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Roller skates were commercially introduced to the public in 1863; twenty years later they began to catch on in Berkeley. One main problem with the use of skates was the scarcity of suitable surface on which to skate, Berkeley streets and sidewalks were then composed entirely of dirt and irregular wood planks, respectively. In November of 1884, as a partial remedy for this situation, Mr. E. R. Forsyth opened a roller rink in Sisterna Hall at Fifth Street and University Avenue. The public responded favorably. Following his success, in January of 1885 a private skating rink was built under Clapps hall (that would be on the first floor of the building there located) on the corner of Berkeley Way and Shattuck Avenue. Once it had been tried out, the skating fad caught fire. Soon there was talk of the town needing a proper rink and by June of '85 one was under construction in the recently opened Odd Fellows Hall, on the south east corner of Addison and Stanford Place. The work was performed under the supervision of A.S. Rhorer. When it opened later that month, it was available to the public every evening except for Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. In August this schedule was changed with the rink open only on Tuesday and Saturday evenings. With shrinking of the rink's agenda, and the inexplicable closing of the rink at Clapps hall, construction began the following month, by Mr Broad, on a new rink. For this purpose he utilized an old barn on the northeast corner of Shattuck and Bancroft. The new rink was to be bigger (40'x80'), have considerably greater accessibility, and the facility was to be available not just for skating, but for dancing and other types of parties as well.

On October 2, 1885, the new rink opened with great celebration. Opening night at 8 pm included a masquerade carnival and music by the East Berkeley Band. Broad had built a special balcony to accommodate the band during their performance, and a raised platform had been provided for spectators. So much enthusiasm was generated by this attraction that soon the rink that had previously been operating in Sisterna Hall in West Berkeley, and which had ceased operation for lack of public interest, was reopened.

But interests come and go. In 1889 the newspaper noted that the rink was still well used, however the communities enthusiasm for skating had clearly abated. By 1891 the facility was no longer used for skating, and its other utilization was only very occasionally. In October of 1891 it was used to stage a prize fight, and later that same month, in a final effort to revitalize the town's interest in skating, the Berkeley Skating Rink reopened under the auspices of the Golden State Band of Berkeley; skating was available on Wednesday and Saturday evenings.

But the public's interest was simply no longer there. In January of 1892 the Rink was formally and finally closed. In August of 1895 the barn, by now unused for several years, was torn down. This old building, which was described as having been... "the social center of Berkeley, the scene of political meetings, athletic club and church socials, parties, dancing schools, and boy-brigade activities, was built in 1878 and torn down in August of 1895 in response to complaints that it was an eyesore."

The skating fad would very shortly be replaced by others, but none impacted so rapidly or so notably on the community as did the motion picture craze. "Movies" were being shown to public audiences in the U.S as early as 1895, usually in makeshift "theaters", with repeat showings every thirty minutes or so. Town's and cities that had regular theaters began showing movies as early as 1896, often as openers to the live acts. It was not until 1909 that Berkeley opened its first theater, called Lukes Nickelodeon, which was located at the confluence of Grove Street and Adeline Street. Shortly afterward the "It Theater" opened around the corner on Harmon Street On Shattuck Avenue the Opal Theater was opened between Center and Addison Streets in the same year. A year later the Varsity Theater opened on Shattuck and the Scenic Theater opened on University Avenue, just west of Shattuck. Over the next five years, from 1911 to 1916, nine more theaters would be opened throughout Berkeley. The movies had come to Berkeley.

Building proceeded on the west side of Shattuck, but no further south than the Shattuck estate at Allston Way. For several blocks south of Allston a few old buildings stood east of the tracks, which included the "Poinsette house", the Channing Way house, the homes of Peter Maloney and Mary Townsend, and of course the "Barn" at Bancroft and Shattuck. Still further south were the buildings which clustered around Dwight Way Station.

Shattuck Avenue

was a one sided street with all its buildings facing east, and it was not until 1892 that a roadway was graded east of the tracks, which permitted direct public access to the Shattuck Avenue properties which faced west. East of the tracks, until that portion of Shattuck Avenue was graded, improvement was possible, but it was limited to the properties which faced onto the streets which intersected Shattuck Avenue, such as Dwight, Channing, and Durant. The exception, of course, was the small portion of land, stuck midway between Channing and Dwight, that was occupied by Mary Townsend.

The property immediately east of the railroad station, which ran between Center Street and University Avenue, was commercially the most important. Development of these lots was lagging because of the fact that they abutted land owned by the railroad, land in which the railroad had effectively lost interest, and land which remained a swamp most of the year. This shallow slough was in fact the fault of the railroad, for in the laying of tracks a small creek was blocked, rather than providing it western access through a much needed culvert. As a result, the creek backed up and a puddle of varying proportions, depending upon the season, naturally ensued. Eventually, with the cooperation of the railroad, the creek waters right-of-way was restored with estimable results, and development proceeded.

Center Street

had been opened from Oxford to the terminus sometime in the early '70's, and in 1879 Addison Street was opened between Oxford and the railroad terminus, providing public access to the southern face of the Terminal Tract. In February of 1881 Frank Payne, Berkeley's preeminent physician, purchased the lot on the northwest corner of the Terminal Tract from James Barker, a lot that necessarily faced onto University Avenue and which sat adjacent to what would eventually become Leland Stanford Jr. Pl. In July of that same year, Sam Taylor's Leather Goods, was opened just south of Addison, the first business to face the terminus from the east. Dr Payne, dismally aware of the bog which lay to his immediate left, assumed a seminal role in the town's effort to convert to public use the neglected eastern portion of the railroad's property.

In October of 1882, out of sheer desperation, with access to and from the train having become virtually impossible during the muddy winter months, a plank walk was installed from the station to the buildings on the west side of the station. In April of 1883, it was announced that the town Marshall, with the permission of the Central Pacific Railroad, would grade a carriage way from Center Street to University Avenue, back of the station. The creation of Leland Stanford Place, which is the final portion of the roadway dedicated to north-bound traffic along the east side of the tracks, was not to commence for yet another ten years or so. The suggested was intended only to create access to the businesses on the east side of the railroad station. It was anticipated that this roadway would later connect with Walnut Street, when that street would be extended through to University Avenue. That connection, however, was never completed, nor did the town Marshal grade the mud.

