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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

541 Ramona Street

Homeware Store

Ramona Street Archtectural Disrict

inventory photo 541 Ramona
Inventory photo Photo taken in May 6, 2007

The following is from the Historic Buildings Inventory as revised in 1985 and from the National Register of Historic Places Inventory—Nomination Form dated May 21, 1985:

Physical appearance:   This two-story building performs a quiet support function in a remarkable block. The entire facade of the one-story building consists of a rounded arch whose upper portion is filled with an elaborate wrought iron grill. The Building's façade has heavy Craftsman-type timbering at the second level. [When this document was prepared] significant alterations on the ground floor façade include covering of decorative glazed tiles and reducing the size of one showcase window. Note: The building was awarded a PAST Commercial Rehabilitation Preservation Adaptive Reuse Award in 2007 for retaining and repairing key interior historic features and for returning the exterior to its original 1928 appearance.

Significance:  This one- and two-story stucco-clad building was designed by Birge Clark in 1929 and built by Wells Goodenough. The building was designed for specific tenants, the Home Savings and Loan, and the Homeware store (which featured specialty housewares).

This building is really part of the four-story medical/dental building whose parking garage extends underneath it. Although built simultaneously, both tenants were intimately involved in design. 541 Ramona, the Homeware Store, was operated for several years by Mr. and Mrs. Crandall. 545 Ramona was designed as the Home Foundation Savings and Loan.  Homeware Store and Gotham Shop, on the opposite side of the street, were the principal retail attractions for 10 years. Note that these two buildings and the 4-story professional building on the corner were carefully designed to accentuate different occupancies.

The current (1978) fronts are marred by large signs. It is interesting to note that originally the leases prohibited any signs other than surface lettering or small 2' x 2' hanging shield-type signs.

This property was owned by Alhouse Realty Co. when the Inventory was made.

upper level historic photo
ceiling stairs
window flags
window from inside tiles
windows map

This house was built in 1928 and is a Category 4 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The architect was Birge Clark and the builder was Wells P. Goodenough. The property measures 50 by 100  feet. The owner at the time of the Inventory was Alhouse Realty Co.


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