National Register of Historic Places in Alameda County

National Register #82002159: Fox Court in Berkeley 1980 photograph submitted with the NRHP Nomination.
National Register #82002159: Fox Court in Berkeley
Most of Fox Court is hidden from public view except for the cobblestone-faced shops on University Avenue.
6 October 2012

(Click Photos to Zoom)

National Register #82002159
Fox Court
1472-1478 University Avenue
Built 1927-1930

Fox Court embodies the distinctive characteristics of a regional Northern California mode of construction of the 1920s sometimes referred to as Hansel and Gretel or Medieval Dollhouse.

Fox Court typifies such structures in its eclectic use of Medieval images, its diminutive scale, as well as its careful integration of structures and formal landscaping. The romanticized historicism of this complex creates a fragile, almost stage set quality. Functionally, however, the complex makes economical use of its University Avenue siting, providing usable commercial space on its street exposure and a quiet residential courtyard behind.

Carl Fox was an engineering graduate of the University of California in Berkeley. He spent his early adult years travelling in Asiatic countries, carrying on a pioneer tradition of his German-born family, who crossed the United States in covered wagon to settle in the gold country of Northern California.

Carl's wanderings convinced him Berkeley was the "heart of God's country." He returned there to form the Fox Brothers Construction Firm in the 1920s.

Fox was an energetic man of many talents and interests, including photography, film making, travel, gardening, and the fine arts. He was a member of the Sierra Club. He was a pioneer in the founding of the Berkeley Builders' Exchange.

As a builder, Fox was known for his ability to incorporate structures into carefully landscaped settings. He was one of a group of Berkeley builders and architects devoted to fitting their homes into Berkeley natural environment.

Like many architects nationally, Fox was forced to discontinue his work in the uncertain economic situation of the 1930s.

Excerpted from the NRHP nomination.

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