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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

711 Cowper Street

inventory 711 Cowper
Photo taken in 1978. Photo taken June 20, 2012.

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

Physical appearance:   This house, with its square bay, small tower, and dentil course is essentially a combination of Queen Anne and Colonial Revival design, but the shingle sheathing lends it some of the rustic qualities of Craftsman style. The porch has been filled in. Rehabilitated in 1986 by John and Margaret Woodworth.

Significance:   Built for George and Marie E. H. Tourney. George Tourney was a San Francisco financier, president of the San Francisco Bank, and Regent of the University of California.

Professor Harold Heath occupied it briefly, 1904–1906; a professor of zoology, he taught at Stanford from 1894 to 1933, moving from Palo Alto to the Hopkins Marine Station at Pacific Grove in 1925.

From 1921–1936, it served as a Filipino Club, under the friendly patronage of Dr. Effie York (see 706 Cowper). Its use for apartments began in 1940. It was acquired by the Woodworths from Joanne M. Sonnichsen in 1986 and is now part of the Cowper Inn bed-and-breakfast next door.

porch tower
2017 photo 2017 photo
tower 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:

Built for George and Marie Tourney by Frank D. Wolfe, this Colonial Revival/Queen Anne exhibits rustic elements such as shingle siding and heavy roof brackets that foreshadow the Craftsman era. Mr. Tourney was a San Francisco financier, bank president, and University of California Regent.

Built in 1893, it is a Category 3 on the Palo Alto Inventory. The architect was Frank D. Wolfe. The property measures 60 by 150 feet.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 1/24/1893, 1/5/1894, 3/22/1933, 3/8/1934, 4/24/1951; Oakland Tribune 6/1/1936; interview 1986, Margaret Woodworth


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