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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

567 Melville Avenue

Palo Alto Club

Darsie Residence

inventory photo 567
Inventory photo Photo taken July 24, 2010


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

Physical appearance:   With the exception of the playful treatment of the entrance elements, this two-story house does not exhibit the mannerist tendencies normally associated with its designer, Ernest Coxhead. the paneled interior (now painted) was originally left in its natural finish. A modified Colonial Revival image is reflected in the building's restrained detailing. the entrance is quite formal, with a circular pool on axis with the entry. There is a stairwell window to the rear which is composed of large panels staggered up the façade. One porch has been glassed in.

Significance:  Described in 1908 as "one of the handsomest and most comfortable in this part of California", the house was designed by one the state's most important architects, Ernest Coxhead, for William R. Darsie. Darsie came to the city in 1905 from Pittsburgh. His son, William, graduated from Stanford, held various state appointments from Governor Earl Warren, and was a landowner and produce and fruit broker of Walnut Grove.

In 1957, the building became the meeting place of the business and professional organization the Palo Alto Club. The house is set amid elaborate grounds whose formal tone remains despite parking lots created when usage changed from private residential to institutional.


entry map

This house was built in 1908 and is a Category 2 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. the Historic Resources Board recognized it as a Landmark property. The architect was Ernest Coxhead and the builder was L. S. Bean. The property measures 232 by 200 feet.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 3/16/08, 12/24/08, 11/8/37, 2/1/54; Coxhead archives; interview 1984, Jane Darsie Allstetter


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