In 1884, with the new roadway promised but yet to be attempted, plans were drawn for the Odd Fellows hall which was to be built east of the terminus, on the south east corner of Addison Street. It would sit adjacent to Sam Taylors leather shop. As described at that time, the new building would "front on a sea of mud, a mess that the railroad had promised to clean up". By September the foundation had been laid, and the frame erected. The building was to be 113' deep with a front span of 44' and a rear width of only 36'. By November the building had been completed, including the entertainment hall measuring 30'x60' with a stage, which had its separate entrance off of Addison St. On December 26th, 1884, the public area was first used for a private dance party. In 1926 this building was demolished and replaced by the Mason McDuffie building.

In 1886, distressed by the continuing ugliness that lay to the west of his property on University Avenue, Dr Payne petitioned the Railroad for a new station at Center St. and a park surrounding it. The Railroad deferred for the moment, suggested that it might be a possibility for next year, and added that it would be best to begin again with another petition. In February of 1887, a 3' plank walk from West Shattuck to the IOOF building was constructed. In July the railroad responded with a small building added to the existing Berkeley Station; placed north of the passenger building. The building was for freight and luggage, and not for passenger use. It would be yet another year before any substantive improvement would be even attempted. But in spite of these setbacks, the development of the other side of the tracks had begun.

The suggested carriage roadway was eventually installed by the Town Marshall and eventually became Stanford Place. With the grading and improvement of the adjacent terminus area, its name was changed to Park Street. In 1888, Berkeley welcomed with much relief the laying of its first cement sidewalk, extending from University Avenue to Center Street along Shattuck Avenue. By 1890 improvements to the east of the tracks had extended to Center Street with the construction of the Hann block. Two years later, the development of the entire length of both sides of Shattuck Avenue would begin in earnest.

Dwight Way Station

Dwight Way Station was territory staked out early by James Barker. For awhile it looked as though he had selected the wrong part of town. Most of the activity was taking place between Center Street and University Avenue, or at Berryman Station, or on Choate, immediately south of the University. But the Dwight Station heyday was yet to come; it would be both late and brief.

In 1860 William Hillegass petitioned the County Board of Supervisors for the opening of Dwight Way, beginning at the eastern line of his property, which roughly conformed to what is now College Avenue. The new street (Dwight Way) would divide the southern boundary of the College Homestead Tract from the northern boundary of the lower portion of the Leonard and Blake properties. (Unlike Blake and Leonard, Hillegass had retained a sizable plot of ground to the north of the College Homestead tract, land that is now part of the University grounds.)

Also intended as a part of the College Homestead development was an equal portion (40 acres) of Shattuck's Plot 68, however the purchase from Shattuck was never consummated. Shattuck sold the same forty acres to James Barker, in November of 1867. In December 1877 James Barker and Charles Bailey announced the building of a new commercial building, the "Stewart Block" which was to be erected on Dwight Way, on land they had acquired (indirectly) from George Blake. This property was adjacent to the railroad station. Early the following year, in 1878, Charles Bailey's brother, George Bailey who was eager to help, opened the Dwight Way Nursery along side of the Stewart Block. George Bailey, it should be noted, was responsible for much of the planting at Peralta Park. Sadly; he died in 1891.

In 1879, F.K. Shattuck sold the corner property on the southwest corner of that same intersection to Justin Ricker and Alpha Hodges, for $460. They acquired fifty feet of Shattuck Avenue frontage and 167 feet of Dwight Way frontage. The remaining (northeast) corner was owned by a man named Dan Meyer who would not sell until 1891. In '82 Ricker bought out his partner and paid off Shattuck, owning this corner singly and outright. In 1881 there was an expression of popular support for the opening of Fulton Street between Bancroft and Dwight Way. This came at about the same time as efforts were extended to engage local residents in a neighborhood beautification program and the Stewart brothers, , J.K, and William, were getting their grocery store ready for its opening in the business block owned by Barker and Baily. The Stewart brother’s enterprise was the impetus needed to inaugurate the brief commercial popularity of Dwight Way Station. These events came at a time when Berkeley's other neighborhoods were past their initial rush; the prospects for the Center Street development were at that time beginning to seem quite dim. The promise and hopes of what was to be the commercial empire at the new railroad terminus were looking pretty shabby: new business did not materialize, and several merchants had moved out. While Barker had invested heavily in that portion of town as well, he now shifted his interest and the focus of his efforts on the Dwight Way community.

While the Stewart’s were still in preparation, a plumbing establishment opened in this awakening neighborhood. In April, the Stewart brothers opened their "Temperance Cash Grocery Store". In August of 1882 the Stewart’s opened their coal and wood business in back of the grocery store and in October they had a telephone installed. The following year a Western Union station was opened in their store and by then the Stewart Brothers had done so well that they were able to open another store in West Berkeley on San Pablo Avenue at Addison Street. In March of 1884 the Stewart brothers bought out Foss's "Berkeley and Oakland Express" which had done most of the delivering in and around Berkeley, and were able to offer yet another new service. In 1886 J.K. Stewart bought out his brother, William J., thus ending a long and successful partnership. Several years later he entered into a new and even more wonderful arrangement with Nelson Trowbridge who would not arrive in Berkeley until 1888. It was not long before Shattuck Avenue would be paved from Dwight Way to Bancroft.

While Barker was busy promoting the Dwight-Shattuck area, there was a little activity at the Dwight-Telegraph (Choate) intersection. In 1875 Margaret Leonard had deeded the southwest corner to Caroline Calhoun, and in 1877 the Congregational Church built a modest structure on the northeast corner. Prior to this building the Reverend Payne (the brother of Doctor Payne, Berkeley’s erstwhile physician) had conducted services at the Berkeley Hotel, at Bancroft and Telegraph. By 1884 the Congregationalists had built their new quarters at Durant and Dana and abandoned the Telegraph Avenue site. Their old church building was moved to Center Street to become an adjunctive building for the Kellogg School. In 1879, the first businesses in the Dwight-Telegraph neighborhood were established; an upholstery shop opened near the intersection and Gorman's Furniture Store established itself two blocks farther south.

