The area once known as “Harwood’s Land” has always been a prime area in Berkeley. About a mile from UC, it lies at the mouth of a lush, wooded canyon that leads up into the hills that cross into Contra Costa County.
In the 1800’s, it became a well-traveled stage coach route. By the early 1900’s, Claremont Canyon, as it became known, became an integral part of Berkeley’s “Key” or streetcar system. Not surprisingly, real estate developers, knowing a prime location when they saw it, decided to build a grand and majestic hotel there as a San Francisco “getaway". It’s now known as the Claremont Hotel and Resort.
About the same time, the 1906 earthquake shook the whole Bay Area. And with that, Berkeley became more than a quiet university town, as many San Franciscans fled the city for Berkeley just as many do today. The hillsides of Claremont Canyon, being lush and beautiful, became grand home sites for business people from the City. Each home was architecturally different, with unique gardens and larger lots than a lot of Berkeley.
The result is “the Claremont”, a neighborhood of grand homes along the hillsides of Claremont Canyon – often with small paths leading down to Claremont Avenue and the Claremont Hotel. Most homes are surrounded by gardens – not so much "formal" as "unique".
One of those grand homes, near the heart of Claremont Canyon, is the F.H. Hammer home at 135 Tunnel Road. Built in 1909 with Architect Herbert Chivers, it is indicative of the Claremont homes built after the earthquake. With grand proportions and unique details, it makes its own statement in the Claremont tradition. Surrounded by gardens and a patio, it is set back from the street by an ivy covered wall in a diamond pattern … making its statement in a whimsical Berkeley sort of way.
A rather grand, pillared entry opens to the home’s great rooms with fireplaces. There are four large bedrooms, including a master suite with balconies and a tastefully updated kitchen and baths. An “art room” is just off the back patio. Sitting there, you feel a million miles away from the metropolis Berkeley has become. And yet, appropriately, you are just two blocks to the grande dame of them all, the Claremont Hotel.
The F.H.Hammer Home will have limited showings: Sunday, June 30 and Sunday, July 7 from 2 to 4:30 pm. It is being offered for sale at $1,250,000. For a private showing, contact Barbara Reynolds, McGuire, at 510-847-2409 or view www.135TunnelRoad.com.
Originally posted on my Elmwood Home real estate blog here: http://elmwood-home.com/claremont-neighborhood-grand-berkeley-style/.