2023 Reconnaissance Survey
The City of Palo Alto is working with Page & Turnbull, an historic preservation planning and architecture firm, with the assistance of M-Group, to complete the 2023 Historic Resource Reconnaissance Survey. This Survey will look at approximately 165 buildings and structures that were identified as “eligible for the National Register of Historic Places” during the 1997-2001 Palo Alto Survey Update, and identify whether the properties remain eligible as historic resources. Those properties that retain their historic materials and character, and therefore retain eligibility, will be nominated by the City for designation in the Palo Alto Historic Inventory.
On March 21, 2022, the City Council directed staff to work with the Historic Resources Board (HRB) to review the national eligible properties that were previously deemed eligible in the 1997-2001 Palo Alto Survey Update in an effort to designate them to the Palo Alto Historic Inventory. The direction included recommendations for listing on the inventory in accordance with the process set forth in the Palo Alto Municipal Code and for collaboration with the HRB for community engagement. This reconnaissance survey would verify if the resources still exist, have been demolished, or have been significantly altered. The staff and consultants will make recommendations for nominating the properties that are still eligible for designation in the Palo Alto Historic Inventory. Following the survey and historic register listing, the properties would then be subject to the provisions of Palo Alto Municipal Code Chapter 16.49, Historic Preservation. This survey will implement the HRB's 2022 work plan Goal 2, Comprehensive Plan Policy L7.1.1.
Owners of properties included in the survey will be notified by mailed letters updating the reconnaissance survey efforts and its upcoming community outreach meetings. The first Community outreach meeting was held on April 25, 2023. Future meetings will be announced and owners will be notified by mail, and dates and times will be posted on this webpage. Current documents for the public’s reference are provided in the links below.
- Interactive Map showing the locations of the properties within the survey
- List of Properties Deemed Eligible for National Register of Historical Places in 1997-2001 survey
- Introduction Letter provided to property owners within the survey, April 2023
Tasks and Community Outreach
Completed by Page & Turnbull during the month of April 2023
First Community Meeting
Held on Tuesday, April 25, 2023, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Recording available on YouTube
Second Community Meeting
Date and location to be determined
Anticipated for late summer/early fall
City Council Meeting
Anticipated for the end of 2023
*Dates and locations are subject to change.
Refer to this webpage periodically for the project's latest information.
National, State, and Local Registers
National, State and Local Register are official lists that identify and provides for preservation of historic resources. Historic resources may be eligible for listing within one or more registers and quality for unique preservation incentives. These registers include the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), the California Register of Historic Resources (CRHR), and the Palo Alto Historic Inventory.
National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)
National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the national list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, and culture as authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. Directed by the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 36, Chapter 1, Part 60, § 60.4 Criteria for evaluation, the registers criteria's calls for historic resources to emit a quality of significance in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, and culture and is present in districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association and:
a) That are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or
b) That are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; or
c) That embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
d) That have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.
California Register of Historic Resources (CRHR)
California Register of Historic Resources (CRHR) is an authoritative guide in California to be used by state and local agencies, private groups, and citizens to identify the state's historical resources and to indicate what properties are to be protected, to the extent prudent and feasible, from substantial adverse change. A historical resource registered with the CRHR must be significant at the local, state, or national level under one or more of the following four criteria:
1) It is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of local or regional history, or the cultural heritage of California or the United States;
2) It is associated with the lives of persons important to local, California, or national history;
3) It embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, region, or method of construction, or represents the work of a master of possesses high artistic values; or
4) It has yielded, or has the potential to yield, information important to the prehistory or history of the local area, California, or the nation.
Palo Alto Historic Inventory
Palo Alto Historic Inventory is a list of properties officially designated or recognized as historically significant by the local government pursuant to its local ordinance and resolution. The following criteria as established by the City of Palo Alto's Municipal Code Section 16.49.040, Designation of historic structures/sites, along with the definitions of historic categories and districts in Section 16.49.020, shall be used as criteria for designating additional historic structures/sites or districts to the historic inventory:
1) The structure or site is identified with the lives of historic people or with important events in the city, state or nation;
2) The structure or site is particularly representative of an architectural style or way of life important to the city, state or nation;
3) The structure or site is an example of a type of building which was once common, but is now rare;
4) The structure or site is connected with a business or use which was once common, but is now rare;
5) The architect or building was important;
6)The structure or site contains elements demonstrating outstanding attention to architectural design, detail, materials or craftsmanship.
City Planning staff including, Amy French, Chief Planning Official & HRB Liaison and Isabel Castellano, M-Group Historic Preservation Consultant, are available to communicate on the 2023 Reconnaissance Survey project.
For additional information and questions please complete the form below and staff will reach out. Include your name, property address, contact information, and briefly describe your inquiry.