As it happens, business development tends to take place in clusters; one such eruption of commercial activity was found in the block between Allston Way and Bancroft on Choate, which continued further south at Choate and Dwight, separated by private homes that were scattered in between. Another cluster was the one at Dwight and Shattuck. There were still only a few, but a rapidly growing number of homes scattered in between these two developments. These small and relatively isolated centers, together with the communities developing at West Berkeley, Berryman Station, and the "Berkeley Terminus", were each characteristically different and fiercely competitive neighborhoods. The would continue to grow as separate developments, and as they grew they would merge into the present City of Berkeley. While the empty spaces separating them would vanish, their unique qualities would not.

At Dwight Way Station, growth for this period was faster than most other parts of town; for awhile it was the most vigorously promoted portion of Berkeley. Most all of the improvements were accomplished by private capital. For example, in 1883 a sidewalk was installed from Shattuck to Spaulding Street, on the north side of Dwight, courtesy of Messers Hume and McGee. It was during this same year and into the next that the influx of new merchants was the heaviest, bringing a great deal of attention to this, the most progressive, portion of Berkeley. In March A.H. Morris opened a paint shop in the Stewart Block, in April R.J. Johnson opened a dry and fancy goods store, and in June, Charles Bailey opened his new real estate office. In January of 1884 George Embury opened a carpenter shop and the following month Mr Klinger moved his tinsmith shop up from West Berkeley. By the end of the year there was added a furniture shop and another grocery store (Congden and Company). In 1885 the Advocate, in an article noting the rapid growth of this small community, counted eight separate business on one corner, while on the opposing corner was the Village Improvement Association alongside the hardware and lumber business of James Barker. The paper noted that soon to open in this same area was a drugstore, operated by William Rutledge, as well as a new plumbing shop owned by R.D. Fearey. In October of 1885 George Smith, a painter and decorator, built a house on Shattuck, across the street from Stewart brothers on the property owned by Ricker. This building was designed to accommodate his business on the first floor, while his living quarters were located on the second. C. R. Lord was the contractor. Others soon followed.

In 1884, a petition was directed to the Town Trustees that requested the opening of another east-west street which would lie mid way between Channing and Dwight Way. In April of 1884 Haste Street opened between Dana and Ellsworth, but it was not until 1890 that Haste was extended as far west as Shattuck. In fact, the full roadway did not reach Shattuck for some time, since Mary Townsend again refused to relinquish her tiny parcel for public purposes without adequate compensation. On this account, the east going lane of Haste stopped prior to reaching the Avenue. Mary’s modestly proportioned property had already been reduced in size to a scant 50'x30' by the right of way she was forced to yield to the railroad, it would shrink to a minuscule 20'x30' with the opening of Haste Street, and in only two more years the grading of the east side of Shattuck would reduce the size of her property even more.

In 1891, with James Towne and James Barker deeding portions of their land to the town, Haste Street was extended as far west as Sherman, or Grove Street.

By 1885 Dwight Way Station had become a very respectable place to live. Barker had his home there, Alfred Bartlett was building his on Dwight near Fulton (although he would sell this house upon its completion), and 20 more homes were under construction under the aegis of the resurrected BLTIA with Ruben Rickard as president, and James Barker as vice president. In February of 1887 Peter Maloney had Carlos Lord build a three story house on the south east corner of Shattuck and Channing Way and later that year, just north of Maloney on the same side of Shattuck the The Channing Way House was built: two stories with a restaurant at the bottom and rooms to let on the top floor. It remains standing tody. 1887 saw the opening of Joseph Mason's first Berkeley real estate office, initially in conjunction with Barker, soon afterward on the northeast corner, and soon after that to what had by then become a somewhat more prestigious location at Center Street.

As the eighties waned and the nineties loomed, the emphasis on development shifted north where considerable progress was being made at and around Center Street. As this change was taking place, nowhere was it noticed as acutely as it was at Dwight Way Station.

In 1888, in a competitive response to the improvements to the railroad property that were underway at Center street, a small "park" was installed at Dwight Way Station. This consisted of a row of hedge 20' wide by 200' long, that was planted along the west side of the railroad track. While it had obviously been installed in good faith, the locals considered it more trouble than it was worth. Most found that the hedge made it impossible to enter or leave the train from its west side. The park was removed. In 1990 the Western Union Office was moved from the Stewart Block to the offices of Phelps and Richards, located across from the Center Street Station. That same year Stewart and Trowbridge, a new partnership located at Dwight Way Station, with an acute entrepreneurial eye, secured the contract for supplying fuel for the town's electric generator, and acquired a new store at the corner of Shattuck and Ashby. In 1892 Stewart and Trowbridge opened a store at Vine and Shattuck, locating themselves in the recently completed Hann block.

In the latter part of 1891, Dan Meyer sold his interest in the northwest corner of Dwight and Shattuck to Stewart and Trowbridge. The new owners would have a debt of $20,000 in their mortgage with Pacific Coast Savings Society. The Stewart and Trowbridge building, which was to include a bank, would cost them $25,000 over the cost of the land. This project was designed to coincide with the grading and opening of the east side of Shatuck Avenue. When their building was ready, the Stewart and Trowbridge block housed the real estate office of J.J. Mason, the drug store of A.J. Coleman (who would move to the building across Dwight Way from Barker’s building), M.C. Hamlin and the "Berkeley Bazar", a dry goods store, a restaurant, a bakery, G.J. Schmidt's hardware store, and a notions-variety shop. In '92 Stewart and Trowbridge sold their Newbury store (the one at Ashby Ave) to a Mr Baker of South Dakota.

But by the time Stewart and Trowbridge had opened their building, the focus of activity had long since shifted "uptown". The final substantive addition to the Dwight Way Station development was the Barker Building, which was built in 1905. It occupied the same location as did the Village Improvement Association and the Barker hardware business, which had long been the harbinger of commercial enterprise for this section of town.


Public transportation in and around the East Bay has forever been dominated and shaped by stifling political interests. The commanding, tyrannical role played by the Central Pacific Railroad, which later became the Southern Pacific Railroad, tended to cast a shadow over the simpler, less intrusive, and more practical methods of moving people about. With few exceptions, it took years to accomplish the obvious, because of the ubiquitous, pervasive, and typically covert interest the major railroaders held in this portion of the county.

