Berkeley Square is an early example of suburban planning. In the late 1800s, a tract of completely undeveloped rural land, the Cadwalader Estate, was subdivided and equipped with what were, essentially, urban amenities: sewers, paved streets, gaslights, and city water. The building lots were then sold to middle- and upper-middle class families eager to escape the high density, crime, pollution, and other ills of urban life. The development of rapid public transport, namely trolleys and, shortly thereafter, private automobiles, allowed families to live outside the city while commuting daily to jobs in the inner city. This basic model of suburban life was a dramatic break with earlier patterns of American habitation, where a family lived on a farm, in a small village, or in the city. The advent of "suburban" living signaled the beginning of a new mode of American life that has become widespread in the present century. Berkeley Square is a terrific example of the beginnings of suburbia — an important facet of American culture.
The architecture in Berkeley Square could be broadly defined as late Victorian. The variety, high quality, and blending of architectural elements, such as patterned shingling, stained leaded glass, and decorated trim, distinguish the structures individually. The range of architectural styles, embodied in structures built within the same decade, demonstrates the eclecticism of turn-of-the-century taste. While the individual Victorian structures show the range of elements combined in a single building, Berkeley Square perfectly exemplifies how this eclecticism proliferated on a community-wide level.