The Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association (BAHA) has long published self-guided architectural tours based on the guided tours that it regularly offers its members. Until recently, however, the only such publication covering our District was one based on a tour led by architectural expert Mark Wilson on May 16, 1976 and first published in 1980. Though admirable in its intentions -- the tour, titled simply “Flatlands,” noted 23 buildings or building complexes -- it was limited both by its format, a single page (including map) in BAHA's 41 Walking Tours of Berkeley, Cal., and by the undeveloped state of local research. There was, in fact, comparatively little interest in Flatlands history or architecture at the time, nor had the different Flatlands districts , of which ours is only one, been clearly delineated. The designation in 2000 of the Hunter House as a “structure of merit” -- the first example of Flatlands domestic architecture to be granted this title -- convinced those involved that the Flatlands deserved a closer look (see Buildings: Landmarks and Landmarking). The research needed for the landmark application could not have been done without BAHA’s moral support or access to its extensive archives.
A new edition of 41 Berkeley Walking Tours in 2009 gave us fresh opportunity to draw on both of these resources. Thanks to a small group of MSHHIG members, working closely with Anthony Bruce of BAHA, this edition features two separate tours, east and west, of the McGee-Spaulding District. There is now an enlarged format that includes not only a street map for each tour but an architectural or historical comment on the 20 to 30 structures involved. In all, the guide notes 59 of our District’s structures. It is on sale from BAHA at P.O. Box 1137, Berkeley, California 94701, from local bookstores, or here.