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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

235 Embarcadero Road

Inventory Robert Brandeis photo
Inventory photo Robert Brandeis photo


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

Physical appearance:  A three–story cubic composition whose severe forms are softened by its shingle surfaces. The careful porch detailing, the casement windows, and a venerable wisteria add to the visual enrichment. There is a delightful aviary of compatible design.

There have been additions to the building and changes to the porch.

Significance:   "The house was built before, during and after the earthquake" according to an interview with Professor Mitchell.

As it appears today, the house makes a strong statement in the simplest of shingle–finished Craftsman styles, with its bold juxtaposition of planes, deep, shadowed porches and unexpected balconies. The original two stories have become three, and the eight rooms now fifteen. The entrance area at Embarcadero sports a playful aviary for the enjoyment of all. One can easily being to feel the personality of the original owner—this is a comfortable, expansive, hugely pleasant house, completely without pretension, but not without dignity or style.

J. Pearce Mitchell came with his mother to Palo Alto in 1896 and graduated from Stanford in 1903. His mother, Lydia Pearce Mitchell, also built a residence in 1906, at 252 Kingsley. Professor Mitchell, a professor of chemistry at Stanford, also served the University as Registrar from 1925 to 1945, and was mayor of Palo Alto from 1951 to 1953, He served for many years on the City Council.

Note: This property now includes what was originally 233.

Brandeis photo map

This house was built in 1906 and is a Category 2 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The builder was Gustav Laumeister. The property measures 127 by 120 feet.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Historical Association files: Obituaries, Houses by Street


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