Architect & Visionary
Julia Morgan

Born in 1872, Julia Morgan enjoyed a long and prolific career as an architect in California - designing more than 700 buildings. As the mastermind behind Berkeley City Club her legacy continues to live on. 

The Life & Legacy of Julia Morgan


Julia Morgan, the architect of Berkeley City Club, was born in San Francisco. She was the second of five children born to Charles Bill and Eliza Parmelee Morgan.


Julia Morgan and her family moved from San Francisco to Oakland. Eliza Morgan, Julia's Mother, ran the household with a strong hand - this provided young Julia with a role model that represented womanly competence and Independence. 


During this time it was typical for young girls to marry after high school and join the ranks of high society. This did not interest Julia. She convinced her Mother to let her attend UC Berkeley, which had just begun to enroll women. During her second year of college she enrolled in the Civil Engineering Department. 


During her senior year Julia took engineering lectures from Bernard Maybeck, an esteemed architect. Julia admired the buildings that Maybeck had built due to their respect for surrounding typography. Maybeck would go on to mentor young Morgan. He would encourage her to continue her studies at the same institute he had attended in Paris - Ecole des Beaux-Arts. 


Julia Morgan graduated as the only woman in her engineering class from UC Berkeley with a degree in Civil Engineering.


Morgan took the exam to enroll in Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and placed 13th out of 376 applicants and cemented herself as the first woman to ever be admitted to the prestigious school. 

Architect Julia Morgan
Exterior of the Berkeley City Club built by Julia Morgan


Received her Master's degree in architecture from Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. 


Morgan obtained a license to practice architecture in California. She opened her own office right in San Francisco, California - the same city in which she was born. 


Morgan's career really took off after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. People were lining up to commission her to build them houses, churches, clubs, banks, schools, hospitals, and stores. 


Construction begins on the Asilomar Conference Grounds. The term asilomar means "refuge by the sea" and was founded by the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA). During this time William Randolph Hearst hired Julia to design the main building and guest houses on his ranch in San Simeon. He instructed her to build something that was "more comfortable" than the platform tents currently used on the ranch.


Also during this time membership campaigns and organizations began to contribute to a change and forward progress in social, civic, and cultural movements. 


Ground is broken to build the Berkeley Women's City Club and was constructed in 11 months and fully funded by Berkeley Women.


The Berkeley Women's City Club opens it doors to 4,000 members and the pool is dedicated in front of hundreds of women. At this time Julia Morgan designed china arrives from production in Germany. 


Famous and renowned speakers come to Julia's Berkeley Women's City Club to speak, including Amelia Earhart, World's Premier Aviatrix. She speaks at an artists tea at the club. 


Beloved daughter, friend, colleague, and architect Julia Morgan dies at age 85. She is buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California.