Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: Krafft, Julius, Architect (firm); Julius E. Krafft (architect)

Dates: constructed 1888-1889

3 stories, total floor area: 2,750 sq. ft.

1536 Oxford Street
Berkeley, CA 94709-1575

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Building History

A MA-born ship's captain named Charles C. Boudrow (c. 1830–1918), who later operated a fleet of West Coast steamers, built this house for himself in 1888-1889. Berkeley architectural expert Daniella Thompson has written of Boudrow, quoting from his obituary in the Oakland Tribune of 06/08/1918: "Boudrow was connected with the firm of Migeul [correct spelling: Mighell] & Boudrow, which owned many large square-riggers out of this port, later forming the California Shipping Company and purchasing many eastern craft, which are owned by the Alaska Salmon companies. Among the many ships owned by Captain Boudrow or by the California Shipping Company were the Star of Italy; the cannery tender Jabez Howes; the bark May Flint; the Abner Coburn; the A.J. Fuller; the Saint Frances; and the Joseph B. Thomas. He retired from active service a few years ago, but made regular visits to the Merchants’ Exchange to talk ‘ship’ with his old-time friends." (See Daniella Thompson, The Berkeley Daily, "East Bay Then and Now: Shipping Magnate's Mansion Is Rare Survivor on Oxford Street," published 09/08/2006, accessed 11/22/2017.)

Boudrow engaged the San Francisco architect, Julius Krafft (1855-1937), who practiced with his sons Alfred (1880-1950) and Elmer (1880-1944) in the firm Julius Krafft and Sons. Supposedly, the tower, which has four stories, was built high enough that Captain Boudrow could scan the bay for his vessels.

Building Notes

Architectural historian Thompson cited the Berkeley Daily Advocate, Holiday Issue of 1892, that described the recently completed Boudrow House: "The entire Boudrow house is constructed of redwood. Multiple gables and bays, floral and geometric friezes, plaster reliefs, and scalloped shingles ornament its façades. A balustraded flight of 15 steps leads up to a front porch whose gable roof is supported by turned columns linked by trelliswork arches. A round turret crowned with a witch’s hat rises four stories on the southeastern corner. The central gable features a balconette surmounted by a sunburst. There were seven rooms on the main floor and four rooms below. The main floor was famed for its 12-foot ceilings. The house boasted no fewer than six fireplaces." (See Daniella Thompson, The Berkeley Daily, "East Bay Then and Now: Shipping Magnate's Mansion Is Rare Survivor on Oxford Street," published 09/08/2006, accessed 11/22/2017.)

The Boudrow family owned the house until 1922, when it was sold to a mining engineer, Roscoe Wheeler and his wife, Erminie and their daughters Erminie and Helen. Helen would later inherit the house and live in until 1970. At this time, Paul F. Hocking and his wife, Ann, subdivided the property into an apartment building, probably geared to student tenants. The owned this Queen Anne confection until 1994, when a new owner set about restoring the residence. Their efforts won them a preservation award from the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association (BAHA) in 06/2006.

In 03/2008, this well-maintained Queen Anne residence was offered at $3.75 million. At this time, it contained three bedrooms, three baths, two kitchens and six fireplaces. Like many buildings in Berkeley, CA, a college town, this large dwelling had been subdivided into apartments; the house's second floor once had three separate units. Interior and exterior details have remained true to Krafft's original design. Well-known chef, Alice Waters (b. 1944), the owner of the notable restaurant, Chez Panisse, once lived in this residence.

Berkeley Historical Landmark: ID n/a

PCAD id: 8604