News - March 17, 2010

Woodside: Bell tolls for Jackling house

• Judge rules against preservation of 85-year-old Woodside mansion.

by Dave Boyce

Uphold Our Heritage, the preservation-oriented group trying to save Woodside's historic Jackling house, has been dealt another blow. A San Mateo County Superior Court judge has overruled Uphold's objections to plans by Apple Corp. chief executive Steve Jobs, the owner of the 82-year-old mansion, to destroy it and replace it with a modern home.

In her March 8 ruling, Judge Marie S. Weiner spent most of its 12 pages recounting the four-year unfolding of this case, including her decision for Uphold in February 2006, the appellate court's agreement, and Mr. Jobs' subsequent — and now successful — efforts to address his case's shortcomings as identified by the court.

The saga may not be over. Uphold Our Heritage has 60 days to appeal the decision. The last time Uphold appealed, they won, but Mr. Jobs has addressed the deficiencies cited then by the courts.

In her ruling, as she concluded that Mr. Jobs could go forward with demolition, the judge paused twice to note the unhappiness among some in Woodside over the increasingly likely passing of this Spanish colonial-style mansion.

"It's unfortunate that someone didn't buy the property who really bought it in order to preserve the mansion, but that's what happened," said former Councilwoman Carroll Ann Hodges in May 2009, and quoted in the judge's ruling.

Judge Weiner also quoted architect and then-mayor Peter Mason, who lamented the tearing down of historic resources. "I think that's really sad for the long term historic heritage of our town," he said.

The judge noted the Jackling house's location on private property, its inaccessibility to a view by the passing public, the house's "serious" state of disrepair as a public health and safety issue, its construction before there were building and fire codes, and its proximity to the San Andreas fault.

The judge noted that Mr. Jobs "intends not to fix (the house) and not to sell it," though he has received several proposals to take it off his hands, including two in 2009.

Gordon Smythe, a venture capitalist and enthusiast of Jackling house architect George Washington Smith, offered in the summer of 2009 to dismantle the house and reuse parts of it in a new family home. It's unclear whether Mr. Jobs ever agreed to this, and the proposal has since lapsed.

Later in 2009, Woodside residents Jason and Magalli Yoho offered to relocate the house to Lindenbrook Road from its current location on Robles Drive, according to a letter to the couple from Town Hall.

Representatives from Uphold Our Heritage did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


Posted by L Ellison, a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Mar 16, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Money talks.

Posted by Good taste, a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2010 at 8:18 am

I think Mr. Jobs knew that house was not a testament to "CALIFORNIA HISTORICAL" a great deal better than most. He lived there in that Jackling house which was one of the poorest examples of architect George Washington Smith's talents. His homes in the Santa Barbara and Montecito area made the ugly Jackling house was not designed for posterity and was a hideous example ot the style.
Mr. Jobs did offer to let the home be dismantled for a long period and he was a total gentleman through the entire fiasco. I am pleased with the outcome and his washing his hands on such nonsense. If you want historic, look at the HUNTINGTON in Southern CA. This Jackling house looks like an out house compared to it...I doubt if Mr.Jobs wanted to have his name attached on a plaque for having donated the hideous thing.

Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 10, 2010 at 9:24 am

The only thing "Uphold Our Heritage" accomplished was wasting a tremendous amount of people's time and money.

This is PRIVATE PROPERTY and, as the judge rightly noted, was quickly becoming a public health and safety hazard. It should have been demolished years ago.

Good luck to Mr. Jobs and his family with their new home... which will end up being far more historic.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields