NABOKV-L post 0015366, Mon, 16 Jul 2007 15:35:25 -0400

Additional info and ideas about saving VN's house in Palo Alto
Dear List,

I have been corresponding with Penny Johnson, who sent the query about saving VN's house to Juan Martinez that he forwarded to the List a few weeks ago. Penny kindly agreed to allow me to share her remarks with the List (see below). Apparently, the new owners have rented the house to tenants until April 2008, so that might be enough time to prevent it from being destroyed. Penny points out that Palo Alto has bought and restored the house and garage where the Hewlett-Packard Company originated; she suggests that we we ask whether Stanford might consider buying the house, restoring it, and renting it out. (Stanford's alumni magazine published an article last year--shared with the List last week, thanks to Sandy Klein--which described VN's position at Stanford as well as his rental of the house, and speculated that VN may have worked on the manuscript of Lolita there.)

Perhaps an informal committee, under the auspices of the Vladimir Nabokov Society, might contact the Palo Alto Hisotrical Society and Stanford. Please let me know if you would like to participate or if you have other suggestions.

Susan Elizabeth Sweeney
Co-Editor, NABOKV-L

Penny explains that she has been

> trying to get to Palo Alto (we live over an hour away) and check out any
> info on the house at the planning department but haven't been able to be
> there during business hours. I did visit the neighborhood last month and
> talked to a few of the neighbors and discovered they didn't know
> anything about the project. The one neighbor who told me she has a copy
> of the new owner's plans has been on vacation . . . The house is being
> rented with a one year lease ending next April. I do know that the house
> is in good shape and there is no reason to destroy it other than that
> the current owners just want "new". [. . .]
> You can actually view the house here: put in 230
> Sequoia Ave, Palo Alto. Then click "Street View" and you can maneuver
> around the neighborhood. The front view of the house is covered by trees
> but I was able to get one view from the driveway that strangely shows a
> shadow of what looks like the face of a girl looking out from one of the
> arched bay windows. You have to get just the right angle and zoom in to
> see it. My husband, Walt, saw it too without me pointing it out so I
> know it's not just me imagining it! It's VERY strange! It's just
> shadows, but still . . . . . ???

In another email, Penny added this information:

Here's a link to the Palo Alto Historical Society

My husband had an interesting idea. Palo Alto bought the house and
garage where Hewlett and Packard started HP and restored both. Wouldn't
it be great if Stanford can buy the house on Sequoia, restore and
upgrade the plumping and electrical and rent it out to visiting
professors and the like. There are other houses in the neighbor where
they have done exactly that, why not this house?! Does anybody have ties
to Stanford?

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