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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

Downing Block

201, 205, 215 Hamilton Avenue

inventory photo PAHA photo
Inventory photo Photo taken c. 1985


The following is from the Historic Buildings Inventory as revised in 1981:

Physical appearance:   The stucco structure comprises a substantial corner commercial block whose two stories are separately organized by pilastered modules. Applied pilasters are topped with rectangular capitals at the ground floor and with ionic capitals at the second floor providing decorative interest and a horizontal division of building into slightly different rhythms.

The absence of cornices and friezes gives a rather unanchored appearance to the second floor. Due to current building code requirements, complete restoration has been delayed [1981]. Some alterations have occurred at street level.

Significance:  On July 14, 1909, the U.S. Post Office moved into the first floor of this building erected for T. B. Downing and Sons.  The post office remained here for almost 20 years until June 1, 1928, when it was moved one block up Hamilton to the Medico–Dental building.

The building was sold to the Native Sons Hall Association in 1921 and the second floor remodeled for their use. By 1978, the second floor meeting hall was used by various fraternal organizations. The owners were Hannah and Meyer Scher et al.

Note: More recent tenants included Bentwood Rocker and Waterworks. The upper floor offices were popular with retired professors from Stanford University.


entry detail map
Location map

This building was built in 1909 and is a Category 2 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The architect is not indicated, but the builder was E. A. Hettinger. The property measures 100 by 100 feet.

Sources: Historical Association files: Real Estate: Bldg on Hamilton, Post Office


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