More on the Stegner studio: a Stanford colleague passes the hat

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Stegner in the hills off Page Mill Road (Photo: Leo Holub)

In many ways, South Fork Lane in Los Altos Hills looks much as it did when author Wallace Stegner walked it, according to Deborah Petersen in yesterday’s San Jose Mercury:

Except now, beyond a “No Trespassing” sign, are the markings of a future that excludes the Stegner home, and the study where he wrote most of his great works. Orange banners mark the outline of a plan for a gigantic 7,337-square-foot mansion, to replace the 2,200-square-foot former home of the late Wallace and Mary Stegner.

Les Earnest, a former Stanford research scientist who used to run the artificial intelligence lab, was a friend of the late Pulitzer prizewinning author.  Now he’s collecting donations to move and preserve Stegner’s detached study.

Les ... with 3D drawing of 6D hyper-cube

“It is part of his legacy, and many people have great admiration for his writings. And since most of the writings were done in his studio, it seems important to make it a museum or something,” Earnest said.  The Book Haven wrote about it here and here.

Petersen concludes:  “Too often when today’s Silicon Valley wealth collides with remnants of yesterday, a bulldozer is involved.”

Earnest agreed:  “That’s the way it is in the hills,” Earnest said. “When I pass away, my house will be a scraper too.”

The rest of the San Jose Mercury article is here.

Update on 6/30:  The homeowners who plan to raze the studio have hired an attorney to evaluate whether the structure requires a historical assessment prior to demolition, as urged by a national preservation group. Read more here.


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