Thursday, November 17, 2011

Golden Sheaf Bakery

The Golden Sheaf Bakery is located at 2071 Addison Street in downtown Berkeley.  It is designated Berkeley Historical Landmark number 20.

The Golden Sheaf Bakery was opened in 1877 by Jonathan Garrard Wright, an English immigrant.  His bakery was the first wholesale-retail bakery in the immediate area and was a huge success.  By the turn of the century the bakery had a delivery fleet of nearly forty horse drawn carts.  Wright was also active in local labor concerns, as a member and officer of the Master Baker's Association of Alameda County, and a mediator for the Journeyman Baker's Union.  He averted a strike in 1903, and by 1905 had expanded his involvement with local affairs into public health, advocating for mass immunization of young children in Berkeley and using his Golden Sheaf Hall, at the time the largest public hall in Berkeley, for mass meetings to debate the measure.

By 1907 the Wright family had sold the business to a local syndicate and manufacturing was moved to a new location in Berkeley.  The old Golden Sheaf Hall was torn down and Golden Sheaf Baking was merged with the Remar Baking Company.

The building that still stands on Addison Street is a remnant of the Golden Sheaf Baking complex.  It was originally a storage area and a loading dock for baking supplies, but has been re-purposed throughout the years to meet the needs of a variety of tenants. It served as offices and shops until 1927 when it was converted into a garage.  In July of 2000 the building was re-dedicated as the Nevo Educational Center of the Berkeley Repertory Theater.

Getting There By Bike...
This one is pretty easy.  The building is right in the middle of downtown Berkeley and is only a block or so off of Shattuck.  Head west from the intersection of Addison and Shattuck  and the building will be on the right hand side.  During the day there can be a fair amount of traffic through this part of town so be wary.  While you're in the vicinity, Berkeley Civic Center Park and the old city hall building are just around the block, as are the downtown Berkeley post office and the historic buildings of the Civic Center District.

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