Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sierra Club Pioneers Lived Near Pre-Stadium Strawberry Canyon

An article on the early settlers in the UC-Berkeley area. It seems that the Sig Ep chapter there has one of the historic houses and the author is not pleased with the way they treat it.
Many Sierra Club members are probably unaware that their organization’s ties to the area around Memorial Stadium are deep and old—as old as the club itself.

Within a football’s throw from the stadium, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, several founders and early leaders of the Sierra Club built their homes.

Of course, there was no stadium then. There was only the bucolic Strawberry Canyon with its waterfall, grasslands, and native oaks.
[...]
A hop, skip, and jump from the Joseph N. Le Conte house is the William Colby house, another brown-shingle creation of Julia Morgan’s. Attorney William E. Colby (1875–1964) joined the Sierra Club in 1898 and served as its secretary from 1900 until 1946, taking two years off to assume the club’s presidency. In 1901, Colby initiated the club’s outings program and led the annual High Trips until 1929.

In 1905, Colby built his house at 2901 Channing Way, on the corner of Warring Street. A City of Berkeley designated landmark, the house has recently fallen into the hands of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, which replaced the front garden with an elevated concrete “play yard” without permit review by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
That's right, pick on the nasty frat boys for not asking "mother may I" before making the place livable.

Berkeley Daily Planet