in the southbound lanes of Shattuck Avenue. Peter retained the north 250 feet. Mary did not get the best of this deal and her problems had only begun.

Mary Townsend was in her late forties when she purchased this property. Previously she had lived with her husband, who was described only as a Civil War Veteran, and her son John. The Townsends had been residents of Berkeley for at least a year prior to the purchase; her husband had attended the first meeting of citizens interested in the incorporation of the town. When Mr. Townsend died, Mary bought her property. Later, in January of 1879, Mary bought a second piece of land, this one forming the southwest corner of Rose and California Streets, (50'x140') for the bargain price of only $350. She bought it from William Schmidt. We have no evidence of William Schmidt being associated with the railroad.

Less than six months after Mary moved onto her property she was asked to "donate" the front one hundred feet of her land for the railroad right of way. Understandably she objected, supported at the time by the equal dissent from her neighbor, Peter Maloney. Determined to retain what she had, she refused any of the offered compromises. As a result, the railroad tracks were laid up Shattuck and detoured around hers and Peter's three hundred and fifty foot Shattuck Avenue exposure, onto the narrow span of what was then Shattuck Avenue. The diversion was called "Maloney's Curve". In the end Mary lost her battle with the railroad and was obliged to move her house onto the rear of her property with the Central Pacific tracks laid across her front yard.

This story is best told by the writer of the article which appeared in The Berkeley Advocate, September 1877.

"A petition was filed by James L. Barker et al. in the name of The Western Development Company, a division of The Central Pacific Railroad, to acquire certain land required for the completion of the extension of the railroad from Ashby Avenue to University Avenue. It is being contested by Mr. Peter Maloney and Mrs. Mary Townsend, both of Guyot Street. Mrs. Townsend countered railroad attorney Harvey S. Brown's contention that she has unreasonably held up the construction of this project. Track has been laid to the Townsend property line and temporarily loops out in to the street around the property in contention while attempts were made to condemn the Townsend and Maloney land. Mrs. Townsend claims her land had been for sale but no notice was taken. The WDC had only offered her a lot in the middle of a field with neither egress nor ingress. She further explains that she has incurred numerous expenses from the WDC summoning her to the Third District Court after it had adjourned on two separate occasions. She also states that she is a widow, with family, and supports her self by taking in washing and ironing. Her final answer: " I will take foot for foot on either side of Guyot or 250 feet on the other side of Channing and $1000.00."

Mary and Peter were ultimately forced to grant an easement to the railroad. Mary lost a portion of her property measuring fifty by one hundred feet. This adjustment left her a diminished property measuring only between 34 and 38 feet in one direction, and fifty feet along the railroad track. Peter was left with a 250 foot lot that had a depth of only 15 to 33 feet. On this sliver of property, at what is now the south east corner of Channing and Shattuck, Peter had constructed several buildings and had managed his butcher business. But in June of 1879 Peter Maloney moved back to San Francisco, temporarily abandoning this sliver of land. This left Mary, for awhile, to fend for herself.

But the saga of Mary Townsend does not end with a train in her front yard. Twenty years later, in 1896, the Town of Berkeley was in the process of grading the east side of the railroad tracks, laying down the northbound lanes of Shattuck Avenue. Work had continued until it reached the property of Mary Townsend. Again she took issue with the conversion of her front yard into a public thoroughfare, not to mention the virtual elimination of her privately held property, and she refused to sign the needed consent.

THE BERKELEY ADVOCATE, FRIDAY EVENING, NOVEMBER 6, 1896.
"STILL HOLDS THE FORT"

"Gray Haired Old Dame Townsend Defies The Authorities, She Moves Her House Out Upon Shattuck Avenue Claiming Another Chapter Is Developing! Another chapter is developing in the dispute between Mrs. Townsend and the town authorities as to the right of the town authorities to macadamize the space in front of her property on Shattuck Avenue which has not yet been conveyed to the town for street purposes. Early this morning passers-by were surprised to see her cottage out over the line of the sidewalk with the determined little gray-haired woman on guard on the path to protect her house against all intruders whether burglars or town officials. The foot of the steps leading down from the front door had been boarded up, the house stood on stilts as if for moving and a trench had been dug as though for a foundation on the new lawn. The house had been moved forward by contractor Grant yesterday afternoon to its present position at a distance of about 25 feet, the rear resting on a line previously occupied by the front. The plucky woman had stood guard all night and is still on guard, apparently suffering not at all from lack of sleep. Early in the morning, Mr. Chick, Superintendent of Streets, drove up to the house with a number of men with the purpose that the house be moved back to its place. Mrs. Townsend, revolver in hand, cautioned him not to advance a step upon her property and pointed the gun with such excellent aim that he and his supporters deemed it best to withdraw to a safer distance. She flourished the permit Mr. Chick had granted a week ago to move her house and claimed that she had complied with the requirements of the law. When Mr. Chick withdrew he went to the City Hall and procured a warrant for her arrest on a threat of assault with a deadly weapon. Meanwhile, his assistants withdrew with the wagon out of the range of the gun and loitered about during the forenoon.

