J. Gilbert Smith House
The J. Gilbert Smith History House is located on one of the last active apricot orchards in the Santa Clara Valley. This 1905 shingled farm house was built with many Craftsman-style features.
In 1954, the city of Los Altos purchased the Gilbert Smith property, including the house and 10.44 acres of apricot orchards, as a site for the Civic Center, with the Smiths retaining lifetime residency of the house and a surrounding acre. Upon Mrs. Smiths death in 1973, the house and one acre reverted to the city.
In 1974, the Los Altos City Council created the Historical Commission to plan the transformation of the Smith home into a museum and to preserve the history of Los Altos. The History House opened on December 1, 1977. In 1987, it was designated as a local Historical Landmark and a California State Point of Historical Interest. Gilbert Smith’s apricot orchard (one of the few still intact in Los Altos) continues to thrive among the buildings on the Civic Center site.
The Craftsman-style house features period furnishings, toys and decorative arts that all rekindle memories of a simpler time. Children especially will gain a new perspective and appreciation for present day conveniences. The J. Gilbert Smith House requires a docent guide.
Virtual tour of the J. Gilbert Smith House
Check out the virtual tour of the J. Gilbert Smith House on YouTube done by the Library: 3 chapters! Watch below or click here.
County History Today is a video series that highlights points of interest and historical sites in Santa Clara County, California. This video is the first part of a series of three videos that showcases the J. Gilbert Smith House in the City of Los Altos, CA.
Explore Inside the House
Outdoor Agricultural Exhibit
Visitors are welcome to stroll through the historic gardens filled with towering oaks and the active apricot orchard that surrounds the Museum complex.
Explore the refurbished 1915 tank house, antique farm equipment, walnut hullers and tools for cutting, sulfuring and drying apricots. Enjoy the gardens even when the House and Museum are closed. Picnic tables are available for lunch under the oaks.