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From Mortuary to Marmot Mountain Works to…?

Marmot Mountain Works, Berkeley, Ink & watercolor, 8x5"
Marmot Mountain Works, Berkeley, Ink & watercolor, 8×5″

Built in 1923 as the Hull & Durgin funeral home, this storybook-like building became the home of outdoor gear store Marmot Mountain works in 1976. In March 2012 Marmot closed up shop and the building is now for sale.

The Hull & Durgin folks had quite a colorful history going back to the late 1800s when they were half furniture store, half mortuary. The story about them and this building on the Berkeley Architectural Heritage (BAHA) website begins…

“On the morning of 1 February 1895, a Berkeley carpenter by the name of A.E. Spaulding entered Stricker’s cigar store at 2132 Shattuck Avenue. Laying a bundle of medications on the counter, he announced that he wished to leave it there. Then he walked to the rear of Durgin & Bleakley, a furniture and undertaking establishment at 2129 Center Street. Leaning against a barn, Spaulding shot himself through the heart with a 38-caliber revolver.”

There are wonderful photos of the interior and exterior of this building in its prime on the BAHA site with a fascinating story of its history. The building cost $28,000 and opened in February 1924. I hope it is restored and not torn down.

About the sketch: Drawn with Lamy Safari Fountain Pen Ex-Fine with Platinum Carbon Ink in Moleskine Watercolor Notebook and painted on site, while sitting on a pile of huge  PVC sewer pipes stacked at the curb near the corner of Adeleine and Ashby in Berkeley.

You can see Cathy’s amazing sketch of the building on our Urban Sketchers blog here and Carries here.

9 replies on “From Mortuary to Marmot Mountain Works to…?”

Another one of your fun trips, Jana. What a darling place and your sketch captures that storybook atmosphere. I can imagine some of the delightful book illustrations you would do for children’s books.


Thanks Annie, Not too sure about doing children’s storybooks (I have a friend who is a successful children’s book illustrator and I know how much work it is!) but I definitely enjoyed visiting and drawing this building. Jana


What a lovely building with an incredible history. Fun all the way around! Gorgeous work – looks a finished painting rather than a sketch.


Thanks Linda! This was one of those sketches that just worked. I love it when that happens every now and then! I guess it could be considered a finished painting, just smallish. Jana


Hi there! Your sketch is lovely. I just found your page googling for information on the building and really appreciated your link to the BAHA article. So, what’s happening next for the space is… my company is renting it! We’re called Trackers and we teach old school outdoor skills to kids and adults. As of today we’re leasing the former Marmot space to house our headquarters and offices. There will also be community events and other gatherings on site. You can read more about us at 🙂


Hi Jess, Thanks for the nice comment and for letting me know about the new purpose for the wonderful old Marmot Mountain Works building. How perfect it will still be used for outdoorsy purposes. I’m happy to know that the building will not be torn down and replaced with something boring! Your website and classes look very interesting and your mission seems like a great contribution to the community. Please keep me posted on events at the site.

Thanks again, Jana

Sketchblog: Website: UrbanSketchers-BayArea,


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