Real Estate


Professorville

 

Palo Alto's oldest residential neighborhood Professorville is known for its large, century-old Victorian homes, oak tree-lined streets and residential character, but the quaint Historic District also features a variety of charming cottages, stucco Spanish-style homes as well as brown-shingled homes, Tudors and Colonials.

The mixture, longtime resident Nancy Huber said, is what makes Professorville so unique.

"There's a whole variety of architecture," Huber said. "It's just an interesting mix. We love the cottages, larger homes and in-between homes."

The neighborhood, which sits between Kingsley and Addison avenues and Cowper and Ramona streets, is steeped in history. It welcomed its first homes in the 1890s when Stanford University professors, who preferred to own their own homes, began building on the land.

Huber and her husband Joe met in Palo Alto when Joe was attending Stanford law school. The two fell in love with each other as well as the area. They bought their first home in south Palo Alto and in 1976 bought their Lincoln Avenue home -- a two-story, white stucco Spanish-style home with dark green trim and large windows.

"I think of it as a Spanish Colonial in the inside, but on the outside ... Joe thinks it's more Mediterranean, and I have to agree with him," she said.

About the same time the Hubers bought their home a lot of young families were buying into the district and restoring the houses in the area, she said.

Huber said she and her husband were drawn to the neighborhood because of its ambiance and charm.

"We're both from the Midwest, and the old trees and the old homes ... really resonated with us," she said, adding that in a historic district, you can "really step back in time."

Professorville is also a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood that is just a walk or bike ride from downtown, the Town & Country Village shopping center and the Palo Alto Caltrain station.

"When we were younger we weren't necessarily looking for a location where you can walk to the grocery store or mass transit -- all the advantages that the younger generation is looking for -- but luckily we have all that," Huber said.

Recently, the area has attracted families with young children including Kelli Thompson, who resided in Crescent Park before moving into her Lincoln Avenue home with her husband and two children.

Lured by the neighborhood's historic nature and accessibility to downtown, the Thompsons have been in their large Colonial home -- one reminiscent of the home her husband, who is from new England, grew up in -- since 2005.

"The proximity is the best part. You can get to all the great things in Palo Alto. My kids walk and bike to school on their own," Thompson said, adding that the "history and relationship with Stanford is neat."

Thompson said the biggest issue in the last few years has been the parking problem and how "downtown parking is spilling over to the neighborhood," but the sense of community among the neighbors make up for the shortcomings.

"It's an intergenerational block, and I think people are friendly and look out for one another, and we have a nice relationship with the church next door," she said. "We feel really fortunate to live here and we've been very happy."

Huber agreed with the sentiment, saying when she and her husband first moved in, neighbors came over to introduce themselves and brought food to welcome them to the area, and "the tradition has continued."

She credits the community spirit to residents who open their homes for community gatherings so that neighbors can come together to "catch up on what people are doing and just have a good time together."

The positive interaction creates an emotional connection between Professorville and its residents, she said.

-- My Nguyen

FACTS

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (nearby): Addison Kids' Club, 650 Addison Ave.; Downtown Child Care Center CCLC, 848 Ramona St.; The Learning Center, 459 Kingsley Ave.; Downtown Children's Center, 555 Waverley St.

FIRE STATION: No. 1, 301 Alma St., and No. 3, 799 Embarcadero Road

LIBRARY: Downtown branch, 270 Forest Ave.

LOCATION: bounded by Kingsley and Addison avenues from Cowper to Ramona streets

PARKS: Scott Street Mini Park, Scott Street and Channing Avenue; Heritage Park, Homer Avenue and Waverly Street

POST OFFICE: Hamilton, 380 Hamilton Ave.

PRIVATE SCHOOL (nearby): Castilleja School, 1310 Bryant St.

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

SHOPPING: University Avenue; Town & Country Village

MEDIAN 2014 HOME PRICE: $4,410,000 ($2,950,000-$8,150,000)

HOMES SOLD: 6

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