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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

1103 Ramona Street

Professorville Historic District

inventory photo 1103 Ramona
Inventory photo Photo taken August 25, 2013


The following is from the Historic Buildings Inventory as revised in 1981:

Physical appearance:   Despite decorative alterations at the entrance and a major expansion in the rear, this simple shingle version of Colonial revival style retains its essential character. Its interest is less in its individual features than as an important component of a harmonious streetscape.

Significance:  Built for Professor and Mrs. C. A. Copeland of Stanford, the house was remembered by neighbors as the "Seale Cottage" due to the very early occupancy (1904–1908) by newlyweds Alfred and Grace Seale. Seale was the nephew of Thomas Seale, the landed entrepreneur who once owned much of the original Palo Alto town site. Alfred was himself an investor, one of the Directors of the Bank of Palo Alto (later American Trust Co.), a president of the Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the Board of Public Safely, and a partner in the Palo Alto Improvement Company.

Succeeding the Seales were Professor and Mrs. Henry David Gray (1908–1911)—Gray, an English professor, served on the Stanford faculty for thirty–one years—and Reginald H. McKaig, a banker, and sons Wallace and George.

From 1915 to 1926, the house was occupied by the investment banker (Schwacher & Co.) and City Councilman (1931–1937) John S. Stephens and his wife Sadie.

Then it became the home (1928–1968) of Merrill K. and Dorcas Bennett. Bennett was a food economist of international importance, heading up the University's food research Institute and often sitting on high governmental advisory commissions.

An owner in recent times who carried out extensive remodeling was James E. Mitchell, a descendant of longtime University Registrar and civic leader J. Pearce Mitchell. The owner in 1981 was Howard J. Gopen.


roof line
Robert Brandeis photo
Robert Brandeis photo
1103 Ramona
entry map

This house was built in 1901 and is a Category 3 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The builder was Gus Laumeister. The property measures 50 by 105 feet. It was on the 1992 Holiday House Tour.

Sources: P. A. City Directories; P.A. Times 1/3/02, 2/31/31 [sic], 3/25/33, 7/4/42/, 6/28/46, 2/15/56, 2/4/58, 1/8/69, 9/25/75; Phyllis Butler, The Valley of Santa Clara


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