The Blake Estate (page 1)

August 24, 2018

The Blake Estate (owned by UC Berkeley and open to the public) was not part of the 84 Street Pledge, but if you walk around Kensington, you really need to take it in. I'd lived in Kensington for nearly 37 years and never had. I only heard about it a couple of years ago, but couldn't find it, looking for a more grandiose entrance. After completing the last walk of the Pledge, I walked a short way down Highgate Rd. to the back entrance of the Estate and entered.

After the last walk of my 84 Street Pledge, I figured that since the whole idea was to become familiar with my own town (hence "Yes In My Back Yard" or YIMBY) I decided to take in the Blake Estate. I entered via the back gate because I happened to be parked nearby. I immediately had a choice: a service road or a picturesque path. I went this way!

The classic view of the Blake Mansion over the reflecting pool.

This was an unspectacular but restful view. In the distance is a greenhouse, inside of which was a public restroom. I was tired and definitely needed to rest.

Sadly, a closer look at the mansion reveals it falling into disrepair. Once used to house the presidents of UC Berkeley, funding for maintenance was cut and it was a race downhill from there. Last occupied in 2008, rat Infestations, roof leaks and mold have made it unfit for vagrants, let alone university VIPs. This photo doesn't look too bad, but a look through the windows speaks volumes.

The mansion from the rear. It must have been great. At least they keep the grounds up, and use them to teach landscape architecture and other pursuits to students from several UC and other campuses.

Left: This is actually a bridge leading to a fence. Talk about a bridge to nowhere!

Right: In a clearing I found this solar panel. Well, this is UC Berkeley!