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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

872 and 874 Boyce

872 inventory photo 874
Inventory photo Photo of 874 boyce taken January 13, 2011


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

Physical appearance:   These Renaissance Revival–styled structures are identical and are placed opposite each other across the shared driveway. the decorative eave treatment and Palladian arch theme of these two-story, hip-roofed stucco structures lend sophistication to a simple design. The rear cottage does not share style but is not incompatible.

Significance:  This is a pair of individually elegant and matched houses, carefully placed to enhance the simple formality of their design. They were built for Matilda (872) and Frances E. Wagner (874), widowed sisters-in-law; Matilda added the rear cottage, as well. Both occasionally invested in real estate in the city; this was especially true of Frances Wagner. She lived very briefly in her house at 874, while Matilda's daughter Virginia and her husband Oscar G. Peterson, occupied 872 Boyce until 1938. Frances Wagner remained in the community until the 1940s and was a violin teacher. Her husband Arthur came to Palo Alto in 1917 as the YMCA Secretary at Camp Fremont in Menlo Park. The Petersons were followed at 872 by a number of short–term tenants until the house was occupied by Walter G. Wood (1956-1968) and his wife Georgia. Wood, a graduate of Syracuse and Santa Clara Universities, was a photo–lithographer for Lenkurt Co. The present owners (Janet and Lester Loops, 1979) acquired the house in 1972.

At 874 Boyce, the R .E. Quist family were occupants from 1934 to 1944, after which the house has been the residence of Evan F. and the late Georgena Morris.

Note: The daughter of the Quists, sent the following information to PAST in March, 2010:

My folks Robert E. Quist purchased that house in l933 for $5,000.00. Before we purchased the house, there was one other occupant...We lived there until l943 and sold it for $8,000.00.  It was a wonderful home for us....My folks had to really strive to make the payments of $45.00 per month...The wonderful fireplaces both in the living room and upper bedroom were quite a luxury...Also the large closets...When we had guests, my mom put a cot in the closet, and then I gave up my room.  I am now 83 years old, and will always remember that wonderful  home, and the memories that we had as a family there.....
Rosemary Quist Fordice 

both houses driveway view
door street view
cottage map
Cottage behind 872 boyce Location map

These houses were built in 1927 and are a Category 4 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The builder was Findley and Kingham. A. Anderson built the rear cottage in 1928. The property measures 50 by 248 feet.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 4/4/24, 10/11/27, 10/22/27, 3/9/28, 3/14/28, 9/5/28, 11/2/37, 5/28/68, 9/17/68; interviews 1985, Janet Loops, Evan Morris.


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