The warrant was given to Deputy Marshal Kearns for service but the Deputy was evidently in no hurry. No attempt having yet been made to execute, it is evidently his intention to wear her out and serve the warrant when least expected. Mrs. Townsend however considers herself fully equal to the situation and has friends who will stay with her on the premises until the case is settled or until she is arrested, which she believes will still further complicate the position the town holds in this case. She is a well known figure in Berkeley, nearly 70 years old, and has maintained herself by hard work for many of the best families in Berkeley, all of whom respect her for her untiring industry.

The widow of a veteran of the War, she was compelled to depend on her own exertions for support. By these exertions she has raised a family and accumulated what little property she possesses and in her natural reasoning, what she had earned and paid for, she owns.

Convinced of the determination of the Board of Trustees to take possession of the street property, Mrs. Townsend on last Saturday obtained through W. P. Grant, Contractor, permission from the Superintendent of Streets, Guy H. Chick, to move the house from its lot, the ultimate destination being represented as another lot which she owns on Rose Street, and proceeded to do so. After it was partially off, President Richards, Mr. Chick, and Attorney Haine came to the conclusion that the permit was not obtained in good faith and was only for the purpose of asserting her right to occupy the strip in dispute. On the ground that the power vested in the Street Superintendent to issue a permit carried with it the power to revoke, Mr. Chick verbally revoked the permit and ordered the house to be moved back. Mrs. Townsend strenuously objected and was tempted to use such sarcastic language that she was arrested and marched to the City Hall. While she was thus absent, the house was moved back. Mrs. Townsend, however, retained the permit which was good for thirty days and showed the receipt of the money paid for its issuance and yesterday had the house moved again out upon the land as far as she desired before daylight closed. Then the rope connecting the house with the horse power pulley was suddenly cut, the house mover was informed that his services were no longer required, and he was paid for the work already performed. The Deputy Street Superintendent ordered the house moved back but this time the lady had her attorney, Thomas F. Garber, present to advise her as to her rights and the mover and the deputy were ordered to leave things alone and not to trespass on the land. The attorney was threatened with arrest for laying hands on the deputy but there was no hard feelings on the part of either. Mrs. Townsend took up her abode in the house and determined to hold the fort. At a late hour a scout reported that he had overheard a plan of the attorney, Superintendent of Streets and the house mover to have the house moved back at midnight. She accordingly prepared for the expected onslaught with a loaded six-shooter and the company of her son Charles and some friends and kept a sharp lookout the entire night. She saw nothing, however, to occasion apprehension other than the approach of a wagon containing a number of men. When she appeared upon the porch with determined mien and gun in hand, the wagon turned off into the darkness again and disappeared."

After a lengthy review of the events which took place twenty years earlier, The Advocate article continues.

"The railroad company built a driveway and a crossing over their track for Mrs. Townsend's exclusive use from Shattuck Avenue and maintained it for her exclusive use for years. Shattuck Avenue is but 68 feet in width and was all west of the track. No other portion was used for a street. When the grading and macadamizing of the Avenue was ordered, all the land thus condemned for railroad purposes was omitted, the paving company refusing to take the contract if that were included. But finally, Mr. Maloney quitclaimed a strip 50 feet in width between the west line of his large building and the railroad track and this was ordered graded and macadamized with the rest. Mrs. Townsend, however, refused to deed and her portion 50 by 100 feet, including where the track is laid, was not included in the resolution. Nor could the railroad company give the town a deed without at once surrendering all their rights to Mrs. Townsend's property, the lease for the condemned property having long since expired. Therefore the company has refused to deed any of its property to the town.

