How Quirky is Berkeley? Ace Hardware’s relocation

2145 University Avenue. Photo: John Storey
Berkeley Ace Hardware moves from 2145 University Ave., where it has been located since 1964, to the corner of Milvia and Addison streets, also downtown, on June 1. Photo: John Storey

When Berkeley Ace Hardware leaves 2145 University Ave., an era will end. The store closes for the last time in its current location today, Monday. Generation upon generation of Berkeleyans have known and loved Ace Hardware. As it prepares to move to the northwest corner of Milvia and Addison streets (the Tioga Building), I have composed a list of what I love about Berkeley Ace, aside of course from the merchandise.

#1: The building. To learn about the building I wrote to preservationist, and former president of the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, Daniella Thompson. She told me that James Plachek designed the building and that it was built in 1915. She sent me to an article she wrote for BAHA in 2007. In that article I learned that the building was home to Sill’s Grocery and Hardware from 1915 until 1924, Appleton’s Grocery until 1964, and Berkeley Hardware since 1964.

#2: The staff. What can I say? The staff. They will move with the store.

2145 University Avenue. Photo: John Store
2145 University Ave. Photo: John Storey
2145 University Avenue. Photo: John Store
2145 University Ave. Photo: John Storey

#3: The trains.


Quirky Berkeley in Berkeley, Calif. on March 26th, 2016.
2145 University Avenue. Photo: John Storey

#4: The gum ball machine.

2145 University Avenue. Photo: John Store
2145 University Ave. Photo: John Storey
2145 University Avenue. Photo: John Store
2145 University Ave. Photo: John Storey

$5: The stairs to the basement. The signs. The little cars and Homies on wall on the way down.

2145 University Avenue. Photo: John Storey
2145 University Ave. Photo: John Storey

#6: The model airplanes suspended from the ceiling.

2145 University Avenue. Photo: John Storey
2145 University Ave. Photo: John Storey

#7: The slot cars down with the model trains.

2145 University Avenue. Photo: John Storey
2145 University Ave. Photo: John Storey

#8: The Chuckles. My mother was very fond of Chuckles. I don’t know of any other place in Berkeley where Chuckles are sold. Scientific research shows that the red (cherry) ones are the most popular. I can do without them. The taste of Chuckles reminds me of little boy days.


Those are my reasons. I am sure that you have other reasons. That is why the Comment function on a website exists. Add away!

Change is neither inherently good nor inherently bad. All I am saying is that when Ace moves a few blocks south, we will lose something that is special and very good. We are lucky that we have had it. I will shop at the new location. I will remember this one. My children will remember this one.

Tom Dalzell, a labor lawyer, created a website, Quirky Berkeley, to share all the whimsical objects he has captured with his iPhone. The site now has more than 8,000 photographs of quirky objects around town as well as posts where the 30-year resident muses on what it all means. For a fuller version of this post, see Quirky Berkeley.

Related:
Downtown Ace Hardware moving two blocks to Milvia Street (02.08.16)

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