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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

630 Lytton Avenue — Demolished 1987

inventory photo map
Inventory photo Location Map


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

Physical appearance:   This typical small Queen Anne style builder's house has fish-scale shingles enlivenign the gable and a touch of decoration at thep orch.

Significance:  This modest builder's house is a competent example of the type built in the downtown areas of the city in the early era. A work bench in the basement is marked "1896"; it probably was left by the builder (and original owner), a carpenter.

Immediately after completion, the house was sold to Thomas E. Lorton (1903 to 1912). It is a tradition that one of its occupants in the early years was Miss Roberta Thompson (later Mrs. Roberta LaFrage), first principal of Lytton School (built on an adjacent site in 1905). The convenience of such an arrangement is obvious, although the Thompsons (sic) are listed in the directories of the period as living on Alma Street.

From 1913 to 1926, Mrs. Henrietta Ritchie, a widow from Canada, L. T. Price, attorney, and others ocupied the house. Maria Thyssens, owner in 1978, recalls that the Thyssens acquired the property in 1921, and they are listed at the house from 1927 to the present (1985). Thussens, a native of Holland, was a tailor.

This house was built in 1903 and was a Category 3 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The builder was Thomas J. Allen. The property measured 50 by 150 feet.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 7/3/03, 2/35/21, 8/12/38; interview 1985, Mrs. Maria Thyssens; Palo alto Historical Association Lytton School file; Guy Miller, Palo Alto Community Book, p. 121; Dallas Wood, History of Palo Alto, p. 83; Book 255 (Deeds), p. 558, 2/13/03; Book 255 (Deeds), p. 508, 6/21/03; Book 280 (Deeds), p. 460, 5/25/04, (Santa Clara County Recorder)


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