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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

803 Cowper Street

inventory current photo
Cowper view taken in 1978. Homer view taken 2009.

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

Physical appearance:   The square corner bay and the carefully irregular facade–element disposition provide exterior implications of interior spatial variety for this Craftsman/Colonial Revival house.
Note:  Unfortuantely, the Cowper façade is not visible today because of the lush garden.

Significance:  This small house has [1979] a façade of great sophistication and visual interest. Charles E. Hodges, its designer, was the early "resident" architect at Stanford University. Mrs. Alberta Whisman, the first owner, lived in the house until 1910. Her successor, Captain George R. Slocom, USN, was a veteran of the Spanish–American War and World War I. In Palo Alto, he engaged in the real estate business and was active in the Chamber of Commerce.

The owner from 1923–1932 was Wheeler H. Thayer, an attorney, whose father was an eminent California lawyer also living for several years in Palo Alto. An engineer, W. Bruce McMillan (Stanford, 1911) lived in the house between 1946 and 1952. He was born in Mayfield, the son of John McMillan, the county engineer for Santa Clara and one of the state's leading engineers from 1890 until almost mid–century.

Short–term tenants occupied the house thereafter until the mid-seventies when Thomas and Margaret Huseby acquired the home.

Homer Avenue view taken May 19, 2013:
2013 photo
Photos taken May 25, 2015:
porch street view
gate map


This house was built in 1901 and is a Category 4 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The architect was Charles Hodges and the builder, E. A. Hettinger. The property measures 50 by 150 feet.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 3/22/1901, 1/3/1902, 9/24/1920, 11/1/1972,; Memoirs, American Society of Civil Engineers, No. 1565 (1945); "Partial List of Buildings Designed and Erected by Charles Edward Hodges. . .," Stanford University Archives


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