Initially what was needed was a means of getting people from Oakland to the college campus in Berkeley and back, and a means of ready transport for the residents of Ocean View, to and from Oakland. Secondly, people living around the college needed a more direct link with both Oakland and San Francisco. Those who were San Francisco bound needed to get to the ferry which continued to operate in and out of West Berkeley. Third, with progressive spread of the East Berkeley community, a transportation system was needed that would get people from their homes to the schools which were at greater distances, and to the different communities within Berkeley which already were offering distinctive services and products.

While the basic function of taking people in and out of town was always important, a system of local transport, a network of east-west and north-south conduits, had become more and more essential as time and development progressed. However, interrupting this natural progression was the presence of the steam railroad. When the tracks of this urban railroad were first laid to Center Street, the population in the area was negligible and industry was non-existent. Clearly the tracks had been laid with a broader, and future advantage, in mind. When the tracks were extended to Vine Street, the intent was clearly to develop that area, certainly not to service its demonstrated needs. It is of interest that when this additional track was laid, provision was made to provide free transportation, between local stops, for schoolchildren. This was not a concession by the railroad; by doing so, the railroad interests guaranteed the sale of lots to families in the North Berkeley area, families who were then assured that in spite of the distance, the kids would get to school.

So, in the north to south dimension, the railroad connection of these East Berkeley communities imposed an unmistakable and eradicable organization on the geography of this area. The local communities comprising Berkeley were, from the very first, defined by nothing other than the location of the railroad stations. People clustered to where the stations were situated; stations were not created because of any existing local need. Also, by failing to establish an adequate east-west transportation system, a rival and at times alienated relationship maintained between East and West Berkeley. It was in nearly every respect that the railroad, by virtue of its initial configuration, shaped the features and much of the character of what was to become the City of Berkeley. Had Berkeley not had the "advantage" of the Central Pacific Railroad, the town might well have grown from its center outward. There might have been a natural progression in the development of efficient public utilities as well as a reasonable system providing the accommodations for moving people from there to there, as these needs evolved.

The beginnings of mass transit occurred in 1866 when the State Legislature in 1861 granted a franchise, to Shattuck, Delger, Walsworth, and others, to operate a horse car from Oakland to Berkeley; it was incorporated under the name of the Oakland Railroad Company. This group provided service, beginning in 1869, from the center of Oakland to Temescal Creek (at about 52nd Street and Telegraph). There was at the time an outlying suburb of Oakland, containing the homes of some of Oakland's more wealthy citizens, at that intersection. Besides an outpost of suburban living, Temescal was where facilities for recreational drinking, which were scarce in the city, could be found.

In 1871 an Oakland horse-car service was started which travelled in the direction of Ocean View, but extended only to the Watts Tract, serving only the interests of those who had settled in the Emeryville area. This line was an integral part of the old Oakland Railroad and ran from 7th and Broadway along Telegraph to 14th Street, then out San Pablo Ave. to Park Ave. and the Watts Tract. It was not until January of 1873 that The San Pablo Horse Railway was informally inaugurated, still it ran only as far as Emory Station.

In 1871, with the college campus under construction, a petition was filed to permit a railroad up Broadway and then out University (now College Avenue) to the University site. The petition was filed by Edward Tompkins, T. J. Murphy (Antisell), and R. E. Houghton. It was granted on June 19, 1871, however nothing further was accomplished. In that same month the County supervisors granted to J. B. Woolsey and Henry Durant the right to construct a railroad up Telegraph, from the crossing of Temescal Creek (connecting there with the existing line) to Choate thence to Bancroft Way. Durant's Horse car line was announced on the 21st of June, in the Oakland Daily Transcript, but it was not built until the following April. This extension of the Oakland Railroad provided horse drawn "bobtail" cars which connected Oakland, via Temescal, with the new University campus at the end of Choate (Telegraph) at Allston Way. The horses were replaced by steam on the Oakland Temescal leg in 1875, and on the Temescal Berkeley leg in 1877. The Telegraph Road line was, until 1891, the only way to get directly to the Berkeley Campus if one were to use local public transit.

One year later the Berkeley Branch Railroad, a spur of the Central Pacific Railroad, arrived in Berkeley at Center Street. A year after that, with the completion of the Northern Branch of the C.P.R.R. which extended through West Berkeley, a request was made by A.A. Moore, attorney for the Central Pacific Railroad, to establish the link between these two lines, running up University Avenue. Apparently these same interests were concerned about possible implications of the then current frenzied move toward incorporation, and on this account they insisted upon accomplishing this line right away. The local citizenry were by then somewhat put off by the noisy and dirty steam engines, and insisted that the University link, which was much desired, not be powered by steam. The County Board of Supervisors promised to consider the proposal, and never took action.

Shortly after the incorporation of Berkeley, in February of 1879, the Town Trustees, still in pursuit of a transportation link between East Berkeley and the Ferry Wharf, gave to Everding, Bailey and McConnell a franchise for the University Avenue Railroad. In spite of some enthusiastic local interest, nothing came of this venture. In June of 1880, Captain R.P. Thomas of the Standard Soap Company, not to mention his long standing ties to the Central Pacific Railroad, requested of the Trustees a franchise to put a railroad on University Ave. In August this franchise was granted, which permitted Thomas to run a railroad up University Avenue from its foot in Ocean view, up University, south along Oxford, up Bancroft to the east, and then south, down (Audubon) College to the town line. No sooner had he been granted permission but the objections began in earnest. Notable in this protest were the residents of Oxford Street and Bancroft Way, which was the location of the tonier homes of some of the town's most affluent citizens. Already Berkeley these residents were concerned with the problem of an anticipated decrease in property value. The project effectively died until July of 1883 when Thomas revived the notion, this time suggesting that the line be run up University, down Sherman St. (Grove), then up Durant, and then down Audubon (College Avenue, which was still without any kind of public transportation). Once again, the people of East Berkeley had many objections, while those of West Berkeley had no trouble in supporting this plan. Faced with insurmountable interference, Thomas again that same month changed his mind about the path of the proposed railroad, this time suggesting that it simply go up University, and then straight down Oxford to the charter line. On September 8, 1883 the local press reported that Thomas was about to give up on the entire railroad project.

