Daley’s Scenic Park Street Improvements
CITY OF BERKELEY LANDMARKdesignated in 1983
bounded by Le Roy, Hearst, La Loma avenues, La Vereda Road, Hilgard Avenue
The Hillside Club and Town Engineers, 1909
In the late 1890s a group of concerned women formed the Hillside Club to “encourage artistic homes built of materials complementing the natural beauty of the Berkeley Hills.” The Club soon became a major influence in Berkeley and the Bay Area, spreading the concept of “building with nature” and the philosophy of the Arts and Crafts movement.
One of the Hillside Club’s tenets was that streets in steep hillside locations should be made “convenient and beautiful by winding at an easy grade like narrow country roads” that conform to the natural topography. The streets of Daley’s Scenic Park Tract had been planned in a conventional grid pattern in 1889. In 1903 the Club began a street improvement project for the Tract following its own principles. The Improvement Committee included architects Bernard Maybeck and Almeric Coxhead, as well as Arthur Bolton, who was University Superintendent of Grounds and Buildings.
The project became a collaboration of property owners, the City, and the Hillside Club, with Bolton funding the preliminary survey and designs. Some property owners donated land to allow for breaking the planned rigid grid pattern with winding streets and rounded corners. Completed in 1909, the street improvements include divided streets, retaining walls, and staircases built of thickly textured grey concrete with simple metal handrails. An open creek, a redwood grove, and scattered native oak trees are legacies of the Hillside Club’s vision. The network of steps and divided roads at La Loma Avenue, Virginia Street, and La Vereda Road is the largest and most complex of the improvements they envisioned.
Berkeley Historical Plaque Project