Keith Peterson lives in what he believes to be the fifth house built in Los Altos' neighborhood of Woodland Acres.
"I think I'm the earliest resident to still be here. There's another lady on Sequoia Drive that has the same occupancy date as I do; that's 1951. But I think our house was ahead of that one."
Between Beechwood Lane and Permanente Creek, Woodland Acres was back then true to its name -- home to orchards, oaks and laurel trees -- despite a railroad track running parallel to where Foothill Expressway now stands. Daily trains carried city-bound commuters and great amounts of fresh cement from Los Gatos.
Peterson is an active participant in an annual publication put out by the Woodland Acres Association. In a recent issue he wrote about his commute to Westinghouse (now Northrop-Grumman) in Sunnyvale: "On my return there was not a stop sign in the entire distance of five miles. ... Along the way we enjoyed pastoral scenes of grazing cattle and the orchards -- the beautiful orchards. In the spring the lovely blossoms and then the yellow mustard flowers between the rows."
To the west of Woodland Acres, still between the strip of land wedged between Foothill Expressway and Highway 280, stand The Highlands.
The area was built up in 1960, some time before Jim Mutch moved into the area in 1973. "One of the things that really attracted us to the neighborhood are the trees and the natural look of it," he said. The surrounding streets count liquidambars, elm trees and a few deodaras.
"Something that's very convenient is that we access to all the freeways: Foothill, 85, 280. So it's very easy to get places quickly. And it's quiet, which people often comment on. As close as we are to Foothill Expressway, we really don't notice it," Mutch said.
In the early 2000s, he and a neighbor decided to approach the city about getting a single-story overlay applied to the area. A supermajority of 67 percent was just reached, making second-story construction impossible, at least for a few blocks.
That small town feel thrives all the more thanks to the Woodland Vista Swim & Racquet Club, a nonprofit, private club founded on an empty lot of land in 1958. It is exclusive to the area's 83 members, and provides a great space for neighbors to connect over sport.
Mutch, who can see some of the club's three tennis courts from his cul-de-sac on Deodara Drive, served as president of the club's board for 10 years. His wife led the installation of solar panels to heat the pool in the less appreciably green-conscious year of 1980.
"We have a clubhouse that you can rent for a nominal fee for parties, and we just redid the whole pool area this year," Mutch said about a project that introduced new PVC piping, concrete and drains.
The neighborhood's annual Christmas party -- a potluck with ham and turkey provided by the committee -- has in recent years taken place at the clubhouse.
A few small blocks away lives Rita Allen, who moved from another Los Altos home in 2008.
"This neighborhood was built in the 1950s, so we have every era of construction here. You've got original construction, people who built afterwards and remodels. We have a blend, no cookie-cutter houses around here," she said.
Every year neighbors gather to watch the 4th of July fireworks from someone's backyard. In line with that, Allen describes the neighborhood as one with "wonderful, very friendly, supportive people. It's a cohesive group."
-- Pierre Bienaimé
CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (nearby): Children's Creative Learning Center, 2310 Homestead Road, Suite E, Los Altos
FIRE STATION: No. 16, 765 Fremont Ave.
LIBRARY: Woodland, 1975 Grant Road
LOCATION: between Foothill Expressway and Interstate 280, Beechwood Lane and Permanente Creek
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Kay Mazzola, president, Woodland Acres Association
PARKS: Montclaire Park, St. Joseph Ave.; (nearby) Grant Park, 1575 Holt Ave.; Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve, Cristo Rey Drive
POST OFFICE: Loyola Corners, 1525 Miramonte Ave.
PRIVATE SCHOOL: St. Simon Catholic School, 1840 Grant Road
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Cupertino Union School District -- Montclaire Elementary School, Cupertino Middle School; Fremont Union High School -- Homestead High School
SHOPPING: Foothill Crossing, Homestead Road; Loyola Corners; Rancho Shopping Center
MEDIAN 2013 HOME PRICE: $1,980,000 ($1,535,000-$3,500,000)
HOMES SOLD: 23
MEDIAN 2013 CONDO PRICE: $1,055,000 ($875,000-$1,150,000)
CONDOS SOLD: 3