Village History

The land and buildings that now make up the University Village have a rich and interesting history. Before early European settlement, this area (including Berkeley and Albany) was inhabited by the nomadic Coastonian tribes of Native Americans, including the Ohlone. Later, when the first Spanish settlers arrived, it became the extended domains of Spanish soldier Francisco Peralta.

In 1864, the California State Legislature chose Berkeley as the site for a new state university. As planning for the new university continued, a major change in population swept the Bay Area. The Gold Rush of 1849 brought many new settlers to the area and forced the Spanish to sell most of their lands. The land was split into farms and inhabited by families.

In 1853, Alameda County was created as urbanization in the East Bay continued. In 1906 the San Francisco earthquake caused another flow of new residents to the relatively undamaged East Bay where they created communities and built schools.

Soon thereafter, a new city was created, called Oceanview, which was incorporated with Berkeley. In 1909, Oceanview changed its name to Albany in honor of Mayor Frank Roberts, who was born in Albany, NY. By World War I there was rapid growth in Albany and the city qualified to have a charter, having its own governing system defined independent from state, provincial, regional, or national laws.

During World War II the University Village was built as temporary military housing for a new US Naval training base. At the time it was called Veterans’ Village. During the War, Veterans’ Village housed ship builders and also became a Federal Housing Project for all the workers that crowded into the Bay Area.

As the University grew, the need for a married student housing project became evident. To meet this need the University purchased the Veterans’ Village of Albany in 1956, then consisting of the former Codornices and the former Kula Gulf Housing Projects.

University Village was established in 1956 with a total of 420 units. Some of these units were torn down and the student housing project was completed in 1962 with 500 new units known as Residential Apartments.

In October of 1999 the first occupants moved into the new East Village apartments, including two- and three-bedroom family units. The new West Village apartments opened in July 2006 providing one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments for couples and families.