“Although not one of Palo Alto’s largest neighborhoods, Professorville, with its serene, leafy lanes and impeccably maintained historic homes, is one of the city’s most sought-after.”
Unparalleled in its collection of vintage, mid-20th century architecture, Professorville is high-ranking among the “Palo Alto Dream” boroughs. Dating back to the formation of Stanford University in 1891, the faculty of the time chose to purchase nearby real estate rather than lease property from the Stanford family. As such, the neighborhood’s name perfectly reflects those early inhabitants.
In is in this district that a significant portion of the city’s flawless architectural heritage resides. Victorians, Mission-style, Shingle and Colonial Revival and particularly Craftsman homes line the borough’s boulevards. Because of their historical significance, many have been endowed with the strict protection afforded such landmarks. In fact, Professorville in its entirety is a Registered Historic District.
The district offers much more than its immaculately maintained, classic architecture. Residents treasure their neighborhood’s pedestrian-oriented location, offering easy access to downtown, El Camino Real, the CalTrain station, Palo Alto High School and, of course, Stanford University. The past decade has also breathed new life into the community, bringing young families to the district, reviving its youthful atmosphere and deepening its already well-rooted sense of community.
History of Professorville, Palo Alto
In addition to the creation of Professorville in 1891 as an adjacent residential borough for University faculty and its streets of heritage architecture, the district holds bragging rights to another vital piece of history, the home at 367 Addison Street.
The fact that the home at Addison Street was constructed in 1905 and was once called home by Palo Alto’s first mayor, Dr. John Spencer, is overshadowed by the couple that moved there in 1938; 25-year-old Dave Packard and his wife Lucile. It was that same year when Packard and his business partner, Bill Hewlett, began work in the detached garage building what was to become a leading edge high tech company. Their first product was the HP200A oscilloscope and their very first customer was Walt Disney. It was from this humble beginning in this small garage that the Silicon Valley was born.
Not open to the public, the Hewlett Packard Corporation now owns 367 Addison Street and has no intention of selling this inaugural piece of local history.
Professorville has been home to numerous notable people over the last hundred years, seeing as it is the borough where many of the ‘best and brightest’ chose to call home. But none had such a profound global impact as Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett.