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Palo Alto Historic Homes

1005 University Avenue

Early photo

The following first appeared in an article written by owner Diane Tasca in the Spring 2002 PAST Newsletter:

From the period of the Spanish settlement until Mexican independence, the property at 1005 University had been part of large Spanish Mission Santa Clara, which covered much of the present-day Santa Clara County. After Mexico became independent in 1821, the Mission was subdivided into ranchos. The property became part of the Rancho Rinconada del Arroyo de San Francisquito, which encompassed present-day north Palo Alto, extending from San Francisquito Creek on the north beyond Embarcadero on the south, and from El Camino Real on the west, to San Francisco Bay on the east. In 1835, Don Rafael Soto purchased the land, which was inherited by his daughter Maria Louisa, who married Captain John Greer. Henry Seale bought the property in 1872, and sold it to Timothy and Mary Kellogg Hopkins in 1887. The plot at 1005 University was originally 200 feet by 200 feet, but was subdivided into lots of 100 by 200 by Timothy Hopkins.

In 1901, Edwin and Louise Braunschweiger of San Francisco bought the plot at the corner of University and Hale Streets from Hopkins. They commissioned the noted Palo Alto builder James Wells to build the home for their young family. The Braunschweigers both came from prosperous German families who had emigrated to the Bay Area in the nineteenth century; Edwin owned a wine and liquor store in San Francisco. The Braunschweigers moved into the house in 1902 and lived there with their children: Herman, Edward, Elyse (Conner), and Viola (Lyne). Unfortunately, Mr. Braunschweiger suffered a series of strokes when he was only in his 40s and died in 1914. Mrs. Braunschweiger remained in the house for several more years with her children, but eventually moved to a home nearby on Middlefield Road. She lived in the Bay Area until her death in 1947. One of the children, Viola Lyne, still survives and lives with her granddaughter, Diane Christiansen in San Mateo.

From 1918 to 1938, the house at 1005 University was owned by a series of people who rented the property to others. (At one point, the house served as a furniture store.) Since 1944, however, only four families have owned and lived in the house: the Groezingers (1944–1947); the Cavagnaros (1947–1959); the Strongs (1959–1992); and its present owners, the Beamers [Diane Tasca and Norman Beamer].

In terms of its architectural history, the house was designed and built in the Craftsman style for $5000 by James Wells, whose other early 20th century houses can be seen around Palo Alto. It was one of the earliest houses in the area, in the small section of the original town that reached beyond Guinda. The original construction had wood shingles, a hipped roof, a downstairs front alcove and an upstairs front alcove. In its early days, the children played in a pony cart. The garden provided a pleasant respite from city living. A hitching post sat out front by an unpaved University Avenue. Louise Braunschweiger added a second-floor sleeping porch over a carport on the Hale Street side of the house. At a later point, a large porch with pillars and a trellis was added to the front of the house, and during the 1950s, the original shingles and wood trim were entirely stuccoed over. During this time the lot was also subdivided to its present dimensions of 100 feet by 140 feet. The longest-term residents, John and June Strong, who lived in the house for over 30 years and had seven children, enclosed the small upstairs front porch to use as a year-round bedroom for one of their daughters. In 1999–2000, the Beamers re-created the house's original exterior with new shingles, re-building the front porch in the Craftsman style and replacing the carport and sleeping porch with a garage and new room for their son.

Diane Tasca

2016 photo side
1005 1005


This house was built in 1902. The builder was James Wells.


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