AKA: Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Oceanview, Berkeley, CA

Structure Type: built works - religious structures - churches

Designers: Bugbee, S.C., and Son, Architects (firm); Charles Lewis Bugbee (architect); Samuel Charles Bugbee (architect)

Dates: constructed 1878

1 story

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1823 9th Street
Oceanview, Berkeley, CA 94710-2102

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The Church of the Good Shepherd is also listed at 1001 Hearst Avenue;


The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd was "...the oldest church building standing in Berkeley, as well as the oldest in continuous use by its founding congregation in the entire East Bay." (See Daniella Thompson, "Church of the Good Shepherd, Episcopal," accessed 05/07/2015.)This long continous history of service was broken in 10/2012, however, when an electrical fire destroyed portions of the church's interior. Restoration occurred during 2012-2014. Despite the fire, the Church of the Good Shepherd has been a very significant survivor, one of the few remaining 1870s institutional buildings with wood frames left in the Bay Area.

Building History

The Central Pacific Railroad completed its Berkeley Branch Railroad in 1876, facilitiating the growth of the not-yet incorporated city of Berkeley. The Church of the Good Shepherd congregation formed in 1877, developing from a women's sewing circle. The church's completion in 1878 coincided with founding of the City of Berkeley by residents of Ocean View (then referred to as "West Berkeley,") and the neighborhoods surrounding the fledgling University of CA ("East Berkeley"). Iniitally, the anti-Chinese Workingman's Party controlled the first town council.

The San Francisco architectural firm of S.C. Bugbee and Son produced the design for the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in 1877. By this time, Bugbee's firm had completed some notable commissions, prior to the Berkeley church including San Francisco's California Theatre (1869), Mills Seminary Hall in Oakland (1869), and several mansions for plutocrats on San Francisco's Nob Hill. The largest, if not most grandiose, was that for Leland and Jane Stanford (1875-1876), probably the most capacious private residence in the state.

The designer, Charles L. Bugbee, son of Samuel C. Bugbee, derived many of the Early Gothic Revival motifs from the firm's Mendocino Presbyterian Church of nine years earlier. Both buildings shared steeply-pitched, gable-roofed naves, main entries in corner stair towers, lancet windows lighting the nave, and similarly-shaped church belltowers and spires. While there are many similarities, there are also differences of fenestration and cladding materials.

The theology and internal organization of the Presbyterian Church diverged from that of the Episcopalians, resulting in basic differences between the two buildings. Presbyrterians affiliated themselves with the Protestant Reformation, and rejected a large degree of clerical rule. They encouraged more layperson participation in policy-making and dropped many of the "popish practices" of "High Church" Episcopalianism that derived from Roman Catholicism. Presbyterians broke with aspects of Episcopalian theology, recognizing only two of the seven sacraments, for example, and the elaborate Episcopalian liturgy. Presbyterians shunned the ornate church environments, costly vestments and elaborate rituals celebrated by Catholics and High Church Episcopalians. Additionally, the Berkeley congregation may have been more affluent, enabling it to afford a more colorful and richly ornamented church than that of the Mendocino group.

The 1870s was rather late to be building in the Early Gothic Revival Style, but reflected CA's cultural isolation from the trend-setting East Coast. With a less-developed industrial infrastructure, CA architects were limited by the building materials available to them.

Building Notes

The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd was designated a City of Berkeley Landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, Berkeley, CA, 12/15/1975, the second property named.


The congregation erected a guild hall during 1917 and house for its pastor c. 1920. These two buildings became joined to form the Church of the Good Shepherd Parish Hall in 1959. The National Trust for Historic Preservation provided a grant that paid for a restoration of the church in 1978. resulting in only minor exterior changes.

In 08/2013, coinciding with the church's 125th anniversary, a $70,000 renovation commenced focused on upgrading the church's seismic performance and renewing its exterior painted surfaces. An electrical fire of 10/20/2012 scroched the sacristy and seriously damaged the sanctuary; repair efforts took two years. The congregation celebrated the restoration of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd when it reopened on Sunday, 09/21/2014.

The building was renovated in 1978 with a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. While the exterior remains virtually unchanged, a few minor alterations were made to the interior. A Guild Hall was built in 1917, and a pastor’s house shortly thereafter. These were consolidated into a Parish Hall in 1959.

Berkeley Historical Landmark (12/15/1975): 6

National Register of Historic Places (12/01/1986): 86003361 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

PCAD id: 5660