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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

668 Ramona Street

Palo Alto Art Club / Pacific Art League

inventory photo 668 Ramona
Inventory photo Photo taken April 27, 2015


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

Physical appearance:   This stucco clad commercial structure is composed of two pitched roof elements separated by a three story, flat-roofed tower element. The ground floor storefronts consist of large divided display windows in each of the end elements, and a central second floor entrance and enclosed staircase. A set of small windows follows the angle of the stairs to the second floor. The design skillfully combines Spanish Colonial Revival, Mission Revival, and Craftsman style features. The varied fenestration, the elegant wrought iron corner balconies capped with red tile overhangs, and the three element form with central tower combine to create a building of presence and strong visual interest.

Significance:  The first building on this site was a two-story, Mission Revival style residence designed by R. H. Walker and built by L. S. Bean for Bernard Distal. Distal was a native of France who settled in Mayfield about 1864 with his brother Leonard, and was the earliest vitaculturist and wine maker in the locality. He moved to Palo Alto in 1904.

In 1915 the site was purchased by Henry R. Winsor. Winsor, a native of London, came to the city in 1906 from Tasmania. He was a cabinet maker first working for the Dudfield Lumber Co. and then independently. His son Alvin followed him in the wood-working crafts (as did a grandson), and the Winsor name was locally preeminent in fine furniture and cabinet construction and restoration.

Three years after his new shop and sales buildings were completed, they were seriously damaged by fire, but soon restored. The Palo Alto Art Club [now named Pacific Art League] occupied the building in 1967, although for several years afterward the Winsor shop continued in adjacent space at 225–227 Forest Avenue.

This building creates a strong presence that anchors the end of this commercial block and turns the corner gracefully. Along with the two-building complex at 628–632 Ramona, this structure forms the dominant historic character of most of the block. [1985]


balcony towper section
window detail side
windows detail
668 Ramona map

This building was built in 1926 and is Category 2 on the Historic Buildings Inventory [1988]. The architect was  Birge Clark and the builder was Wells P. Goodenough. The property measures 85 by 66 feet.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 7/15/04, 12/20/04, 6/10/26, 7/26/26, 8/28/26, 10/11/26, 10/30/29, 5/19/33, 3/15/37, 5/8/46, 5/21/46, 1/11/75; H.S. Foote, ed. Pen-Pictures from the Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California (Chicago, Lewis Publ. Co., 1888), p. 347.


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