As soon as Shattuck Avenue had been graded and macadamized, the town acknowledged the private ownership of this land by assessing it for this work. A hunk of dirt was left between two ends of the street east of the tracks on Mrs. Townsend's land. After looking at this for some time, Mr. Whiting, who was then a trustee, urged the idea of taking possession and grading the land and it was done forthwith. Mrs. Townsend brought suit against the individual Trustees but this she afterwards dismissed.

After a year or so, proceedings were commenced by the town authorities to condemn the land regularly. Some proceedings being found or declared defective, new ones were instituted by the present Board of Trustees and the same commissioners reappointed. Their report was filed some weeks ago and, after protests had been heard by the Trustees, they were advised by Town Attorney Haine that this piece of land was already a public street and that, therefore the work of the commissioners should be rejected. Recently the Board, under the advice of Town Attorney Haine, proceeded to macadamize the place after the plan originally suggested by Mr. Whitney and it is upon this point that the present imbroglio rests. Mrs. Townsend persists in asserting her right to the property and refuses to surrender until the town obtains a legal title by regular process of law."

Suits and counter suits proliferated for the next few years and, as was to be expected, in 1901 Mary was left with many questions, $650 for her land, $500 for improvements, and no further recourse. She died a few years later, the remaining land was promptly sold, and the Morrill Apartments were constructed.

By time the first railroad train arrived in Berkeley in 1876, the town was beginning to take shape. The University had enrolled its first class and the first meeting of people interested in the incorporation of the town of Berkeley had been held, but thus far no agreement on the terms of incorporation had been attained. The political status quo seemed determined to hold, however within the next two years there would be changes that significantly affected the course of Berkeley's history.

The years between 1875 to 1877 witnessed the loss of a significant number of weighty personages. Three men took their own life: Francoise Pioche (just a little earlier, in 1872), Benjamin Ferris, and William Ralston. Even though they were known to share in business dealings, and were all likely to suffer the economic depression and reversals which characterized the era, no clear connection between their desperate acts can be identified.

Henry Durant died while serving his second term as Oakland's mayor. His demise, anticipated by those who had lately forecasted the need for a successor, was met with mixed reviews. George Blake died while on holiday with Enoch Pardee at the latter’s rural retreat in Northern California. Pardee would soon take the mayor's seat vacated by Henry Durant. William Hillegass died shortly after Blake. Felton died a year later. While Felton was often described as a bachelor, even in several of the many obituaries, his will, however, assigned half of his estate to a widow, a quarter of his estate to his mother in law, Mrs. J. G. Baldwin, and a quarter of his estate to his children, "if he has any". However, the will was written in June of 1874, three years prior to his death in May of 1877. At the time of his death there were two children, Sidney Josephine Felton age 12, and Catherine B. Felton, age 3. The cause of his death is not known.

This was a period of economic depression and epidemic typhoid. Other lives were lost but none that had the impact as did the collective passing of these men. Their loss was complicated by the political death of Samuel Merritt coming in the wake of the scandal surrounding his activities as a U.C. Regent with conflicting priorities.

The immediate impact of this collective loss was the utter destruction of the political infrastructure that had been the pleasure of Horace Carpentier. With the loss of these men, so many intimates, Horace withdrew from local politics and devoted his time to the China Trade and his growing interest in Asian culture and the humanities.

With Carpentier’s withdrawal from political activity, and William Hillegass' departure from the world of commerce, Frank Shattuck was very soon left with neither political nor commercial support. In fact, other than his nominal involvement with Ferris' bank, Frank had little to do. With George Blake's widow he sold some of the Blake property, served a term on the Berkeley Town Council, but with these exceptions his active life was all but over.

The breach created by the plethora of deaths and departures appeared to leave the field open to the ambitions of James Barker. While able to assume a portion of the power wielded by his predecessors, his efforts at establishing a political persona met with consistent and utter failure. He remained peripherally active in the various promotions of the CPRR. He did well in his commercial pursuits and in an otherwise empty field, he could still be said to be Berkeley's most influential citizen.

The era of domineering personality and singular power was at an end. From this point on the determination of Berkeley's future would proceed approximately along the lines of the democratic format, with local factions contending with other local factions. The era was almost, but not quite, at its end.

Horace Carpentier had one final play. The course of events surrounding the incorporation of the town of Berkeley was yet to be substantially influenced by this man whose presence had dominated many aspects of east bay life for the past 26 years. And this play would be his last.

[Chapter 08] -[Chapter Index] - [Chapter 10]

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