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The Story of Steve Jobs’ abandoned Jackling mansion

The fact that Steve Jobs led an eventful life is undeniable. A legend in his own lifetime, the twist and turns of his extraordinary career are known to all that take even a passing interest in the late Apple magnate. However, a lesser-known battle that Steve Jobs fought outside of the business world, was that of Jackling Mansion, a home he owned in Woodside, California from 1984 until his death in 2011.

The Jackling House had an interesting history. Built in 1925 as a residence for copper mining baron Daniel Cowan Jackling and his family, the famed Californian architect George Washington Smith designed the stunning 17,000 square foot home in the popular Spanish Colonial Revival style.

Inside, a massive pipe organ provided a fascinating focal point. Steve Jobs bought the property with the proceeds of his early success with Apple, and lived there for over a decade until the mid 90’s.

After moving out, Steve rented the property before it became vacant in 2000. At this point Jobs stopped maintaining the building and allowed it to fall into disrepair. The once-magnificent home began to crumble and eventually became one of the most opulent abandonments in the country.

Faced with the decaying property, Jobs intended to have the place demolished and then build a more modest family residence on the land. In 2004 he received permission from Woodside council to move forward with his plan of demolishment. However, many of the town’s residents protested.

A citizen group of preservationists called Uphold Our Heritage was quickly formed in order to block the demolition of the building. They filed lawsuits against the town of Woodside and against Jobs personally, stating that both parties had failed to recognize the historic significance of the home and would be doing the town a disservice by tearing it down.

The legal battle that ensued was long lasting. From 2004 to 2011, Jobs and his lawyer returned to court repeatedly in an attempt to gain the necessary demolition permits. The two sides struggled endlessly, with the preservationists insisting that the home was an important piece of history and Jobs insisting that it would take more money to salvage the mansion than it would to simply tear it down and build a new home.

As with many confrontations in Jobs’ life, he did eventually win. He was granted the permits necessary to demolish the Jackling House in 2011 and the house was torn down just months before his death. Fortunately, and for the sake of prosperity, photographer Jonathan Haeber visited the Jackling house before it was demolished.

Finding the gate ajar and the doors and broken windows to the house wide open, he ventured inside to take the wonderful photographs you see here.

[Image Credit: Jonathan Haeber]