“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Berkeley in Alameda County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Berkeley City Hall

Bakewell and Brown, Architects, 1908


—City of Berkeley Landmark, designated in 1975 —

Berkeley City Hall Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, January 28, 2012
1. Berkeley City Hall Marker
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

This was Berkeley’s City Hall from 1909 to 1977. It sits on the site of the Town Hall that burned in 1904. It remains a source of civic pride and a symbol of Berkeley. Now commonly known as “Old City Hall,” it is the keystone of Berkeley’s Civic Center where public buildings are grouped around a central park. John Bakewell and Arthur Brown, Jr., the building’s architects – both of whom were graduates of the University of California – designed other city halls as well, including San Francisco’s. In 1972 the American painter, Romare Bearden, was commissioned to do a large mural of the City Council Chamber. One image from it was the inspiration for a City logo.

At the June 27, 1908 cornerstone-laying ceremony, University President Benjamin Ide Wheeler proclaimed, “The Capitol at Washington cannot stand unless our town-houses have good cornerstones – firm set and true.” Declaring that the new City Hall would be “our town-house,” Wheeler spoke of his hope “that we will respect the rights of others; that we will all be citizens and stay amateurs; that we will live together in mutual helpfulness; that we will try to make Berkeley the best town there is.”
Berkeley City Hall Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, January 28, 2012
2. Berkeley City Hall Marker
The marker is at the right of the stairs.
1998 by Berkeley Historical Plaque Project.
Location. 37° 52.157′ N, 122° 16.38′ W. Marker is in Berkeley, California, in Alameda County. Marker is on Martin Luther King Jr, Way south of Center Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2150 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley CA 94704, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. City Hall Annex (within shouting distance of this marker); Berkeley High School Industrial Arts and Science (G and H Buildings) (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Berkeley Veterans Memorial Grove (about 400 feet away); Framåt Lodge #405 (about 400 feet away); Veterans Memorial Building (about 500 feet away); Jos. H. McCourt / Bruno L. Putzker (about 600 feet away); Federal Land Bank (about 700 feet away); Berkeley Y.M.C.A. (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Berkeley.
Also see . . .  Berkeley City Hall. The Historic American Building Survey record for this building: Significance: The Berkeley City Hall has architectural significance as a notable example of Beaux-Arts design and as an early work by the firm of Bakewell and Brown, who were leaders in Beaux-Arts designs, especially
Berkeley City Hall image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, January 28, 2012
3. Berkeley City Hall
of municipal buildings. The historical significance of the building is derived from its use as the home of Berkeley city government from 1909 to 1977, and from its current use as the meeting place of both the City Council and the Board of Education.
(Submitted on April 2, 2012.) 
Categories. Notable Buildings
"Old City Hall", dedicated August 29, 1909 image. Click for full size.
April 1, 2012
4. "Old City Hall", dedicated August 29, 1909
The Historical American Buildings Survey notes that this was one of Bakewell and Brown's earliest commissions. Specializing in municipal architecture, they later went on to also design the San Francisco City Hall, the Atchinson, Topeka, and Santa Fe railroad station in San Diego, and the Pasadena City Hall. Brown also was responsible for designing the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House and the San Francisco War Memorial Veterans Building.
Credits. This page was last revised on July 26, 2018. This page originally submitted on February 9, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 525 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on February 9, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.   4. submitted on April 2, 2012. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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