William R. Thorsen House
|Location||2307 Piedmont Ave, Berkeley, California|
|Area||0.4 acres (0.16 ha)|
|Architect||Greene & Greene|
|Architectural style||Ultimate bungalow, American Arts and Crafts Movement|
|NRHP reference #||78000646|
|Added to NRHP||November 20, 1978|
|Designated BERKL||December 15, 1975|
The William R. Thorsen House, often referred to as the Thorsen House, is a historic residence in Berkeley, California. Built in 1909 for William and Caroline Thorsen, it is one of the last of four standing ultimate bungalows designed by Henry and Charles Greene of the renowned architectural firm Greene & Greene and the only one located in Northern California.
Berkeley is a city on the east shore of San Francisco Bay in northern Alameda County, California. It is named after the 18th-century Irish bishop and philosopher George Berkeley. It borders the cities of Oakland and Emeryville to the south and the city of Albany and the unincorporated community of Kensington to the north. Its eastern border with Contra Costa County generally follows the ridge of the Berkeley Hills. The 2010 census recorded a population of 112,580.
An ultimate bungalow is a large and detailed Craftsman style home, based on the bungalow style. The style is associated with such California architects as Greene and Greene, Bernard Maybeck and Julia Morgan. Some of the hallmarks of Greene and Greene's ultimate bungalows include the use of tropical woods such as mahogany, ebony and teak, and use of inlays of wood, metal and mother-of-pearl. As in their other major projects, Charles and Henry Greene—and to a lesser extent Bernard Maybeck and a few other Craftsman-era architects who built such homes—sometimes designed the majority of furniture, textiles, fixtures and other interior details of these homes specifically for their location both in the house and in the larger landscape.
Northern California is the northern portion of the U.S. state of California. Spanning the state's northernmost 48 counties, its main population centers include the San Francisco Bay Area, the Greater Sacramento area, and the Metropolitan Fresno area. Northern California also contains redwood forests, along with the Sierra Nevada, including Yosemite Valley and part of Lake Tahoe, Mount Shasta, and most of the Central Valley, one of the world's most productive agricultural regions.
Since 1942, it has been home to the Sigma Phi Society of the Thorsen House (alternatively Thorsen or the Sigma Phi Society of California), which hosts communal dinners, organizes small concerts, and offers tours for other students and members of the public, welcoming thousands of visitors a year.
Thorsen can be toured throughout the week on an informal basis; one can simply knock on the door to visit.
The Thorsen House is named after William Randolph Thorsen (1860-1942), a lumber baron from Michigan who retired to and purchased a lot in Berkeley, California. His wife, Caroline Canfield Thorsen (1858-1942), was the younger sister of Nellie Canfield Blacker, owner of the Robert R. Blacker House in Pasadena, California. The couple resided in the house following its construction and until their deaths in 1942.
Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes and Midwestern regions of the United States. The state's name, Michigan, originates from the Ojibwe word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake". With a population of about 10 million, Michigan is the tenth most populous of the 50 United States, with the 11th most extensive total area, and is the largest state by total area east of the Mississippi River. Its capital is Lansing, and its largest city is Detroit. Metro Detroit is among the nation's most populous and largest metropolitan economies.
The Robert Roe Blacker House, often referred to as the Blacker House or Robert R. Blacker House, is a residence in Pasadena, California, which is now on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1907 for Robert Roe Blacker and Nellie Canfield Blacker. It was designed by Henry and Charles Greene of the renowned Pasadena firm of Greene and Greene. This house was a lavish project for the Greene brothers, costing in excess of US$100,000.00. Everything for the house was custom designed, down to the teak escutcheon plates of the upstairs mahogany panel doors to the linen closets with their ebony cloud adorned keys.
Pasadena is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, located 11 miles (18 km) northeast of Downtown Los Angeles.
The house embodies the American Craftsman style of the Arts and Crafts Movement, a style Greene & Greene is known for incorporating in their projects (as is the case with Gamble House and Blacker House, both in Pasadena).
The American Craftsman style, or the American Arts and Crafts movement, is an American domestic architectural, interior design, landscape design, applied arts, and decorative arts style and lifestyle philosophy that began in the last years of the 19th century. As a comprehensive design and art movement, it remained popular into the 1930s. However, in decorative arts and architectural design, it has continued with numerous revivals and restoration projects through present times.
Greene and Greene was an architectural firm established by brothers Charles Sumner Greene (1868–1957) and Henry Mather Greene (1870–1954), influential early 20th Century American architects. Active primarily in California, their houses and larger-scale ultimate bungalows are prime exemplars of the American Arts and Crafts Movement.