In March of 1884 another proposal to connect East and West Berkeley with public transportation emerged. The Peoples Railroad, recognizing Thomas' franchise, agreed to undertake the project of installing the much needed railroad linkage. They proposed the laying of 5 miles of railroad track but did not venture to recommend a route. In June a great celebration was held, since it seemed to most everyone that the People's Railroad was to be a sure thing. Ground was broken at the corner of San Pablo and University. The principals of this enterprise changed within the following month, for Mr. Emil Kennedy, the president of the People's Railroad, was then in jail in San Francisco. General John Miller was now president; G. A. Beesley, vice-president, and general manager. J. H. Harding was the secretary , and W. H. Loomis, (the same Loomis who a short time later will be an active member of the First National Bank scam and will remain an associate of Maurice Curtis) was treasurer. Soon enough the honeymoon was over. In August they are noted in the local papers to not be doing as they promised, the work had slowed down, and finally it was abandoned. In December it was announced that the People's Railway was defunct.

In September of 1887, while at the same time playing his role in the McMullen bank scam, Thomas tried again. This time he offered to lay tracks along University to the newly opened Sherman Street and from there south to the southern boundary of the town. His intention was to hook up with a "major railroad". Meanwhile, a narrow gauge railroad was then being installed along Telegraph Ave from Oakland by the South Pacific Coast Railroad Company. This project, which was to replace the old line, was begun in 1886.

On May 31, 1888 the first successful attempt was made solve all these problems and to provide the Oakland Berkeley area with the beginnings of a truly comprehensive public transportation system. The Claremont, University Avenue and Ferries Railroad was incorporated with $50,000 in stock divided between four partners. George Kline was president, Louis Gottshall was vice president, Walter Sell was treasurer, and J.C. Scotchler was secretary. They selected R. E. Bush, Berkeley's assistant town engineer, to do their work. On November 14, 1888 ground was broken and work was begun. But the tale is not quite told.

In July of 1889 the Claremont, University Avenue and Ferries Railroad was absorbed by a new corporation, the Oakland & Berkeley Electric Railway and Rapid Transit Company. The directors of this corporation showed almost no overlap with its predecessor and included as directors: Shattuck, A. J. Snyder, A. T. Eastland, J. W. Coleman, J. E. McElrath, James Gamble, V. D. Moody, G. W. McNear, James McGee, Louis Gottshall, and A. T. Poirier. In March of 1890 the "Oakland and Berkeley Rapid Transit Company" purchased a lot at the northwest corner of Grove Street and 47th Street for a car and engine house, and at their meeting the following May the directors announced the intended route for the new service.

The train would begin at 2nd and Broadway, go to 2nd and Franklin, Franklin to 13th, 13th to Grove, Grove to 47th, then across to the intersection of Adeline and Alcatraz, up Adeline to the continuation of Grove, and from there to North Berkeley. At Center Street a branch would run to the University grounds.

At their next meeting, on May 15th, the directors announced that there would be three branches. The first from Grove and 47th, a second by way of Morgan St. (56th St.) to Claremont Avenue, and from there to College and then north to the University grounds. The third would leave the second branch at Morgan and Shattuck, and go up Shattuck to University. Unfortunately, there was no mention yet of a plan to solve the University Avenue problem. But this would come.

The eight cars purchased were known as "the California Type" with Peckham double trucks that were equipped with two Sprague motors of fifteen horsepower each. This type of system (i.e., Peckham double trucks) employed the use of overhead wires as their source of electric power. The cars were finished in mahogany, had plate glass windows and were considered among the finest in the country. The odd-numbered cars were painted blue and ran on the Grove Street line; the even-numbered cars were painted red and ran on the Shattuck line. By November of 1890 the line of the electric railroad had been staked out from Oak to Blake St. with an additional line that would run up Dwight to Dana and then to the University. In April of the following year, the paper reported that they were laying track down Addison St., not University Avenue, to the Bay, this east-west route bringing them into full compliance with their franchise.

Service was officially opened at 5:35 a.m., May 12, 1891. By the date of opening they had completed the line from the wharf up University to Sacramento, up Sacramento to Addison, and up Addison to Shattuck. However, this section of the system would not be supplied with electricity until 1896. The cars running between East and West Berkeley, until that time, would be operating only by horse power. By August 1891 there was a Peralta Park branch, built by J.W. O'Neil. In February of 1892 tracks were laid on Allston to connect the Dana Street railroad with the Center St. line.

In August of 1891 it was announced that the Oakland and Berkeley Rapid Transit Company would, on the First of September, become the Oakland Consolidated Electric Street Railway. With this move imminent, the former deeded all they owned to the latter. The Oakland Consolidated Electric Street Railway had been organized in October of 1890. It was strongly rumored that this new corporate structure was in fact the Southern Pacific Railroad but opinions at that time did differ. Crocker flatly denied it. In 1895 Ernest Alvah Heron became the president of Oakland Transit Co., and through various consolidations, including one with the San Francisco-Oakland Terminal Railways, it later became the Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose Railroad, popularly known as the "Key Route".

The extension of the C.P.R.R. from Center Street to Vine Street in 1878 was, in retrospect, no more than a step in an overall plan to connect the Eastern Spur, or Branch, with the Main Line which ran along the bay shore. The next step would be to extend it to the area of Peralta Park. In August of 1888 surveyors were measuring the route for Railroad track through North Berkeley, and soon after work began in earnest. However on the 23rd of that month, Charles Crocker died, and work was temporarily stopped. This route had been in the works for some time, for predicated on the knowledge of this railroad extension was Curtis’ interest in the Peralta Park project, and the building of a hotel that would serve the railroad traveler.

In late September the survey for the Railroad to Peralta Park was completed. At the same time, the Southern Pacific Railroad had completed the purchase of the Driver place, a property which lay near the town line, commencing at the powder works and extending to San Pablo Ave. With the acquisition of this land the railroad completed a continuous line around the north end of the town. The projected route would form a junction near the corner of San Pablo and Gilman. The railroad owned all the property they required, except for a sliver of land that was owned by the California & Nevada Railroad.

