Sat11222014

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Guy Shoup House earns landmark status: Two-story home on University Avenue receives historical desig


Photo By: Photo By Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Photo By Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Marlene and Del Beumer, above, received Historical Landmark status from the city of Los Altos for their University Avenue home.

Although it took Los Altos residents Del and Marlene Beumer only a few minutes to add their thumbprints and signatures to a document designating their University Avenue home a Historical Landmark June 27, the couple said the achievement was nearly a century in the making.

The story begins in 1915 when a two-story, Mediterranean-style residence at 452 University Ave., designed by architect Warren Skillings, reached completion on a site nestled between Adobe Creek and the old Southern Pacific railway line – known today as Foothill Expressway.

Adhering to the popular style of the day, the home includes a facade of asymmetrical windows with few embellishments and a stucco finish. In addition to the architecture itself, the original owner of the home – Guy Shoup – is an asset to the home’s value.

While serving as vice president and general counsel of Southern Pacific Railroad, Shoup helped found the Rotary Club of Los Altos and Los Altos Union Church. Wander no farther than Shoup Park to appreciate the enduring legacy of Shoup and his brother Paul, considered the “Father of Los Altos.”

The home’s age and architecture qualify the structure as a Historical Landmark, but according to the guidelines of Los Altos’ Historical Preservation Ordinance, the role that Guy Shoup played in the town’s early days further underlines the importance of preserving the property. The home is the 104th in the city granted Historical Landmark status by the Los Altos City Council and its Historical Commission.

Marlene said she and Del feel more like caretakers of the property because they purchased the Guy and Adelle Shoup House from the original owners’ daughter. Maintaining the landscaping as close to its original design as possible, the Beumers view the recent landmark designation as a way to preserve the home. The five-bedroom, three-bathroom home is currently on the market as the Beumers look to downsize.

Future owners might also reap the benefits of a property-tax reduction that enables money to be reinvested into preservation or restoration of a home so designated, but the Beumers note that the classification is more about “keeping the history of the community relevant” than any financial gain.

“It protects the house so that more people realize its importance,” Marlene said.

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