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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

425–427 Embarcadero Road

Inventory photo Robert Brandeis photo
Inventory photo Robert Brandeis photo


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

Physical appearance:   This two–story shingled Craftsman house is U–shaped with two almost identical elements forming wings on either side of a small entrance court. Swiss chalet overtones occur in the balcony cut–out work.

Very large brown shingle with the first level still connected. The second level connection is now blocked off.

Significance:   The house was designed by a popular Bay Area architect (see also 601 Melville and 430 Kingsley) and is a particularly dignified and careful blend of Craftsman/Swiss Chalet characteristics. Because it was meant to house an extended family of two generations, it provides separate living space, connected by a large living room, for its various occupants. It was built for Rev. Gustav R. Alden and his wife Isabella, and their son Raymond (and Barbara) Alden, as well as Mrs. Alden's sisters. The larger part was occupied by the senior members of the family (one of the sisters had a two–room suite). Mr. Alden, Senior, was the Presbyterian minister; Isabella was the author of many children's' and religious books and stories; and Raymond Alden was professor of English and English department head at Stanford. In addition to numerous scholarly works, he was the author of the well–known children's Christmas story, "Why the Chimes Rang" (1907) and was organist at the Presbyterian Church for a time.

From 1966, when the Alden family sold the property, to the mid-seventies, it was rented to numerous tenants, then acquired in 1978 by Robert and Elaine Nerrie.


Brandeis photo

Robert Brandeis photo

This house was built in 1907 and is a Category 2 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The architect was A. W. Smith of Oakland and the builder was George M. Mosher. The property measures 176 and 188 by 176 and 190 feet.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 9/14/07, 3/29/24, 9/29/24, 10/10/24, 8/5/39, 12/14/67, 8/31/70; interview Robert Neerie with Alden descendants


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