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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

63 Crescent Drive

inventory 63 Crescent
Photo taken in 1978. Photo taken in 2012.

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

Physical appearance:   Classically derived ornamentation is combined with Spanish Colonial Revival elements in this large Mediterranean Revival house to create an impressive design. It is said to have been modeled after a house in Sonoma.

Significance: Inventive design elements add fine interest to this impressive residence. The grounds and siting are important to the image. Unoccupied for a number of months after construction, it was first owned (to 1935) by John L. McNab, a leading western attorney and president of the Palo Alto National Bank. Under President Taft, he served as U. S. Attorney for Northern California. McNab nominated Herbert Hoover for the presidency at the Republican Party convention of 1928 and headed the 1934 party campaign for Governor Merriam.

The house changed hands at about five–year intervals during the next two decades, 1935–1955. Owners included Dr. J. Frank Smith (1940–45), chemist Earl B. Working (1946–49), H. N. Jenks, an internationally–acknowledged expert on waste disposal (1950–55), and T. Kevin and Jane Mallen (1956–79). Mallen was general manager of Ampex, Co. The next owner was Robert M. Wilford.

entry map


This house was built in 1926 and is a Category3 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The architect is unknown. The builder was Harry H. Dabinett. The property measures 130 by 247 feet.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 9/3/26, 3/28/50, 3/31/51, 4/27/68; interview 1985, Jane Mallen


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