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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

1017–1023 Bryant Street

Augustus Murray House

Professorville Historic District

1017-23 Bryant     1017-1023 Bryant
Photo taken in 1978.     Photo taken in June 2015.

The following is from the Historic Buildings Inventory as revised in 1985:

Physical appearance:   This shingled buiilding has touches of English and Colonial Revival detail. The principal feature is the wide porch and three projecting dormer windows above. Alterations consist primarily of side additions. In 1953 it was remodeled into apartments.

Significance:  This is an atmospheric interpretation of the Colonial Revival style. Augustus Taber Murray was the first owner. He came to Stanford in 1892 as Professor of Classical Literature. He and his family were the first Quakers to live in Palo Alto and their residence was the first meeting house of the Friends. Like his neighbors Frank Angell and James Perrin Smith, he loved athletics, especially tennis (which he played until he was in his 70s). He coached his sons, one of whom (Lindsay) became the national men's singles tennis champion in 1918, while another (Frederic) was an outstanding hurdler at Stanford in 1916. His third son, Francis, was also, like his father, an athlete and a classical scholar. Murray travelled and taught abroad from time to time, and during the presidency of Herbert Hoover he led the Friends Meeting in Washington, D.C. Among the principal occupants following the Murrays in 1939 were Mrs. Minerva M. Skelton (1941-53) and Mrs Anna L. Shultz (1955–1965).

Robert Brandeis photo black and white photo
Robert Brandeis photo. Robert Brandeis photo.
location sketch map 1017 Bryant
Location map 2010 photo

 

The following is from the Centennial Buildings Tour, prepared by The City of Palo Alto Historic Resources Board for the Centennial Building Celebration, April 16, 1994. The houses included on the tour were all identified as at least 100 years old:

Stanford Professor of classical Literature Augustus Taber Murray commissioned this house from the Bender/Field team that completed 1005 Bryant. In Colonial revival style, the broad facade is capped by a gambrel roof with three dormers, two with matching gambrel roofs and all with diamond pane windows. The Murrays were the first Quakers in Palo Alto and the first Friends Meeting was at their home.

This house was built in 1893 and is a Category 3 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. Thomas Bender may have been involved with the architecture around 1897. The builders were A.O. Field and Francis K. Ledyard. The property measures 75 by 140 feet.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 1/4/94, 3/9/40; see P. A. Live Oak 1/1/00 for early photo.

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