AKA: Weltevreden, Berkeley, CA; University of California, Berkeley (UCB), Tellefsen Hall, Berkeley, CA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: Schweinfurth, A.C., Architect (firm); Albert Cicero Schweinfurth (architect)

Dates: constructed 1896-1898

2 stories

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1755 Le Roy Avenue
Northside, Berkeley, CA 94709

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Tellefsen Hall stood on the southeast corner of Le Conte Avenue and Le Roy Avenue, at what was numbered as 1725 Le Roy Avenue in the 1900s and 1910s.


The Volney and Mary Moody House was, in 1900, one of Berkeley's most distinctive and recognizable residences, having a massive clinker brick structure highlighted by a Flemish/Dutch stepped-gable roof. It became fraternity student housing in 1925 and was renovated beyond recognition in the 1950s. It no longer has the stepped-gable roofline that distinguished it at the turn of the century.

Building History

Berkeley architect Albert Cicero Schweinfirth (1864-1900) designed this Dutch-influenced, brick residence for the banker Volney Delos Moody (1829–1901), and his second wife, Mary J. Robinson (1838-1921).

Born in Rodman, NY, Volney Moody lived a peripatetic life. He resided in NY state until his fifth birthday, when his parents relocated to Indiana. He resided in IN between 1834 and 1840, when they again moved, this time to Milwaukee, WI. They stayed in Milwaukee until 1849, when the clan journeyed across the plains, arriving in San Bernardino, CA, by 12/1849.

Moody then resettled to the north in the Bay Area's San Mateo County, where he engaged in the lumber business. He lived in San Mateo County until 1853, when he made two trips back east, the second of which in 1854 to get married to Adeline Wright in his hometown. He and his first wife made San Jose their home between about 1854 and 1866, when they moved to San Francisco where he sold lumber, cattle and flour. He did this for nine years, before changing jobs, becoming President of the 1st National Bank of Oakland. He remained as president between 1875 and 1891, during which time he secured a significant personal fortune, investing in Oakland real estate and other emerging companies, including, among others, the Pacific Iron and Nail Works, California Iron and Steel Works, Judson Iron Works, and the Oakland Home Insurance Company. He and Adeline had three children, but they divorced by the 1870s. In 1881, he wed Mary Robinson, who had been married previously, and had had two daughters of her own.

He and Mary began planning their large and prominent residence, known as "Weltevreden," Dutch for "well satisfied," in the early 1890s. The term "Weltevreden" had been used to name various places the Dutch had colonized, including Roodepoort, South Africa, Batavia, Dutch East Indies (now within Jakarta, Indonesia), and Boltumbe, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

They commissioned the young architect A.C. Schweinfurth, who was raised in a family focused on building, and who had come to Bay Area by 1890 from Denver. Schweinfurth's father was an engineer who managed a firm making architectural ornamentation and his two brothers became well-known architects.

The Moodys moved into their residence at 1725 Le Roy Avenue by 1899, at least. (See Husted's Oakland, Alameda and Berkeley Directory, 1899, p. 611.) The US Census of 1900 recorded that Volney and Mary Moody resided here with their two daughters May R. Moody Gray (born c. 12/1869 in CA) and Margaret F. Moody Robinson (born c. 03/1871 in CA), a boarder Juliet Lombard (born c. 08/1867 in NV) and a cook, Wong Ling (born c. 09/1869 in CA). May worked as a music teacher in 1900, Lombard was employed as a teacher, while Volney was listed in the US Census as a "capitalist." (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1900; Census Place: Berkeley Ward 1, Alameda, California; Page: 17; Enumeration District: 0395; FHL microfilm: 1240083, accessed 04/22/2021.) Volney Moody died on 03/27/1901 in Berkeley, CA, while Mary survived for another twenty years, passing away on 04/19/1921 at the age of 81. She continued to live at 1725 LeRoy in 1918. (See Polk-Husted Company's Oakland, California, City Directory, 1918, p. 787.)

The house served as the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity house from c. 1925-1973. Shrinking fraternity enrollments during the counterculture period of the 1970s prompted Lamda Chi to sell its house to Tellefsen Hall, a residence group formed by University of Califonrnia band members. The Cal Band web site stated: "During the early 1970s, college fraternities throughout the nation experienced a significant decline in membership, and through a tremendous bit of luck and effort, the Band was to benefit. Lambda Chi Alpha, owner of a large house at 1755 LeRoy Avenue at LeConte Avenue, suffered from financial and membership problems in 1973. Tellefsen Hall offered Lambda Chi Alpha $50,000 plus the house on Prospect Avenue for their residence . The fraternity accepted the offer on September 4, 1973, and work began immediately to prepare the new hall for occupancy in time for the fall quarter." (See Cal Band Alumni Association.edu, "Building the Band," accessed 04/20/2021.) The band paid $50,000 and swapped its former house at 2421 Prospect Avenue to Lambda Chi Alpha.

Building Notes

Historian, Richard Longstreth (1982), indicated that the house dated from 1897-1898.


Berkeley architect and UC Berkeley Professor, Michael Goodman (1903-1991), added a third floor and an east-facing kitchen-library section in 1956. The original house is no longer recognizable as it was in 1900. The lower brick story has remained, but the two upper floors have been replaced by an undistinguished plaster facade.

Berkeley Historical Landmark (Listed 1990-08): ID n/a

PCAD id: 4978