Palo Alto's Historic Roth Building Wins Heritage Grant


Award gives historic project “a lift”

SAN JOSE – Today, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a Historical Heritage Grant to the City of Palo Alto for the Roth Building located in Heritage Park.  The grant will support the restoration of an original 1940s Otis three-level, 3,500-pound traction elevator as part of the building’s rehabilitation for future public use.

“Not everyone will think an elevator is exciting stuff, but it’s essential,” said County Supervisor Joe Simitian. “A working elevator will allow visitors to the future Palo Alto Museum to access every floor and enjoy the exhibits.”

Roth Building Palo Alto
The Roth Building in Palo Alto

With the functional and aesthetic restoration of the elevator, the city-owned Roth Building is shaping up to be a showcase for local history. Built in 1932, the Roth building housed the community’s first physician group practice, the Palo Alto Medical Clinic, and is “a signature example” of architect Birge M. Clark, who is credited with establishing the city’s Mediterranean look and feel.  Once renovated, visitors will be able to not only use the elevator, but also to access the elevator machine room and see a working display of a pull and brake system.

“For those around the County and the Country who are interested in architecture, art, engineering and local history, the restoration of this iconic building is a real win,” said Simitian. “When we have an opportunity to preserve history, increase access and support a grassroots community effort, it reinforces our sense of connection and our mutual understanding.”

The County’s Historic Heritage Commission solicits and receives grant applications for consideration annually. As a previous recipient of County historical heritage grants, the City of Palo Alto is already in the process of restoring the Roth Building’s original clay tile roof, and is scheduling the conservation and protection of the 1932 Arnautoff Frescoes.



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