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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

1181 College Avenue
Originally 741 Palo Alto Avenue, Mayfield
Centennial Home

inventory photo 1181 College
Photo taken in 1978. Photo taken in 2011.

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

Physical appearance:   This severe vernacular design has a single stylistic feature (marginally, Queen Anne style) in the fish scale shingle pastern of the gable. The one–story structure is surfaced in ship-lap. A sleeping porch was added at the rear in 1907. It was remodeled in 1942 and a fireplace added.

Significance:  This is a good example of modest vernacular building art. Alexander Peers of Mayfield purchased much of the block on which it stands fro Alexander Gordon in 1897. Sometime later, he acquired the house and lot as holder of an unpaid mortgage and sold it in mid–1903 to Mrs. Mae Griffis. She was a native of California and a seamstress. She added a porch which she rented as a sleeping room to California students. It was her home until her death, age 81, in 1942.

Its ownership remained in her family for many years afterward. From 1944–1953, it was occupied by Clifford N. and Doris Lacey, and from then to the late 1970s by Frank W. Nicholson, a maintenance supervisor for Pacific Telephone.

porch Robert Brandeis photo

This house was built in 1890 and is a Category  4 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The builder is unknown. The property measures 50 by 115 feet.

Sources: Palo Alto and Mayfield City Directories; letters from Dorothy M. Crippen, niece of Mae Griffis, Palo Alto Times 10/17/1907, 1/9/1942; Book 265 (Deeds), p. 458, 6/18/1903; Book 202 (Deeds), p. 10–12, 8/24/1897 (Santa Clara County Recorder)


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