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History Walks

Fall 2016 Walking Tours

Tours start at 10:00 am and end at approximately 12:00 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.

Saturday, September 10: Strawberry Creek on the UC Campus. Led by Bob Charbonneau
In 1860, the College of California (predecessor to Cal) moved from Oakland to its present site in Berkeley in part because of Strawberry Creek. Its notable start was not always honored during the next century when pollution, concrete channeling, underground piping, and elimination of the middle fork occured. Much of that has changed since the mid-1980s. Learn about Strawberry Creek’s history, its hideaways, and the restoration efforts from Bob Charbonneau, the expert who made Strawberry Creek and its restoration his master’s thesis.

Saturday, September 17: “Sara’s Song” Inspired Walk in South Berkeley. Led by Tina Jones Williams
“Sara’s Song” is a new book set on Julia Street in South Berkeley, from 1943 to 1969. The walk will describe the pride and enthusiasm the “Colored” homeowners felt buying their first homes in this working class all black neighborhood.The Sara’s Song author will share the history of the all black-owned businesses in the neighborhood (including a doctor and a pharmacist), where they were located, and the culture that was embraced by the residents.She will also paint a picture of raising a family in this neighborhood, where the children played, were educated, worshipped, studied and grew into adults. An easy, flat walk beginning and ending at The new Byron Rumford statue.

Saturday, September 24: The 1923 North Berkeley Fire. Led by Phil Gale
Board member, local historian and model railroader Phil Gale will conduct a commemoration of the North Berkeley fire of September 17, 1923, crisscrossing the fire line in five places. He’ll identify the various changes wrought in buildings and landscape, and walk us to a salvaged Maybeck chimney, among other surprising relics, around which a new home was constructed. Phil will share with you his early North Berkeley family photos and reminiscences.

Saturday, October 1: Northside: Arts & Crafts on the Fire’s Edge. Led by Daniella Thompson
Come and see where Berkeley’s Arts & Crafts tradition began; where Bernard Maybeck designed his first hill houses; where artists established their residence and built their studios; where the Hillside Club was founded; where the Berkeley Brown Shingle was born. On this tour, we will see historic houses that survived the 1923 Berkeley Fire, as well as some notable buildings constructed after the ashes had been cleared. The walk is steep in some parts and not wheelchair accessible.

Saturday, October 15: Marin Avenue North: Early 20th Century Berkeley Hills. Led by Paul Grunland
Revisit one of Berkeley’s most delightful neighborhoods – charming homes built by famed architects and builders, winding contoured streets, creeks, rock outcroppings, City parks and pathways. Some climbing but generally level. Not wheelchair accessible.

A printable flyer with order form for these walks is HERE

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 phone 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.

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
Get Directions: (510) 848-0181