With Demolition, Apple Chief Makes Way for House 2.0
There may not be an app for it, but Steve Jobs did have a permit. And with that, his epic battle to tear down his own house is finally over.
For the better part of the last decade, Mr. Jobs, the co-founder and chief executive of Apple, has been trying to demolish a sprawling, Spanish-style mansion he owns here in Woodside, a tony and techie enclave some 30 miles south of San Francisco, in hopes of building a new, smaller home on the lot. His efforts, however, had been delayed by legal challenges and cries for preservation of the so-called Jackling House, which was built in the 1920s for another successful industrialist: Daniel Jackling, whose money was in copper, not silicon.
Opponents of Mr. Jobs’s plan had hoped to rescue, or perhaps even move, the manse. But on Monday, Mr. Jobs — who bought the house in the 1980s, but moved out a decade ago — opted to delete instead.
“The demolition process started yesterday,” said Howard N. Ellman, Mr. Jobs’s lawyer, confirming that the wrecking ball had swung on Monday.
Brian Turner, regional lawyer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which has worked for years to preserve the house, called the end of the Jackling House “really unfortunate.”
“Steve Jobs knew about the historic significance of the house,” Mr. Turner said. “And unfortunately he disregarded it.”
Mr. Turner said the mansion, which had 35 rooms in nearly 15,000 square feet of interior space, was significant in part because it was built by George Washington Smith, an architect who is known for his work in California. But Mr. Jobs had been dismissive of Mr. Smith’s talents, calling the house “one of the biggest abominations” he had ever seen.
A permit had initially been issued for the demolition by the Town Council in 2004, but a county judge blocked it after a legal challenge by preservationists. After submitting a revised plan to the town, Mr. Jobs got another permit, which survived legal scrutiny, Mr. Ellman said.
Katie Cotton, an Apple spokeswoman, said Mr. Jobs had no comment. But Thalia Lubin, an architect, member of the town’s history committee and Woodside resident since 1973, said some elements of the house, including handmade Spanish and Tunisian tiles, would be preserved.
Still, Ms. Lubin, who is not an Apple user, said it seemed sad that “somebody as creative as Steve Jobs could not have figured out a more graceful and creative solution.”