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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

460–464 Churchill Avenue
Pedro de Lemos Residence

inventory photo 460 Churchill
Photo of 460 Churchill taken in 1978. Photo of 464 Churchill taken June, 2011

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

Physical appearance:   At 460 Churchill, the bungalow built by Pedro de Lemos shows the artist's touch with the basic "craftsman" style in the massive field–stone chimney, the ample windows with leaded glass panes, inset medallions, and other details. The garage at the rear has a second floor apartment. Addition of a kitchen wing to the bungalow alters the appearance of the bungalow very little. The house at 464 Churchill is less notable in detailing; it was built as a studio and from time to time additions were made in the same rustic style.

Significance:  One of many homes built and/or designed by Pedro de Lemos (1882–1954), artist, Director of the Stanford Art Gallery (1917–1945), and writer. He coveted the site because of its splendid oak trees (he was an ardent spokesman for tree preservation).

To the first residential structure at 460 Churchill, begun in 1917, he added a studio in 1926 (now 464 Churchill), as well as a child's log cabin playhouse, now accessed from Cowper Street, in Colonial style. Family members did much of the construction, adding rooms as needed. A daughter recalled: "My father's houses weren't meant to be special; they were just ordinary structures."

464 Churchill play house
464 Churchill Playhouse

From 1933 to 1939, Augustus Lock, mining geologist and his wife Helen L., occupied the house. Esther De Lemos Morton and her husband James then lived in it from the mid–forties to the late 'fifties, sometimes using 464 Churchill as Mrs. Morton's studio. It was rented during the 1960s to short–term tenants and in 1971 was acquired by Gershon Berman. Barbara B. Berman now (1978) resides at 464 Churchill, which usually was rented from the mid–thirties onward, and Howard and Anne Norton own 460 Churchill.

rustic gate path
decorative detail leaded window detail
steppiing stone location map

 

The house at 460 was built in 1917 and is a Category 2 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. Pedro de Lemos was both architect and builder of 460 Churchill. Louis Anderson was builder of the studio in 1926. The property measures 50 by 150 feet and abuts the Cowper Street homes he designed at 1550–1570 Cowper.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 9/24/26; interview 1978 with Esther de Lemos Morton by Cynthia Davis; interview June 1981 with Linda Norton and Barbara Berman; Palo Alto Historical Association files; Sunset Magazine, January 1923

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