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2000 Holiday House Tour: Christmas Tree Lane

The creation of a Christmas Fairyland Lane was suggested by Judge Edward E. Hardy in 1940 while playing bridge with his wife Dorothea and neighbors George and Charlotte English. The idea was presented to residents of the 1700 and 1800 block of Fulton who enthusiastically endorsed the project. In the ensuing sixty years there have been only two years, 1942 in WWII and 1973 during the energy crisis, that lights have not illuminated the outdoor Christmas trees on what is now known as Christmas Tree Lane.

 

2000 ticket          

Homes on tour:

 

1734 Fulton Street — 1936

Built in 1936 by C.W. Kemper. John N. Paulson, an engineer, and his wife Irma, a graduate of Stanford's School of Nursing, were the first owners of this house in the Tudor Revival style. Brickwork used extensively on the house's exterior and throughout the grounds is a unifying element in the design. The preserved exterior of the house encloses a contemporary interior.

          1734 Fulton

 

 

1775 Fulton Street — 1937

H.H. Dabinett was the builder in 1937 of this elegant "Carmel-type" bungalow partially enclosed by a courtyard and patio. The architect was George D. English, whose design remains unaltered. George D. English, a lawyer, and his wife Charlotte, were the original owners, and were among the original founders of the first "Christmas Fairyland Lane" on Fulton Street.

         

 

1810 Fulton Street — 1931

The exterior of this 1931 Tu dor Revival house, with its turret surmounted by an original weathervane, opens to an interior combining Tudor Revival with Craftsman and Art Deco elements. Surrounding the living room fireplace are tiles crafted by Handcraft Tiles, a San Jose/Milpitas company that continues in business today [2000]. Olaf R. Ogren, a building contractor, built the house for himself and his wife Signe.

This Tudor Revival/French Eclectic home was built at a cost of $8,500 plus $500 for the garage. Olaf R. Ogren built 1505 Byron Street that is listed on the Palo Alto Inventory of Historic Buildings. He is listed variously in the Palo Alto City Directories as a carpenter, builder, and building contractor. He and his wife Signe lived in the house until 1942 or '43. From 1944 until circa 1949 the City Directories list three successive occupants: Francis P. and Pauline J. Mclnerney; Donald E. and Helen Maclnnis; and Robert and Jane Pierce. In 1950 the property is listed as vacant. Beginning with the 1953 Directory, through the 1970s, Charles J. and Grace Lee Tonkin are listed as the owners. Charles J. Tonkin was a lawyer with Standard Oil Company, San Francisco, and a patent lawyer with California Research Corporation, San Francisco.

Signature Tudor Revival elements of the house are the prominent cross gable on the left front facade, the gable over the dormer on the right front facade, the steeply pitched roof, and the casement windows. Steeply pitched roofs and casement windows are also identifying features of the French Eclectic style as is the turret with conical roof. The arched doorway is typical of both styles, although the door itself is more typically French Eclectic. The house could be called either Tudor Revival with a strong French Eclectic element, or it could also arguably be called French Eclectic/Tudor Revival.

Around the corner at 1823 Middlefield there is a very similar house, built in 1930 by E. M. Lenzen. On this house the turret and conical roof are more prominent. The light fixture over the front door is original, as is the weathervane on the roof of the turret. The house has not had any significant alterations to its form or layout.

The fireplace surround in the living room is of Craftsman-style tiles made by Handcraft Tile, a company begun in San Jose in 1926 and still in business today [2000], although now located in Milpitas. The tree depicted on the center tile is a frequent motif in the Craftsman/Arts and Crafts style. Compare these tiles to the new tiles surrounding the family room fireplace at 1833 Fulton. When the owners of that property added a family room, their contractor suggested that the fireplace surround be made by a company in Milpitas that would, when requested, use their old tile molds. It has not been confirmed that the company was Handcraft Tile, but it seems likely that it was. The owner believes that the wood used in the living room is mahogany.

The downstairs bathroom has its original tiles. Although not confirmend, the Art Deco tiles have the appearance of those made by Glading McBean in the 1930s; the narrow strip above the wainscotting was their signature.

         

 

 

1833 Fulton Street — 1930

Built in 1930 in the Spanish Revival style by John M. Johnson. Harley Houseman, a teacher, and his wife Addic first occupied the house, followed five years later by Olive Sorrick a musician and Castilleja School teacher. One of the outstanding features of the house is the bas-relief which circles the living, dining, and entry room walls near the ceiling.

The new tiles surrounding the family room fireplace were selected because the contractor suggested tiles made by a company in Milpitas using their old tile molds. It has not been confirmed that the company was Handcraft Tile, but it seems likely that it was. These tiles can be compared to those at 1810 Fulton.

         

 

 

1861 Fulton Street — 1936

A Colonial Revival cottage combining the formal rooms of Colonial Revival with the central patio associated with California living. It was built in 1936 by A.G. Frykman for Byrl and Eleanor Salsman who lived there until the late 1930's. A Stanford graduate, Byrl Salsman was on the Palo Alto City Council and served as mayor from 1937 to 1938; he went on to become a member of the California legislature and a judge in the California judicial system.

         

 

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