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1810 Fulton Street

Christmas Tree Lane

This Tudor Revival/ French Eclectic home on Christmas Tree Lane was built in 1931 at a cost of $8,500 plus $500 for the garage. Olaf R. Ogren, builder and original owner built 1505 Byron Street that is listed on the Palo Alto Inventory of Historic Buildings.

Olaf R. Ogren, the original owner of the house, is listed variously in the Palo Alto City Directories as a carpenter; builder; and building contractor. He and his wife Signe lived in the house until 1942 or '43. From 1944 until circa 1949 the City Directories list three successive occupants: Francis P. and Pauline J. Mclnerney; Donald E. and Helen Maclnnis; and Robert and Jane Pierce. In 1950 the property is listed as vacant. Beginning with the 1953 Directory, through the 1970s, Charles J. and Grace Lee Tonkin are listed as the owners. Charles J. Tonkin was a lawyer with Standard Oil Company, San Francisco, and a patent lawyer with California Research Corporation, San Francisco.

Signature Tudor Revival elements of the house are the prominent cross gable on the left front facade, the gable over the dormer on the right front facade, the steeply pitched roof, and the casement windows. Steeply pitched roofs and casement windows are also identifying features of the French Eclectic style as is the turret with conical roof. The arched doorway is typical of both styles, although the door itself is more typically French Eclectic. The house could be called either Tudor Revival with a strong French Eclectic element, or it could also arguably be called French Eclectic /Tudor Revival. Around the corner at 1823 Middlefield there is a very similar house, built in 1930 by E. M. Lenzen. On this house the turret and conical roof are more prominent. The light fixture over the front door is original, as is the weathervane on the roof of the turret. The house has not had any significant alterations to its form or layout.

The fireplace surround in the living room is of Craftsman-style tiles made by Handcraft Tile, a company begun in San Jose in 1926 and still in business today [2000], although now located in Milpitas. The tree depicted on the center tile is a frequent motif in the Craftsman/Arts and Crafts style. (Compare these tiles to the new tiles surrounding the family room fireplace at 1833 Fulton. When the owners of that property added a family room, their contractor suggested that the fireplace surround be made by a company in Milpitas that would, when requested, use their old tile molds. It has not been confirmed that the company was Handcraft Tile, but it seems likely that it was.) The owner believes that the wood used in the living room is mahogany.

The downstairs bathroom has its original tiles. Although not confirmed, the Art Deco tiles have the appearance of those made by Glading McBean in the 1930s; the narrow strip above the wainscotting was their signature.

This house was on the 2000 Holiday House Tour.


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