2815 Benvenue Ave. Photo: John Storey

We find depictions of mermaids (no mermen!) in our yards, porches, sidewalks and restaurants. Our species’ fascination with aquatic humanoids dates back thousands of years, unabated if less literal today.  In Berkeley, we come by our fascination honestly.

Photo: 4.bp.blogspot.com/Pinterest

No wonder! More photos from my aggregation of Berkeley mermaids, showing here the residential mermaids:

Mermaid by Mike Nagamoto. Photo: Colleen Neff
Spring Mansion, 1960 San Antonio Ave. Photo: Steve Finecom
905 Contra Costa Ave., along Black Path. Photo: Tom Dalzell
1309 Walnut St. Photo: John Storey
65 Sunset Lane. Photo: Tom Dalzell
2233 McKinley Ave. Photo: John Storey
2233 McKinley Ave. Photo: John Storey
1509 Juanita Way. Photo: John Storey

On Jan. 9, 1493, Christopher Columbus made this entry in his ship log about three mermaids that he had seen rising high from the sea: “They were not as beautiful as they are painted, although to some extent they have a human appearance in the face.” He also noted that he had seen similar creatures off the coast of West Africa. We can add Berkeley to the list.

Tom Dalzell, a labor lawyer, created a website, Quirky Berkeley, to share all the whimsical objects he has captured with his iPhone. The site now has more than 8,600 photographs of quirky objects around town as well as posts where the 30-year resident muses on what it all means.

A longer and more idiosyncratic version of this post may be found at Quirky Berkeley.

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Freelancer Tom Dalzell has lived in Berkeley since 1984. After working for Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers for 10 years as a legal worker and then lawyer, he went to work for another labor union...