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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

Tobey House — Landmark Property

567 Hale Street

Originally 1001 Hamilton Avenue

inventory photo 567
Inventory photo Photo taken September 28, 2013


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

Physical appearance:  This restrained two-story Classical Revival house represents an early use for Palo Alto of concrete for residential purposes. The house is unadorned except for a few touches of careful, classically-derived ornament. The entry porch has been partially enclosed.

Significance:   This is a technically advanced structure (concrete over out-sized beams), which was the home of a locally important figure, Walter D. Tobey. Built at a cost of $18,000, even by today's (1979) standards it is a mansion. The barn alone had four rooms for servants in addition to the loft and stable. Behind it was a tank house whose details were not neglected by the architect. A grape arbor used extend from one side of the house and a large veranda for entertaining from the other. The dentil and brackets under the eaves are an appropriately strong statement for a house of such substantial character. As Mr. Toby had accumulated a fortune in the Nevada lumber business, the interior displays a large amount of wood in unusual variety. The living room is trimmed in white cypress, the magnificent reception hall in redwood. Pilasters line the walls. Square columns frame the massive staircase, and the three leaded windows on the side of the house rise with the steps. When the sun shines through the amber glass, the reception hall is radiant. The Tobeys owned the house until 1926. From 1930-1935, it was the home of George H. McKaig, a business man whose son, William, was a very active supported and fund-raiser for community and regional activities relating to outdoor life: the Girl Scouts, purchase of park lands by the city and county, and the like. He served on Santa Clara County commissions for Parks and Recreation and Fish and Game. For nearly 30 years (1936 to early '60s) the house was owned by Mrs. Mary Buckley, whose husband David died in the year the family moved to it. Charles and Adriana Wynn acquired the home in 1971.

The facade has been restored to remove an attic gable.



before removal of attic gable 567
Photo taken June 29, 2011 before removal of gable. Restored roof line.
window detail window from inside
detail lion
night view map
Location map

This concrete and wood house was built in 1904 and is a Category 2 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The Historic Resources Board has named it a Landmark Property. The architect was Bliss and Faville and the builder was C. H. Lewis and H. Bruecker from Oakland. The property is L-shaped.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 12/30/04, 1/4/05, 5/24/13, 1/22/26, 5/11/36, 2/20/80; Palo Alto AAUW, ...Gone Tomorrow?, p. 21 (the above significance description is largely quoted from this source); interivew 1984, Mrs. Charles Wynn


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