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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

510 Waverley Street

inventory photo HRB photo
Inventory photo Photo taken ca. 1985 by HRB

The following is from the Historic Buildings Inventory as revised in 1984:

Physical appearance:   This towered Queen Anne house has quite unusual detailing: the battered form of the tower, the rounded corners of the second floor windows, and the overall proportions are out of the ordinary. The surface is varied by shingle patterns. The octagonal tower along the side was originally topped by a finial Colonial Revival balustrade. The entrance stairs originally led diagonally up to the porch from the corner of the house. Alterations also have occurred at the side of the house.

Significance:  A handsome example of the sometimes unorthodox exploration of Queen Anne designers. Originally it was the landmark residence at the corner of Waverley and University of Dr. Charles W. Decker, 1894–1921. Decker was a prominent dentist, once said to conduct the largest dental establishment in San Francisco. Settling in Palo Alto in 1894, he was an active promoter of community development through the P.A. (Palo Alto) Improvement Club and P.A. Civic League, and an officer in numerous civic and fraternal organizations. When the lot was subdivided in 1920 and a commercial building was placed on the University Avenue frontage, a very large oak tree was cut down; it is memorialized in the name of the building, "Deckeroak." From 1928 onward, the house was used commercially as a rooming house, cafeteria, the well-known women's apparel shop established by Sallie M. Greene, The Corset Shop, and an antique shop.

The owners in 1985 were Dale and Nancy Denson.

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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:

When William Peacock built this towered Queen Anne house for prominent dentist Dr. Charles W. Decker it was the only structure at the comer of Waverley and University. In 1920 the lot was subdivided, a commercial building placed on University, and the large oak tree which gave the house its name, "Deckeroak," was cut down. From 1928 on, it has been a rooming house, cafeteria, and various retail shops.

This house was built in 1894 and is a Category 2 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The builder was William Peacock. The property measures 40 by 116 feet.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories;  Palo Alto Times 7/27/1894, 12/29/1898, 10/25/1901, 9/27/1932, 6/24/1936; ...Gone Tomorrow?, Palo alto, AAUW, p. 11;  Palo Alto Live Oak, 1/1/1900 (early photo).

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