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South Palo Alto

South Palo Alto is a safe, family-friendly and unmistakably middle/upper-middle class community. Wide streets presenting neat, modest homes and numerous parks are the area’s most notable aspects. Most residences here are the outgrowth of residential development following World War II. While the geographic territory of South Palo Alto is actually an amalgam of several smaller neighborhoods, they were all originally part of Midtown. Collectively, South Palo Alto comprises Palo Verde, Adobe Meadow/Meadow Park, Charleston Gardens, The Greenhouse, Greendell, Greenmeadow, Walnut Grove, Fairmeadow, Charleston Meadow, Monroe Park, and the eastern portion of what used to be Midtown.

Bounded by Middlefield Road, Loma Verde Avenue, Alma Street and East Meadow Drive, South Palo Alto is peaceful and pedestrian-friendly. The neighborhood is conveniently situated only minutes away from the Midtown shopping district and various other Midtown conveniences and amenities. Streets here are flat and usually lined with trees, while the charming residences sit on appealing, well-maintained lots. This is mid-century territory highlighted by single-story vintage Joseph Eichler – post-World War II era – homes. An “Eichler” has several distinctive features: modern, one-story, flat or shallow peaked-roofed and wood with large expanses of plate glass. These homes are built to emphasize casual indoor-outdoor living and are often described as quintessentially “California Modern”.

Over the years many of the smaller homes that distinguish the neighborhood have been torn down and replaced with larger, two-story starter homes that better suit the needs of today’s young families. The result of this type of construction activity has residents concerned over the neighborhood’s historical preservation and loss of original character. Be aware that Eichler homes can be difficult to remodel/update and Palo Alto’s planning department strictly enforces the floor area ratio – maximum floor area to lot size.

Ask residents what they like best about South Palo Alto and they’ll tell you it’s a great, convenient location for busy families. Plus it has an old-fashioned feel to it. Residents often bike to work, greeting neighbors on a stroll or walking their dogs along their way. Friendliness is another hallmark of the neighborhood, attested to by frequent block parties that connect an eclectic group of residents. You’ll find people here in all of life’s stages – young, teens, just retired, seniors, families and singles. They’re also from all walks of life – artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, professionals and tech industry gurus. Neighbors come together on holidays, like Halloween, Thanksgiving and end of year festivities. Take time to cruise the neighborhood streets during this time and you’ll see that the lawns of South Palo Alto have been turned into graveyards, houses become haunted, pumpkins are everywhere and, of course, there’s the winter-themed and lighted wonderland.

Parents are pleased to send their children to local public schools managed under the umbrella of the acclaimed Palo Alto Unified School District. Students here attend El Carmelo or Fairmeadow Elementary Schools, J.L. Stanford Middle School and Gunn High School. With their records of achievement, these schools often feed their students into the UC school system or even the prestigious – and just-up-the-road – Stanford University. There’s also a childcare facility anchoring the southern end of the neighborhood.

There’s little doubt, South Palo Alto is an historic, convenient-to-all, Eichler-haven neighborhood with great schools and friendly neighbors.

LOCATION: bounded by Loma Verde Avenue, East Meadow Drive, Middlefield Road and Alma Street
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: part of Midtown Residents Association – midtownresidents.org
POST OFFICE: Cambridge, 265 Cambridge Ave.
FIRE STATION: No. 4, 3600 Middlefield Road
LIBRARY: Mitchell Park branch, 3700 Middlefield Road
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: El Carmelo &Fairmeadow Elementary Schools, J.L. Stanford Middle School, Gunn High School
SHOPPING: Midtown Shopping Center, Middlefield Road and Colorado Avenue; Charleston Center; Alma Plaza
PARKS: Mitchell Park; Hoover Park

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