Glass walls, open floor plans and geometric design characterize the iconic subdivision that emerged in South Palo Alto in the early 1950s. A strong proponent of fair and affordable housing, Joseph Eichler had more than modern aesthetics in mind when creating the Greenmeadow neighborhood, and his community values resonate with residents to this day.
The Greenmeadow Community Association, made up entirely of volunteers, continues to maintain strong bonds between nearly 300 homes in the neighborhood. Residents are proud to be part of a community that cherishes diversity, togetherness and, of course, Eichler housing.
Robert Shaw remembers being enamored with the openness of the single-story, flat roofed homes when he moved to the neighborhood in 1975. The community's vibe differed vastly from the upstate New York neighborhood he had left behind.
"The people were serving wine and cookies as we looked at their house, and we were flabbergasted by that," Shaw said. "They later told us that they really wanted to sell to someone that would value the house the way they had and were convinced that we would."
Beyond the architectural appeal of the Eichlers, strong community ties set Greenmeadow apart from the rest of the city, residents said. Greenmeadow's first-generation families shared everything from linoleum buffers to coffee pots, according to longtime resident Sigrid Pinsky, and that spirit is maintained between neighbors today.
"I think one of our strengths is our sense of history," Pinsky, who moved there in 1991, said."We have a real sense of where we've come from and what's important and what we want to be in the future."
Every year the community hosts numerous events to remember the past and celebrate the present. Residents brag most about the Greenmeadow fourth of July bash -- comprised of athletic events, a marching band, a drill team and a picnic lunch. The mayor typically joins the fun, and everyone comes together to sing "America the Beautiful," which Pinsky said moves her to tears, without fail.
"The piccolo gets me every time," Pinsky said.
A house and garden tour, an egg hunt, sporadic food-truck visits, karaoke parties and potlucks fill the neighborhood's social calendar. The adults tend to go out together, and movie nights at the park often turn into date nights for the parents, noted Penny Ellson, a resident since 1995.
Many more functions, especially those for kids, are centered around the Greenmeadow Pool. Many of the neighborhood kids join the swim team, fostering relationships between each other and their families.
As Palo Alto has grown in population, the Greenmeadow neighborhood has experienced an influx of new residents, many from other countries. Despite cultural divides, the community is committed to preserving the sense of camaraderie that has defined the neighborhood from the beginning.
The neighborhood association plans to search out individuals within Greenmeadow's sub-communities to "make the melting pot a little more mixed," according to GMCA Membership Committee Liaison Karen Pauls. New residents are encouraged to join various committees within the association to ensure everyone is included and involved.
"It's a community that encourages civic and community connection, and it teaches people how to be leaders and how to help each other," Ellson said. "And I love that."
-- Jennah Feeley
CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (nearby): Crescent Park Child Development Center (Peekaboo), 4161 Alma St.; Montessori School of Los Altos, 303 Parkside Drive; Palo Alto Infant Toddler Center, 4111 Alma St.
FIRE STATION: No. 4, 3600 Middlefield Road
LIBRARY: Mitchell Park branch, 3700 Middlefield Road
LOCATION: between Creekside Drive and Ferne Avenue, Nelson Drive and Ben Lomond Drive
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Greenmeadow Community Association, 650-494-3157; Jeff Schultz, president, firstname.lastname@example.org
PARKS: Greenmeadow Park (private); Mitchell Park (nearby), 600 E. Meadow Drive
POST OFFICE: Cambridge, 265 Cambridge Ave.
PRIVATE SCHOOLS (nearby): Palo Alto Prep School, 2462 Wyandotte St.; Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, 450 San Antonio Road
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Fairmeadow Elementary School, JLS Middle School, Gunn High School
SHOPPING: San Antonio Shopping Center, The Village at San Antonio
MEDIAN 2014 HOME PRICE: $2,425,500 ($1,996,000-$2,600,000)
HOMES SOLD: 6
MEDIAN 2014 CONDO PRICE: $900,000
CONDOS SOLD: 1