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

450 Kingsley Avenue

Professorville Historic District

Sanford House

Inventory photo 450
Inventory photo Photo taken July 31, 2010


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

Physical appearance:   This very fine shingled Queen Anne house is composed of a complex of bays, a tower, steep-roofed dormers, Palladian arched windows, and a generous veranda. The detailing is crisply simplified.

Significance:  This country manor has been diligently and tastefully maintained. the large gables, unusual arch reaching out over the second story, and the expansive porch lend a sense of grandeur to the structure. A variety of ornamental features appear:  the Queen Anne corner tower, twin dormers with bay beneath, the Palladian window (an element of the  Colonial Revival style) in the front gable, fish scale shingles, and elaborate window moldings on the side gable.

It was built for Professor Fernando Sanford, who occupied it until his death in 1948 at age 94. He was the first Chairman of the Stanford Physics Department and one of the original 15 Stanford faculty members.

Recalling his pioneer days at Stanford, he described walking between his home and the campus over "street that were mere trails", and chuckled to think his colleagues in the East thought that Stanford paid "big" salaries. Sanford may have discovered the X-ray a year before its announcement in 1895 by Roentgen. He served on the city's early Board of Freeholders and was a president of the Chamber of Commerce.

From 1953 to 1964, the house was occupied by Fred M. Hunt, then purchased by William and Roseanne Saussotte. Saussotte was murdered by thieves in 1975 in Saigon while there as a consultant for the United Nations.


2015 photo porch
detail 450
2015 photo Robert Brandeis photo
Photo from Guy Miller Archieves map
From the Guy Miller Archives Location map

The following is from the Centennial Buildings Tour, prepared by The City of Palo Alto Historic Resources Board for the Centennial Building Celebration, April 16, 1994. The houses included on the tour were all identified as at least 100 years old:
The Queen Anne style Sanford House has a Palladian window, fish scale shingles, and elaborate window moldings on the side gable. It was designed by Frank McMurray and built by Quinn and Upham for Fernando Sanford, one of the original 15 Stanford faculty members, first chairman of the physics department, and president of the chamber of commerce.

This house was built in 1894 and is a Category 2 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The architect was Frank McMurray and the builders were P.P. Quinn and H.L. Upham. The property measures 150 by 200 feet.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 7/27/94, 11/23/94, 11/30/94, 7/6/74; Palo Alto AAUW, ...Gone Tomorrow?, p. 44; see P.A. Live Oak, 1/1/00 and P.A. Tims 5/2/06 for early photos, the latter in an advertisement "boosting" Palo Alto after the 1906 earthquake.

Read more about this here.


FaceBook f

E-mail us at either or

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