Expedition 16: Berkeley Stairs plus some History

November 8, 2023. North Berkeley has tons of pathways and staircases that connect streets up and down the hills. Some blocks up here are fairly long so the paths provide short cuts between streets. I selected five pathways to walk and when Google maps connected them for me I ended up getting three or four more bonus paths. Neighborhood groups maintain the paths and they are in varying conditions. 

The paths also vary tremendously in style. Some are dirt and gravel, some are paved, some have concrete pavers. Some have walls on either side or dense shrubbery, and from some you can peek into people’s gardens which is always fun. I walked through a park that had a handmade book of poems about tea hanging from a branch. Hard to see in the photo, but this bench is knee-crushingly close to the fire hydrant.

Between the Acacia walk and the Florida walk I was treated to a lovely view of the bay. I ended up at Great Stone Face park. I did not see a stone face. Anyone?

After lunch I headed west to Delaware Street which is a two block historic district. It’s in the Ocean View neighborhood, the first “settlement” of what later became Berkeley. It was closer to the water then, before the creation of Aquatic Park and the landfill/dumps that are now parks at the end of University Avenue. Some houses were brought from elsewhere and one block has a quaint wooden sidewalk. 

I love this water tower; apparently someone now lives in it. The yellow house was, at one point, Captain Higgins’ Temperance Grocery. It replaced a store that sold liquor: “according to William Warren Ferrier, ‘There is record that prior to that change tipsy people sometimes at night stumbled over the mail sacks in Captain Bowen’s ’hotel-bar-grocery’ establishment.” Higgins, a devout Christian, permitted no alcohol to be sold in his store. Appointing him postmaster no doubt afforded better protection for the mail pouches.’

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