Walking a Grid in South Berkeley

One could approach walking every street in a city in any number of ways, from freeform to methodical. My methodology lies somewhere in the middle. I generally map out a route beforehand and adjust as necessary along the way. Usually my routes will take me back to the same part of town a few times before I finish that section of the map, and I will walk some streets a number of times (especially because most of my walks begin directly from my home).

On Sunday morning I was looking over my map to plan out a route for the day and noticed a grid of east-west streets in South Berkeley that I had not walked. Unlike my previous walks, I decided to walk all of the streets, one by one, winding my way through the section from San Pablo Avenue to Acton St. and back again. I found that with this process, I really got a feel for this neighborhood surrounding San Pablo Park.

Berkeley values its architectural heritage. Stories about disputes involving the destruction of historic houses regularly appear in the local press. I have heard plenty of comments from building contractors and homeowners about particularly time-consuming building permit process in Berkeley. But walking around this neighborhood, it was hard to believe any of this. "Anything goes" seemed to apply to this area, from strange little boxes added on to the top of a house to formerly tiny bungalows now engulfed by huge add-ons to houses resulting from tear-downs that one might expect to see in a new housing development. And then there is the fish house. Here's an aerial view of the house, which was designed by local architect Eugene Tsui for his parents.



  1. Yay! The Fish house! I always take friends by there to see it, it’s so bizarre and cool.

  2. Spike said

    That tops anything in my walkies area for weirdness. Bet kids love it.

  3. Zeth Kinnett said

    it’s a Tardigrade not a fish. A Tardigrade is thw worlds most indestructable creature according to Tsui but I don’t know about that. It is probably true though.

  4. […] in South Berkeley and Elmwood. You’ll get to hear from guest guides/historians and see the fish house, the TV house, front yard sculptures, vegetable gardens, and many other interesting sights. The […]

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