Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Historic Living

First floor hallway
Julia Morgan was a prolific architect, working mostly in California. Way back in November, I was lucky enough to attend a writing event at the Julia Morgan ballroom in San Francisco. The building and the ballroom were amazing.

Recently, on the college trip to Bezerkley, my young friends and I had the good fortune to stay at the Berkeley City Club, another building that Julia Morgan designed. Once again, she did spectacular work. And we reaped the benefits.

Elevator floor indicator — still works!
One of the many charming spaces
The Berkeley City Club started out as the Berkeley Women's City Club in 1930. It was often called the "Little Castle" as Julia Morgan was working on the large Hearst Castle at the same time. Apparently, there are similarities between the two buildings.

Originally, the club was a social one, although it also served as a residence for women members. There are currently still four members who live there. They have been residents since before the women's club became the Berkeley City Club in 1962. (Men were newly admitted as well.)

I must admit to being jealous. It's a beautiful building, with everything in it designed by Julia Morgan, and there are many ways to be social. The Berkeley City Club has a restaurant and there is a group for every interest. Wine drinkers, readers, card players, brunch eaters, theatergoers, all have the opportunity to spend time with like-minded people.

But the crown jewel of the Berkeley City Club is its pool. It is an indoor swimming hole in an absolutely gorgeous hall. 25 yards, it is a classic lap pool. It is open all day, and frequently used by members.

In fact, they are so protective of their pool, caps are required of all swimmers with hair below their ears. I was surprised they let me get away with no cap. It's the best indoor pool I have swum in.

Our room was small and had no television, but that didn't matter. The girls' favorite feature was the view west to the Pacific Ocean that could be seen from the toilet. At times we could even make out one of the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge.

It's my new favorite place to stay in Berkeley.

1 comment:

  1. Have you been to the St. Paul Athletic Club? They have a pretty amazing pool I think you'd appreciate. http://www.thespac.com/Athletics/Aquatics