Cloyne Court Hotel was built in 1904 by the University Land and Improvement Company, which included several University professors, University benefactresses Phoebe Apperson Hearst and Jane Sather, future Regent James K. Moffit, Dr. Louis Lisser, John L. Howard, Warren Olney, Dr. Kasper Pishel, Louis Titus, John Galen Howard, the architect of the building and James M. Pierce, the later owner of the hotel. The building originally contained 32 suites that were not connected by common hallways, but instead connect by private stairways to the first floor public areas. That’s why the wings of the house do not connect on the second and third floors!
Cloyne Court was sold by the Pierce family in 1946 to the University Students’ Cooperative Association (former name of the Berkeley Student Cooperative), and operated as an all-male house. In 1972, Cloyne Court became a co-ed house.
In 1970, the USCA was forced to sell the property to the Regents of the University of California, upon the threat of an eminent domain acquisition by the University. Currently, Cloyne is leased to the BSC with a peppercorn lease.
After a series of drug-related incidents on the premises, most notably the overdose of a resident in 2010, the BSC’s Board of Directors voted in Spring 2014 to make Cloyne Court the Substance-Free Academic Theme House. The house was renovated over Summer 2014, and reopened in Fall 2014.
More Cloyne history
More BSC history
- The Green Book is “a collection of history about the Berkeley Student Cooperative (formerly known as the the U.S.C.A. and the U.C.S.C.A.).”
- BSC history page created by BSC staff. Note that this history is selective and specifically frames the issue of liability without discussing the non-profit corporatization of the last decade or so. Some highlights:
- 1933: The BSC started during the Great Depression, founded by UC Berkeley students and former YMCA Director Harry Kingman. Alongside access to education, one of the primary purposes of the BSC was to combat racial and religious housing discrimination (at the time, of Japanese and Jewish students), and to provide continuous member education about principles of tolerance and cooperation through mutual self-help living.
- 1930’s and 1940’s: The BSC expands with several new houses, including Barrington, Sheridan, and Stebbins — as the first women’s co-op! During WWII’s internment of Japanese Americans, a house that belonged to the Japanese Students Club (currently Euclid) was operated temporarily by the BSC until returned to the JSC in 1948 (later to be sold to the BSC). Along with Ridge House, the BSC purchased Cloyne shortly after WWII to accommodate the influx of GI’s.
- 1960s: After purchasing Hoyt as a second women’s co-op, the BSC pioneered co-ed living with what is currently CZ (but was originally called “Ridge Project”). The BSC also financed the construction of the much-needed Central Office and Central Food & Supplies warehouse.
- 1970s: The BSC took over failing houses in the Greek system, like what is currently POC House, Davis, and Wolf, and also opened Loth as a vegetarian house, as well as Kingman. In addition, the BSC began to build Rochdale through a low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, a loan which members and Harry Kingman had lobbied Congress for.
- Late 1970s and early 1990s: The BSC closed Oxford and Barrington due to liability issues.
- Late 1990s: The BSC opened its first theme houses, Afro (African American theme) and Wilde (LGBTQ+ theme) in the late 1990s.
- 2000s: The BSC undertook two major constructions projects, with retrofitting for earthquake safety and making more of the co-ops wheelchair-accessible (currently we have 7 wheelchair-accessible houses and 3 apartments).
Ways to research BSC history
- The UC Berkeley Bancroft Library has a large archive of USCA documents, including board minutes, promotional pamphlets, budget and finances, and information guides.
- The BSC Alumni Association has many members and be able to connect you with others who have insight and historical wisdom!
- Visit the Berkeley Historical Society, Long Haul Infoshop, or other community resource centers and ask around! (Comprehensive list of Bay Area community libraries, archives, and resources here.)
- Central Office has a “vault” of documents, photos, and records related to the BSC, which may be available for members to look at.