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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

529 Bryant Street
Telephone Company Building

529 Bryant 529 Bryant
Inventory photo taken 1978 Photo taken May 2, 2015

The following is from the Historic Buildings Inventory as revised in 1981:

Physical appearance:   This two–story commercial structure is surfaced and ornamented with handsome terra cotta tile. The entrance combines zigzag moderne forms with more traditional motifs although the overall design image is essentially Spanish Renaissance revival.

tile balcony

Significance:  The pleasing terra cotta decoration, iron balcony work, and formal (but perhaps academic) composition in a Spanish Renaissance mode make this a distinctive downtown building although, because of modest scale and restrained design, it is likely to receive less notice than it deserves.

On the site, the first elementary school of the town was built in 1893; in the 'teens and 'twenties small residences were occupied by some of the town's Japanese families. When it opened in 1929 the new Telephone Company Building provided customer services on the ground floor and housed its switchboards on the second floor. Two decades passed before the need for expansion led to construction of a major connecting building at the rear which, by 1955, extended to another large structure fronting Hamilton Avenue. Meanwhile (1952), business and administration facilities were shifted to a new building at 420 Cowper Street.

detail tile
side view of 529 Bryant location sketch map

This building was erected in 1929 and is a Category 2 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. It has a granite base, and terra cotta ornamentation and wall surfacing. Monson Brothers of San Francisco was the architect and builder. The property measures 60 by 120 feet.

Sources: Palo Alto Times 8/6/28, 9/19/28, Palo Alto Historical Association files  of P. A Times reports on Telephone service to Palo Alto; interview with Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company public relations representative.


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