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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

2275 Amherst Street

College Terrace

2275 amherst
Inventory photo taken in 1978.

Photo taken September 26, 2011.

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 fine Queen Anne house, richly embellished with Victorian ornamentation, has a rectangular corner tower set at an angle and surmounted by a pyramidal roof. Original owner, Walter Miller, Stanford's first Latin professor, required his children to memorize Latin conjugations before eating breakfast. A later owner, Michael Carney, was a Mayfield mayor.

Note: The early photo below was taken sometime in the 1910s when Carney owned the home.

1910's photo

And from the Historic Buildings Inventory as revised in 1981:

Physical appearance:   Queen Anne in architectural style, this two-story house exhibits a rectangular tower at an angle of one corner, and is an important example of the Queen Anne style.

The spool work on the porch and paired portholes in the main gable lend a sense of exuberant decorative detailing. The interesting massing of forms and fine ornamental detail render the house architecturally significant.

Significance:   One of the finest examples of the period, it was the "handsome residence" of Walter Miller, who was a member of Stanford's original faculty. He taught Latin and was unpopular with the neighboring Clark children because he would not allow his own children to eat breakfast until they had memorized their Latin conjugations. Later, the house was the residence of Michael Carney, major of Mayfield, known as "an ardent advocate of good roads and improvements." The condition of the building deteriorated in the 1930s, when it served as a boarding house, but rehabilitation began after World WAR II during the ownership of the Willard R. Kaufman family, and continues under the present owners, Joel and Dorothy Kaplan. Cambridge Avenue, which the house was built to face, was closed at the upper end during the 1930s.

The structure is an excellent example of its style and possesses high artistic values. Some thoughtful observation will uncover a multitude of embellishment; the spindles at the peak of the side gable, the scalloped shingles, the belt course between the first and second stories, and the brackets over the bay windows with fan-like carving and pendant at the corner. The corner tower has a pyramid roof. The front is a fantasy of gables; the main one with its window eyes, spindles, and shingles; a false one with medallions; and finally one over the porch with concave medallions and an acorn pendant. The porch might be termed "millman's folly," a product of the irrepressible motor-driven lathe. The side porch has been reopened to its original form, and the banisters, spindles, and newell posts of the stairs have been replaced to match the original millwork.

porch detail





This house was built in 1893 and is a Category 2 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. It was part of the 2011 PAST Holiday House Tour. The architect and builder are not listed. The property measures 160 by 125 feet.

Sources: Palo Alto Times 1/20/68; San Jose Municipal Record, Vol. 2. No. 10; interviews: Birge Clark, Jean and Willard Kaufman, Dorothy and Joel Kaplan; Palo Alto AAUW, ...Gone Tomorrow?

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