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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

540–542 Emerson Street

540-542 Emerson recent photo
Inventory photo Photo taken May 2, 2006


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

Physical appearance:   This remarkably intact example of a two–story wooden Classical Revival commercial building still has its bays and its small–paned clerestory area shop windows.

Significance:  A well–preserved example of its style and kind. It began as Mrs. T. Fox's boarding house and by 1910 was occupied by W. F. Pennebaker's Furniture Store on the ground floor and tenants above. Pennebaker moved to a University Avenue location in 1914, and it again was principally a boarding house until 1926.

Cigar shops under various managers occupied it during the next 20 years.

From 1948 to 1980 it housed the Bourquin Print Shop and was owned by Henry C. Schmidt (see 541–543 Emerson Street). Fred R. Bourquin, came to Palo Alto in 1927 to attend Stanford and opened his printing business soon after graduation; he retired in 1971. The upper floor was not used for tenants during the Bourquin years.


detail older photo
Roof line detail Clerestory window detail

Photo taken January 12, 2016
location map

This building was built in 1904 and is a Category 3 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The builder was G. W. Harms. The property measures 25 by 107 feet.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 12/30/04, 2/22/80; interview 1985, Mrs. Fred Bourquin


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