College Terrace resident Lucille Mellish made headlines in April after the Palo Alto Historic Resources Board declined her petition to remove one of two dilapidated homes she owns from the city's Historic Inventory so that she could demolish it.
The 1906 home at 757 College Ave. and an adjacent home at 739 College had been vacant for decades, and Mellish, 95, wanted to rid herself of the dangers she said they posed and to have the properties unencumbered for her heirs.
Mellish and her husband purchased the 696-square-foot cottage at 757 College in 1968. It wasn't on the Historic Inventory at the time, but 10 years later the city added the home to the list. Mellish said she never wanted the home to be designated as a historic residence.
No one has lived at 757 College for at least 20 years -- except for birds, squirrels, termites and the occasional squatter, Mellish said in April.
But the Historic Resources Board rejected her petition, finding the single-story house to be an example of a "workingman's cottage," which board members said meets the criteria as a historical asset. The seven-member board unanimously voted to recommend that the City Council keep the home on the list.
Mellish said she didn't have the money to fix the homes, which were a neighborhood eyesore. She lives around the corner in an adjacent home on Wellesley Street.
"I'm afraid inquisitive children in the neighborhood will go into the home and get hurt, and I'm afraid they will sue me," she said.
"It's just awful. There's nothing about it that's historical. No one has ever lived in it that's of any note. It's nothing but a piece of junk," she said after the hearing.
City Manager James Keene's office disagreed with the board, finding that Mellish could demolish the homes since there are no provisions under the city's ordinance against demolishing a Category 3 historic home, such as Mellish's, outside of the city's downtown.
Mellish said she received the permits on July 29, and the homes were demolished this week. On Wednesday, the piles of rubble were hauled away.
"I'm very happy it's done. It's taken a long time," she said.
She does not plan to build on the sites, she added.