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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

515 East Crescent Drive / 1800 University Avenue

Mortonson Residence

inventory photo 1800 University
Inventory photo Photo taken April 29, 2012

 

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

Physical appearance:   This large Spanish Colonial Revival has the massive wall areas and irregular fenestration of the style, treated in a direct manner that creates a simple, vigorous effect. the rectangular window above  and left of the entry, as well as the two round windows at the two gable ends, are by Tiffany. The architect, Gardner Dailey, was a major Bay Area designer, as was the landscape architect, Thomas Church. Some alteration in the fenestration has occurred and the pergola across the rear is a later addition.

Significance:  An excellent example of the style, designed by a recognized Bay Area master.

William P. Hubbard, lawyer, is given as first occupant, but from 1933 to early 1950s the house was owned by Harry and Grace B. Mortonson. Mortonson (d, 2/6/49) was a member of the family controlling the Leslie and Morton Salt interest.

After leaving the hands of the Mortonsons, the address was changed to 515 E. Crescent Drive; successive owners included Roy S. L. Fry in the 1950s, Robert B. Boomer in the 1960s, and William Chenn in the 1970s.

The owner in 1985 was Leo E. Hollister. He restored the original address and brought the property back to its current [1985] excellent condition.

Notes: It has again been re-addressed as 515 East Crescent Drive.
Diane Boomer, corrected Robert B. Boomer's middle initial (April 27, 2017) and added that "At least some of the wrought iron fixtures and hardware in the home were crafted by Silvestri's Iron Works." She also provided the year of Leo Hollister's death.

 

   
entry lawn
street view map

This house was built in 1930 and is a Category 2 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The architect was Gardner Dailey and the owner/builder, Mrs. M.H. McCants. The property measures 175 by 75 feet. It was recognized by the Historic Resources Board as a Landmark building.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories;  Palo Alto Times 8/20/30, 2/7/49; Interview with Leo E. Hollister (owner) April/May 1981.

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