Real Estate


The hidden gem

Esther Clark Park is Palo Alto's rural neighborhood

In many ways, the character of Palo Alto's Esther Clark neighborhood is exemplified by Esther Clark Park, located directly off of Arastradero Road. A 21-acre nature preserve, it remains a highlight for those who enjoy a place of tranquility and natural beauty.

The best way for a visitor to enter the park is from Old Adobe Road where drivers are enveloped in a tunnel of trees arching over the inclined road. Driving further on, the road meanders up and down, and up again even more steeply. Esther Clark Park neighborhood feels like a secret, hidden behind winding hills and impressive Spanish-style villas. After a short drive to the end of the road is the park, settled against the last few houses in the neighborhood. A sign greets the visitor: "Palo Alto Open Space."

Dr. Esther Clark was one of the key founders of the Palo Alto Medical Clinic, and she also established her own nonprofit with the goal of helping children with disabilities. Richard Horn, one of the many veteran residents of Old Adobe Road and a retired pediatrician himself, remembers the highly respected Palo Alto figure fondly for what she brought to his beloved neighborhood.

"Esther Clark owned all of this property, and she developed Old Adobe Road ... (the land) was donated with the understanding that it would be open space ... " he said, adding that, "The neighborhood is nicely isolated, but also acts like a classic American neighborhood with lots of space."

Joining Dr. Horn as a longtime resident of the Esther Clark neighborhood, Katy Clancey and her daughter Jeannie talked about their love for their neighborhood.

"You're living in a rural setting, but you're five minutes away from towns like Los Altos," Katy Clancey said.

Her daughter Jeannie chimed in as well: "It is absolutely the perfect place to live because of its calmness ... the park is a treasure to this neighborhood."

Interestingly, both Clancey and Horn mentioned the development that has taken place and is still ongoing on Old Adobe Road and Old Trace Lane. The original homes were more rustic and spaced out from one another.

"There used to be a lot of smaller houses, but now there is more development of bigger ones," Horn said.

"It's hard for those of us who love this old rural setting ... but it is exciting to see new energy in the neighborhood," said Katy Clancey, adding that there had been barbecues at the end of the street in which all of the residents, both longtime and new, came together and enjoyed their little paradise.

The park itself still looks exactly as Esther Clark had intended: open space reaches into the horizon, providing plenty of opportunity for people to enjoy nature as well as partake in activities.

"People do a lot of walking, riding horses and jogging," Horn said.

It's understandable that these residents are so fond of their neighborhood, as it feels tucked away into a part of Palo Alto that feels rural, even though, just down the hill, there are large corporate office buildings -- an immediate reminder of how special the neighborhood's peaceful atmosphere is.

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.

Comments

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

Be the first to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Beer and brats: Ludwig's German Table coming to Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 4 comments | 3,039 views

The Other Greenhouse Gas
By Sherry Listgarten | 8 comments | 1,658 views

Who Pays for Palo Alto Schools
By Steve Levy | 25 comments | 1,466 views

Couples: Mirror, Mirror on the . . . Fight?!
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,348 views

Know Before You Buy: Understanding Senior Living Facility Agreements
By Max Greenberg | 0 comments | 835 views

 

Short story writers wanted!

The 33rd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 29. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

Contest Details