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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

264 Channing Avenue

264 Channing 264 Channing
Photo taken in 1978. Photo taken June 22, 2016.

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

Physical appearance:

The elegance of a dentiled attic window and fluted columns and pilasters distinguished this restrained Queen Anne cottage. It was rehabilitated in 1984 by the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.


A fine example of elegance achieved with minimum means, this house reveals that skillful design was not limited to the larger and more fanciful Queen Anne buildings.

Soren H. Nissen, a native of Denmark who came to Palo Alto in 1893, built a cottage at the rear . . . where his children Herman and Carmen were born. Soon after, the houses at 264 and 270 Charming were added, and both remained in the Nissen family until late 1983. Soren Nissen worked as a gardener at Stanford and for the Hoovers. At 264, which became rental property after the Nissens moved into the new house at 270, lived (among others) Ramon A. Moshberger (1914–1916, 1935–1939), a carpenter and city resident for almost 40 years, and (1941–1979), Bror T. Benson, a retired Swedish immigrant. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation then purchased the property.

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:

A modestly elegant Queen Anne cottage with dentiled attic window and fluted columns and pilasters, this home at the rear of the lot was built by Wells and Caulkins for the Nissen family. Soren Nissen was a gardener at Stanford and for the Hoovers. In 1905 he built a new Queen Anne home in front of the original cottage.

entry map
Centennial plaque is between window and porch. Location map

Built in 1894, it is a Category 4 on the Inventory. The builder was J. W. Wells & A. W. Caulkins. The property measures 56 by 112.5 feet.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 7/27/1894. 9/25/1942, 3/30/1948; interview 1983, Nelson B. Nissen


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