VIDEO: Palo Alto Vignettes

Former and current Palo Altans recall Greenmeadow neighborhood's early days, foothills communes, electrical substations and tennis at Stanford

Alice Crenshaw and her family became the first to move into the Palo Alto's Greenmeadow neighborhood, built by Joseph Eichler, in 1954.

Now 93, Crenshaw reminisced about the neighborhood's early years at a storytelling event last Sunday sponsored by the Palo Alto Historical Association.

Her tale -- and three others' -- are now posted on the Palo Alto Weekly's YouTube channel.

Along with Crenshaw and her daughter Dorothy Cady, Palo Alto resident Winter Dellenbach talked about her 23 years living in a commune in the foothills that was founded by pacifists Joan Baez and David Harris.

Former city engineer Sam Zuccaro recalled the history of the Alma Street electrical substation , which helped power Palo Alto as the city's population grew over the decades. And Jill Harris shared the story of her mother, who played competitive tennis at Stanford University when there wasn't a women's team in the sport.

The "Palo Alto Vignettes" event at the Lucie Stern Community Center was the group's eighth annual storytelling presentation.

"These stories are very important as is all of the history ... because it really provides a context for our lives. The past really does set the stage for the future," said Karen Holman, who originated the idea of the Palo Alto Vignettes for the historical association. "Having these stories at our access really enriches our lives."

Collecting oral histories has gained popularity in recent years. The Palo Alto History Museum, which is planned to open in downtown Palo Alto, is working on collecting oral histories from current and former Palo Alto residents, according to Holman.

In addition, the Palo Alto Weekly launched its Palo Alto Story Project in August. This collection of brief and sometimes humorous tales can also be viewed on Palo Alto Online.

Jocelyn Dong

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Be the first to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Downtown Palo Alto gets new Vietnamese eatery
By Elena Kadvany | 10 comments | 5,827 views

More Stupid Plastic Food Things
By Laura Stec | 19 comments | 2,788 views

Couples: Write a Personal Ad . . . to Your Partner . . .
By Chandrama Anderson | 3 comments | 1,724 views

Composting Works
By Sherry Listgarten | 2 comments | 1,639 views

Environmentalists will soon be fighting housing advocates over what to do with the SF Bay locally
By Diana Diamond | 22 comments | 1,137 views


Short story writers wanted!

The 33rd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 29. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

Contest Details