Barker Building


2486 Shattuck Avenue map it


designated in 1978


A.W. Smith, Architect, 1905

James Loring Barker was an early Berkeley landowner, developer, and civic leader. He was one of the signers of the incorporation papers for the Town of Berkeley and it was he who delivered them to Sacramento in 1878. Barker helped to finance public school buildings and electric lighting for the city, promoted city tree planting, and established the First National Bank of Berkeley. His family home stood nearby on Dwight Way until it was demolished in 1976.

Development began around the intersection of Shattuck Avenue and Dwight Way in 1876 when “Dwight Way Station” was established here. It was one of four original train stops on the rail line from Oakland into downtown Berkeley along Shattuck Avenue. A horse-car line that ran up Dwight Way to the California Schools for the Deaf and Blind (now the University of California’s Clark Kerr Campus) intersected with the rail line, and Barker hoped that this area would become the center of downtown Berkeley.

Constructed in 1905, the Mission Revival-style Barker Building was damaged the following year by the San Francisco earthquake but was repaired. During the early 1990s it was rehabilitated. In 1996 the owner renamed the building “The Raj Kumar” in memory of his son, a medical student in India, who was killed in a 1986 accident.

Berkeley Historical Plaque Project

  • Barker Building (2010), photo R. Kehlmann.

  • Barker Family, BAHA Archives.

  • Barker Residence (perhaps current Herrick Hospital site), BAHA Archives.

  • Barker lumber business (perhaps Dwight Way and Shattuck Avenue), BAHA Archives.

  • Preservationists Betty Marvin & Ken Stein on Barker Building roof (1977), photo Anthony Bruce, BAHA Archives.

More information:

Photo credit abbreviations:
BAHA: Berkeley Architectural Heritage Assn.
BHS: Berkeley Historical Society