As it turned out, the northern loop of the railroad did not, as Curtis had thought, run past his hotel. The promise of Col. Crocker had not been kept. And on this basis Curtis attempted first to develop his own railroad access, and when this failed, his plans for a hotel were changed in the direction of a school.

Curtis’ alternate railroad plan involved the California & Nevada Railroad whose tracks did in fact run close to the Peralta Park Hotel. Even prior to Curtis’ interest, the anticipated promise of service by the California & Nevada Railroad did appear to be an immediate remedy to the civic and economic doldrums which then beset the town. This enterprise, no more and no less than all the others, ultimately contained evidence of both honorable and disreputable elements.

In the early months of 1881, local word had it that the California and Nevada Railroad Company was planning service through Berkeley. It was seriously speculated that their plan might even include that long desired service up University Ave. With the railroad actually showing some authentic interest, the town of Berkeley, with characteristically high expectations, was in a frenzy in anticipation of the rising property values. Land prices were momentarily raised before their hopes just as quickly vanished, when new rumor suggested that the railroad's plans had been no more than rumor. However, in October of 1881 it was learned that the California & Nevada Railroad was really going to go through Berkeley, spanning the town from South to North. The intended route would be up Adeline from Oakland, along Sacramento (South St.), 3rd Ave, West St. to the north line of the Shaw Tract and from there on to the north end of town, exiting approximately a quarter mile east of San Pablo Rd. Before it could proceed, the land owners along its route insisted upon being paid for the granting of right of way. Mrs. Mathews wanted $1000. Mr. Curtis wanted $500, and John Schmidt was asking $2000. But not just money, they all insisted, as a condition of the grant, on the railroad offering at least one station in Berkeley.

Never working in haste, by March of 1885 track had been laid all the way from Oakland to San Pablo, running up Sacramento St. It was again rumored that they would soon begin operating passenger and freight trains, and within another year the California & Nevada Railroad was indeed running daily passenger and freight from Oakland to San Pablo. But in March of 1888, with trains no longer operating and its tracks in a state of decay, the California & Nevada Railroad was leased by Scotchler, Gottshall, M. B. Curtis, and others. As noted earlier, their plan was to operate the train from Emeryville through Berkeley to a terminus just beyond San Pablo.

However by this time the disreputable element had come to fully realize the potential of this defunct enterprise, and in August of 1888 still another rumor was quite deliberately launched. The word was that the California & Nevada Railroad has been bought by a large eastern firm which would revive and extend its service. In April of 1891 the line was momentarily back in operation, but under whose management was not at all clear. But the illusion soon collapsed when it was revealed that the promised and highly publicized sale to a syndicate of eastern capitalists, including James Alexander Williamson, was no more than a fraud perpetuated to boost sales of the Moraga Ranch, which was owned by Williamson, the husband of Maria Hall, the niece of Horace Carpentier.

The Sacramento Street right-of-way established by the California & Nevada Railroad was later employed as the mid Berkeley route of the Key System.


While Berkeley's incorporated status was hard won, the precarious trials of endurance which followed this momentous event were no less a cause for authentic dismay. Oakland's Merchant's Exchange had not lost interest in Berkeley and its members had kept open their plans to include all of Alameda County, north of San Leandro Creek, within an envisioned political fiefdom: the City and County of Oakland. For many this would happen in time; it awaited only the inevitable bankruptcy of Berkeley. And fail she almost did.

Berkeley’s most serious encumbrance was the statutory inability to incur debt. This obstacle had been surmounted in the community's desperate pursuit of health and the much needed means of disposing of human waste. With the bonding privilege gained, it appeared to all that while there would be other hurdles ahead, the town's survival was substantially better assured.

This fact worried but did not spell defeat for the Oakland interests. They lost little time in mobilizing a secondary approach, one that was designed to place them in an administrative majority in the small town, a position that was not without its inherent risks. All that was needed was the political clout that could sway the vote for merger or absorption. Or both.

The years of 1886 and 1887 were busy ones for the town of Berkeley. Numerous new arrivals effectively energized the several communities into new kinds of activity which inevitably resulted in a carefully programmed evolution of its leadership.


The Curtis-McMullen story has already been told. This epic involved other names, men who played the secondary roles and who seemed to disappear when the show was over. This group included C. W. Adams, William Kreling, and Dr. W.H. Loomis. While this group arrived with an intention to scam the local populace, the Oakland onslaught was designed with a better, if not a perfect morality. Arriving in Berkeley at the opportune time, and quickly ascending into positions of importance, were men such as C.W. Richards, Charles H. McLenathen, J.L. Scotchler, George W. Klein, John McCarthy of the "Herald", and Adam Gunn. To their numbers were added some old hands, Frank Shattuck, James Barker, Louis Gottshall, and Carlos Lord.

What makes this scenario most delicious is the wonderful coincidence which brought both contingents into town at the same time. It would be too much to suppose this convergence of predators had been choreographed by some central committee.

Once they had arrived they merged. Complementing one another well, both groups quickly discovered that what one had not, the other was able to provide. Curtis quickly gained the confidence of the town and the citizens', wallets were gladly and greedily opened, and much of the citizenry were ready for plucking. Curtis promised wealth for all; and he promised to lead the way. As facile and patently dishonest as he was, he offered the people of Berkeley what they sorely needed and desperately believed: hope, promise, and means. The bureaucrats tendered the machinery, the business acumen, and the political superstructure. These other men were able to contribute an entirely different kind of credibility. Both promised to be what the BLTIA was not, and for the people of Berkeley, that might may well have been sufficient. And these factions joined in a happy if not highly circumspect marriage, each steadfastly in pursuit of its own objectives.

And what came of this? Once again the town survived. Some purses were a little emptier than before the onslaught and some had come to overflow. Those who had established roots in the town did reasonably well. Some were disappointed, some outraged, and there were some who, through it all, may not have paid much attention to what was going on. But nobody who had any involvement could claim indifference.

