John Muir School


2955 Claremont Avenue map it


designated in 1983

John Muir School

James W. Plachek, Architect, 1915, 1919
Collins-Byrens & Gerson-Overstreet, 1976
Baker/Vilar Architects, 1998

John Muir School was built beside Harwood Creek on land once part of a 19th-century country estate. The half-timbered style reflects the scale and architecture of the neighborhood and the nearby Claremont Hotel. A remodeling project undertaken in 1976, in part for earthquake safety, rebuilt the interior but the exterior was preserved with the help of strong community support. The auditorium, preserved in its original condition, expresses the Craftsman ideal of using hand crafted materials in harmony with nature. Murals painted on burlap in 1924 by John Muir School parent Ray Coyle and his assistant Homer Ansley now hang in the reconstructed library. A two-classroom addition was integrated into the design in 1998. The school is named for American naturalist John Muir (1838–1914).

Berkeley Historical Plaque Project

  • John Muir (1872), photo H.W. Bradley and William Rulofson, Hold-Atherton Library, University of the Pacific Library, Stockton, CA.

  • John Muir School (2010), photo R. Kehlmann

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