Founders' Rock is a landmark on the northeast corner of UC Berkeley campus, where Gayley Road and Hearst Avenue meet, a lone spot shaded by toyon, oak and eucalyptus. The rock itself, lichen-encrusted and moss-encrusted, is an unpredictable jumble.
The Founders' Rock is located at the corner of Hearst Avenue and Gayley Road, in Berkeley , California, where, according to the college, the 12 trustees of the College of California, Berkeley, the nascent University of California, stood on April 16, 1860 to dedicate the property they had just purchased. This is, supposedly, the same place where Frederick Billings stood in 1866 when he remembered Bishop Berkeley's verse—"Westward the course of the empire takes its way"—and thus inspired the name of the new city. A plaque was placed on this spot on the day of the Charter in 1896.
UC Berkeley 's story is that the campus and, by default, the entire University of California system was founded on April 16, 1860, at this unique rock outcrop now hidden under trees and behind bushes at the corner of Hearst Avenue and Gayley Road. Never mind that the actual founding of the University took place on 23 March 1868, when Governor Henry Haight signed the Charter Act, which the State Assembly had passed a few weeks earlier, into law. And also ignore the fact that the memorial plaque inserted into the rock does not mention UC Berkeley at all but one of its predecessors, the College of California.
The University of California was founded in 1868, but its origins date back to 1860, when the College of California, a small private institution then located in Oakland, bought thirty acres of land for the benefit of a country location. On 16 April 1860, the trustees of the College of California met at Founders' Rock to dedicate their new campus.
Reverends Samuel H. Willey, D. B. Cheney, Henry Durant and Frederick Billings were among those present. Billings is credited with choosing the name Berkeley for the campus surrounding the college, and popular tradition has made him stand on the rock when the name Berkeley came to him.
The California legislature established the College of Agriculture , Mining and Mechanical Arts in 1866. Two years later, with the passage of the Charter Act by the legislature, a new state college joined the College of California and the University of California was formed.
Founders' Rock, located on Hearst Avenue and Gayley Road, is a natural outcropping of unusual geological composition that may have been driven by activity in the nearby Hayward Fault centuries ago. It was once the most prominent feature of the surrounding landscape. The plaque commemorating the Founders' Rock was placed there by the graduation class of 1896.
This hidden gem in Berkeley, California is located near some other must-see places of interest:
- Cafe Ohlone
- Games of Berkeley
- Morrison Library
- Fairy Post Office
- Fish House
- The Vine Street UFO
- East Bay Vivarium
- Indian Rock
All of these wonderful - but not so well known - attractions are located just a short distance from our location at 1261 Locust Street in Walnut Creek, California! Stop by for a visit anytime!