“Undulating hills, relative seclusion and luxurious architecture have Los Altos Hills topping the charts of desired Bay Area addresses”.
Unlike many other cities in the Bay Area, Los Altos Hills is a neighborhood unto itself. It has long held a top spot among the most desirable neighborhoods in the Bay Area, all while staying loyal to its ambition to remain a rural sanctuary among a valley of encroaching urbanism.
The rolling hills and narrow lanes combined with the town’s zoning laws ensure that Los Altos Hills remains sparsely populated with its requirements of acre or larger lots and one single family dwelling per lot. There is no multi-unit housing to be found within the borders of this neighborhood.
Architecture styles run the gamut of luxury. Homebuyers can find remodeled sprawling California ranchers of the 1960s and 1970s to the multi-story manses built in 1980 to present day. Much of the original real estate has undergone the wrath of the wrecking ball, being razed and replaced with large luxury estates.
Los Altos Hills counts among its residents many of the Silicon Valley’s ambitious entrepreneurs, including Russian venture capitalist, Yuri Milner. For those looking for a central locale offering unparalleled privacy and exclusive luxury, Los Altos Hills is their dream address.
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HISTORY OF LOS ALTOS HILLS
Los Altos Hills was once populated by ancient Ohlone tribes and in 1776, Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza travelled throughout the Santa Clara Valley passed through Los Altos Hills. In the 1840s, two substantial land grants from the Mexican government included Los Altos Hills and parts of Los Altos. Over time, these 4,438 acres of ranchos were subdivided and dispersed.
During the latter half of the 19th century, Los Altos Hills found its lands awash with vineyards as wine growers from Italy and France assembled their grapes along Purissima Road. Blight struck in the late 1890s, halting viticulture and leading to the planting of expansive fruit orchards.
The well to do from San Francisco soon discovered this quaint countryside in the “valley of the heart’s delight”, building exquisite estates in which to escape the dreary city summers. Among these were Horace Hill’s Toyon Farm and California Wine Association founder, Percy Morgan’s Lanternam Hall, a replica of Speke Hall in Liverpool, England. The estate was inherited by his wife and sons in 1920 when Morgan took his own life, a mere 6 years after completing his dream retreat, It was sold a decade later and passed through numerous owners. Over the years, the house was rumored to be many things, including a speakeasy. In the early 1950’s, Lanternam Hall was transformed into the Ford Country Day School, which closed its doors in 2009. It has since been restored and was placed on the market for $28.5 million..
Horace Hill’s Toyon Farm also passed through a couple sets of hands until the 1950s when it became “The Pink Horse” roadhouse resort. With its lake, rolling lawns and restaurant, The Pink Horse enjoyed a short-lived popularity as a weekend retreat and again became a private residence. In February 2013, this 1.6-acre estate with pool and tennis court, sold for $3.3 million.
There was a time in Los Altos Hills’ not-too-distant past when Rodolf Isenburg, a barnstorming pilot who helped establish the Palo Alto airport, would land small, private planes on an airstrip carved in Feather Hill.
One of the Bay Area’s most exclusive communities, long time Los Altos Hills residents still recall when the area was truly isolated, agricultural and when planes were landing on its hills.