“The newest borough within Palo Alto borders, Barron Park possesses a uniquely rural atmosphere, towering trees, convenient location and eclectic collection of homes.”
A distinctive ‘world apart’ within the boundaries of Palo Alto, the neighborhood of Barron Park (MLS # 232) is overflowing with natural beauty, most notably its mature trees, picture perfect lawns and efficient, well-designed gardens.
Tucked into an urban backdrop, Barron Park offers bucolic, sidewalk-free ambiance while affording residents an equally convenient location. Real estate activity is brisk in this borough, which offers a notable compilation of home styles dating back to the 1925 Edward Barron estate from which the district claims its name. Architecture styles range from humble, pre-war bungalows to more modern, mini-manses. Barron Park also offers a small assortment of otherwise unavailable condominiums. All of these factors combined designate Barron Park as a first-rate ‘entry level’ Palo Alto borough.
Barron Park also holds within its borders the 13-acre Bol Park, home to a ‘donkey pasture’ and its two mule inhabitants, Perry and Niner. The pasture was a caveat of neighborhood forerunner Josina Bol prior to selling her family’s land to Santa Clara County in 1965. Bol Park also offers a peaceful meadow and creek, a paved trail, children’s playground and a native plant garden as well as copious shade proffered by redwoods and oaks.
Unlike some South Palo Alto neighborhoods, Barron Park is easily distinguishable. Those who purchase homes is this borough do so purposefully, drawn in by its trees, it rural charm, accessibility and maybe even a couple of donkeys.
History of Barron Park, Palo Alto
As was much of the surrounding acreage, Barron Park was among the property that was part of the large Mexican land grants of the time. In 1853, local attorney Elisha Crosby bought 250 acres of the Rincon de San Francisquito rancho for $2,000 and christened it “Mayfield Farms”. In 1856, Crosby handed over Mayfield Farms to Sarah Wallis as compensation in a legal settlement.
Barron Park’s eventual namesake, mining tycoon Edward Barron, purchased the Mayfield Farms and its grand manor called the ‘wedding cake house’ in 1878. The acreage underwent a series of agricultural subdivisions, with the moniker “Barron Park” being used to describe a 62-acre portion carved from what was the former Barron estate. The borough remained primarily agricultural well into the 1940s when some residential development finally crept passed its borders.
One of the districts most notable housing tracts was completed in 1949 and includes one of the earliest developments by Joseph Eichler. Named in honor of local pioneer Josina Bol, homes in the Bol Tract sold in the range of $10,000 to $14,000, which was quite a high price point. This led Eichler to adopt cost-saving measures such as radiant heating and slab floors in his future developments.
Barron Park has a long history of independence and fought against annexation to Palo Alto for many years, finally giving in to the inevitable in 1975. But, its heritage of individuality created the borough’s unique, sought-after charm.