Hillside Elementary School

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Hillside School
Hillside School (Berkeley, CA).JPG
Buena Vista Way entrance, Hillside School
Location 1581 Le Roy Ave., Berkeley, California
Coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Area 0.2 acres (0.081 ha)
Built 1925
Architect Walter H. Ratcliff
Architectural style Tudor Revival
NRHP Reference # 82000961[1]
BERKL # 61
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 29, 1982
Designated BERKL June 21, 1982[2]

Hillside Elementary School is a former public elementary school that now houses the Berkeley campus of the German International School of Silicon Valley (GISSV). The site is located in the hills of Berkeley, California on the block bounded by Le Roy Avenue, Buena Vista Way and La Loma Avenue. Hillside is registered as a local historic landmark. In 1982 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places (#82000961).[3]


Hillside first opened in the Fall of 1901 on the nearby southwest corner of Le Roy Avenue and Virginia Street.[4][5] This first Hillside, constructed under the auspices of the newly formed Hillside Club,[6] for the Berkeley Public Schools, was one of the hundreds of structures that was destroyed by the 1923 Berkeley fire. The school was temporarily relocated, from late 1923 until August of 1926, to the University School (1414 Walnut Street) while a new school building was constructed.

The Berkeley School District built the present structure in 1925 on the site of several homes that were destroyed by the same fire that destroyed the original Hillside. Some additions were made in the 1930s and again in 1964-65. The 1930s work included some upgrades pursuant to the Field Act which resulted from the 1933 Long Beach earthquake.

In the early 1970s, Hillside became a primary school (K-3) as part of a district-wide re-organization.

In 1983, the school district closed Hillside[7] because of a declining school age population, and because it sits near or on the Hayward Fault. The Berkeley Montessori School (since renamed The Berkeley School) leased part of the site from the school district until 2003 when it moved to its new location in the old Berkeley Santa Fe depot on University Avenue. The Berkeley Chess School has also leased space since the closing of the public school. In 2012, GISSV purchased the site from the Berkeley Unified School district. Throughout, area residents have used Hillside's playground as a de facto neighborhood park since it was constructed.

BUSD Principals

  • Clara. G. Potwin, 1901-1907 (d.1907)
  • Jeannette Barrows, 1907-1937 (d.1945)
  • Eugenie E. Jackson, 1937-1943
  • Helen B. Maslin, 1943-1959 (d.1963)
  • Theodore F. Blitz, 1959-1973 (d.1993)
  • Frank L. Fisher, 1973-1978
  • Kathryne L. Favors, 1978-1981 (d.2008)
  • Marian K. Altman, 1981-1983

Some recent dates

  • In 2009, with sale of the site to a housing developer pending, local residents proposed a special assessment district to fund purchase of the playground section of the site.[8]
  • In June 2011 the District signed a preliminary purchase agreement with the non-profit German International School of Silicon Valley[9]
  • In July 2012, work began on the restoration of Hillside. The old concrete walkway, which had buckled and cracked was, removed and new concrete laid down. The brick steps of the old Kindergarten entrance were replaced with concrete. A deteriorated temporary building, which had been situated on the old Kindergarten playground since the early 1970s, was removed.
  • The German International School held its first classes at Hillside August 13, 2012. The Berkeley Chess School remains as a tenant.

Movie Set

Hillside stood in as an English mansion in the 2012 movie The Master. Filming took place during June 2011.[10][11]

See also


  1. Staff (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Berkeley Landmarks". Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association. Retrieved 2013-03-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. berkeleyheritage.com
  4. History of the Berkeley Public Schools, Cowan, 1918, Internet Archives
  5. Landmark Application
  6. The shrinking legacy of Volney D. Moody and his heirs, Daniella Thompson, BAHA, 2008
  7. Minutes, School Board Meeting, May 4, 1983
  8. City Manager's Office (2009-03-24). "Findings for Acquisition of 1581 Leroy (Hillside School)" (PDF). City Council Packet. City of Berkeley. Retrieved 2010-11-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. School Board Agenda (PDF) http://www.berkeley.net/uploads/school_board/2011spring/06-29-11_packet.pdf. Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  10. Taylor, Tracey (June 27, 2011). "Paul Thomas Anderson shoots new movie in Berkeley". BerkeleySide.com. Retrieved July 3, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Finding filming sites in Bay Area is just the beginning of this job", Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle, July 17, 2013
  • Directory of Berkeley Public Schools, Annual, 1918-

External links