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News

Detectives seek to identify bank robber

Detectives seek to identify bank robber

Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office detectives have released images of a man robbing a local bank earlier this week.


The suspect

At approximately 3 p.m. Tuesday (July 19), a man wearing a black baseball cap, glasses and a black coat entered the...

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Schools

Hofmann boys reel in customers with their new fishing business

Hofmann boys reel in customers with their new fishing business


Courtesy of Amy Hofmann
The Hofmann brothers – Grady, from left, Hayden and Baylor – fish three to five mornings a week from their family’s boat, “Party of Five,” docked in the Santa Cruz Harbor.

Three to five times per...

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Community

Local vet: Dogs need teeth brushing, too: Pet Pause

Home oral hygiene can make a tremendous difference in your dog’s comfort and health. There are several home care oral hygiene options from which to choose, but keep in mind that anything you can do to help prevent plaque and tartar accumulation...

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Sports

Don't tell these guys it's only an exhibition

Don't tell these guys it's only an exhibition


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Mountain View High defensive end Noah Kjos celebrates a tackle by one of his teammates. He recovered a fumble in the game.

There was nothing on the line but pride, and that proved more than enough to motivate the play...

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Comment

Letter to the Editor

LAH should examine short-term rentals

I used to think that a short-term rental (Airbnb style) was operated by someone who has a spare bedroom to share and was thus not a big issue. Living in Los Altos Hills, I was surprised to find out that one of m...

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Special Sections

Reading in sign,  ink and song

Reading in sign, ink and song


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A baby girl learns sign language during a program offered Wednesdays at the Los Altos Library.

Visit Los Altos Library’s community room on a Wednesday afternoon and you’ll see its plain gray expanse descend i...

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Business

Longtime LAVA director announces resignation

Longtime LAVA director announces resignation


Dunaway

After more than 10 years on the job, Nancy Dunaway is stepping down from her role as executive director of the Los Altos Village Association (LAVA).

“It’s a good time for both the association and myself,” Dunaway said las...

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People

DONNA MYERS

DONNA MYERS

Donna Lee Arrants Myers was born in Selma, California on Feb. 20, 1926. She passed away on June 23, 2016, at the age of 90, after suffering a stroke. Donna was the youngest of four children. She had two sisters, Jessie and Bonnie, and one brother, ...

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News

Detectives seek to identify bank robber

Detectives seek to identify bank robber

Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office detectives have released images of a man robbing a local bank earlier this week.


The suspect

At approximately 3 p.m. Tuesday (July 19), a man wearing a black baseball cap, glasses and a black coat entered the Wells Fargo at the intersection of Foothill Expre...

Readmore

Business

Longtime LAVA director announces resignation

Longtime LAVA director announces resignation

Dunaway

After more than 10 years on the job, Nancy Dunaway is stepping down from her role as executive director of the Los Altos Village Association (LAVA).

“It’s a good time for both the association and myself,” Dunaway said last week.

Readmore

Sports

Don't tell these guys it's only an exhibition

Don't tell these guys it's only an exhibition

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Mountain View High defensive end Noah Kjos celebrates a tackle by one of his teammates. He recovered a fumble in the game.

There was nothing on the line but pride, and that proved more than enough to motivate the players in the 42nd annual Charlie Wedemeyer High Scho...

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Community

A free pop-up arts festival Friday at Montalvo

Los Altos area residents are invited to attend Villa Montalvo's annual summer festival "Rock the Garden," the theme of which this year is "5 Hour Sculpture: A Pop-Up Arts Festival." The free event, scheduled 5-10 p.m. Friday (July 22) at the Saratoga arts center, involves more than 35 artists from t...

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Comment

Letter to the Editor

LAH should examine short-term rentals

I used to think that a short-term rental (Airbnb style) was operated by someone who has a spare bedroom to share and was thus not a big issue. Living in Los Altos Hills, I was surprised to find out that one of my neighbors in a small cul-de-sac is renting out a...

Readmore

People

DONNA MYERS

DONNA MYERS

Donna Lee Arrants Myers was born in Selma, California on Feb. 20, 1926. She passed away on June 23, 2016, at the age of 90, after suffering a stroke. Donna was the youngest of four children. She had two sisters, Jessie and Bonnie, and one brother, Clyde, whom she adored. At the age of eleven, the ...

Readmore

Schools

Hofmann boys reel in customers with their new fishing business

Hofmann boys reel in customers with their new fishing business

Courtesy of Amy Hofmann
The Hofmann brothers – Grady, from left, Hayden and Baylor – fish three to five mornings a week from their family’s boat, “Party of Five,” docked in the Santa Cruz Harbor.

Three to five times per week, the Hofmann boys get up much earlier than m...

Readmore

Special Sections

Reading in sign, ink and song

Reading in sign,  ink and song

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A baby girl learns sign language during a program offered Wednesdays at the Los Altos Library.

Visit Los Altos Library’s community room on a Wednesday afternoon and you’ll see its plain gray expanse descend into a slobbering, rolling, gurgling-baby Thunderdo...

Readmore

Stepping Out

'Pan' flies into town

'Pan' flies into town

Courtesy of Pati Bristow
Valerie Hu, front, plays the title character and Ellie Schwartz is Tinkerbell in the Los Altos Youth Theatre production of “Disney’s Peter Pan Jr.”

The Los Altos Youth Theatre production of “Disney’s Peter Pan Jr.”scheduled to close Sunday.

Fly away to Neverland with P...

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Obituaries

DONNA MYERS

DONNA MYERS

Donna Lee Arrants Myers was born in Selma, California on Feb. 20, 1926. She passed away on June 23, 2016, at the age of 90, after suffering a stroke. Donna was the youngest of four children. She had two sisters, Jessie and Bonnie, and one brother, Clyde, whom she adored. At the age of eleven, the ...

