The Cowper Inn is composed of two historic turn-of-the-century Palo Alto houses: one built in the Craftsman Style, and the other Victorian.
The Craftsman House was built by the town coal merchant, and the carports in the back of the houses are old stables and carriage stalls. Dr. Effie York, who owned the corner house from 1911 until 1937, was Palo Alto's first osteopath. She conducted her practice from her home until retirement in 1937. During the 1920's and 1930's, she used the second house (Victorian) as a club for Filipino students attending Stanford University.
The next owner, Mrs. Elise Bailey Stone, changed the corner house to include apartments. She first lived in one of the apartments and later in the main house until she moved to a nursing home in 1957. There were several owners of the properties from 1958 until 1986