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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

323 University Avenue

Crandall's

inventory photo 2015 photo
Inventory photo Photo taken May 2, 2015

 

The following is from the Historic Buildings Inventory as revised in 1981 / 1985:

Physical appearance:   This California Colonial store building is given scale and delicacy by the seven arches on the mezzanine, with its wrought iron balcony railing and corbel cornices. It could be regarded more as Spanish Colonial, perhaps, than California Colonial in style. Ground floor show windows have been slightly altered.

Significance:  This is a typical building which helps to give University Avenue its consistent visual quality. The structure was designed by local architect, Birge Clark, and relates importantly to other structures of similar stylistic origins in the vicinity. It was the first building in the "Ramona Street Style" to be built on University Avenue, replacing a Thoits Bros. structure erected in 1894.

Berton W. Crandall (1882-1979) and his wife Bertha were the first owners. Crandall belonged to a pioneer Palo Alto family which first came to the city in 1989. After graduating from Stanford in 1907, he became a major architectural photographer. The building on University Avenue housed a photographic supply and equipment shop and, for a time, his studio. His father Franklin L. Crandall (1852-1933), was long established in bicycle and auto trades, and a brother for many years owned the city's principal "Homeware Store". Berton Crandall was active in civic affairs, including membership on the City Council and leadership in the Palo Alto Historical Association.

Note:  Owner Melanie Barry received a PAST Preservation Award in 2015 for restoration to the original plans, as did the Hayes group, architect, and Devcon, contractor.

 

323 2006 photo

2006 photo
tile work

Restored tile work
HRB photo
interior pre-restoration

Interior before restoration
restored interior
early image map
Guy Miller Archive photo taken after 1931 Location map

This structure was built in 1925 and is a Category 2 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The architect was Birge Clark and the builder was Wells P. Goodenough. The property measures by feet.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 7/24/25, 8/4/25; Birge Clark Commercial Inventory, PAHA Guy Miller Archives obituary file

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