Real Estate

Duveneck / St. Francis


When Vani Henderson and her husband Irv moved into their home on Walter Hays Drive in 2009, they were four days away from giving birth to their second child. One of the things that attracted them to the neighborhood was a child-friendly atmosphere that would suit their growing family.

"We wanted a good school and somewhere we could see kids around and playing outside," Henderson said.

Three years later, Henderson noted that her family's experience in the Duveneck neighborhood is exactly what she was hoping for. "This is a really nice community. On weekends we have kids running in and out of the house," she said.

Henderson and her family take advantage of many of the facilities that are close by. She said that she, her husband and their two young children often visit Eleanor Pardee Park, the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo and the Palo Alto Children's Library.

"We really like to walk or bike wherever we can," Henderson said, adding that she is grateful for her proximity to downtown Palo Alto and the entrance to Highway 101.

Near Walter Hays Drive lives Diana Nemet, her husband Todd, and their two children. Although the family originally thought that their 2003 move to Iris Way was only temporary, Nemet said that the relationships they have formed with their neighbors make it impossible for them to relocate.

"Now I will not move. I cannot move. I love these kids," she said.

In 2009, Nemet and her neighbor, Jennifer Antonow, founded Camp Iris Way, a yearly, week-long summer camp filled with activities for children from Iris Way and the adjoining Primrose Way.

Nemet, who said she knows all of her neighbors, appreciates the relationships she has built over the years. However, there is one thing she would change about her neighborhood if she could.

"I wish we weren't in the flood zone," she said.

Nemet and her family were not around for the 1998 San Francisquito Creek flood, but resident Kurt Taylor was there.

Taylor moved to De Soto Drive in 1991 and said that even though the flood took everybody by surprise, he and his neighbors were quick to act.

"The neighborhood really pulled together almost instantly to try to help the people whose houses were hit the worst," he said.

Some neighbors had to make major repairs to their homes after the flood, but other than that, the neighborhood has nearly stayed the same.

"There's not been any dramatic physical changes primarily because most people who buy these houses buy them because they like them. They like the mid-century look," he said.

On Walter Hays Drive, many people renovate their homes to some extent. Henderson and her husband are no exception.

"Often the homes are older and could benefit from some sprucing up," Henderson said. However, Henderson said she believes that her community and the nearby facilities make the expenses associated with moving into an older home on a nice street negligible.

Now that the Hendersons have finished renovating their home and are settled in, Henderson said that the family is there to stay for the long-term.

"I couldn't imagine living in a better place."

-- Audra Sorman


CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Duveneck Kids' Club, 705 Alester Ave.

FIRE STATION: No. 3, 799 Embarcadero Road

LIBRARY: Rinconada Library, 1213 Newell Road

LOCATION: bounded by San Francisquito Creek, Oregon Expressway, Greer Road, Embarcadero Road and Newell Road

NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Karen White, 650-494-7026,

PARKS (nearby): Eleanor Pardee Park, 851 Center Drive; Rinconada Park, 777 Embarcadero Road

POST OFFICE: Main, 2085 E. Bayshore Road

PRIVATE SCHOOLS (nearby): International School of the Peninsula, 151 Laura Lane; St. Elizabeth Seton, 1095 Channing Ave.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Duveneck Elementary School, Jordan Middle School, Palo Alto High School

SHOPPING: Edgewood Shopping Center; University Avenue

MEDIAN 2014 HOME PRICE: $2,300,000 ($1,415,000-$3,562,500)


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Like this comment
Posted by Marielouise Tanner
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 22, 2013 at 8:50 am

I lived in Palo Alto from 1949 until my mother sold it in 1982. Unfortunately, like the article above says, Palo Alto isn't what it used to be. Obviously I am a baby-boomer and would have loved to return to Palo Alto and live out my retirement but I guess Mark Zuckerberg and other persons like him, makes it impossible for me to return. I will be attending my 50th Paly High School Reunion next year and many of the people I went to high school with are fortunate to be able to still live there, some in the houses they grew up in.

A perfect example of how nothing stays the same and as it should be. Palo Alto was the best place to grow up in the 50s and 60s.

Like this comment
Posted by Native
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 22, 2013 at 10:45 am

I grew up here also, and I think Palo Alto took a turn for the worse in the mid-nineties. My children grew up here also, and they hate Palo Alto and refuse to live here. They say the city is now ugly and the its citizens are mostly arrogant and rude, especially the most recent influx.

Once my house is paid off, I will buy a bigger house on a larger lot somewhere else where my grandchildren will have room to play and where the neighbors will not call the police because my visitors parked a non-Mercedes in front of their house.

Like this comment
Posted by Jean
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 25, 2014 at 5:56 pm

My dislike of Palo Alto began after the passing of my father, allowing my roommate and myself to live in his house until it was sold. This was right around the time that Shoreline opened. The music that first year was so loud and because of the cloud level, the music seemed louder than normal. Because my roommate were two singles living in the house and the music was loud, the next door neighbors called my house at 11pm and "rudely" asked us to turn down our music. We didn't have any music on and tried to explain that. They were so rude!!!!!! Boy, because of that, I was never so glad to leave Palo Alto, the town I grew up in and dearly loved. People that have moved into town have become something I would have never wanted to turn into if I had stayed. I was raised there and lived there during a time that Palo Alto will never see again...great neighbors and caring. It is now the absolute opposite!!!!!

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