Note: This is part of a series in which I categorize a public figure as either a “Preservationist” or “Not a Preservationist.”
It was shortly after I bought my first iPhone (and subsequently fell in love with it) that I learned the very disturbing fact that Steve Jobs is not a preservationist. In 1984 he had bought a 1925 Spanish Colonial Revival mansion known as the Jackling House. He lived in it for a decade, then rented it out, then let it sit vacant after 2000. Architect George Washington Smith designed the 17,250 square foot house for copper magnate Daniel Jackling. You can view photos of the abandoned home here.
Fast forward to 2004–Jobs wished to tear down the home and build a smaller, single-family home on the site. He initially received approval from the town of Woodside, California but preservationists intervened, winning a lawsuit that delayed its demise. The court required Jobs to market the house in the hopes of finding an interested party to relocate the massive home. No parties came forward. Jobs was also accused of purposefully allowing the house to deteriorate. By 2009, he was again seeking approval for its demolition. He presented evidence that it would cost millions more to restore the home than to demolish and build new. In February 2011, the Jackling House met the wrecking ball.
The smaller home for which the Jackling estate was destroyed was never built. On October 5, 2011, Jobs passed away after a long battle with cancer.
Update 10/2/2013: Ironically, there is an effort underway to preserve the 1952 ranch-style house in which Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak assembled their first computers.