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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

900 University Avenue

Squire House

inventory photo Squire House
Inventory photo Photo taken June 22, 2009

 

The following is from the Historic Buildings Inventory as revised in 1981:

Physical appearance:   This formal Classical Revival house, with its imposing entry columns and pilasters and "four-square" directness and simplicity in use of characteristic Roman architectural elements, proclaims the classical interests (as well as economic status) of its original owners. It recreated in the Far West something of the atmosphere provided much earlier east of the Rockies by Federalist and Greek Revival design. It was designed by the important San Francisco architect, T. Paterson Ross. The mature palm trees in front provide spatial definition for the grounds.

Significance:  John Adams Squire (1857-1930) and his wife Georgiana (1871-1959), originally of Massachusetts, came to Palo Alto in 1891, when Squire enrolled at Stanford for advanced study in classics. Son of a well-to-do meat packer (whose interests, after his death in 1893, were sold to the Swift firm), Squire was, with his wife, active in community affairs, a tutor in Latin, and a skillful amateur meteorologist. Financial considerations nearly led to destruction of the structure in the 1960s. However, interested citizens led a campaign to raise funds that allowed the City to purchase the property to make structural improvements. It was finally returned to the private sector with the city holding a façade easement. The easement insures that the exterior and grounds will be preserved.

The public campaign to preserve the Squire House was a major incident arousing general interests in historic preservation that led to passage of the City's Preservation Ordinance in 1979,

Note: There have been several owners since 1979; the owners in 1981 were John and Ellen Bordy.

stairwell facade
detail window
marker map
Location map
This formal Classical Revival house, with its imposing entry columns and pilasters and "four-square" directness and simplicity in use of characteristic Roman architectural elements, proclaims the classical interests (as well as economic status) of its original owners. It recreated in the Far West something of the atmosphere provided much earlier east of the Rockies by Federalist and Greek Revival design. It was designed by the important San Francisco architect, T. Paterson Ross. The mature palm trees in front provide spatial definition for the grounds.

This house was built in 1904 and is a Category 1 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The architect was T. Paterson Ross and the builder was George W. Mosher. The property measures 200 by 200 feet. California Historical Landmark No. 857;  National Register of Historic Places.

Sources: The Tall Tree, Palo Alto Historical Association, October 1973.

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