On Tuesday a California city council will reconsider Steve Jobs’ longstanding request for permission to tear down the empty 84-year-old mansion that stands on the site where he wants to build a smaller, modern house more to his exacting taste.
The 17,250-square-foot Spanish colonial, located in Woodside, Calif., one of the wealthiest small towns in America, was designed by George Washington Smith for Daniel C. Jackling, self-made millionaire (copper) and San Francisco society-page headliner who filled his home with expensive artwork and traveled the world by private railroad car and custom-built yacht.
Apple’s (AAPL) CEO bought the 30-room hacienda in 1984, the year the Mac was released, and camped out there for the better part of a decade before moving to Palo Alto.
He found the sprawling mansion a cold and dreary place to live. He has called it “one of the biggest abominations of a house I’ve ever seen” and says it will cost more to restore than to replace. At one point he offered to give it to anyone willing to pay to have it moved.
Preservationists, led by
Uphold Our Heritage’s
Friends of the Jackling House, blocked Jobs’ first petition in a legal battle that went all the way to the California Supreme Court. They call the Santa Barbara-style manse an architectural treasure worthy of National Register nomination and bemoan the damage it has suffered in the 10 years it has stood — unoccupied and neglected — at the center of its 6-acre grounds.
“Rain drips through the roofs on to the Aeolian Pipe organ,” wrote photographer Jonathan Haeber in 2008. “A classic pool table sits in a room with the pool balls still in the racks. The faint scent of skunk permeates the interior.”
Below the fold: some rare glimpses inside the house that Jobs hates, in its current state of disrepair.