Berkeley Landmarks :: Bosse and Kueffer Houses


Bossť & Kueffer Houses

Fulton Street, Berkeley, CA

Daniella Thompson

The Kueffer (left) and Bossť cottages, looking north along Fulton St.
(photo: Daniella Thompson, 2005)

The Bossť and Kueffer cottages are among a few remnants of the 19th-century neighborhood that once thrived in the College Homestead Association Tract in Berkeley’s Southside. Proximity to the Dwight Way Station and its shopping district stimulated the early growth of this neighborhood, which has undergone numerous changes as the U.C. campus expanded.

The same cottages a year earlier (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004)

Kueffer & Bossť houses in the 19th century
(photo: BAHA archives)

Renovated in 2004 and 2005, the Bossť and Kueffer cottages now form a small Victorian showcase ensemble near the intersection of Fulton and Haste Streets. Next door, at 2130 and 2132 Haste Street, one can see two restored matching High-Peaked Colonial Revival cottages.

Bertha Bossť House, 2424 Fulton Street

2424 Fulton St. (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004)

2424 Fulton St., raised (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2005)

The two cottages built in 1884 for Mrs. Bertha Bossť and her family are among the oldest surviving buildings in the College Homestead Association Tract. Located on two parcels, they were landmarked separately. The cottage at 2426 Fulton was designated on 5 May 2003, while 2424 Fulton was designated on 2 June 2003. In the late 1970s, the State Historic Resources Inventory listing for 2424 Fulton Street noted the presence of the original ornamental artificial stone curbing that had once supported a cast iron fence. Sadly, a new owner recently destroyed this special feature. In the course of renovation, this house was raised one story.

Bertha Bossť House, 2426 Fulton Street

2426 Fulton St. (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004)

2426 Fulton St,. restored (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2005)

John & Emily Kueffer House, 2430 Fulton Street

Just south of the two Bossť cottages on Fulton Street stands the Kueffer house, an intact Queen Anne raised-basement cottage built in 1891. John L. Kueffer, who built the house, was a Swiss-born cabinetmaker. The Kueffer family remained in this house only three years or so. By 1895, the Berkeley directory listed Kueffer as having moved to Los Gatos.

Kueffer, his wife Emily, and their three sons were back in Berkeley by 1899, this time at 1312 Louisa Street (later renamed Bonita Avenue), which continued to be their home for many years.

Kueffer is said to have been the developer, in collaboration with Luther Burbank, of the 12-inch long Kueffer pear. It is not clear whether this pear actually existed or whether the name is confused with Kieffer’s Hybrid pear, introduced by the Alsacian-born Pennsylvania nurseryman Peter Kieffer, who died in 1890. Considering his lifelong occupation as cabinetmaker, it is doubtful that Kueffer will have engaged in horticulture, unless he did so during the few years spent in Los Gatos.

In the 1910s and ’20s, the Kueffer house served as the home and business establishment of a corset maker. The Kueffer house was designated a City of Berkeley Landmark on 5 May 2003. Its exterior has been beautifully restored, but nothing remains of the original interiors.


2430 Fulton St. (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004)

2430 Fulton St., restored (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2005)

The cottages seen from the Fulton-Haste intersection (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2005)



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