PAST Logo Palo Alto Stanford Heritage

Home Architects & Builders  Holiday House Tour Newsletters Walking Tours
About PAST Centennial Houses INVENTORY Preservation Awards Contact PAST
Advocacy History and Architecture Articles   Master Index to Houses Resources Join / Donate

Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

514 High Street / 140 University Avenue

Fraternal Hall

inventory photo Fraternal Hall
Inventory photo High Street view


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

Physical appearance:   This stucco two–story Renaissance Revival building with Spanish baroque overtones is a highly sophisticated design which poses clusters of elaborate relief window ornament against large expanses of wall. It was restored by Charles Keenan in 1983. The University Avenue ground-floor arrangement of piers and windows varies from, but is compatible with the original design.

Significance:  This is a handsome urban building whose sophistication indicates the hand of a skilled designer.

In 1897, local leaders of fraternal organizations formed the Fraternal Hall Association to finance construction of a fraternal and social center. subscriptions were soon sold to the public; it has been reported that Frederick L. Murphy, a local investor, was a heavy subscriber. the hall was rapidly completed with the help of horse–drawn excavation drags and hoists. Commercial space was provided at the ground level and meeting rooms on the second floor.


detail High Street doors
old photo AME photo
Historic photo from Guy Miller Archive Photo from AME Zion Church
mid-80s photo map
Historical Resources Photo ca. 1986 Location map

This structure was built in 1898 and is a Category 2 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. It was listed on the National Register on February 15, 1990. The original architect was Samuel Newsom of San Francisco; the supervising architect, W. T. Rhodes of Palo Alto, and the builder, M. P. Madison. The architect for the 1905 annex was Newsom & Newsom, and George W. Mosher the builder. The property measures 125 by 50 feet.

Sources: Palo Alto Times 2/18/83; Palo Alto Historical Association file on Fraternal Hall; intrviews Birge Clark, 1/15/79, A. E. Werry (brother-in-law of M. P. Madison), 1981; Palo Alto Live Oak: 1/26/98, early architectural drawing, 9/23/98 early photo


FaceBook f

E-mail us at either or

PAST Logo Palo Alto Stanford Heritage—Dedicated to the preservation of Palo Alto's historic buildings.