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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

374 Kingsley Avenue

Professorville Historical District

Inventory photo robert Brandeis photo
Inventory photo Robert Brandeis photo


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

Physical appearance:   This simple shingled bungalow is a vernacular house with some suggestion of Craftsman origins. The one-story building has unusual fenestration land a tree growing through a cut opening in the porch roof at the front. The building is topped with a hipped roof and set back from the street within a generous landscaped garden.

The porch has been altered in material and balustrade.

Significance:  The redwood cottage at 374 Kingsley has harmoniously united with its environment. Such may well have been the desire of its first owners who spent their honeymoon camping in the Sierras. Bolton Coit Brown, after whom a peak in that range is named, and his bride, Lucy Fletcher, one of the young founders of Castilleja Hall moved here in 1899. Professor Brown was a pioneer member of Stanford's art department from 1891 to 1902 when he retired and moved to Woodstock, New York where he became active in establishing its art colony. During his time as a professor of art at Stanford, Professor Brown was commissioned by the town fathers to design the original Palo Alto seal. For this service he was paid $5.00.

The structure and its neighbors at 1220 Waverley Street (formerly numbered 380 Kingsley) and 364 Kingsley, create a small complex in a shared landscape. Rustic structures at 373 and 375 Whitman Court, an alley at the rear, are also related to the Kingsley cottages in terms of image and setting.

When the Browns left, the property was acquired by the Needles family of New York, one of whom, Edna, was an early Stanford student; she commissioned construction of the cottage behind 374 Kingsley (see Whitman Court), where she lived for a number of years. The Needles family sold in 1935 to Dr. Edwin A. Kruse and his wife Madeleine; they occupied the cottage until the late 1970s. Dr. Kruse was a dentist.

At the time of the Inventory, Loren and Susan Sorensen were the owners/residents.


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  Street view
side view map
Roof side view Location map

This house was built in 1899 and is a Category 3 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The builder was James W. Wells. The property measures 50 by 190 feet.

Sources:  Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times, 12/29/1899; Book 248 (Deeds), p. 176-7, 4/22/1902; Book 719 (Off. Records), p. 383, 1/3/1935 (Santa Clara Recorder).


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