Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Steve Jobs wins approval to raze his old mansion

May 13, 2009: 6:34 AM ET

Jackling House. Photo by Jonathan HaeberUnless preservationists make a last-ditch effort to save it, a 14-bedroom house built by a copper millionaire during the Coolidge administration will be torn down by a computer billionaire in the age of Obama.

At a public hearing Tuesday night, the town council of Woodside, Calif. -- one of the wealthiest small towns in America -- voted 6 to 1 to approve a controversial demolition permit that would allow Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs to knock down a 17,250 square foot Spanish colonial mansion and replace it with a smaller, more environmentally friendly home.

"I love old Spanish revival homes — I have a couple of them myself, and I've restored them," council member Dave Tanner said at the meeting, according to a report in the Palo Alto Daily News. "I didn't see any reason to try to restore or maintain this house."

Jobs bought the sprawling mansion known as the Jackling House in 1984 -- the year the Mac came out -- and camped out in it for about 10 years before moving to Palo Alto. His 2004 demolition permit was approved by the Woodside town council but blocked by an ad-hoc group called Uphold Our Heritage. They view the abandoned structure -- built in 1925 by George Washington Smith in his Santa Barbara style for copper mining magnate Daniel C. Jackling -- as a national treasure.

At Tuesday's meeting, Mayor Peter Mason, a licensed architect, cast the sole vote opposing demolition. "It's an unfortunate thing that Mr. Jobs doesn't like the house," Mason told the Daily News.  "It's really sad that we're going to continue to tear down historic resources in this town because they're old."

Asked by the paper whether she planned to pursue further legal action, Uphold Our Heritage president Clotilda Luce gave an ambiguous answer. "We already sued, and we won," she said. "I wish (the council) had paid attention to the law."

Photo by Jonathan Haeber posted with permission. For more of his work, click here and here.

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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