Home built for English prof 

When Stanford University opened its doors in the late 1800s, it needed faculty for its then-most-popular department, English.

It was a different time. Today, professors of English at schools nationwide probably cannot afford mansions. But today, the Palo Alto home of a professor from that time and that wealthy school is now on the market for $17 million.

Alphonso Newcomer was hired in 1891 as an assistant professor, quickly making a name for himself as a charismatic teacher, according to a 2002 report by the Stanford Historical Society. He initially taught composition, rhetoric and literature. The department was the most popular at the school both in terms of course registration and student majors, according to the report, but dropped a bit by 1910, after the retirement of some of the first faculty and the ascension of the sciences.

But those later years saw Newcomer rise in prominence. In 1906, he became executive head of the English Department. He held the job until 1913, when he died at age 49. Prior to coming to Stanford, he graduated with his bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan and his master’s degree at Cornell University.

He also published several books of poetry inspired by his locale.

His home, at 1055 Forest Ave., was built in 1896, according to Alain Pinel Realtors. It was constructed in the Queen Anne style, with alterations from the 1920s. It was designed by H.L. Upham and P.P. Quinn.

The house’s features include a deep entry porch, a reception hall, an office with multiple workstations, a sunroom, a very large dining room with adjoining music room, a master bedroom suite with a library in its own wing, an exercise room/dance studio, a wine cellar with a tasting bar, a swimming pool and a waterfall spa.

Where: Palo Alto

Asking price: $17 million

Property tax: $221,000*

What: 7 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, 7,523 square feet per tax records

Amenities: Asymmetrical façade, gables, classical columns, painted wood gutters, enclosed front porch, wood sash windows, fireplace, French doors

Contact: Sherry Bucolo, Alain Pinel Realtors, (650) 207-9909, www.1055Forest.com

*Estimate based on 1.3 percent of asking price

kwilliamson@examiner.com

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