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Ocean View began as the name given to a stagecoach stop established by former sea captain William J. Bowen along the Contra Costa Road (today's San Pablo Avenue) in the early 1850s. The name was applied thereafter to the settlement which began growing up between the stop and a wharf built at the foot of what is now Delaware Street. Ocean View was included in the incorporation of Berkeley in 1878 and thereafter was known as West Berkeley. Ocean View was also, briefly (1908-9), the name of what is now Albany, California, just north of Berkeley. Ocean View was primarily an industrial, working class community. The name derived from the fact that the Pacific Ocean is visible through the Golden Gate across San Francisco Bay from the site.
The main east-west thoroughfare in Ocean View was Delaware Street. In later years, it was eclipsed by University Avenue. The main north-south thoroughfare was San Pablo Road (initially called the Contra Costa Road), today's San Pablo Avenue. One of the earliest buildings in Berkeley was an inn at the stagecoach stop called "Bowen's Inn", located at what is now the northwest corner of San Pablo Avenue and Delaware Street. The wharf at the foot of Delaware Street began as "Jacobs Landing", named for its builder and proprietor, James H. Jacobs. The wharf was improved and enlarged with the help of Zimri Heywood, the proprietor of a lumberyard at the wharf, which was then renamed "Jacobs and Heywood Wharf". Lumber, soap, hay and many other goods were transhipped from here. Ferry service was established between the wharf and San Francisco in 1874. In 1876, the Central Pacific Railroad constructed its new main line, part of the transcontinental overland route, along the shoreline. A passenger and freight depot was built at Delaware Street. This was replaced in 1911 by a new depot at 3rd Street and University Avenue which still exists, although it is no longer in use as a depot. However, Amtrak's Berkeley Station is now located adjacent to this former depot and provides daily train service.
The earliest school in what is now Berkeley was the Ocean View School located on the southeast corner of Virginia Street and San Pablo Avenue, established in 1856. The creek that flowed adjacent to the school was dubbed "Schoolhouse Creek". The school was subsequently renamed The San Pablo Avenue School, and again later as the Franklin Elementary School. Nothing of the original Ocean View School building remains. In June 2002, Franklin was closed and a year later, transformed into the new site of the Berkeley Adult School which opened on September 7, 2004.