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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

271 Addison Avenue

271 Addison 271 Addison
Photo taken in 1978. Photo taken July 11, 2010

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

Physical appearance:   This small, vernacular wood–frame, two-story cottage with decorative barge board in the gable peak is surfaced with wide ship-lap. Ornamentation is modest but derives from Gothic Revival and later Victorian–era architectural modes. The paired windows are unusual. In 1985, the exterior was fully restored and the interior renovated and modernized. The rear area was slightly enlarged.

Significance:  This modest vernacular cottage survives from the city's earliest year as an incorporated community. It was built for Alexander C. Thompson and his wife, Anna. He was a Mayfield shoe merchant who moved to Palo Alto when the town was permanently established. Mrs. Thompson, a popular local landscape painter, remained in the home for a few years after her husband's death in 1913.

In 1927, the cottage was divided into two apartments and occupied by a series of tenants. Mrs. May Vincent, widow of L.H. Vincent, and her family were the occupants from 1937 to 1958. For a number of years prior to its acquisition by the present [1985: Guy and Noel Blase] owners in 1984, and restoration as a one–family dwelling, it was rental property of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.

rear view Robert Brandeis photo
Robert Brandeis photo
door 1894 plaque
PAHA Photo 271 Addison location map
A. Clee photo 1998; PAHA Guy Miller Archive Location map

The following is from the Centennial Buildings Tour, prepared by The City of Palo Alto Historic Resources Board for the Centennial Building Celebration, April 16, 1994. The houses included on the tour were all identified as at least 100 years old:

This two story, vernacular cottage is modestly ornamented in a variety of period styles. Note decorative barge board in gable peak, unusual painted windows, and wide ship-lap siding. It was built for Mayfield shoe merchant Alexander Thompson and his wife Anna, a popular local landscape painter.

This house was built in 1894 and is a Category 4 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The builder was P. P. Quinn. Alteration to a duplex was done by F. M. Armstrong. The property measures 52 by 112.5feet.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 7/27/1894, 1/2/1896, 3/10/1913, 12/17/1915, 2/14/1927, 12/25/1969.


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