A historical plaque, critter encounters, and going under a street

I know it means “Garden of the Heart,” but I don’t know what it refers to.
the northern steps to the west entrance of Rose Walk

Today I tackled Rose Walk (#102), La Loma Steps (#103), and Rose Steps (#104). Having already walked La Loma Path and Rose Glen Alley, I’m feeling like some of these paths could be renamed to better distinguish them…

I walked up what has to be the grandest of all entrances to Berkeley paths, with two sets of steps that merge  just above the cars whizzing by on Euclid Avenue. At the top of the first tier of stairs is a handsome street lamp. When the steps end, a wide concrete walkway with an easy incline takes you through sunny gardens that have smaller paths to individual dwellings. The path acts as a common courtyard, allowing residents to have their front yard face a quiet path rather than a noisy street. I decided it would be a nice place to live.

Beyond the garden, the path continues, bordered by a rustic wooden fence with an uneven top on the right, juniper and other shrubs to the left, and lots of shade above from trees on both sides. Near the top is another set of wide concrete steps, which end in the shady curve of Rose Street where it becomes Le Roy Avenue. There’s no sign to indicate the eastern entrance, and in fact, I recall walking this same stretch of Rose Street after traversing nearby Tamalpais Path and seeing this end and wondering if it was one of the paths. It was!

west entrance to La Loma Steps

From there I headed south on Le Roy until I came upon the western entrance of La Loma Steps, which features a lovely trellis doorway covered with white blooms. The steps were apparently designated a historical landmark in 1995, according to the informative plaque at the entrance explaining the path’s origin and which I will quote from extensively here:

When the La Loma Park subdivision was created in 1900, the streets were laid out in harmony with the natural contours of the land as advocated by Berkeley’s Hillside Club. The rustic quality of the stone walls, brick paving, pergola and benches along the steps reflects the Club’s “building with nature” philosophy. Adjacent property owners donated land to create this public pedestrian pathway, one of many in the Berkeley Hills. The new steps allowed easy access to the streetcar line which had opened on Euclid Avenue in 1903.

After the 1923 Berkeley Fire swept through the neighborhood, the steps remained standing on a hillside of ruins and ashes. Features of the steps were rehabilitated after the Fire and again in 1992.

I saw this sign outside a house on Rose St. but I saw no strange dogs…

Thanks, Berkeley Historical Plaque Project!

On the Path Wanderers website, I found a link to an article in the Daily Planet that goes into more detail about the fire and the consequent reconstruction.

The brick path zigzags at right angles partway through and provides a few small benches and even a roof of greenery, where several properties seem to converge. Fences and a chain clearly mark the pathway that continues from LeRoy up to Buena Vista Way.

Just a few steps to the left, or north, is Greenwood Terrace, where I heard an older man’s voice and assumed he was conversing via Bluetooth on his hidden smart phone. I was delighted to discover that he had been talking to Milly, his eight-year-old canine companion, whom I got to pet.

img_2316Along Greenwood Terrace I found a tree-lined path next to a perfectly manicured green lawn with what would be a gorgeous view on a clear day. My map  showed it as Greenwood Commons, and some low chains and a few signs declared the area private and insisted on no dogs. Milly would have to walk the streets.


the entirety of the Rose Steps

After Greenwood Terrace dead-ended on Rose Street, I headed right, or east, where I came upon a young, gray tabby named Mitts, who mewed rather insistently and didn’t mind my attention but didn’t seem to want her picture taken, judging by her constant movement that resulted in several blurry photos.

I was confused by my map, which seemed to indicate that Rose Street turned into the Rose Steps, which continued in the same direction and became La Loma Avenue.

At the end of Rose Street, you are eye-level with the cars’ tires as they speed by on La Loma Ave.

The truth is that Rose Street comes to an end beneath La Loma where it curves south, and the Rose Steps are located near the eastern end of the street on its south side. This short path allows one to reach La Loma Avenue by foot. But first I trekked to the very end of Rose Street to see where it led. On the left was a tall solid fence that abutted a house that had no windows on two sides and faced a steep canyon.

Under the curve of La Loma Avenue

Beyond that was an empty lot that was for sale, which faced the canyon on one side and the industrial structure that supported the bend of La Loma on the other. I think I understand why the house didn’t bother with windows on its south side…

I think that because of the yet-to-be-built paths and one that I walked earlier (out of numerical order!), I have only 28 more paths in Berkeley to go. To reach my goal of walking them all in one year, I just need to do two per week through December. I can totally do that, right?





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