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1998 Holiday House Tour: Professorville


1998 order blank          

Homes on tour:

          1998 ticket


From the October 1998 PAST News:

The PAST Heritage Holiday House Tour will be held on Sunday, December 13,1998. . . This is the eleventh annual tour sponsored by PAST where homes of architectural and historical interest are opened to the public. This year, the tour returns to Professorville and its environs. Each home offers something of special interest. One is a "four square" which has undergone extensive restoration. Another was originally a stable set behind a Victorian but has been converted to a home in the style of an English cottage. Yet another, built in 1897 and recently'renovated, is an L–shaped "vernacular" house with a wraparound porch featuring Colonial Revival detailing. A brown shingle home, built by Gus Laumeister in 1903, is a variation of the gambrel, Colonial Revival motif so popular at that time. The fifth home, a Victorian, has also been restored by it owners. (See "Painted Lady").

449 Addison Avenue — circa 1899

This one and a half story cottage started life as a stable for the Queen Anne style house in front, at 451 Addison. 451 Addison was built by Downing and Laumeister in 1899 for Mr. and Mrs. F.C Thiele. Mr. Thiele, nicknamed "The Baron", was a tailor who had a shop on University Avenue The stable was built sometime between 1899 and 1901. It was converted to a residence about 1938 when it became the home ol the Shippy family. A later owner added the leaded glass doors on the kitchen cabinets. The etched glass window in the sun porch was created by the present owner from a door. The cottage/stable and its Queen Anne house remain one piece of property.




667 Channing Avenue — 1898

The eight color scheme on the exterior of this two story Victorian highlights the detailing on the house. The attention to detail is carried on into the interior of the house where the furnishings and the intricate use of Bradbury and Bradbury wallpaper evoke the Victorian period. Early residents of the house included the first superintendent of Palo Alto schools, Charles C. Hill, and his wife. In mid–century the house became a duplex and a home to Stanford students. It was during this period that alterations occurred to the front porch. The current owners have returned house to a single family residence. Of note, they have reopened the dining room fireplace and faced it with a Carrera marble mantel from a Victorian in San Francisco.


2015 photo

Painted Lady by Jan Murphy

The "Painted Lady" at 667 Channing Avenue, which shows a charming Victorian face to the street, is equally charming inside. Current owners Ben and Dina Bensen, members of the Victorian Preservation Association which encourages homeowners to restore rather than to remodel, are bringing their knowledge of the Victorian period to selection of the decorative details.

Built in 1898, the house was a rental during most of its existence. Early occupants included Henry Carmer and his wife Helen (1899–1902), Professor E. P. Anderson, his wife and son (1902–1904), and Charles C. Hill, first superintendent of the Palo Alto School District (hired at a salary of $1,500 per year!) and his wife (1904–1907). During the 1940s, the house was converted to a duplex, and the original porch was altered. Stanford students lived in the house in the 1960s, as they did in many of the homes in the area at that time.

In 1976 the house was purchased by Carol Young–Holt, principal of Peninsula School, who restored the house to its single–family form, updated the wiring, plumbing and heating, and added the garage/apartment in the rear in place of the original barnyard. She also transformed a back porch into a small dining room.

In 1989 the house was purchased by the Bensens, who had begun searching for a Victorian of their own after seeing the Haas–Lilienthal House in San Francisco. The excellence of the Palo Alto schools made the decision to purchase here doubly appropriate.

The Bensons' knowledge of the Victorian period is evident in the details of the decoration of the house, including handmade Bradbury and Bradbury wallpaper and in the selection of Victorian furniture and accessories. The floors were rescued from their shag covering and refinished; the pine boards are in amazingly good condition. Dina found the lighting fixtures in her role as an antique dealer.

Only one major alteration to the interior has been made—the re-creation of a fireplace that once stood in the family parlor. The Bensens added a Carrera marble mantle rescued from a San Francisco Victorian which was being torn down.

The exterior of the house is highlighted by an eight–color palette designed by renowned colorist Bob Bruckner. The Bensens' next project is to replace the fencing, painting the fence to coordinate with the house colors and using Victorian lanterns to complete the period effect.

This newly "painted lady" wears her Victorian architectural style inside and out, and will be one of the homes included on PAST's Holiday House Tour.



353 Melville Avenue 1897

Colonial Revival details enhance the porch on this vernacular house designed by H.L. Upham, and built by George Mosher. The house was commissioned by Professor Arly B. Show, a Stanford graduate and professor of European history, and his wife Bucephalia. A later resident (1942–1958) was Robert E. Hackley, a dedicated observer and critic of local community affairs. When the present owners bought the house the inside had been torn out. Before reconstructing the interior, they reinforced the structure and added wiring for the 21st century technology. The carved wood newell post at the foot of the staircase is original to the house, but the cherry wood throughout the downstairs is new. Most of the windows in the house are original. Refreshments will be available at this location.

          353 Melville


1139 Ramona Street 1903

This shingled house with its gambrel roof and front overhang that shelters a bay window and creates the entry porch, is an elegant and stylistically integral part of the 1100 block of Ramona. The house was built by the well known Palo Alto builder Gus Laumeister. Although in Professorville, it was first occupied not by a professor but by Mrs. G.A. Fleming and her daughters. There have been few changes to the original exterior walls and to the interior lay–out of the house. When the first and second floor porches at the rear were incorporated into interior living space the original porch windows were used in the remodel. The garage has been rebuilt on the pattern of the original one.

          1139 Ramona Street


947 Waverley Street circa 1903

The first known occupants of this hipped roof, four square house were the Pomeroys. They were followed in the early 1920's by George McKee, a postal clerk at the Palo Alto post office, and his wife Celeste. Celeste McKee lived in the house until 1991. The current owners have replaced the house's foundation and have expanded the old partial basement into a full basement that provides another floor of living space. Interior access to the basement is now possible through a door that was discovered during the rehabilitation. At the rear of the house, a 1920's addition was removed and replaced with a new kitchen. The entrance walk uses the bricks from the chimney of an interior fireplace that was moved.


          947 Waverley



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