The Gamble House, also known as the David B. Gamble House, is an iconic American Craftsman home in Pasadena, California, designed by the architectural firm Greene and Greene. Constructed in 1908–09 as a home for David B. Gamble of the Procter & Gamble company, it is today a National Historic Landmark, a California Historical Landmark, and open to the public for tours and events.
The entry hall is paneled in Burmese Teak while the living and dining rooms are paneled in Honduras Mahogany with ebony pegs covering the screws. The fireplace in the living room is encased in mauve tile from the Grueby Faience Company. The front door contains leaded art glass in the pattern of a gnarled grape vine, executed by Emil Lange, who also worked on the Gamble House. The Greenes were originally commissioned to make furniture for the dining room, but were later called back to make additional pieces.
Teak, tectona grandis, is a hardwood tree native to much of South and Southeast Asia, including Myanmar. Due to its natural water resistance, teak is sought out for a variety of uses including furniture-making and shipbuilding. Teak grows throughout much of Burma, but was first exploited in the Tenasserim region in the southeast of Burma on the Malay Peninsula Though it has long been used by locals, teak has been important to the economy of Myanmar since British Colonization and remains a political issue today.
Ebony is a dense black/brown hardwood, most commonly yielded by several different species in the genus Diospyros, which also contains the persimmons. Ebony is dense enough to sink in water. It is finely-textured and has a very smooth finish when polished, making it valuable as an ornamental wood. The word ebony comes from the Ancient Egyptian hbny, through the Ancient Greek ἔβενος (ébenos), into Latin and Middle English.
The Grueby Faience Company, founded in 1894, was an American ceramics company that produced distinctive vases and tiles during America's Arts and Crafts Movement.
Arthur Brown Jr. (1874–1957) was a prominent American architect, based in San Francisco and designer of many of its landmarks.
Bernard Ralph Maybeck was an American architect in the Arts and Crafts Movement of the early 20th century. He was an instructor at University of California, Berkeley. Most of his major buildings were in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Sigma Phi Society (ΣΦ) was founded on the Fourth of March, on the campus of Union College as a part of the Union Triad in Schenectady, New York. It is the second Greek fraternal organization founded in the United States. The Sigma Phi Society was the first Greek organization to establish a chapter at another college, which occurred with the founding of the Beta of New York at Hamilton College in 1831, thus making it the first National Greek Organization. Sigma Phi is a member of the North-American Interfraternity Conference.
The Masonic Temple in Downtown Berkeley, California is a historic building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is located at 2105 Bancroft Way at the corner of Shattuck Avenue, just one block west of the University of California, Berkeley. The Classical Revival style building, designed by William H. Wharff, was built in 1905. The building was built for Berkeley's Masons, who started a local lodge in 1882 and formed the Berkeley Masonic Temple Association to build the temple. In 1944, the building was converted to a bank. The ground floor of the building is now unoccupied and the remaining floors are used by University staff, including the California Center for Innovative Transportation and the National Writing Project.
Myron Hubbard Hunt was an American architect whose numerous projects include many noted landmarks in Southern California and Evanston, Illinois. Hunt was elected a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects in 1908.
Robert George Bergman is an American chemist.
This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Pasadena, California.
Orange Grove Boulevard is a main thoroughfare in Pasadena and South Pasadena, California. Each New Year's Day, the Rose Parade participants and floats line up before dawn on Orange Grove Boulevard, facing north, for the beginning of the parade. South Orange Grove has been the address of the affluent, both the famous and the infamous, since the early 1900s. The Los Angeles Times said: "When a stranger comes to Pasadena now, the real-estate agent shows him Orange Grove Avenue.
Robert David Farquhar was an architect working in California from 1905 to 1940.
Pasadena is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. Famous for its colourful history and the hosting of the Tournament of Roses Parade since 1890, and the annual Rose Bowl football game since 1902. Pasadena was founded in 1874 and incorporated in 1886.
In the United States, the National Register of Historic Places classifies its listings by various types of architecture. Listed properties often are given one or more of 40 standard architectural style classifications that appear in the National Register Information System (NRIS) database. Other properties are given a custom architectural description with "vernacular" or other qualifiers, and others have no style classification. Many National Register-listed properties do not fit into the several categories listed here, or they fit into more specialized subcategories.
The Charles M. Pratt House near Ojai, California is a historic Arts and Crafts-style house that was built in 1909 as a winter home for industrialist Charles Millard Pratt. Also known as Casa Barranca, it is one of the "ultimate bungalows" designed by architects Charles and Henry Greene of Greene and Greene.
The Spinks House, also known as Margaret B. S. Clapham Spinks House, is a restored example of a California bungalow in Pasadena, California, USA. The house and grounds were designed by Henry Mather Greene of the architectural firm Greene and Greene as a home for Margaret B. S. Clapham Spinks and the retired judge William Ward Spinks.