Almanac

News - February 20, 2013

Woodside weighs future of Jackling House artifacts

by Dave Boyce

The Woodside Town Council, once again confronted with what to do with furnishings from the 1920s-era Jackling House, sounded guardedly pessimistic on Feb. 12 about a proposal to divest itself of some of the artifacts so they could be used in a new house on Whiskey Hill Road. The house would be designed in the fashion of the Jackling House's architect, George Washington Smith.

With space in the Woodside Community Museum to display just some of the artifacts acquired in 2010, and with the remainder in a sun-and-rain-proof container outside, there is now a possibility that a collection could be formed in the home of someone who loves them. But for how long? And subject to what fate if the home is sold?

Mr. Smith designed the Spanish Colonial house for copper baron Daniel Jackling in 1926 on Mountain Home Road. Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs bought the property, disliked the house, and had it demolished after winning a decade-long legal battle with friends of the house and of Mr. Smith's designs. The house's historical value led the town to take custody of many of its furnishings.

Woodside History Committee member Thalia Lubin said that the couple, Ben Gilad and Qian Su, would be open to tours of some kind and would be good custodians. "I think we have a wonderful opportunity to keep these as a collection and restore them into a structure and bring them back to life," she said. "I would really hate to see these things spread to the four winds."

Some of the couple's list of desired items, including door knockers, light fixtures and decorative grill-work, are in the town's $12,000 plexiglass-enclosed display. Artifact disposal is at the discretion of Town Manager Kevin Bryant, who has mentioned an auction and said he involved the council in the interest of transparency on a matter of community concern.

With no obvious answers to the couple's proposal, the council agreed to have the items appraised.

"Personally, I'm not interested in disposing of any of that stuff," Councilman Peter Mason said. "It seems odd to me that we would give it away just because it's sitting around. ... I think we should figure out a way to store it."

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