Water, Sewers & Culverts


The Berkeley Gazette in 1898 reported that there were many wells being dug in the City of Berkeley.  Most residences had their own wells from the 1860s through the 1920s.  Supplemental well fields owned by the water companies provided additional water when needed.  Berkeley’s water was supplied by the San Pablo well fields.[1]  Often the wells ran dry and/or became contaminated by the outhouses so that in 1930, when water came from the Sierras, the well fields were shut down.



The original survey for sewers on Grove Street was done in 1888.  The Berkeley Gazette in early 1898 reported that the sewers were now being laid on Grove Street.  This was followed by an order from the Berkeley Trustees to grade and macadamize Grove Street and to install street lights, including one at Channing Way and Grove Street.


Again, in 1899 the Berkeley Gazette reported that the Grove Street improvements had stimulated the area, giving for an example the story of 6 lots sold to builder L.T. Bowers, who had already built and sold several houses that year.  Of course, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire further added to the District’s development.  The Berkeley Gazette wrote about many property transactions in the McGee Tract and reported that the City had issued 116 building permits in the month of January alone.



Concrete culverts were gradually installed for Strawberry Creek.  In 1905 we found records that indicated a concrete culvert was completed for California Street at Strawberry Creek and the same for Roosevelt Avenue at Strawberry Creek in 1906.  We think the final concrete culverts were completed in the 1930s.



[1]  Berkeley Citizen (www.berkeleycitizen.org)

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