National Register of Historic Places in Santa Clara County

National Register #80000862: Wilson House in Palo Alto, California 10 February 2011
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National Register #80000862
Carl Wilson Residence
860 University Avenue
Palo Alto
Built 1906

The Carl Wilson Residence owes its significance primarily to its architectural excellence and its high quality as a representative of its style, type and era.

The design of the Colonial Revival house is not unusual in general form, but the structure becomes architecturally noteworthy due to its large and impressive overall scale and some particularly outstanding details.

A marked horizontal emphasis is created by the broad rather overscaled porch, and the extended eaves of the upper story. The porch roof gives the appearance of hovering above the ground and thus provides a broad visual base for the upper portion of the house.

The form and articulation of the porch roof and its means of support are rather unusual. This emphatically planar element is interrupted by a shallow decorated gable at the entrance. The porch canopy itself is supported by recessed columns without capitals, and with its shallow fascia, becomes a thin horizontal plane that appears to almost float above the ground.

A particularly fine piece of detailing is an unusual rounded bay with elaborate stained glass windows. Almost two stories in height, it is, in terms of size, shape and quality among the finest residential example of its era in Palo Alto. The design is complex, the colors striking, and the rounded forms dictated by the bay are both unusual and difficult to execute.

Excerpted from the NRHP nomination dated 25 October 1979.

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