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Note: Unfortunately, due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis we have had to postpone the Spring 2020 walks listed below. BHS is exploring options to offer virtual walks in the interim.


Saturday, April 25: The Remarkable Women of Claremont Court, 1920-2020. Led by Burl Willes (Limit 20 persons)

The stories of these women will be the focus of this flat and easy walk. We will stop at the gracious homes of daredevil pilots, mountain climbers, actors, artists, educators, political leaders, historians, and writers. These women, including several of color, lived beyond the normal confines and expectations of their time, and many were an inspiration for women writers.

Saturday, April 18: Bateman Neighborhood Walk. Led by Robert Johnson

The little known Bateman neighborhood bridging the edges of the Elmwood (Berkeley) and Rockridge (Oakland) districts boasts tree-lined streets with an attractive assortment of early twentieth century homes as well as some fascinating history that we will explore. It also touches on the Alta Bates hospital complex that has undergone many changes over the years. The walk route is flat and not too long. Option to have lunch in the Elmwood district afterward.

Saturday, May 2: Panoramic Hill. Led by Ron Sipherd

Join us for a walk through the historic Panoramic Hill neighborhood. Visit the Strawberry Creek Valley and homes designed by some of Berkeley’s most prominent architects, Maybeck, Morgan, Ratcliff, and Steilberg. This is an uphill walk with some steep stairs and is not wheelchair accessible. Rain cancels. Preview this walk at

Saturday, May 9: On the Knoll of Thousand Oaks. Led by Trish Hawthorne

The Thousand Oaks district was created in 1909, after voters failed to approve bonds to purchase the area for a city park. Located on a sunny knoll north of town, studded with groves of oaks and monumental boulders, the natural park was then developed as a “residential park.” This walk will highlight how the natural beauty of the area was incorporated into the overall landscape design of the new district, with streets following the contours of the hillside, building sites capturing panoramic views of the bay, and rocks, oak trees and large urns lining the roadways. These features, combined with the houses built here over the next decades, create a distinctive sense of place that embodies the tenets of the Hillside Club and “Building with Nature.”


Saturday, May 16: The Neighborhood Formerly Known as the Gourmet Ghetto. Led by Ann Harlow

In conjunction with the Berkeley Historical Society exhibit on Berkeley’s Fascination with Food, explore the North Shattuck Avenue area, where many claim a revolution in how Americans eat was born. See the pioneering establishments Peet’s Coffee (the first one), the Cheese Board and Chez Panisse and the locations of other noteworthy food businesses past and present. The tour will also cover some much earlier history, when the neighborhood included a train station, hotel, and sea captains’ homes. Several historic landmark buildings will be included.


Tours start at 10 am and end by approximately 12 noon. Sometimes they are slightly longer, so some extra time should be allowed in case the walk meets an informative passerby or dwells at an interesting site. Tours are limited to 30 paying participants unless noted otherwise. Pre-paid reservations are required and tickets are not refundable. Tours are conducted in rain, shine or Berkeley fog and are wheelchair accessible unless otherwise noted.

Keep a record of your order. E-mail addresses and telephone numbers are very important for last-minute changes and confirmations. You will be sent an e-mail or we will mail confirmations with starting points.

If you have suggestions for future walking tours, please contact the tour organizers at or leave a message on the BHS phone answering machine.

For last-minute reservations, call 848-0181 between 1 and 4 pm on the Thursday or Friday before the tour to determine meeting place and sign up if there is an opening.

By signing up for any of these walks, all participants agree to the following: “To the fullest extent allowed by law, I agree to waive, discharge claims, and release from liability the Berkeley Historical Society (BHS) and its officers, directors, agents, and tour leaders from any and all liability on account of, or in any way resulting from injuries and damages, whether caused by my own negligence or the negligence of the BHS or its officers, directors, agents, or tour leaders, in any way connected with a BHS activity. I understand and intend that this assumption of risk and release is binding upon my heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, and includes any minors accompanying me on the activity.”

The BHS, a volunteer organization, appreciates your support.

BHS offers walking tours in the spring and fall. For year-round walks featuring local history, you might wish to check these sites:


Information about past walks is in the Web Archive.


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1931 Center Street - Berkeley, CA 94704

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