Real Estate

Duveneck-St. Francis


Between the commotion of busy Oregon Expressway and Embarcadero Road, the residents of the Duveneck-St. Francis neighborhood live on relatively quiet streets with an abundance of trees and people of all backgrounds.

"I personally treasure the community because of all the nice people that are in it," resident Jeff Levinsky said. "People are just so friendly and supportive."

Levinsky, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1994, appreciates his neighbors, who help one another and foster progress within the community.

And there certainly is no lack of opportunity to connect with neighbors. He said that whenever school is not in session, the fields and playground of Duveneck Elementary School (named after Frank and Josephine Duveneck of Hidden Villa fame) turn into a gathering place for families.

"We have a great elementary school right in the middle, we have the library ... the Lucie Stern complex and the zoo, those aren't technically in our neighborhood but they're very close. The arts center has classes for all ages. So there's lots of nice things," Levinsky said.

Duveneck-St. Francis is a rhombus-shaped neighborhood bounded by San Francisquito Creek on the northeast, Oregon Expressway, Greer Road, Embarcadero Road and Newell Road.

The neighborhood's comfortable setting drew in longtime resident Lisa Dreessen, who moved to the area to start a family and has remained there since 1964.

"I moved in when I was pregnant with my first child, so I raised my children here, and I think it's a wonderful neighborhood," she said.

Dreessen also pointed out the importance of the community spirit in Duveneck-St. Francis. With an elementary school in the center of the community, it's no surprise that many people find it to be a place that is very welcoming to children and adults alike.

"It's a very friendly neighborhood ... and child-friendly," she said.

The changing demographics of the neighborhood hasn't dampened the community spirit, but rather sparked action. When the Albertson's grocery store shut down in Edgewood Plaza in 2006, the shopping center became a ghost town. After watching the buildings crumble for more than 10 years, the community fueled efforts to redevelop the plaza, which now boasts The Market at Edgewood and a wide variety of businesses that are well-loved by residents.

"I and some others worked to get the grocery store restored and we had countless neighbors who were supportive and very energized and we all together made it happen," Levinsky said. "(There was) fantastic participation."

Levinsky emphasizes that all of the residents get along well, and manage to sidestep controversies. The neighbors instead work together to solve problems and better their community for all of the residents.

The people of Duveneck-St. Francis certainly agree that the neighbors are what makes the area truly unique.

"It's a good place to raise a family," Levinsky said. "It's a good place for people who are retired, it's just a nice environment."


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

PARKS (nearby): Eleanor Pardee Park, 851 Center Drive; Rinconada Park, 777 Embarcadero Road; Duveneck Elementary School 705 Alester Ave.

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, Greene Middle School, Palo Alto High School

SHOPPING: Edgewood Shopping Center; University Avenue

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10 people like this
Posted by Aru Kidinkme
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 14, 2016 at 12:42 pm

Slow News Day? Or are you trying to sell property?

10 people like this
Posted by Notty Nufmunny
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2016 at 2:42 pm

Yeah, it's really kid-friendly, as long as the kids' parents have tons and tons of money. 2.6M? You gotta be kidding me.

16 people like this
Posted by ROFL
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 14, 2016 at 2:45 pm

Seriously?? I just find that we are looked down on in this neighborhood!

Why? I suspect because we are well-educated, our son and his wife are well educated, and our grandkids go to private school. We are first generation Americans, our DIL is a first generation American, and we all live in one house to make sure the grandchildren get plenty of attention, care, and an excellent education.

Oh, and we are all of Northwestern European descent-- except for me, I have Chippewa blood as well as European. But some of the neighbors seem offended by the "surfeit of blue-eyed blondes" in our family.

Oh, and many neighbors dislike the fact that we fly an American flag at all times. No matter that we do it out of respect for my DIL's brother, an Army doctor killed in Afghanistan by a suicide bomber!

4 people like this
Posted by Notty Nufmunny
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2016 at 3:11 pm


Your family sounds nice. I don't understand...why would anyone look down on you guys?

I would be happy to have you as my neighbor, if I can ever get enough money to buy a house in your neighborhood.

I wonder if it's the flag....around here, people are pretty intense about their political views, and they may be making assumptions about your politics (true or not) based on the fact that you proudly fly the American flag.

14 people like this
Posted by ROFL
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 14, 2016 at 4:06 pm

Nitty Nuffmoney: you sound nice, too. Actually, we lucked out. My DIL's English father left her a nice inheritence, which she kindly contributed part of. My Polish mother inherited a large farm in Poland that she didn't want, sold it, and gifted me part of the proceeds. We sold our house in the Fremont Hills in 2006, rented for two years, and bought this house in a short sale-- with a nice down payment. It helped in no small part that my dad was an economist!

Anyway, most of the neighbors, especially the newcomers, won't socialize with us, even when invited. They don't know our story, they won't tell us theirs, other than to complain about our flag offending them-- or that we'd better watch those blonde children/ grandchildren ( with a caveat that blondes have low morals)!

Funny, in Cali it seems legally impossible for a Caucasian to be treated with racism or have hate crimes committed against them. We found this out last Christmas and Easter ( my DIL and I came from very Catholic families), when our house and holiday decorations--including innocent poinsettias-- were vandalized. Halloween this year was only slightly better: most of the newer neighbors did not wish to have trick-or-treaters come to their homes.

It gets worse every year, too! Right now we are waiting to see if Yrump puts his money where his mouth is and repeals the 1996 real estate capital gains tax. If he does, we will sell and LEAVE!

6 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of University South
on Nov 15, 2016 at 7:12 am

"When neighbors move in, we want to make sure that we keep that community feel. ... I want people that come into the neighborhood to have that value."

This seems like a very odd quote. You want your new neighbors to be like you? And if they are not, then what?

3 people like this
Posted by Be Positive
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 15, 2016 at 12:00 pm

Be Positive is a registered user.

@mike - I don't find that quote odd at all. If you live in a friendly neighborhood where people value their sense of community, wouldn't you want your new neighbors to value that too? So the sense of community continues?

6 people like this
Posted by Is This a Joke??
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 15, 2016 at 2:14 pm

[Post removed.]

8 people like this
Posted by Not Laughing
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 15, 2016 at 3:40 pm

Palo Alto and the communities north of it such as Menlo Park, Atherton, Woodside, San Mateo, Belmont, SAN Carlos, Burlingame, Belmont, etc are NOT kid friendly and have not been since the mid-80's.

The more expensive the city, the less friendly to kids!

4 people like this
Posted by No Joke
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 16, 2016 at 2:54 pm

This is actually one of the snootiest neighborhoods in town! Unless the kids have wealthy parents, either in tech or from China, the kids are considered undesirable!

I think it may be worse than Old Palo Alto, Crescent Park or Southgate for pure snobbery.

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

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