For the latest update on Steve Jobs’ failure to gain a review by the California Supreme Court in his effort to destroy Jackling House, see this post.
Just after Steve Jobs lost his bid to demolish Jackling House, Christopher Lloyd visited the blog and wrote me a fascinating story about his personal bond to the House. In the early 1970s, a close relative owned the property and invited Christoper and his family to visit. They did and he had an enchanting stay. His father took these images and I reprint them here with Christopher’s kind permission. Should anyone visiting, wish to use these images you must contact him for permission. Clotilde Luce of Uphold Our Heritage, a former resident of the House herself, says these images fill a gap in the historical documentation of the House. So I reprint them here with pleasure.
Most of the previous photos I’ve seen have been in black and white and have not shown many exterior details of the house and its landscaping. What I like about Christoper’s images is that they show wonderful exterior details; and they also show how the House ‘lived’ in its surroundings. For those who know the northern California landscape, these pictures will remind you of the wonderfully lush understory of stately California oaks. The House here looks nothing like a manicured museum like Filoli, another historic home in the area. Jackling House here is lovingly maintained, but it is most of all lived in. It looks like it is being used, but used well. It would make George Washington Smith, its architect proud.
Now for something completely different. I love the dripping sarcasm of this column in the San Jose Mercury News by Patty Fisher:
Howard Ellman, Steve Jobs’ attorney, sounded pretty annoyed when I called him last week to ask about the Jackling House.
I wanted to know how Jobs had reacted when a state appeals court ruled Thursday that he couldn’t tear down his 30-bedroom historic mansion in Woodside.
Didn’t I understand how busy Mr. Jobs was? Ellman asked me. Didn’t I read my own newspaper?
Indeed, I understand. What with Macworld, Cisco Systems’ trademark lawsuit over the iPhone and those sticky questions about backdated options, Apple’s iconic chief executive had more pressing things on his mind than some drafty old house.
Not that the house has ever been a pressing issue for Jobs. Since 2000, he has neglected it, hoping it would fall down so he could build a smaller and spiffier house in its place.
Jobs is good at making things smaller and spiffier.
She notes that Gordon Smythe, a local venture capitalist, is very interested in taking on the house and moving it to a suitable local site. But Jobs, alas, hasn’t taken his interest seriously even though it would seem, after his two court losses, to be the only way Mr. Jobs’ Dream House will get built on the Jackling site:
Smythe wants to seal the deal, but Jobs is a tough guy to get a meeting with these days. Considering they live in the same neighborhood, I suggest Smythe stroll by with his baby and knock on Jobs’ door.
Kids grow up so quickly. If Jobs wants to build his own dream house before his kids leave home, he might want to move this project to the top of his to-do list.
After all, one thing we know about a cool gadget like the iPhone (or the Appletalker or CisNO or whatever the lawyers decide to call it) is that it becomes obsolete in a nanosecond. Someone — probably Jobs — will always design something even smaller and spiffier.
A house, on the other hand, can last for generations.
Or not, if Steve Jobs could have his way. Thank God, two California courts have told him he can’t.
UPDATE: Several commenters below have incorrectly claimed that when Jobs bought the House the law under which he is currently forbidden from demolishing it was not in effect. In their view, Jobs bought the building assuming he could do with it as he wished and then the State changed the rules on him thereby punishing him unfairly. This is not the case. Jobs bought the property in 1984 and the California Environmental Quality Act was passed in the 1970s.