By 1891 the Oaklanders had seemingly given up their quest for north county unity. Curtis and his cohorts had left. The president of the town's trustees, implicated in the fraud that surrounded the electrical escapade, resigned and departed without an explanation. The diminutive municipality of Berkeley was ready for expansion, and that is exactly what followed.

Berkeley’s Private Schools

The story of the development of the Berkeley public school system has been told often and well enough, so that no further elaboration is required within this volume. What is of interest is the early account of the private pedagogic entrepreneur, and the efforts that were extended in the direction of providing alternative, or at least accessible schooling within the burgeoning community.

As early as 1871 a private boys school existed in this sparsely populated sector of northern Oakland township, however the fate of Mr D.C. Stone and his efforts, presumably in the Ocean View community, has been effectively lost to history.

The first attempt at providing educational facilities in what would become East Berkeley has been attributed to the efforts of Mary Hyde. In 1876 she conducted her classes in a small building which was located immediately south of the college campus, in what is now Faculty Glade. Her efforts did sustain and were later absorbed by another, and larger, program.

In 1877, a year which marked the beginning of what would evolve into Berkeley's political independence and many local improvements, the sister of the just arrived editor of Berkeley's first newspaper, Miss Ella J. Bynon, or Byron (whose sister, Adelaide, was the wife of editor Marquand) opened a primary school in a store at 1721 6th St (near Delaware). Again, nothing further seems to have been reported on either its excellence or its survival. That same year a Young Ladies' Seminary was opened in North Berkeley by a Mrs. R. P. Wellington which has been described as lasting "a few years". It was located in the Antisel Tract on the east side of Spruce, near to Vine Street.

Eighteen seventy seven was the same year that marked the opening of the Berkeley Gymnasium on Dana Street near Allston Way. This school was started by John Burris; and it almost immediately absorbed the efforts and the pupils of Mary Hyde, who deigned to abandon her own school and to accept a teaching position in this new program. Four years later, a second merger took place, this time with the University School, a program that had been operated by George Bates in San Francisco for over seventeen years. (The convergence of program took place less than one week after a fire at the Dana Street entrance to the University destroyed the bridge over Strawberry Creek along with the sign marking the school's entrance.) Mr Bates, who taught classes in beginning mathematics (Burris taught advanced mathematics) brought along his sister, Miss Caroline Bates, who provided instruction in the primary division.

By June of 1882 the cooperative efforts at running the program ended with the resignation of John Burris. Burris sold out to Bates and took a position as principle in a school in Sonoma County. Three years later he returned to Berkeley as the newly elected superintendent of the School for Deaf and Blind. In 1884 the "Gymnasium" was troubled, this time by a quite serious fire which destroyed much of the building but caused no injuries to the students. Were this not enough, the fire came shortly after George Jebens, a teacher at the school, shot himself through the head. Word had it that the man was addicted to stimulants and, because of this form of abuse, had not been not quite right.

In 1887 the school program relocated its operation some three blocks west to the recently vacated facilities of the Harmon Seminary and, in keeping with what had then become a popular trend, extended the instructional program to include girls.

The Berkeley Gymnasium

survived into the mid 1890's. Its failure, in June of 1896, was attributed by Bates to two men who he accused of sabotaging his program in order to open their own school (with his students) at the then vacated Peralta Hall. Their school was called: the Peralta Hall University Academy. Both of these men, John Moran and James Blackledge, had worked as teachers for Bates, learned his secrets, and, alleges Bates, conspired -successfully- to do him in. It was they that caused the school to close and "maliciously boasted that [they] had taken advantage of [his, Bates, by then] disturbed mental condition." As a part of the staffing of their new program, Moran and Blackledge took along Bates' sister, Caroline as a live-in teacher. Whatever the advantages of her new position, Miss Bates was represented as having become ill and subsequently leaving their employ.

A year after the founding of the Berkeley Gymnasium, St. Joseph's Presentation Convent, Church and Academy was founded by Reverend Mother Mary Teresa Comerford, and administered by the Sisters of the Presentation. It was built on land donated by Joseph McGee. The 27th of May, 1878, was chosen as the day for the taking of possession of their new building, and the dedication occurred on the 30th of May. Classes were held in its one school room, which was divided by rolling doors. There were, in addition to the instructional space, four music rooms, a refectory, a chapel, and dormitories. A second building and an instructional program for boys was added in 1880.

In 1878 another attempt at private schooling was made by shop keeper Joseph McClain. He is described as having set up a private instructional program which employed the tutorial-administrative talent of a Mr. McArthur. This school too apparently did not survive long. There is, however, some dispute over when this school came into being, some sources claiming that it emerged as early as 1872, which is unlikely, and others claiming that it opened in early July, 1878, which is far more plausible. All appear to agree on the administrative presence of Mr McArthur and its initial location in Clapp's Hall, which was not built until late in the year 1877 on the corner of Berkeley Way and Shattuck. Miss French was the school's teacher.

The Harmon Seminary for young women was founded in Washington Corners in 1870 by Reverend S.S. Harmon and his wife, Mrs. F.W. Harmon. They moved their school to Berkeley in the Spring of 1882. Their new location was in a building on Atherton Street, between Allston and Bancroft. The site is presently occupied by the University Track Stadium. They brought with them seven able instructors.

They noted at the time that "instruction is being imparted in every useful information and mental culture. Here ladies are given a special course of instruction arranged with a view to a thorough preparation for the entrance examinations of the State University." However, in December of 1883 Reverend Harmon died at the age of 64, leaving the operation of the school to his wife. Regrettably, Mrs Harmon succumbed a month later at the age of 62 years. The school operation was now consigned to Mrs Harmon's sister and brother-in-law, the Reverend Samuel Bell and his lovely wife Sophia Walsworth Bell. Reverend Bell, you will recall, played a large part in the early days of the San Francisco Presbytery, and it was he who built the 1st Presbyterian Church of Oakland, serving then as its first pastor. Bell was instrumental in the founding of Durant's Academy, as well as in the incorporation of the College of California. Reverend Bell was one of the "well-known citizens" on the original application for a charter for the new College of California in April of 1855. Besides his clerical and academic interests, Bell had an interest in politics. He is reported to have represented both Alameda and Santa Clara Counties in the State Senate in 1858 where he aided in the passage of the Homestead Law and introduced in March of that year an early, unsuccessful bill for the creation a Board of Regents of the proposed State University.

