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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

415 - 419 University Avenue

HRB photo all addresses
Inventory / HRB photo ca. 1985 Photo taken May 2, 2015


The following is from the Historic Buildings Inventory form dated 1986:

Physical appearance:   London Calling, Peninsula Optical, and McMillan's Coffee occupy the stores in this building. The coffee house and the north and south end of this three store group have some decorative glazed ceramic tile in a diamond and dot pattern. A 3" wide band of floral design tile comprises the wainscot trim.

The center shop entry door has been altered. Exterior material is stucco: handsome sheetmetal rainwater leader boxes occur at the front, two elliptical arched windows occur on the second floor over the two end shops, three occu rin the middle. Wood rafter ends have been nicely detailed. Two large 16" gargoyles occur at either end of the roof.

The elliptical arched windows are four lights high, and (typically) are casement windows. Those over the center shop have been removed and replaced with a single light of obscure glass. Shutters have been added at the south end shop.

A mission clay tile parapet one unit deep occurs at the front. The interior of the coffee shop has a partial mezzanine, with a skylight dominating the central space. Same for the London Calling shop.

The façade was remodeled in 1978 by architect David Madsen. Alterations to 417 were made by builder M. C. Ingram in 1948.

Significance:  Built for Annie F. Plymire as a three-store commercial structure, it has been occupied by a variety of lady's wear, aplliance, notions, paints, electrical applliance, jewelry, optical, and food stores. Macmillan's Coffee Store moved to the location from another site in the early 1940s, and the Peninsula Optical Co. in 1965. Until 1984, Small's jewelry store was located at 415 University from 1946.

The owners of record in 1986 were William A. and Gina F. Byxbee. (See 533 Bryant Street.) The tenants were Freeman Gallery, Peninsula Optical Co., and Macmillan's Coffee.)


Mock street
store entry
Mock to Peninsula Optical map

This structure was built in 1926 and is a Category 3 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The architect was Birge Clark and the builder was Wells P. Goodenough. The property measures 50 by 110 feet. It was added to the Inventory on September 18, 1989.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 8/28/26, 9/21/26, 9/22/16; Palo Alto Building Department file 5/5/28


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