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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

353 Melville Avenue

inventory photo 353
Inventory photo Photo taken June 8, 2011


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

Physical appearance:   The building is a substantial two-story, L-shaped vernacular house set amidst extensive and mature landscaping. The detailing of the porch is Colonial Revival.

Significance:  The structure is important as an early vernacular design whose image and setting evoke a 19th century ambiance. Professor Arly B. and Bucephalia Show commissioned the house and occupied it until 1938. He was a graduate of Stanford (1892) who, after studies at Harvard and Leipzig University, became professor of European history at Stanford.

The Robert E. Hackley family next owned the house (1942–1958). Hackley, after a career as city engineer of San Mateo and other Peninsula towns, operated a pest control business in Palo Alto and almost single-handedly maintained mosquito control for the community. He was a close observer of local public affairs and the city council's most tireless audience and persistent critic. His daughter, Mary and her husband Rodrigo Vivanco then occupied the house.

(See also 1531 College Avenue.)

gate 353

Whitman Court garage with top of house behind

This house was built in 1897 and is a Category 3 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The architect was H. L. Upham and the builder was George W. Mosher. The property measures 94 by 150 feet.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 4/30/97, 5/21/97, 8/28/20, 3/25/38, 2/19/59; Palo Alto Live Oak 1/1/00 (early photo); interview, 1984, Mary Vivanco


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