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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

251 Lincoln Avenue

Charles House

Inventory photo 251 Lincoln
Inventory photo Photo taken 2017


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

Physical appearance:   This two-story shingle house with a string course at the second floor window sill level has a marginal stylistic commitment to the Colonial Revival. Additions at the entrance and to the west side are harmonious in image, scale, and form with the original simple but elegant design. Before the additions were made, it was a twin of the house at 1102 Ramona Street.
Note:  Renovation that removed non-historic additions to the home was completed in 2017 and it was honored with a PAST Historic Renovation Award.

Significance: Samuel W. and Isabel (Peck) Charles commissioned this house a year or two after their marriage in 1900. He was the son of an early Palo Alto physician and health officer, Edward W. Charles. After graduating from Stanford he served briefly as Principal of the Palo Alto Schools (1895–96), then entered the Stanford law school from which he graduated in 1898. Until his death in 1916 in a railroad crossing accident, he practiced law in the city and taught at the university.

Isabel Charles was the daughter of Mrs. Linton Peck, an early Castilleja School principal. A graduate of Stanford, Mrs. Charles was appointed Justice of the Peace to replace her husband after his death. She was the first woman in California to hold the office. After assuming the position she studied law at Stanford and practiced as an attorney until her marriage in 1929 to Professor Eliot Jones of Stanford.

The house was rented during the 1930's to professional families. (Edward W. Roth, engineer; Theodore C. Holmes, Standard Oil Co. auditor. In 1938 William L. Phillips acquired the property and, as of 1981, it has remained in the Phillips family ever since. [Note: It was sold in 2012.]


Robert Brandeis photo Ramona side
side window
entry map
2012 photo of porch with 1903 centennial plaque Location map

This house was built in 1903 and is a Category 4 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The architect was Charles Hodges and the builder probably was Gus Laumeister. Margaret Wimmer, Residential Designer, and Creative Habitat did the restoration. The property measures 105 by 75 feet.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 1/1/04, 6/27/18, 7/7/21, 5/1/29; San Francisco Examiner 1/3/17; interviews: 1981 Sara Phillips, 12/81 Shirley Charles Anderson; Stanford Archives, Charles E. Hodges file, "Partial List of Buildings Designed and Erected by Charles Edward Hodges..."


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