PAST Logo Palo Alto Stanford Heritage

Home Architects & Builders  Holiday House Tour Newsletters Walking Tours
About PAST Centennial Houses INVENTORY Preservation Awards Contact PAST
Advocacy History and Architecture Articles   Master Index to Houses Resources Join / Donate

Palo Alto Historic Buildings Inventory

2130 Yale Street

College Terrace

Birkett House

inventory photo 2130 Yale
Inventory photo Photo taken May 1, 2019
taken by Raina Regan of the National Trust

The following is from the Historic Buildings Inventory as revised in 1981 and 1985:

Physical appearance:   This steeply gabled two-story Queen Anne/Colonial Revival house with patterned shingles and an elegant sedicula in the front gable is a fine example of the variations allowed a builder by styles with such free compositional rules.

Significance:  Joseph Birkett (1865 - 1927), an English stonemason who came to Mayfield in 1887, was employed in the construction of Stanford University. His wife Electa was the daughter of the early Mayfield settler Horatio Orr. After her husband's death she remained in the house until her own demise.

Many years of subsequent occupancy by short-term owners and roomers have recently been handsomely repaired by the present owners ("William S. "Steve" and Heidi Jarvis). A special feature inside is the ornately-carved sandstone fireplace, reported to have been a wedding gift made by the craftsmen with whom Birkett worked at Stanford.

After Mrs. Birkett's death in 1942, Daniel L. and Mary Lynch became the owners (1942 - 1951). Lynch was a carpenter. John M. Thornhill, an engineer with Urban Bros., and his wife Pearl occupied the house from 1955 - 1958, followed (1959 - 1967) by Carlos A. and Mary L. Coleman. A number of tenants then occupied it.

The current owners, Pria Graves and George Koerner, acquired the house August 7, 1985 and have maintained it's integrity. Note the shingle patter on the new roof (Spring, 2019).

side view
2019 photo by Raina Regan
2004 photo

This house was built in 1904 and is a Category 3 on the Historic Buildings Inventory. The architect and builder are unknown. The property measures 50 by 125 feet. It was on the 1997 PAST Holiday House Tour.

Sources: Palo Alto City Directories; Palo Alto Times 10/19/04, 4/6/27, 11/5/42, 8/1/47, 3/2/51; Interview 7/81 with Steve Jarvis


FaceBook f

E-mail us at either or

PAST Logo Palo Alto Stanford Heritage—Dedicated to the preservation of Palo Alto's historic buildings.