North Berkeley Area

Map_Area_NorthJust a few steps from the northern boundary of the University of California campus begins an eclectic mix typical of Berkeley: “Holy Hill” and the world of the spirit, the Hillside Club and the built environment, and the Gourmet Ghetto with its epicurean temptations. Going up the hills that crest eastward toward Tilden Park are the houses, and the streets themselves, that embody the inventiveness and aesthetic principles of the city’s early builders, architects, and thinkers. Heading towards the Bay are shops and restaurants, along such popular thoroughfares as Shattuck Avenue, Hopkins Street, and Solano Avenue, that evidence the continuing vitality of the city.

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Fire Department at Shattuck near Vine, Louis L. Stein collection, BHS.

Fire Department at Shattuck near Vine, Louis L. Stein collection, BHS.

Immediately adjacent to the campus is Daley’s Scenic Park, one of the earliest areas of North Berkeley to be developed. By 1907 Northbrae had been laid out. The Thousand Oaks neighborhood, at the far northeast side of town, was subdivided in 1909, followed by the Cragmont section of the hills proper. Early in the 20th century, when Berkeley was proposed as the future state capital, streets in Northbrae were named for California counties and cities.

Shattuck near Vine (1908),Louis L. Stein Collection, BHS.

Shattuck near Vine (1908),Louis L. Stein Collection, BHS.

The North Berkeley hills were largely developed in accord with the Hillside Club’s “building with nature” philosophy. Winding streets conform to the topography, allowing rock outcroppings,creeks, and trees their place in the urban environment. Crisscrossing paths and walkways allowed for quick pedestrian access to early trolley lines on major streets. The area is rich with residences designed by renowned architects—Maybeck, Morgan, Gutterson, Coxhead, among others. Many of their early buildings remain, though still more were destroyed in the great 1923 fire that swept down from Wildcat Canyon to ravage the area.

More Information:

North Berkeley Landmarks
Gourmet Ghetto personal tour

Daley’s Scenic Park Walking Tour
Berkeley Path Wanderers walking tours:
• Upper Cordonices and Schoolhouse
• Northbrae
• Thousand Oaks
• Rock Parks
• Live Oak to Tamalpias

North Area Plaques