As the name suggests, Old Palo Alto is quite simply the historic neighborhood in Palo Alto. With homes dating from the 1920’s and 30’s, the early 20th Century residential pattern here accommodates a wide variety of lifestyles from middle to upper class. While the neighborhood is notably associated with the grand homesof a size and detail that appealed to wealthier families of the first half of the last century – still the provinceof more affluent families – the neighborhood does include smaller bungalow style homes that were also part of this era of suburban America.
The larger, stately homes of Old Palo Alto are generally locatedat the center of the community. The area is a quiet enclave with long, wide and orderly streets accentedby canopied trees that shade the sidewalks. Most importantly, Old Palo Altois not subject to much through traffic, with the result creatinga safe environment for young children playing in their front yards. The largely owner-occupied homes of Old Palo Alto feature horseshoe-shaped driveways and double door entryways – often signs that you are in a wealthy neighborhood. Not easily seen from the curb are the large back yards with pools, gardens and guesthouses. These are fine homes with impressive street appeal that attract young professionals and young families with deep pockets.
Early on, a Gamble heir of Proctor and Gamble fame built the first house south of Embarcadero Road. The daughter of that family, Elizabeth Gamble, created a 2.5-acre oasis on the property that featured diverse demonstration and formal gardens. She ultimately willed the estate to Palo Alto, which was has subsequently become the city’s crown jewel. Today,Gamble Garden serves as a community garden and park, complete with educational programs and grand historic buildings. It is the pride of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood.
Another top benefit of the neighborhood is its convenient adjacency to Stanford University with all of its activities and resources. In fact, both Stanford faculty members and Stanford alumni call Old Palo Alto home. And, of course, the neighborhood’s access to several of Palo Alto’s finest schools is icing on the cake. Students here attend Addison orWalter Hays Elementary Schools, Jordan Middle School and Palo Alto High School – which rivals Gunn High School for top academic honors. Also, California Avenue Caltrain skirts the southern end of the neighborhood and provides access to both San Francisco and San Jose.
OLD PALO ALTO FACTS
LOCATION: between Embarcadero Road and Oregon Expressway, Alma Street and Middlefield Road
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Old Palo Alto Neighborhood Association (OPANA) – nadianaik(at)gmail(dotted)com
POST OFFICE: Cambridge, 265 Cambridge Ave.
FIRE STATION: No. 3, 799 Embarcadero Road
LIBRARY: Rinconada Library, 1213 Newell Road
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Addison or Walter Hays Elementary Schools, Jordan Middle School, Palo Alto High School
SHOPPING: Town & Country Village; Midtown; California Avenue
PARKS: Bowden Park; Bowling Green Park; Gamble Garden; Kellogg Park
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