|Palo Alto Online Real Estate
Uploaded: Wednesday, January 13, 2010, 12:10 PM
Updated: Monday, December 31, 2012, 2:20 PM
|Michael Hamilton recalls moving into his house on Fair Oaks Avenue in 1984 very distinctly.
"I remember the first day I moved in here, all the wheels on the car across the street were all taken off," Hamilton said.
But rest assured, this is a happy story. There are a myriad of reasons why Hamilton has stayed at his home for 28 years. The neighborhood has transformed from a rough neighborhood in the '80s to a quiet six-square-block enclave located across the street from Rengstorff Park.
"It's convenient to downtown Mountain View and Los Altos," Hamilton said. "And if you want to travel a little, you can get to downtown Palo Alto pretty quick."
"It's also very cosmopolitan," he said, referring to his neighbors' diverse racial backgrounds.
Patricia Torres spices up that description: "There was a family who had a huge mariachi band during the holidays. A huge 20-piece orchestra right here."
"There is single older gentleman across the street, a house for sale that used to have a Latino family, a Chinese family in the duplex, some Mexicans here, Americans there, just different varieties," she added.
Torres moved to her Stanford Avenue house in 2005, joining her husband who had lived in the house his entire life.
They remodeled the house from a small cottage into a charming two-bedroom, joining the many remodeled homes in Castro City that have transformed the neighborhood from its more rowdy years. The neighborhood has a mix of old cottage homes and newly built two-story houses.
Torres' brother-in-law, Henry Torres, who has also lived in Castro City his entire life, describes the neighborhood's history.
"The area around here used to be a lot of open fields," Henry Torres said. "When I was growing up, the police used to patrol the neighborhood because of some drug activity. But these days, most of the bad apples have moved out."
That earlier history is unknown to Patricia Torres, who enjoys walking through the neighborhood and taking her two boys to nearby Rengstorff Park.
"One downside is that the pedestrian traffic is congested. I walk my kids across the street to the park all the time and cars are zooming, zooming past," she said.
Away from the traffic, however, the neighborhood can get a little too quiet.
"We (the neighbors) are not that close," she said. "There are no block parties, no neighborhood associations, but that would be nice."
She attributes that to different work schedules and the language barriers.
According to Pamela Sandhu, there were some plans to start a neighborhood association, but it did not coalesce. "My husband Kal Sandhu and I stay connected with neighbors the old-fashioned way, talking on the street," wrote Sandhu in an email. She moved to College Street in 2002 with her husband and three sons.
Nevertheless, Torres manages to get to know her neighbors.
"I'm a Jehovah's Witness and I go door to door. That's how I met Mike," said Torres, referring to Hamilton who lives a block down from Torres' house.
-- Haiy Le
CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Oak Tree Nursery School, 2100 University Ave.; Wonder World, 2015 Latham St. (nearby)
FIRE STATION: No. 3, 301 N. Rengstorff Ave.
LOCATION: bounded by South Rengstorff Avenue, University Avenue, College Street and Leland Avenue
PARKS: Castro Park, Toft Avenue at Latham Street; Rengstorff Park and pool, Rengstorff Avenue at Crisanto Avenue
POST OFFICE: Mountain View, 211 Hope St.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mountain View Whisman School District -- Monta Loma Elementary School, Graham Middle School; Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District -- Los Altos High School
SHOPPING: Mi Pueblo Food Center, 40 S. Rengstorff Ave. at Leland Avenue; Walgreens, 112 N. Rengstorff Ave. at Central Expressway
MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $700,000 ($380,000-$855,000)
HOMES SOLD: 3
MEDIAN 2012 CONDO PRICE: $309,000 ($222,000-$399,000)
CONDOS SOLD (nearby): 10
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