South Berkeley, Berkeley, California

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Coordinates: 37°50′56″N 122°16′18″W / 37.84889°N 122.27167°W / 37.84889; -122.27167

South Berkeley is a neighborhood in the city of Berkeley, California. It extends roughly from Dwight Way to the city’s border with Oakland, between Telegraph Avenue in the east and either Sacramento Street or San Pablo Avenue in the west. It lies at an elevation of 102 feet (31 m).


This neighborhood is the center for Berkeley's African-American community, with a population of 9,341 that is roughly 52% African American. Traditionally, it was considered to be the most economically depressed portion of Berkeley; however, as rent has risen in the city over the past several years, South Berkeley has become more attractive to students and other young people, and rents in the area have become comparable to other, more affluent Berkeley neighborhoods.[1] South Berkeley is crisscrossed by bus lines and is arguably among the most bicycle-friendly areas of the San Francisco Bay Area.[citation needed]


Along Ashby Avenue, the Union Pacific once ran a trolley that took passengers to the shoreline, which at the time extended along what is now San Pablo Avenue. South Berkeley has been the East Bay mecca for sports, from competitive softball leagues to the Midnight & Twilight Basketball League at Grove Street Park.


Services and businesses located in South Berkeley include the Ashby BART station, the Shotgun Players theatre, La Peña Cultural Center, and the Berkeley Tool Lending Library. The Berkeley Bowl supermarket, which has one of the most extensive selections of produce and specialty foods in the Bay Area, operates one of its two stores there. The Ashby BART station hosts a flea market each weekend in its parking lot. The area is also home to Wat Mongkolratanaram, a Thai Buddhist temple that serves a Sunday brunch.

Parks and recreation[edit]

The Tennis court area at "Grove Street Park" is now called William C. Charles Courts, named after the late "Mr. Charles" (also known as "the waving man"). He would stand in front of his house on the corner of Grove and Oregon Streets every morning from about 7 am to 10 am waving to passersby while saying "Keep smiling" and "Have a beautiful day". He did this every day for 25 years. South Berkeley residents respected and appreciated Mr. Charles, who died in 1998, and the Grove Street Park tennis courts were named in his honor.

Grove Street Park is home to a nationally ranked men's basketball team[citation needed], the Berkeley All-Stars, coached by Bay Area basketball legend Eugene Evans. Grove Park and San Pablo Park have been the training grounds for many well-known athletes, including Don Barksdale, Claudell Washington, Phil Chenier, Shooty Babitt and Jason Kidd.


  1. ^ " real estate statistics". Retrieved 2011-04-03. 

See also[edit]