Triple El is the kind of place where people baby-sit one another's children, bring hot meals to those who are feeling under the weather and, in the case of Vincent Rerolle, used to delight neighbors with jars of homemade pineapple guava jam. In these ways, residents say, Triple El represents a world of yesteryear that is hard to come by in our modern age.
Brimming with social life, Triple El has "a little village-type atmosphere that is very pleasant," said Rerolle, "It is a good life." Rerolle and his family rented in the neighborhood for three years until they purchased their home in 2005.
The neighborhood takes its moniker from three streets within it — Elsinore Drive, Elsinore Court and El Cajon — and is surrounded by Louis and Greer roads, as well as North California and Oregon avenues. A community of single-story Eichlers protected by a city ordinance, Triple El attracts home buyers with its contemporary architecture and beautiful, thoughtful landscaping.
"There is a spectacular 'Hobbit'-like collection of Chinese elm trees lines — their beauty and elegance transform the street into a beautiful causeway," said Alex Targ, a resident since 1994.
Rod and Bobbie Wheeler, original homeowners and Palo Alto High classmates, have lived in Triple El, where they raised their three daughters, since 1955. Rod became interested in contemporary architecture around the same time Joseph Eichler started building his subdivisions. Rod said in those years it was unusual to apply contemporary architecture to large tracts of homes: "Early on, architects did individual houses in contemporary form, but Eichler was one of the few who followed a line of development in contemporary architecture that was for the good of the common folk." He also opened his developments to minority buyers.
To this day, Triple El continues to exhibit Eichler's vision for diversity. According to Rerolle, who is French, people of American, Chinese, Swiss, Canadian, Moroccan, Korean and Japanese descents all call the neighborhood home. Bobbie said that this mix of ethnicities is "helpful in raising children so they get a good view of different people's lifestyles."
The neighborhood also boasts a broad spectrum of ages. Targ said there is a contingent of retired people and that there has been an influx of babies and elementary school-aged children over the past 10 years. He also noted that the residents are made up largely of engineers, physicians and other highly educated individuals.
Residents can often be seen strolling along sidewalks and chatting, while children play safely in Triple El's wide streets. "My kids bike outside and play outside all of the time," said Rerolle.
In addition to its unique small-town feel, architecture, landscaping and history, Triple El is what Targ calls "a party neighborhood," one where "it's rare someone won't want to play." The majority of the neighborhood shows up at a number of annual gatherings, such as the fall ice cream social, the Memorial Day potluck block party and the New Year's Day Mummers Strut and brunch, where Targ rides around on his unicycle.
Overall, said Rerolle, Triple El is a place where people live because they like it. Targ agreed, saying, "I plan to stay here permanently."
CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (NEARBY): First Congregational Church Nursery School, 1985 Louis Road; Parents' Nursery School, 2328 Louis Road; Duveneck Kids' Club, 705 Alester Ave.
FIRE STATION: No. 3, 799 Embarcadero Road
LIBRARY: Main Library, 1213 Newell Road
PARKS (NEARBY): Rinconada Park, 777 Embarcadero Road; Greer Park, 1908 Amarillo Ave.
POST OFFICE: Main, 2085 E. Bayshore Road
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Duveneck Elementary School, Jordan Middle School, Palo Alto High School
MEDIAN 2008 HOME PRICE: $1,620,500 ($1,505,000-$1,736,000)
HOMES SOLD: 2