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Professorville Historic District
Sun-bonnet House, 1061 Bryant St., Palo Alto, CA 6-3-2012 2-04-57 PM.JPG
Sun-bonnet House at 1061 Bryant St.
Professorville is located in California
Professorville is located in the US
Location Roughly bounded by Embarcadero Rd., Addison Ave., Emerson and Cowper Sts.
Palo Alto, California
Coordinates 37°26′28.39″N 122°9′14.87″W / 37.4412194°N 122.1541306°W / 37.4412194; -122.1541306Coordinates: 37°26′28.39″N 122°9′14.87″W / 37.4412194°N 122.1541306°W / 37.4412194; -122.1541306
NRHP reference # 80000861 [1]
Added to NRHP October 3, 1980

Professorville is a registered historic district in Palo Alto, California that contains homes that were built by Stanford University professors. The historic district is bounded by Kingsley and Addison avenues and the cross streets of Ramona and Waverly. The community considers the district to be larger and bounded by Addison and Cowper St. to the north west and north east and Emerson St. and Embarcadero Rd. to the south west and south east.[2]


The Professorville Historic District reflects the area's origins and its early years related to the founding of both Stanford University and Palo Alto itself. Stanford University allowed professors to build houses on Stanford land, but would only lease the land. Professorville was the closest place to the campus and downtown Palo Alto that was not owned by the Stanfords. Professors who preferred to own their own land rather than lease it from the Stanfords built their homes there.[3] Lot sizes in Professorville vary greatly in size and location, including flag lots. The developer of the tract was eager to sell the land and so he sold various lot sizes including full blocks and half blocks. The owners of the large lots then sold off portions of their property, starting at the outer edges, until the original buildings themselves were on a modest sized remaining lot.[2] In June 2010, the median list price for houses in Professorville was $1.85 million.[4]


The buildings most representative of Professorville are brown-shingled houses with gambrel roofs, whose stylistic influences range from Colonial Revival to American Craftsman. Dutch Colonials are the predominant architecture on three blocks of Kingsley Avenue.

One of the largest residences, a 3-story, 14-room frame house at 450 Kingsley, is the former home of Stanford's first physics professor, Fernando Sanford[5] designed by architect Frank McMurray of Chicago. The house includes features fashionable at the time such as a Queen Anne corner tower and a Palladian window in front. Other former professors' houses include 1005 Bryant, built for professor Frank Angell who founded the university's psychology department,[6] and 433 Melville, built for professor Charles Henry Gilbert, founding chair of the Zoology Department, and designed by Professor A. B. Clark, an architect and art professor.[7][8] The "Dead Houses" (named after the Grateful Dead) is a cooperative housing community centered in Professorville, primarily inhabited by Stanford students and recent graduates, with notable past tenants including Sean Parker.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2006-03-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b Bass, Patricia (October 21, 2005). "Professorville". Palo Alto Weekly. Palo Alto, California. Retrieved May 28, 2012. 
  3. ^ Levermore-Rich, Adam (August 3, 2001). "Professorville". Palo Alto Weekly. Palo Alto, California. Retrieved May 28, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Professorville Local Information". June 30, 2010. Retrieved May 28, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Memorial Resolution: Fernando Sanford (1856-1948)" (PDF). Stanford Historical Society. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "History of the Psychology Department". Stanford University. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  7. ^ "Architect Arthur Bridgman Clark" (PDF). Stanford Historical Society. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  8. ^ "Professorville Historic District". Santa Clara County: California's Historic Silicon Valley. National Park Service. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  9. ^ "Palo Alto "Dead Houses" provide an off-campus community for students". Retrieved 1 January 2014. 

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Park Service.


External links[edit]