Anna P. Zschokke

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The first house in Palo Alto, framed by the doorway of Paddleford Oldsmobile across the street. (You can see this today from inside Whole Foods Market.) Credit: Palo Alto Historical Association
The first house in Palo Alto, framed by the doorway of Paddleford Oldsmobile across the street. (You can see this today from inside Whole Foods Market.) Credit: Palo Alto Historical Association

Anna P. Zschokke, the first resident of Palo Alto, was a widow with three children. She came in 1890 to the new town purchased by Timothy Hopkins for Leland Stanford. Stanford wanted to establish a town free of liquor to serve his university. Five other families followed the Zschokkes, making a total of six families who were residents of Palo Alto during its first year.

Zschokke built the first new house on Homer Avenue. The house is now the picnic area by the Whole Foods parking lot. Early in the last century Zschokke moved from this industrializing section of town to a new house at 526 Forest Avenue, where she established Palo Alto's first high school four years ahead of the official school board. This enterprising pioneer is therefore known as the Mother of Palo Alto Schools.

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