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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

1101 Emerson Street

Professorville Historic District

Inventory photo 1101
Inventory photo Photo taken July 11, 2010


The following is from the Historic Buildings Inventory as revised in 1983:

Physical appearance:   This two-story shingled house with its terrace, trellis, and mature plantings projects the ideal Craftsman image of a home nestled into nature. it was re-landscaped and rehabilitated in 1984, and in 1986, the front and side porches were enclosed, the entry redesigned, a deck added over the side porch, a garage added at the front of the driveway, and the read entry enlarged. the design and materials of the alterations are compatible with those of the original dwelling.

There is a small cottage at the rear.

Significance:  A fine example of the rustic phase of the Craftsman mode. It is one of several houses which Laumeister built for Mrs. William (Cora Belle) Kimball, extended to the studio bungalow across the street (225 Lincoln).

The main house was occupied until 1909 by Mrs. Kimball. She was followed by Professor John Charles Lounsbury Fish, who originated the internationally recognized field of engineering economics; he previously lived at 1101 Waverley (then 381 Lincoln) and later at 308 Lincoln.

Next came Richard Lockey, a graduate of Stanford and Harvard, insurance broker. His sister, Mary, founded Castilleja School and was its principal until her death in 1939.

In 1926–1928 and 1940–1952, the house was occupied by Carlton C. and Flora (Starbuck) James. Both were Stanford graduates (1904, 1905). A chemist, he was associated in Hawaii and the United States with the Pacific Guano & Fertilizer Co.

During the years intervening between the James' tenures, it was the home of F. A. and Vida Volkhardt (1929–1939). Shortly after moving to Palo Alto in 1929 from Chicago, F. A. joined the Palo Alto Art Club and was instrumental in promoting its activities and improving its facilities. Vida had earned the M.D. from the University of California (1899) and was a practicing physician when she married in 1907. But she gave up her practice because she believed that careers for women and marriage did not mix. A co-founder of the local AAUW chapter, she was a well-known gardener and collector of stamps, rare iris, and fuchsias. She was an active observer of public affairs and a colorful and out-spoken community sage.

For thirty years (1955–1984) the house was owned by the family of Nicholas Kovaleski. Gary and Joan Hobstetter are listed as the owner/residents.


robert brandies photo1101 PAHA photo
Robert Brandeis black and white photos
1101 map

This house was built in 1903 and is a Category 3 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The builder was Gustav Laumeister. The property measures 50 by 112.5 feet.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 1/2/03, 1/2/04, 7/10/20, 11/11/37, 2/15/51, 6/26/51, 2/27/56, 7/24/74,; Santa Clara Co. Assessor records; Dallas E. Wood, History of Palo Alto (P.A. 1939) , p. 270


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