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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

610 California Avenue

610 California 610 California
Inventory photo Photo taken July 21, 2014.

The following is from the Historic Buildings Inventory as revised in 1984:

Physical appearance:   This one–story vernacular house has handsome Eastlake porch detailing and shiplap siding. The front door has squares of colored glass. In 1984 it was fully renovated and restored in virtually its original form.


Although architecturally unexceptional, this house is an example of early Mayfield residential construction. Fortunately, it has been restored recently, and the area in which it is located has been rezoned to encourage retention of low–scale residential elements. The site was among the investment purchases by Ridgeway G. Rowley from Alexander Gordon soon after Gordon opened the College Terrace tract. Rowley owned one of the early Mayfield newspapers from l877 to 1885, became a District Attorney and Grand Jury member, and then returned to his home town of Cortland, New York. When the house was built is uncertain:  [P.P. Quinn,] the builder was actIve from 1894 to 1898, at which time he went to Alaska—presumable lured by the Klondike gold strike—and resettled in San Francisco. His name is chalked on some of the interior timber exposed when the house was remodeled.

The owner to whom Rowley sold the property in 1901, Anton Font, reached Palo Alto in 1899. Perhaps he rented the house at first, or it may be that the deed which gave him final title for $250 in 1901 is the completion of an agreement of sale arrived at conditionally earlier. Anton and Julie Font were from France. With their children Anthony, Belle, and Florence, they owned and occupied the house until 1933. They were followed by two generations of the Michael Chorak family, owners until 1983.

This house was built circa 1898 and is a Category 2 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The builder was P. P. Quinn. The property measures 100 by 115 feet.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 9/2/1898, 4/8/1904, 7/21/1924, 8/5/1925; Book 131 (Deeds) page 208; Book 240 (Deeds) page 153,, Santa Clara County Recorder, Dec. 2, 1890, Feb. 21, 1901; interview 1985, Brian Wilson; note on Rowley by Dorothy Regnery, 2/20/1980, inserted in P.A. Historical Association copy (Newspaper file) of Eleanor J. Kelly, Early Newspapers in Palo Alto 1870-1940 (1977); Santa Clara County Directories, Mayfield, 1899 ff; U.S. Census, 1900, Santa Clara County, Roll 110, E.D. 53, p. 6, ln. 11.


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