Community centers bring sense of unity
In 1948, Joseph Eichler sought to build modern middle-class houses for the massive post-World War II rush to suburbia. The result was the now-iconic Eichler, a small one-story structure with large plate-glass windows that faced outwards towards the garden.
In the Palo Verde neighborhood, these crown jewels of 1950s architecture still dominate the landscape mingled among recent renovations, new homes and tall trees.
Located between Loma Verde Avenue and East Meadow Drive, the Palo Verde neighborhood is tied to the community centers of Palo Verde Elementary School, the Eichler Swim and Tennis Club and the Ross Road YMCA.
Allen Smoll, a resident of Palo Verde since 1962, raised his family in the neighborhood and his children attended Palo Verde Elementary. He thinks, because of the local elementary school, the neighborhood is very accessible to young families. This has become truer in the recent years as more young families have settled in the neighborhood.
"Schools are good and there are lots of playgrounds," Smoll said.
Another Palo Verde resident Rinah Mullens, who moved to the neighborhood with her family in 1979, agrees with Smoll.
"When my kids went (to Palo Verde Elementary) it was a nice neighborhood," she said.
But now that her children have moved out, she is still glad to have the elementary school nearby.
"We like to hear the kids play at recess. ... It makes us happy," she said.
Also prominent in the Palo Verde community is the Eichler Swim and Tennis Club. With its multiple courts, large swimming pool and distinctive Eichler architecture, it is a draw for young families with children.
Callie Huck, a resident since 1980, said her family has made good use of the club.
"We were pretty involved with Eichler. They have a couple of picnics and my husband plays tennis there," she said.
Fabio Riccardi, who moved to the neighborhood in 2002, enjoys the local Ross Road YMCA. The Y has a full swimming pool, gym and daycare facilities.
It is "the only place for community," he said.
As for the neighborhood as a whole, it remains one with an active social scene.
"We have a block party," Mullens said. "Our cul-de-sac is neighborhood-y," she added.
Huck agreed with Mullens, saying that her neighbors are "very friendly" and that she and her family can "walk everywhere and bike everywhere."
And despite recent changes in the neighborhood with regards to the physical landscape (including new housing on East Meadow), the community spirit keeps it very much the same place that Allen Smoll and his family moved into nearly 50 years ago.
"Things have pretty much stayed the same," Smoll said, and he is glad of that.
"I kind of like the neighborhood as it is," he concluded.
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CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Palo Verde Kids' Club, 3450 Louis Road
FIRE STATION: No. 4, 3600 Middlefield Road
LIBRARY: Mitchell Park branch, 4050 Middlefield Road (temporary location during construction)
LOCATION: between Loma Verde Avenue and East Meadow Drive, Middlefield and West Bayshore roads
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Palo Verde Residents Association, Boris Foelsch, email@example.com, pvra.jot.com
PARKS (NEARBY): Don Jesus Ramos Park, 800 E. Meadow Drive; Henry W. Seale Park, 3100 Stockton Place
POST OFFICE: Main, 2085 E. Bayshore Road
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Palo Verde Elementary School, J.L. Stanford Middle School, Gunn High School
SHOPPING: Midtown Shopping Center, Middlefield Road and Colorado Avenue; also Middlefield Road at Loma Verde Avenue
Editorial Intern Aaron Guggenheim can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.