However, in spite of his excellent credentials, and Mrs Bell's dedication to the instructional program, the Seminary faltered, failed and was declared insolvent in February of 1887. The building was taken over by the Berkeley Gymnasium which changed its program to that of a co-ed school. The Ladies, it was said, were to be "secluded for recreation".

In February of 1884, a former teacher at the Berkeley Gymnasium by the name of Boone, left that program to open one of his own. Coincidently, this move took place only one week prior to the devastating fire which consumed significant portions of the Berkeley Gymnasium's instructional plant. At any rate, Boone obtained quarters on Durant Avenue in a house formally occupied by a Mr Burgess, just west of Shattuck. In May, Boon purchased the property from Charlotte Rashe (who was related to, if not the sister of, Mrs James Barker). The property sold for $2000. His program endured for nearly ten years.

In July of 1884, yet another private instructional program opened, this by a Mr T. Stewart Bowens, and was located on University Avenue just west of Shattuck. His program began with 22 male pupils, some live-in, some not. In 1887 the program yielded to social and fiscal realities and it too became co-ed.

In 1887 yet another program, Miss Head's School, was begun on Channing Way near Telegraph. This program, the most successful of those launched in Berkeley during the nineteenth century, sustained until 1919 under her direction.

Anna Head

Ann Head was the daughter of Judge Edward Head of San Mateo and the sister of Katherine Head who had married Josiah Royce in October of 1880. The Head family originally bought property in Berkeley during the tenure of Katherine's undergraduate career, in 1878. Their home was on property purchased from Barker on the Southeast corner of Addison and Oxford. In March of 1887 Anna and her mother arrived from their San Mateo home to stay in their Berkeley cottage while she explored the possibility of establishing here a quality instructional facility. In July Mrs Head and daughter leased the Stearns house on Channing Way and announced the imminent opening of the school. In this venture Miss Head was to be assisted by her long time companion, a Ms Whittorf. In 1889 Miss Head and Miss Whittorf purchased the property outright from Mary Stearns. In 1892 a new building for the Anna Head School was erected at Bowditch and Channing, designed by Ernest Coxhead.


Clapps Hall, until the erection of the I.O.O.F. building at the corner of Addison and Stanford Place, was for the young community of East Berkeley the center of social and political life. It was built at the corner of Shattuck and Berkeley Way in 1877 by Joseph and Mary Clapp. The property they owned, a twenty acre portion of Plot 79, was situated west of Shattuck and north of Berkeley Way. The Berkeley chapter in the life of the Clapps spanned, for the most part, a quiet and uneventful 23 years: it began some years prior to the building of the hall, and it ended rather spectacularly nine years following its construction. This is what happened.

In 1850 Joseph Clapp, a young man of 22 years, left his home in Massachusetts and headed for California, adventure, and the promise of the gold mines. While in search of wealth in the fields around Mariposa, Clapp met Dr William Twitchell, age 26, who likewise was in search of his fortune. For the three years that Clapp and Twitchell mined, they shared the same cabin and inevitably (or perhaps remarkably) became fast friends. When they abandoned the mining, Twitchell came to the Bay Area and almost immediately became involved in the Berkeley real estate shuffle, while Clapp headed to Portland, Oregon where he pursued his trade as a baker. In 1863 Clapp moved to Berkeley, near to where his friend Twitchell had fairly well situated himself in the Town of Alameda. Clapp was introduced by Twitchell to one of the latter's associates, the Reverend Henry Durant. Durant was (as usual) looking for financial backing for yet another of his many real estate projects, and he interested Clapp in joining him in the somewhat convoluted purchase of a portion of Plot 79. On his portion of the land Clapp built a small shack and lived, alone, a single man.

Dr Twitchell noted his friends desolate circumstances and suggested that he marry. In fact, Twitchell introduced him to a Miss Mary Jane Ryan, one of his patients, and soon (three weeks later) the two were wed. In 1868, Clapp agreed to sell a portion of his land to Twitchell, this piece lying adjacent to a parcel that Twitchell already owned, and one which he had acquired from Durant in the same series of transactions in which Clapp got his. Clapp proceeded to sell off other portions of his small tract and in 1877 commenced the erection of his commercial building on the corner of Shattuck and Berkeley Way.

Nothing is heard from either of these families until the year 1886, a fateful one for both the Clapps and the Twitchells. The problems appeared to have began when on May 8th Joseph and Mary decided to make their wills, and they were to be assisted in this by their good friends, the Twitchells. Scarcely a month later, on June 8th Mary Clapp was committed to Napa State Hospital and it was there, ten days later, that she died. Joseph was irreconcilable and went to live with the Twitchells in Alameda. Joseph, it was said, was not pleased with the terms of his wife's will, which had left some of her assets to him, but much to the Home for Aged Women at Temescal, with a smaller portion going to a Mary Hartkop, of Berkeley. Bereft at the loss of property and/or wife, on August 27th, in the Twitchell's barn, Joseph severely slashed his arm, neck, and other body parts, and quite promptly died. Died in the arms of his best friend, William Twitchell. He was then 58 years old.

When their other friends and neighbors found out the conditions of the Clapp's will, which collectively named the Twitchells as their prime beneficiary, the community was in an uproar. It was widely held that both Joseph and Mary were not in their right minds when they made out their will, and were in fact coerced by the scheming Twitchells into designating them, the Twitchells, as virtually their sole heirs (save that allotted for Miss Hartkop and Home for Aged Women).

While this tempest was still blowing, Dr Twitchell suddenly died. His passing, at age 62 on December 12th of 1886, came less than four months after the demise of his friend Joseph. As things then stood, Mrs Twitchell was suddenly an exceedingly well situated woman. In September of 1888 Mrs Twitchell was formally accused of embezzling money from the Clapp estate. The following year she disposed of the Twitchell acreage in Berkeley and the following year unloaded the Clapp real estate on to a Mr A.A. Fink. And she was not heard from again.


[Chapter 13 ] -[Chapter Index] - [Chapter 15 ]