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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

420 Maple Street

Dunker Residence

inventory photo 420
Inventory photo Photo taken December 9, 2012


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

Physical appearance:   The structure is an L-shaped house in which the standard elements of the California Colonial are manipulated in a very sophisticated fashion. the ironwork grilles and the tile at the entry steps enliven the composition. The scalloped, recessed entry way is a favorite device of this local architect, Birge Clark.

Significance:  This building was one of the first to be built in Palo Alto in the California Colonial style. It was being constructed simultaneously with the Pettigrew residence at 1336 Cowper Street by George Washington Smith, but it is doubtful if either architect knew of the other building at the time. The building may be thought of as transitional between the more familiar Spanish and the California Colonial style of the architect.

John A. Dunker and his wife Jennie were the original owners. From the Dunkers, the house passed in 1959 to Joseph and Barbara Dolan, who re-sold it next year to Harold and Dorothy Ruel. Mary M. Hoyt and then Mr. and Mrs. Michael Levanthal were the next owners.

entry entry
balcony roof
fence windows
gate map
Location map

This house was built in 1926 and is a Category 2 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The architect was Birge Clark, the landscaping by Leslie Kiler, and the builder was Wells P. Goodenough. The property measures 178.38 by 150 feet. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 19, 1982.

Sources: Palo Alto Times 6/18-19/26; Birge Clark Residential Survey; interview April, 1981 with Crysella Dunker Kiler and Leslie Kiler


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