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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

318 Lincoln Avenue

Professorville Historic District

inventory photo 2014 photo
Inventory photo Photo taken July 14, 2010


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

Physical appearance:   This 1-1/2 story shingle house with sawtooth shingle edge on its double gable dormer and Doric column at its entry porch is essentially based on Colonial Revival styling. The landscaping includes handsome redwoods.

Significance:  Careful control of scale creates a strong visual impact. It was built, along with 308 Lincoln and 1100 Bryant, for Mrs. Cora Belle Kimball. Its first owner was Nathan Abbott, first dean of the Stanford Law School. A distinguished visitor in 1906 was the famous Harvard psychologist, William James. During the earthquake of 1906 he remained in the second floor bedroom to observe his sensations "on the scene" (one of his important psychological concepts was that emotions such as fear follow, rather than precede, the various physiological responses to unexpected events or dangers.)

A daughter of the first owner, Dorothy Abbott, graduated from Radcliffe in 1907 and married Richard Ames, son of the Harvard Law School Dean. She returned to Palo Alto in 1939 after her husband's death. In 1943 she married Rufus Kimball, whose mother had commissioned construction of 318 Lincoln, and from 1943 to 1969 lived two doors away at 1100 Bryant. She died at age 100 in 1985.

For a few years about 1910, it housed an overflow of students from Castilleja School around the corner.

Professor and Mrs. Rendtorff occupied it from 1913 to 1921 (see also 1130 Bryant), followed by the Edwin Duryea family, moving from the house next door (308 Lincoln) and remaining until 1941.

Mr. and Mrs. Wesley U. Benepe were the owners from 1948 to 1959, when the Jess and Esther Wilson purchased it. Benepe was an officer of the Fireman's Fund Insurance Company in San Francisco. Jesse and Esther Wilson were the owners in 1985.


2015 photo robert Brandeis photo
PAHA Guy Miller Archieve photo Guy miller Archieve photo of ivy
entry map
Entry porch with centennial plaque Location map

This house was built in 1901 and is a Category 4 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The builder was Gustav Laumeister. The property measures 62 by 200 feet.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 12/30/98, 5/9/45, 12/23/46, 11/27/85; AAUW, ... Gone Tomorrow?, p. 36; letter 2/7/70, Dorothy (Abbott) Kimball, Palo Alto Historical Association Archive: Real Estate/Individual Buildings file; Palo Alto Assessor's Books, 1900


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