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That 102 year old house downtown on University is finally for sale.

Original post made by Susan Stevens, Charleston Meadows, on Sep 8, 2006

I've walked past that house so many times. It seems so out of place downtown between a realtor's office and a restaurant. I used to call it the holdout house. It's a tenacious survivor of a time long gone. Somehow this house has survived the growing of a bustling town all around it. I don't know who built it, but as a kid I wondered if it was haunted. Today at age 31 I bravely went inside disquising myself with a bunch of realtors to solve the mystery of the holdout house. The listing agent had no details for me about the history. I can tell you that although it's a cool historical house it will most likely be torn down to build an office building, or perhaps a Starbucks. There are cool treasres in there though. A Palo Alto historian would love to spend time admiring the floors, plaster walls, and glass doorknobs. I thought perhaps it was once a boarding house, it has that feeling. I wonder who stayed there 100 years ago? When I was inside looking at the clawfoot tub and the marble sink I realized that there just wasn't anything like it in Palo Alto. We are the town of the future, not the past. Still, it was hard not to imagine petticoats in the closets and wonder if Leland Stanford or David Starr Jordan ever went inside. The house is like a time capsule. It's in terrible shape. The plaster is cracked and falling off the walls in places. The listing agent placed hard hats in the foyer for the feint of heart, but nobody seemed to wear them. Clearly the roof needs to be replaced and the plumbing and... well, everything else. Still, it's hard for me not to repect the staying power that kept it there even during the internet craze when the downtown land could have been sold for a fortune. There is a part of me that would love to restore it. Perhaps Palo Alto could use a charming B&B or tea room. Who am I kidding? It's going to be a cube shaped steel and glass office building with T1 connections in every room. Nobody cares about the holdout house, most probably think it's an eyesore, and probably haunted.

Comments (5)

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Posted by John
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 8, 2006 at 3:53 pm

How about some pictures?

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Posted by R.S.
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 9, 2006 at 2:28 pm

Yes, it is in terrible shape. I know there will be some bleeding hearts out there who want to save this piece of junk, in the mistaken belief that everything old is automatically "historic." I say tear it down and put up something that is useful. We already have a lot of history around this town.

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Posted by Frank Bravo
webmaster of Palo Alto Online
on Sep 11, 2006 at 9:13 am

Frank Bravo is a registered user.

Here's a photo of the house, taken by the Palo Alto Weekly:

Web Link

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Susan Stevens
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 12, 2006 at 4:28 pm

Thanks for posting the photo, Frank!

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Posted by Mayfield child
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 27, 2006 at 12:01 am

No follow up in the Weekly about it's history?? I imagine that it must have had a lawn at one time..trees...a laughing family....

Being on UNIVERSITY AVE...must have been important/wealthy family there at one time waaaay back when.... Come on, Steve Stagner, don't you read the comments of the community?? !! We need your input!!!

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