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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

1456 Edgewood Drive
Earlier addresses were on Embarcadero Road, Hamilton Avenue Extension, and 156 Edgewood Drive

Inventory photo gate
Inventory photo Photo taken May 2012.

The following is from the Centennial Buildings Tour, prepared by The City of Palo Alto Historic Resources Board for the Centennial Building Celebration, April 16, 1994. The houses included on the tour were all identified as at least 100 years old:

Built as a Victorian cottage by Dr. William A. Newell of San Francisco, only the Juana Briones house retains older elements. It was rebuilt several times and is now a two story, clapboard–sided house notable for its history rather than its architecture. The garden retains original plant and tree materials. 1450 Edgewood was its original carriage house. In 1909 Senator Marshall Black purchased and enlarged the house—he was imprisoned for embezzlement in 1913.

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

Physical appearance:   The structure is a two–story wood frame house with clapboard siding and some features of Craftsman and Colonial Revival styles. The foundation dates back to 1866; the house was reconstructed sixteen years after it was built, using original materials, and other changes have since been made—hence irregularities in floor plan. The garden, though reduced in size, exhibits more continuity than the house, containing a lemon, a loquat, and a walnut tree from the original orchard. The home at 1450 Edgewood was once the carriage house.

Significance:   This is the oldest house in Palo Alto and its importance is historical, rather than architectural. Parts of it date to the house of Dr. William A. Newell, a prominent San Francisco physician, who bought 47 1/2 acres from Henry Seale in 1864, for a country house.

Besides several farm buildings, Dr. Newell had a "variety orchard" and a grove of eucalyptus trees, some of the first to be brought from Australia. A few still stand along the creek.

A year after Palo Alto was founded, the Newells died and the property was vacant for fifteen years until purchased by Dr. Alexander A. McIntyre, a dentist, in 1906. He used the original materials to reconstruct the house.

In 1909 it was further remodeled and enlarged by Marshall Black. Black, a native of Ohio and Stanford graduate, was Secretary of the Palo Alto Mutual Building and Loan Association, President of the Palo Alto Board of Trade, state Assemblyman and Senator, and an ambitious real estate investor. Suddenly in September 1912, he was accused of embezzlement from the load association. By March, 1913, he had confessed to the crime and was imprisoned (he was paroled after three years).

In 1914, Edward and Francesca Jesurun occupied and later purchased the property (1914–24). Jesurun, a native of the Dutch West Indies, was Secretary of the Palo Alto Mutual Building and Loan Association.

After Mrs. Jesurun died and Mr. Jesurun was invalided, the property was sold to Ralph M. and Sophie Heintz in 1929. Heintz, a radio engineer, became an important World War II manufacturer. On the basis of early defense contracts, he planned an aircraft manufacturing plant in Palo Alto, but moved to Cleveland before it began production when he was unable to negotiate successfully (from his standpoint) with union labor. During the war years, the house was owned by navy officer Peter J. Hampel, and by Benjamin F. Culler, a Christian Science practitioner. It became the property of Henry and Marjorie Sanders in the mid–fifties.

Note: The house is no longer visible from the street.

 

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The foundation of this house was built in 1866 and is a Category 3 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The architect was and the builder was. The property measures 94 by 157 feet.

Note:  With the demolition of the Juana Briones house in 2011, this house, in spite of additions and alterations over the years, is the oldest in Palo Alto.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times

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