Structure Type: built works - dwellings - housing - student housing

Designers: Pries, Lionel H., Architect (firm); Lionel Henry Pries (architect)

Dates: constructed 1924-1925

2 stories

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2425 Ridge Road
Northside, Berkeley, CA 94709

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In the 1940s, the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) Abracadabra Social Club occupied this student residence at 2425 Ridge Road in Berkeley.

Building History

Seattle architect Lionel H. Pries (1897-1968), who trained with John Galen Howard at the UCB, designed this student club house for Abracadabra, a prestigious, UCB-specific social club. Young men who would become engineers, doctors, lawyers and other professionals filled its ranks from at least 1903 until the 1960s, when it merged with the national Delta Chi Fraternity. Robert G. Sproul (1891-1975), the 11th President of the UCB (1930-1958), belonged to Abracadabra, and remained its Treasurer for 50 years. (See the Agnes Roddy Robb, Robert Gordon Sproul and the University of California, A Memoir by Agnes Roddy Robb, [Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley, Bancroft Library, Regional Oral History Office, University History Series, 1976], p. 45.)

The house was Pries's second work, and it displayed a quirky mix of features, drawn from Moorish, Native American, Art Deco and other sources. Its blocky exterior could have Moorish or even Pueblo Revivial Style roots, but its wall construction composed of concrete blocks clearly indicated the architect's interest in experimenting with new, low-cost materials. Its unorthodox and highly synthetic aesthetic demonstrated Pries's flexibility of approach.


This fraternity house was demolished; the Graduate Theological Union and supporting buildings on both sides of Ridge Road at this address.

PCAD id: 20985