Looking Back: Berkley Historical Museum

Woodward Talk | Published March 28, 2018

 The house today.

The house today.

Photo by Mike Koury

 An undated photo of the house.

An undated photo of the house.

Photo provided by the Berkley Historical Museum

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According to Berkley Historical Museum Vice Chairman Jeffrey Tong, Hamlet Harris in 1839 bought 40 acres of land for $1.25 an acre in what became Berkley. Hamlet’s wife, Jane, had been a slave and Hamlet bought her freedom. When he was allowed to vote for the first time, it is said that “Tears ran down Hamlet’s cheeks as he repeated several times, ‘Now I am a man.’” The house he built still stands on what became Catalpa Drive, near Woodward Avenue. 

The Berkley Historical Museum is open from 2 to 4 p.m. Sundays and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays. It is located at 3338 Coolidge Highway, in the old firehouse.

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