Readmore

Magazine

Festival offers fun for just about everyone

Festival offers fun for just about everyone

TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The 37th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival expects to draw thousands of people to the downtown village over the weekend. The festival features arts, crafts, food, wine, beer and children’s activities.

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Preserving the past: Local home turns 100


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town CrierLos Altos homeowners Armond and Marjorie King celebrate their homes centennial in July.

 

The 1.5-story Craftsman bungalow at 530 Cherry Ave. in Los Altos has been home to three generations of the same family and has witnessed two marriages, two deaths and two births.

It has remained much the same through the years – a timeless treasure – as more and bigger houses have sprung up around it and the orchards have vanished.

Owners Marjorie and Armond King wanted to maintain its original identity, believing it to be their “honor and duty.” And now they want to celebrate a milestone – the home’s 100th birthday.

So the Kings, with help from the Los Altos History Museum, are throwing their house a birthday party July 20. The celebration, open to the public, will feature period music by Paul Price’s Society Orchestra (Price is Marjorie’s son-in-law). And, of course, other family members will be there, too, including Armond’s cousin Dick Liewer, former assistant superintendent of curriculum for the Los Altos School District.

Split decision

The house is easy to find because of the large sign, “H. Bleibler Ornamental Ironwork,” out front. It’s from the Palo Alto blacksmith shop Armond’s grandfather, Herman Bleibler, opened circa 1905.

Since Bleibler built the Cherry Avenue house, it was only appropriate the sign be placed in front of it when the shop, on the corner of Forest and High streets, was sold in 2001. Bleibler’s wrought-iron artwork can still be seen in Palo Alto. (A photograph of author Kathleen Norris’ house showcasing Bleibler’s work hangs in the dining room.)

In 1910, the Swiss-born Bleibler and his German-born wife, Marie, purchased 5 acres of land, split evenly on both sides of Cherry Avenue. Marie held the deed to one side, while Herman held the deed to the other. Marie insisted that the family home be built on her side of the street so that if anything happened to Herman’s business, it would impact only the property on his side and their home would always be safe.

Their daughter Lucille Liewer lived in a house built in 1924 on his side of the street until her death in 2005.

The Bleibler house is sheathed in horizontal wood siding and has a small gabled dormer with a six-pane window sitting at the roofline. Ornamental ironwork railings enclose the recessed porch.

The house originally had two bedrooms, one bath and a sleeping porch. The bathroom has been remodeled and the porch is now a sitting room. Armond, a docent who keeps the model train running at the History Museum, transformed the upper story, or “attic,” into a guest suite.

The Bleiblers had the house wired for electricity, although it wasn’t delivered to them until a few years later when power lines were brought down Cherry Avenue from downtown. In the meantime, they used a diesel engine to run the water pump, cooked on a wood stove and read by the light of kerosene lanterns.

The living-room fireplace is constructed of bricks from Stanford Memorial Church, which fell during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Herman made the fireplace screen, andirons and fireplace tools, which are still in use. Not being used is his wrought-iron smoking stand, on display in the living room.

Herman also made the living-room light fixtures. His son Robert made the banister leading upstairs and the dining-room curtain rods.

The Bleiblers farmed their land and raised chickens, rabbits and hogs. Their children – Lucille, Robert, Alma and Josephine (Armond’s mother) – worked the farm, collecting eggs, feeding the animals and harvesting the crops.

“My grandfather always had big barbecues in the summer,” Armond said. “He set up long tables and then went out and killed a few chickens and rabbits and picked his own tomatoes. We’d sit around on warm summer nights and enjoy it.”

The Kings still sit outside on warm evenings, but on a raised deck built by Armond next to the old brick barbecue. The wrought-iron guardrail was salvaged from the ironworks.

Herman died in 1950, shortly after the Bleiblers’ 50th wedding anniversary, and Armond’s parents moved into the Cherry Avenue home with their three sons. Armond took ownership of the home in 1968.

Preserving the past

The living room is just the same as it was a century ago. A central bay window with double-hung windows on each side lets in light, and built-in bookcases on either side of the fireplace contain mementoes. A coved ceiling – typical of Craftsman-style homes of the 1900s – lends grace and dignity, as do the wood columns separating the living and dining rooms.

The dining room has tongue-and-groove wainscoting and a plate rail that wraps the room. A built-in breakfront has a mirrored pass-through to the kitchen.

The kitchen’s original cabinets, shelving and fold-down ironing board give a glimpse of what life was like at the time. A new addition is an electric stove that sits alongside a cast-iron stove.

Garage-sale finds such as a marble-topped commode and a vintage kitchen table add authenticity to the decor – thanks to Marjorie, who shares her husband’s passion for preserving the past.

And speaking of the past, Herman’s corrugated iron workshop at the back of the property is museumlike. Noteworthy, too, is Armond’s nearby “train room,” where he runs four different model trains. In addition, he operates a G Gauge train in the garden.

The Bleibler house was on the History Museum’s 2003 home tour. And it was the last stop on the Historic Bike Tour of Los Altos led by Gary Hedden of GreenTown Los Altos in September. The 75 bicyclists had lunch in the garden – a blast from the past. d

Submit a Letter to the Editor

The Town Crier welcomes letters to the editor on current events pertinent to Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Write to us at 138 Main St., Los Altos 94022, Attn: Editor, or email editor Bruce Barton at bruceb@latc.com. Because editorial space is limited, please confine letters to no more than 200 words. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Anonymous letters will not be printed.

You can also have your say right here at losaltosonline.com – scroll to the bottom of any story to add a comment. 

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