Real Estate

Neighborhood profile: Greendell

An intersection of young and old, tranquility and activity

Nestled against San Antonio Avenue in the southern outskirts of Palo Alto sleeps Greendell, a placid neighborhood of ranch-style and Eichler homes.

Greendell's streets and cul-de-sacs, sprawled between Ferne Avenue and Mackay Drive, lie tucked away from traffic yet sit within the environs of commercial areas.

"We moved here because of the perfect combination of having space to ourselves in this quiet area, but being within 10 minutes of restaurants and parks and shopping centers," Neesha Dixit said, who arrived in Greendell with her husband, Nandan, in 2012.

The young couple, both Google employees, also enjoys a short commute to work, opting occasionally to bike to work. Such situations are common in Greendell, which has long housed employees of nearby tech companies.

Bill Young, a resident since 1962, chose the area because he worked at Space Systems/Loral and wanted to walk or bike to work. Similarly, a job at Lockheed Martin brought Jim Phillips to the neighborhood in 1972.

"My wife wanted to live in a really good school district," Phillips said, "and I wanted to be able to ride my bicycle to work."

Residents once enjoyed the luxury of Greendell Elementary School, a site planted firmly within the community. Though the school has long since closed, the neighborhood sits in close proximity to other schools.

"We have no problem with taking the kids to school," Monica Ottosson said, who, along with her husband and two children, has been a resident for one and a half years. "It takes me about five to 10 minutes to drive them, and we also bike, which takes about 10 minutes."

Greendell derives much of its identity from its Eichler homes, which sprouted up throughout the area in the mid-1950s. But Greendell was predated by a community of ranch-style homes called Fairfield Estates, a name that faded with transformation.

"Nobody recognizes Fairfield Estates," Warren Storkman said, who has lived in his ranch-style house since 1955, "and we were the first group to be in this part of Palo Alto. We were an isolated tract of homes, and we were able to see Eichler come marching toward us, building his houses and pushing the cows out of the pastures."

While some disagree on the neighborhood's name, there is consensus that it is peaceful and friendly. Neighbors look out for one another and gather for a block party every Labor Day.

Greendell is anchored in an older demographic, which many see as a strength.

"Folks who have lived here for a really long time are the ones who shape the community," Dixit said, "and slow movement has helped new families to understand the culture."

Despite living in an older neighborhood, young families feel right at home.

"Our kids have many friends living close by," Ottosson said. "I feel very good about letting them bike to friends by themselves. ... The security of living in a small community where people know each other makes us feel safe."


CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Crescent Park Child Development Center (Peekaboo), 4161 Alma St.; Discovery Children's House - Montessori, 303 Parkside Drive; Palo Alto Infant Toddler Center, 4111 Alma St.

FIRE STATION: No. 4, 3600 Middlefield Road

LIBRARY: Mitchell Park branch, 4050 Middlefield Road

LOCATION: between Ferne Avenue, San Antonio Avenue and Mackay Drive

NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Srini Sankaran, president, Greendell Neighborhood Association,; 650-485-1335

PARKS: Mitchell Park, 600 E. Meadow Drive

POST OFFICE: Cambridge, 265 Cambridge Ave.

PRIVATE SCHOOLS (nearby): Palo Alto Prep School, 4000 Middlefield Road; Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, 450 and 470 San Antonio Road

PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Fairmeadow Elementary School, J.L. Stanford Middle School, Gunn High School

SHOPPING: Charleston Shopping Center, The Village at San Antonio

Editorial Intern Benjamin Custer can be emailed at

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Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Aug 14, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Thank you for the profile of our neighborhood. A couple of clarifications: At the moment, Mitchell Park Library is at Cubberley, but the actual library has never opened and we are not holding our breath. Also, please don't mention a park that is not in Greendell and is not available to our residents. Mitchell Park is your best bet if you have kids in Greendell, although access is limited right now due to construction. Finally,Preschool Family is a great option for preschoolers, although it is actually an adult education course.

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

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