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Berkeley in Alameda County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Site of Napoleon Bonaparte Byrne House

1868

 

—City of Berkeley Landmark —

 
Site of Napoleon Bonaparte Byrne House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, April 19, 2012
1. Site of Napoleon Bonaparte Byrne House Marker
[Illustration credit:] W.W. Elliott, Lithographer, Oakland.
Inscription. In 1858, prosperous farmer Napoleon Bryne sold his Missouri land and journeyed west with his wife Mary Tanner Byrne, four children and other relatives. Two freed slaves, Pete and Hannah Byrnes, came with the family and became Berkeley’s first known African-American residents.

Bryne bought 827 acres of hillside land here beside Codornices Creek for $25 to #35 an acre and built a formal Italianate-style house. The land proved unproductive for farming, so the Byrnes moved to the Sacramento River Delta. Pete and Hannah chose to remain in the East Bay. Pete Byrne later started a whitewashing business in Oakland, and Hannah became a domestic worker.

Napoleon Byrne sold his land in Berkeley to developers Henry Berryman and Felix Chappellet. Other owners followed, and from 1951 to 1997 the property belonged to the Chinese Christian Missionary Alliance Church. The Byrne house was destroyed by fire in 1985; only the concrete wall along Oxford Street remains from the past.

In 2005, Berkeley’s Jewish Congregation Beth El moved from its first synagogue at Arch and Vine streets to this building designed by architects Moore, Ruble, Yudell.
 
Erected 2005 by Berkeley Historical Plaque Project.
 
Location. 37° 53.049′ N, 122° 

Site of Napoleon Bonaparte Byrne House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, April 19, 2012
2. Site of Napoleon Bonaparte Byrne House Marker
16.055′ W. Marker is in Berkeley, California, in Alameda County. Marker is at the intersection of Oxford Street and Codornices Creek on Oxford Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1301 Oxford Street, Berkeley CA 94709, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Live Oak Park ( about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Site of Hunrick Grocery Store ( about 700 feet away); Berkeley Municipal Rose Garden ( approx. ¼ mile away); Peet’s Coffee & Tea ( approx. ¼ mile away); Rose Walk ( approx. 0.3 miles away); Edward A. Brakenridge House ( approx. 0.4 miles away); North Berkeley Congregational (Grace North) Church ( approx. 0.4 miles away); Hillside Club ( approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Berkeley.
 
Also see . . .
1. Site of Napoleon Bonaparte Byrne House - Berkeley Heritage. Was judaism the problem? We had intended not to comment on Mr. Harper’s article [“Berkeley’s Hysterical Landmarks,” East Bay Express, 17 September 2003], preferring that it crumble by itself under the weight of its many misstatements of fact and misinterpretations. (Submitted on April 22, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 

2. 1301 Oxford in Context, a history. "What makes the Byrne property at 1301 Oxford in Berkeley so special?"
Site of Napoleon Bonaparte Byrne House Marker and Congregation Beth El image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, April 19, 2012
3. Site of Napoleon Bonaparte Byrne House Marker and Congregation Beth El
(Submitted on April 22, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 
 
Categories. African AmericansChurches, Etc.Settlements & Settlers
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 22, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 576 times since then and 29 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 22, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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