Bowen’s Inn/Higgins Grocery
CITY OF BERKELEY LANDMARKdesignated in 1985
This building, thought to be Berkeley’s oldest remaining structure, originally stood on the Contra Costa Road, now San Pablo Avenue. Built by Captain William J. Bowen when the area was sparsely populated, it served as an inn, saloon, grocery store, and stagecoach stop. Oceanview, Berkeley’s first community, grew up between Bowen’s Inn and a small shipping wharf built by Captain James Jacobs at the foot of what is now Delaware Street.
In 1877 the building became west Berkeley’s first post office, in James Higgins’ grocery store. In 1893 Sam Heywood, later mayor of Berkeley, moved the building to the corner of Delaware and Fifth Streets where he operated it as a “temperance grocery store.” Around 1920 it was moved to this site where it later served as the home of the Liberty Hill Baptist Church before becoming a private residence.
(There is some indication that the installed plaque may have erroneous address information taken from the City’s Landmark application. See Berkeley Heritage Landmarks.)
Berkeley Historical Plaque Project