Berkeley in Alameda County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
American Photoplayer Co.
Cooper Woodworking Buildings
— 1912-1920 —
designated in 1986
Over the years this complex housed Cooper Woodworking, the Sperry Flour Company, the American Photoplayer Company, and other industrial and manufacturing enterprises. American Photoplayer manufactured a musical instrument that produced mechanical music “like an orchestra” for use in movie theaters. The company went out of business in the late 1920s when “talkies” were introduced. An elevated sawdust hopper (removed in 1995) and brick kilns were part of the complex. Lumber was once milled and kiln-dried on the site. Scrap wood was recycled as fuel to fire the kilns and heat the complex.
These industrial buildings are among the few that were constructed in Berkeley along the spur line of the Santa Fe Railroad that was laid in 1903. Most industry was concentrated west of San Pablo Avenue, closer to Berkeley’s waterfront and the transcontinental Southern Pacific Railroad. In 1987 the complex was renovated and adapted for reuse as the Strawberry Creek Design Center, providing studios and offices for designers, artists, and creative ventures.
Erected 1998 by Berkeley Historical Plaque Project.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment • Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1986.
Location. 37° 52.118′ N, 122° 17.21′ W. Marker is in Berkeley, California, in Alameda County. Marker can be reached from Addison Street west of West Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1250 Addison Street, Berkeley CA 94702, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Santa Fe Railway Depot (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Garden History (approx. ¼ mile away); Fox Court (approx. ¼ mile away); Toveri Tupa – Finnish Hall (approx. 0.4 miles away); Site of Presentation High School and Convent (approx. 0.4 miles away); Church of the Good Shepherd (approx. 0.4 miles away); 935 Hearst Avenue (approx. half a mile away); Workingman’s Hall (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Berkeley.
Also see . . . Encyclopaedia of Australian Theater Organs - What is a Photoplayer?. More photoplayers were built than any other form of theatre organ, and it has been estimated that between 8,000 and 10,000 of these instruments were constructed between 1910 and 1928. (Submitted on March 23, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.)
1. Ghost Sign
The wording at the top of the doorway is "Bowman Hardwood," which was located at 2121 Bonar Street, Berkeley.
— Submitted February 26, 2021, by Rox Miravalle of El Sobrante, California.
Credits. This page was last revised on March 4, 2021. It was originally submitted on March 23, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 1,120 times since then and 48 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on March 23, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.