Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: [unspecified]

Dates: [unspecified]

2 stories

1820 Scenic Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709

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Building History

Benjamin Ide Wheeler (born 07/15/1854 in Randolph, MA -d. 05/03/1927 in Vienna, Austria), a former Greek and comparative philology professor at Cornell University, served as the President of the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), between 1899 and 1919, a twenty-year period of rapid expansion of UC facilities in Berkeley and across the state. Following his death in 1927, the Board of Regents eulogized his accomplishments: "During the two decades of Dr. Wheeler's presidency, the University of California increased greatly in equipment, in size, and in reputation. In accordance with the provisions of the Hearst Architectural Plan, adopted just before his inauguration, eleven permanent buildings were erected upon the campus in Berkeley within the years of his administration. The University Library and many of the laboratories were greatly expanded and developed. The student body increased from 2,600 to 7,380. The faculty of the colleges in Berkeley alone grew in number from 153 to 583, and nearly twenty new departments were added. New divisions and parts of the University, including the Citrus Experiment Station at Riverside, the University Farm at Davis, the Hooper Foundation at San Francisco, the Scripps Institution at La Jolla, and the Summer Session at Los Angeles, were established. Enrollment in the Summer Session increased from 161 to 4,300. The Extension Division was greatly developed. Research was encouraged. Distinguished scholars and teachers were added to the faculties. The Graduate Division was organized." (See See Online Archive of California, "Memorial of the Board of Regents," accessed 04/27/2022.)

Wheeler married Amey Webb on 06/25/1881 in Providence, RI, and would have two children with her, only one of whom, Benjamin Webb Wheeler (born 11/13/1893 in Ithaca, NY), survived in 1900. The 1900 US Census listed the Wheelers as living on Bushnell Place (later renamed Spruce Street"), with Amey, Benjamin and a staff of three: a governess Katherine Carew (born c. 12/1845 in England), a housemaid Margaret Reilly (born c. 03/1871 in Ireland) and a cook, Jim Hui (born c. 03/1853 in China).. (See, Source Citation Year: 1900; Census Place: Berkeley Ward 1, Alameda, California; Roll: 83; Page: 14; Enumeration District: 0395; FHL microfilm: 1240083, accessed 04/26/2022.) The Bushnell Place House would have been their first house in Berkeley.

The Wheelers resided in this residence between 1902 and 1919, at least (See Oakland, California, City Directory, 1902, p. 606 and, Source Citation California State Library; Sacramento, California; Great Register of Voters, 1910, accessed 04/27/2022.)

As a University President Wheeler traveled widely. He toured Italy, Turkey and the Far East in 1913.

After stepping down from the UCB Presidency, Wheeler, as President Emeritus, had a house at 2425 Ridge Road between 1922 and 1924. (See Oakland, California, City Directory, 1922, p. 1480 and Oakland, California, City Directory, 1924, p. 1948.) He and his family had a house at 2535 Ridge Road in 1925 and one at 2600 Ridge Road in 1926. (See Oakland, California, City Directory, 1925, p. 1648 and Oakland, California, City Directory, 1926, p. 1702.)

The former UCB President died while visiting Vienna, Austria with his wife. (See, Source Citation National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, U.S.A.; NAI Number: 302021; Record Group Title: General Records of the Department of State; Record Group Number: Record Group 59; Series Number: Publication A1 205; Box Number: 4458; Box Description: 1910-1929 Austria A - Z, accessed 04/26/2022.)

PCAD id: 24357