Tag Archives: 1923 Berkeley fire

Landmark Bernard Maybeck home for sale in Berkeley

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Chances to buy — or at a minimum see inside — a Bernard Maybeck designed home in Berkeley come along rarely. The Kennedy-Nixon house at 1537 Euclid Avenue in north Berkeley has just gone on the market.

The landmarked home, which was built in 1914 (and quickly rebuilt in 1923 after it burned down in the devastating Berkeley fire of that year), is priced at $1,995,000. The home has had only three owners since it was built, and it has stories to tell.

The Nixon family built it as a live-in studio for their daughter’s piano teacher, Alma Kennedy. It was designed to include a recital hall, a waiting area for students’ parents, a reception room with a small kitchen and an upstairs sleeping quarters. The recital hall, with its cathedral windows and clear-heart unfinished redwood paneling, is particularly arresting. … Continue reading »

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A fire more destructive to Berkeley than 1991 Firestorm

On the day we remember a catastrophic fire that affected many people’s lives locally, it may also pay to recall another fire which happened 68 years before the 1991 Oakland-Berkeley Firestorm and which was far more destructive to Berkeley.

The 1991 fire razed 63 Berkeley homes out of a total of more than 3,300. On September 17, 1923, however, a raging fire consumed some 640 structures, including 584 homes in the densely built neighborhoods north of the campus. Although the exact cause was never determined, the fire began in the undeveloped chaparral and grasslands of Wildcat Canyon, and was pushed towards the south west by a strong, gusty, and intensely dry northeasterly wind.

The Berkeley Fire Department, aided by a number of UC Berkeley students, was unable to stop the fire as it approached the north edge of the campus at Hearst Avenue. … Continue reading »

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