Family History


Berkeley’s most revolutionary modern house was built, incongruously enough, for a scion of Berkeley’s most traditional family, the Shattucks. In 1852, Francis Kittredge Shattuck (1825–1898) came to California and soon became a leading figure in the development of Oakland and Berkeley. By 1868, he had convinced his younger sister Elizabeth Helen (1835–1912) and her lawyer husband Henry Herman Havens to follow in his steps. Elizabeth had seven children. The third was John Weston Havens, who in 1881 entered the University of California. The childless Shattuck invited his nephew to live with him in Berkeley and made him his heir. John’s only child was John Weston Havens, Jr. (1903–2001).

Young Weston grew up in a large brown-shingle house at 2631 Benvenue Avenue with his father and governess. From the windows, he could see the site of his future home on Panoramic Hill. He graduated from the University in 1923 and devoted his life to the parallel pursuits of managing the family’s properties and art patronage. A devotee of modernism, he followed new trends in architecture, which led him to Harwell Hamilton Harris.

Source: Daniella Thompson, from the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association 2005 House Tour guidebook, Panoramic Hill.

> link to Berkeley Architectural Heritage site