A guide to the Los Altos neighborhood - Old Los Altos
The Old Los Altos neighborhood is so named because it sat right across the street from where the old train station used to be. Before Foothill Expressway was even a dream, a train line running up and down the San Francisco Peninsula used to have at the corner of Foothill Expressway and Main Street. In fact, that location is now occupied by Maria's Antiques which retains some of the feel of the old train station with an old train car outside. Across from that station on University Avenue running parallel to those tracks was the beginning of Los Altos. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Los Altos was a destination for the wealthy to go during the summer months. It was this pedigree that helped establish Los Altos, and the Old Los Altos neighborhood, as a prime destination on the peninsula.
The Old Los Altos neighborhood is bound by Foothill Expressway, El Monte Road, Edith Avenue, O'Keefe Lane, and Adobe Creek. It has a sort of "L" shape to it with most of the housing in the area along University Avenue and Foothill. The streets are mostly a gentle curve with University, Orange, and Palm Avenues all running parallel curves to each other. This makes the streets all seem a little more quaint and rural. They're also relatively wide, in keeping with the rest of Los Altos. The streets have proper sidewalks which is rare in Los Altos but lends the area to being excellent work walking. The proximity to downtown Los Altos (aka "The Village") makes the Old Los Altos neighborhood a high-demand area. I sold a house on University Avenue last year for $2.6 million that was a rare find.
The mix of homes available is very wide, from small cottages to large estate homes with an eclectic mix of styles. The Old Los Altos Neighborhood has both classic architectures (including an old estate home at the corner of Main Street (Burke Road) and University that has been an icon of Los Altos luxury for decades. In the same neighborhood you'll also find contemporary, ultra-modern homes with a distinctive mix of concrete and wood, a Cotswald-style home, mediterranean, ranch, colonial, and many other styles. In my opinion, this neighborhood has the best blend on architectural styles of any neighborhood in Los Altos.
The largest concentration of parks is in the Old Los Altos Neighborhood, with Lincoln Park, Shoup Park, and Redwood Grove all located off of University Avenue. This is the only neighborhood where a park is within walking distance of every resident which is another huge bonus. In fact, Lincoln Park is host to the "Art in the Park" event every year which is convenient to walk to - no parking needed! Of course, having playgrounds and picnic facilities so close to home adds to the long list of benefits to living in Old Los Altos. You can read more about each of these parks in "The Definitive Guide to Los Altos Parks".
With the demand to live in Old Los Altos, the neighborhood is a prime target for builders. There has been significant new construction in recent years including several new homes along University Avenue. While there are no empty lots left, any time an old home comes on the market, builders are coming in to put up larger and more elaborate estates. The biggest lots are on University across from Lincoln Park. The smaller lots are mainly on Lincoln, Palm, and Orange Avenues. As such, it's likely that the smaller cottage homes will remain a fixture in the neighborhood because the Los Altos building codes will limit the size of a home with a small lot.
Children living in Old Los Altos attend Covington Elementary School, Egan Middle School, and Los Altos High School. Of course, there are also many private school options nearby as well with st. Nicholas and Pinewood being the two closest. While Covington Elementary is within walking distance of some of the residents, it is too far away for most of the neighbors and walking requires going through the Foothill/El Monte intersection - one of the busiest intersections in Los Altos. Both Egan and Los Altos High are too far away to walk to.
The video tour of the Old Los Altos neighborhood shows select photos of a fine homes on a few of the major streets as well as a few views up and down major streets to give you a sense of the make-up of the area. There are pictures of homes from University, Orange, and Palm drives. If you want to see more videos, give me a call and I'll be happy to send you links to a longer tour of the area.
FAST HOME FACTS
AVERAGE 2011 HOME PRICE: $1,746,385 (RANGE: $1,220,000-$1,615,000) 1 PENDING AT $1,575,000, 2 ACTIVE OVER $3 MILLION
SIZE OF AVERAGE HOME SOLD: 2,599 square feet
AVERAGE PRICE PER SQUARE FOOT: $671.95
AVERAGE AGE OF HOMES SOLD: 49 Years
HOMES SOLD IN 2011: 5
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Covington Elementary, Egan Intermediate Schoo, Los Altos High School
PRIVATE SCHOOLS: Pinewood School Lower Campus at 327 & 477 Fremont Ave, Los Altos Christian School at 625 Magdalena Ave
CLOSEST FIRE STATION: Corner of Almond Avenue and San Antonio Road
CLOSEST HOSPITAL: El Camino Hospital, 2500 Grant Road, Mountain View
LIBRARY: Los Altos Library, Main Branch, 13 S. San Antonio Road
PARKS NEARBY: Lincoln Park, Shoup Park, and Redwood Grove all along University Avenue
POST OFFICE: Loyola Corners, 1525 Miramonte Ave
SHOPPING: Downtown Los Altos (within walking distance)
Los Altos Neighborhood Tour - Old Los Altos
Copyright 2011 - Bryan Robertson