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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

984 California Avenue

Inventory photo 984 California
Inventory photo taken in 1978. Robert Brandeis photo.


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

Physical appearance:   This vernacular nineteenth century cottage has turned porch columns and porch valance and a severe balustrade. The arch–paneled front door is original.

Significance:    This College Terrace cottage was built around 1893 for Angelo Boitano (1849–1926), a native of Italy believed to have lived in Mayfield from the mid–1870s. The first floor was lofty because of the commodious wine cellar below it. Several out–buildings accompanied the house whenit was built. At that time, the Terrace was rural, with College Avenue the only street improved by gravel, and horses and cows grazing in the fields.

This is a particularly crisply detailed example of vernacular design.

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 vernacular cottage is a wonderful example of the typical rural dwelling of the era. Horses and cows grazed in surrounding fields. It was built for Angelo Boitano, who had lived in Mayfield since the mid 1870's. The first floor is lifted well off the ground to allow for a commodious wine cellar. Perry Jasper grew up here and provided the pictures and information on his family: The Jasper family lived in this house from 1942 to 1964 with their five children, dogs, cats and bantam chickens. Mrs. Geraldine Jasper painted it red. There were two apricot trees, one of which can be seen in front in the black and white photo above. A sagging barn that was on the property when purchased by the Jaspers in 1943 was dismantled to the wood flooring and was referred to as the "play yard" by the family. The remains of the barn created a large woodpile that supplied them with wood for the family room fireplace for many years.

984 California Avenue in snow map
Photo taken by Geraldine Jasper sometime in the mid-1960's. Location map


This house was built in 1893 and is a Category 2 on the Historic Buildings Inventory.  The builder is not known. The property measures 75 by 115 feet.

Sources: . . . Gone Tomorrow?, AAUW; Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 8/5/26, Deed, Alexander Gordon to Angelo Boitano, march 6, 1893, for lots 1–3, Block 30, College Terrace:  Book 155 (Deeds), p. 390, Santa Clara Co. Recorder


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