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Shelley Rosenthal moved to Edge Lane in the Rancho Neighborhood of Los Altos in December 1995, but she called Los Altos her home long before that.

"I was raised in Los Altos, but it's changed so much, so it's really not the same town it was when I grew up... downtown is now bustling," Rosenthal said.

While there have been some changes to the streetscape in the Rancho neighborhood, which lies south of downtown, the area has retained much of that small-town, rural feel that Rosenthal remembers from her childhood. The ranch-style homes she admired are still a predominant fixture along Rancho's wide, often curving streets lined with lush foliage.

"We moved here because we loved the 'Rancho' feeling," Rosenthal said.

The longtime resident described the area as "a community of family-oriented, neighborhood-friendly, low-key, educated people."

But like other neighborhoods in the area, Rancho hasn't stayed frozen in time. Rosenthal said over the years, more and more nontraditional two-story homes have popped up between the cozy clusters of single-story homes. While some of these, like Rosenthal's, attempt to blend the simplistic ranch-style into a subtle two-story dwelling, others have foregone that style completely giving some streets an eclectic look that includes everything from original ranch-style homes and wood A-frames to villas with fountains.

"Some of the new houses are tasteful for the Rancho area and some of them are kind of ridiculous, unfortunately," she said.

The booming tech industry also has brought change to the neighborhood. Rosenthal tells an all-too-familiar story about living in Silicon Valley:

"It's crazy. The housing market has just exploded," she said. She described the incredible jump in her home's value and how tech workers eager to buy a home in the area have offered to buy her house even though it isn't on the market.

Rosenthal said she and many of her neighbors plan on holding onto their properties as long as they can.

"They're going to stay until they can't do the stairs or need the money for retirement," Rosenthal said, "I don't see a big turnover. We see houses pop up for sale, but I don't see a huge amount of real estate out there."

Bob Jacobsen, who moved into the neighborhood in 1974, said in addition to the staggering jumps in housing prices, the demographic has shifted, too.

When Jacobsen moved to the area, he said the neighborhood was mostly Hewlett Packard and Lockheed Martin engineers.

Now, Jacobsen estimated that of Rancho's residents, "maybe one-third of the people are retired."

While the neighborhood's rural, tight-knit feel may have initially attracted Jacobsen and Rosenthal to the area, both said they like the many amenities Rancho provides.

"There's a lot that's accessible," Rosenthal said.

With Rancho Shopping Center, McKenzie and Rosita parks, and the post office right around the corner, residents, for the most part, have what they need right at their fingertips.

"In terms of my daily needs, everything is close by, " Rosenthal said.

Ultimately, Rancho has enough to keep some residents around for the long haul.

"I love Los Altos, because I still feel like it's a small town and not a big city. You can get to know any one of your store owners. The whole milieu of the Bay Area is changing, but Los Altos is fighting to keep it a friendly, home-style town."


CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (nearby): Children's Center of Los Altos, 770 Berry Ave.; Los Altos Christian Preschool, 625 Magdalena Ave.; Los Altos Parents Preschool, 201 Covington Road; Los Altos United Methodist Children's Center, 655 Magdalena Ave.

FIRE STATION: No. 16, 765 Fremont Ave.

LIBRARY: Los Altos, 13 S. San Antonio Road

LOCATION: bordered by Foothill Expressway, Parma Way, Riverside Drive and Springer Road

PARKS: Rosita Park, 401 Rosita Ave.; McKenzie Park, 707 Fremont Ave.

POST OFFICE: Loyola Corners, 1525 Miramonte Ave.

PRIVATE SCHOOLS (nearby): Pinewood School, 327 & 477 Fremont Ave.; Los Altos Christian School, 625 Magdalena Ave.; Canterbury Christian School, 101 N. El Monte Ave.; Saint Francis Catholic High School, 1885 Miramonte Ave., Mtn. View

PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Los Altos School District -- Loyola or Springer elementary schools, Blach Intermediate School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District -- Los Altos or Mountain View High School

SHOPPING: Rancho Shopping Center, Loyola Corners, Downtown Los Altos

— Alexandria Cavallaro, 2017

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