Palo Alto's Oldest Home Dismantled -- Slowly

By Chris Roberts
|  Thursday, May 26, 2011  |  Updated 4:10 PM PDT
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Palo Alto's Oldest Home Dismantled -- Slowly

Ted Greenberg

It's being done more carefully than this, but the overall effect is the same, historic preservation advocates claim.

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The oldest residence in Palo Alto is in the process of being taken apart "brick-by-brick," much to the chagrin of Silicon Valley history buffs who fought to save it.

Called the Juana Briones House, the home was built by a rancher and businesswoman in the 1840s. The current owners have wished to demolish the home since at least 2007, and went to court to fight the city -- and, later -- a group of historic preservationists in order to do so.

And, despite the house landing on a list of national "Most Endangered Historic Places," work crews began taking apart the home last week, according to an attorney for the property's owners.

Rather than being demolished entirely and destroyed as scrap, the house is being carefully taken apart so the historic materials can be sold, the Palo Alto Daily News reported.

Oddly, it appears the property is worth more as a vacant lot. A preservationist told the newspaper that the rumor is that the property's owners plan to sell the lot once the home is demolished. The owners were not available to speak on the record.

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