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Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

970 University Avenue

Lee House

inventory photo Lee House
Inventory photo Photo taken June 22, 2009


The following is from the Historic Buildings Inventory as revised in 1984:

Physical appearance:   Symmetricality is not a device usually associated with the rustic imagery of the Craftsman movement, but it is used quite successfully here. the articulation of the beams and eaves is a more typical detail. The two-and-one-half story structure is stucco with wood beams and bracketing. It stands well back in a large garden.

Significance:  This is an unusual version of the Craftsman style. The original owner, 1909-1929, was John Lee, followed for a decade by T. H. Cline. From 1954 - 1970 it was the home of Dr. B. Ream Allen. Lee was a well-to-do lumberman from San Francisco who moved to Palo Alto to enjoy its country atmosphere. Cline, a New York restaurant owner, grub-staked an Alaskan prospector who struck it rich, and Cline retired to the city on his share of the earnings.

Dr. B. (Beulah) Ream Allen was with her husband, a colonel in the Army, when the Japanese seized the Philippines in 1942. He died at Bataan, she was interned. In her practice in Palo Alto she cared for numerous survivors of the Santo Tomas interment camp. She left Palo Alto to become dean of the nursing school at Brigham Young University.

The structure combines formal qualities of design with the unusually informal Craftsman mode to create a self-conscious and not entirely successful design. The wide pergola entrance is a nice detail. The grounds reflect the structure's conflict between formal and casual design. the large house is set well back on the ample lot and both contribute to the overall street-face quality.

The owners in 1978 were Donald and Mona Spicer.


corner 2015 photo
2015 photo driveway
stairs 2013 photo
clinker brick map
Clinker brick Location map

This house was built in 1909 and is a Category 2 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The architect was Roy H. Heald and the builder, Gustav Laumeister. The property measures 150 by 200 feet.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories;  Palo Alto Times 3/5/1909, 12/31/1909, 7/16/1923, 1/28/1948; interview 1984, Donald Spicer.


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