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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

617 High Street

617-621 Inventory photo 617
Inventory photo Photo taken 2012


The following is from the Historic Buildings Inventory as revised in 1986:

Physical appearance:  This and 621 High are 19th century residential survivals in a 20th century commercial neighborhood. Originally identical, they have been somewhat altered, but retain their essential visual qualities. 

Significance:  Buildings of a standard type, remarkable surviving in an area which from the beginning mixed commercial and residential structures and is wholly commercial at present. They were built for Theodore L. Zschokke, one of the earliest Palo Alto settlers. Soon after completion, they were sold to George and August L. Worrell, who came to the city in 1895 and from 1900 to 1925 lived in both houses for various lengths of time.

The Worrells, particularly Frank and Fred J.,—sons of George and Augusta—were well-established wood, coal, feed, and fuel merchants for many decades.

The house at 617 usually served as a rental residence, although from 1929–35 it was the family home of Edgar H. and Amy M. Poston. Poston came to Palo alto about 1900 and was a driver for the Palo Alto Transfer Company. See 621 High for more.

In 1985, it was owned by David Laurence and served as a rooming house. In 2012, the current owner/resident, architect Martin Bernstein, was presented with a Palo Alto Stanford Heritage Preservation Award for the design of the new landscaping.

detail fence
Award winning landscaping 621 High is to right of fence
617 map
Circa 1986 photo Location map

This house was built in 1897 and is a Category 3 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. It was presented a PAST Preservation Award in 2012 for Residential Landscaping. The builder was George W. Mosher. The property measures 25 by 102 feet.

Sources for this and 621 High Street: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 2/12/97, 12/31/97, 9/10/14, 4/9/19, 8/28/24, 12/6/26, 3/27/31, 5/11/34, 2/7/35, 8/21/39, 12/27/49, 5/15/82; Palo alto Assessor's Books 1896, 1897 (P.A. Library); U.S. Census, 1900, Santa Clara Co., Palo Alto, ED 80


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