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“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)
 

Historic McGee-Spaulding District

Berkeley History

 
 
Historic McGee-Spaulding District Marker image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, August 16, 2020
1. Historic McGee-Spaulding District Marker
Inscription.  In 1855, Irish-born James McGee (1814-1899) bought 115 acres of the old Peralta rancho – now the McGee Tract - for farmland. Later he donated land for the city's first Catholic convent, school, and church. He was one of Berkeley's first town Trustees.

Just west of the McGee Tract, the Spaulding Tract became part of the District when it was subdivided in 1876. For decades, the District remained sparsely populated and residents complained of having to pass through "the rural districts of the frontier” to get from one end of the city to the other. In 1884 a Town Hall was built at University Ave. and Sacramento St. in an attempt to unify the city. Five years later the building was moved to this block. It later burned and was replaced by the present City Hall in 1909.

After the 1906 earthquake the District finally became part of the urban pattern, with the Southern Pacific Red Train on California St. and electric streetcar lines along its boundaries: University Ave., Sacramento St., Dwight Way and Grove St./Martin Luther King, Jr. Way.

As discriminatory housing practices slowly relaxed after World War II, the District

Historic McGee-Spaulding District Marker - wide view, with the City Hall in the background image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, August 16, 2020
2. Historic McGee-Spaulding District Marker - wide view, with the City Hall in the background
became one of Berkeley's first fully integrated neighborhoods. Citizen action in the 1970s resulted in city ordinances that helped preserve the District's historical character as a quiet residential neighborhood on the edge of downtown, with a wide variety of architectural styles, from Victorian through World War II tract.

This plaque was donated by the McGee-Spaulding-Hardy Historic Interest Group.
 
Erected 2012 by Berkeley Historical Plaque Project.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Settlements & Settlers.
 
Location. 37° 52.135′ N, 122° 16.37′ W. Marker is in Berkeley, California, in Alameda County. Marker is at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Alston Way, on the right when traveling south on Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Berkeley CA 94704, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Berkeley High School Alumni: Bobby Seale, Jean Yonemura Wing, Billy Martin (a few steps from this marker); Berkeley City Hall (within shouting distance of this marker); Berkeley High School Industrial Arts and Science (G and H Buildings) (within shouting distance of this marker); City Hall Annex (within shouting distance of this marker); Berkeley Veterans Memorial Grove

Marker detail: Inset photo - moving town hall image. Click for full size.
Courtesy of the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1899
3. Marker detail: Inset photo - moving town hall
"In 1899, the first town hall was moved uptown, with the help of one horse, at a cost of $999. Town officials met there during its 30-day journey.
(about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Veterans Memorial Building (about 500 feet away); Framåt Lodge #405 (about 600 feet away); Berkeley High School Alumni: Chinaka Hodge, Phil Lesh, Joshua Redman, The Lonely Island (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Berkeley.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 16, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 16, 2020, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 35 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 16, 2020, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.
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Mar. 3, 2021