Early Days: 1900-1910


Exhibit Intro and Contents

The first decade of the twentieth century saw Berkeley’s population grow dramatically, from 13,214 in 1900 to 40,434 in 1910. New food establishments included additional restaurants and grocery stores. Stephen Sill opened a grocery, illustrated here, shortly after arriving in Berkeley in 1900. He proceeded to open several others including, in 1915, in the brick building at 2145 University that later housed Appleton Grocery (1925-1945) and then Berkeley Hardware (1945-2016) and is now part of the Acheson Commons complex.

Sill’s Grocery, 2201 Shattuck, early 1900s

Berkeley Daily Gazette, 26 March 1960, about Sill’s:

Regular customers were contacted by a small battery of clerks who made hundreds of phone calls throughout the morning, taking orders. In the afternoon, one or more wagons, loaded with grocery boxes, would move through the south campus and north and central Berkeley area, drawn by a pair of slick horses.

Berkeley had numerous butcher shops by the turn of the century. This one was owned by Louis L. Stein, father of the Louis Stein who was a major collector of local history until his death in 1996.

Berkeley Daily Gazette Restaurant ads from 1908:

Note one of the ads above mentions the closing of Bill Henderson’s U.C. Pup hot dog stand—Berkeley’s first food truck (shown at left). Established around 1900, it had various locations and was popular with students.

The 1910 city directory listed 21 restaurants in Berkeley, including Ban Sun at 2112 Channing, four run by people with Greek names, and others in both downtown and west Berkeley.

By Ann Harlow

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