“Mature trees, copious green space and a strong commitment to maintaining the quality of life along with its relative affordability make the borough of Midtown a top choice among home buyers.”
Midtown (MLS #234) embodies a timeless post-war ambiance. With the sole exception of the Midtown Shopping Center, its exclusive residential appeal, convenient locale and comparative entry-level home prices draw many a prospective homeowner to Midtown.
Midtown offers much in the way of outdoor recreation with its three public green spaces. Seale, Greer and Hoover Parks are all within its boundaries, affording residents over 30 acres of athletic fields, playgrounds, picnic areas, dog runs, open meadows and a tri-bowl skateboard complex built in 1991, the first of its kind on the Peninsula. Midtown also owns bragging rights to Winter Lodge, the region’s sole outdoor ice-skating facility.
The homes in Midtown are primarily ranch style, built between 1946 and 1956. A significant number have undergone expansion and renovation, while some residents have rebuilt them entirely. The avenues of sub-district Palo Verde are lined with iconic Eichlers while homes in St. Claire Gardens, designed by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco, offer more conventional designs.
Midtown holds claim to a dedicated and active Residents Association. Formed in 1994, the Association’s chief focus is maintaining the quality of life in this Palo Alto district.
Its entry-level affordability, accessibility, recreational opportunities and commitment to the quality of life make Midtown the sweet spot for many looking to call Palo Alto home.
History of Midtown, Palo Alto
Where the borough of Midtown now sits, was where in 1847, two Mexican rancho land grants, Rinconada del Arroyo de San Francisquito and Rincon de San Francisquito, collided. The acreage was mostly marshland, and passed through a series of owners, 500 acres of which was traded in the 1870s for horses and a buggy. The property was subdivided and initially used for farming and fruit orchards. When the marshy land finally dried out in the 1920s, the opportunity for residential development was born.
In 1947, the city of Palo Alto, whose focus had been development of housing tracts north of Oregon Expressway, finally looked southward. With the end of World War II began the growth of Midtown. Homebuilders Coastwise, Barrett & Hilp and Stern & Price were instrumental in the transformation of orchard land to residential housing tracts. In the 1950s, Joseph Eichler constructed his mid-century modern homes in the sub-borough of Palo Verde.
St. Claire Gardens, a small 83 home sub-district, was once farmland owned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco. Its original intent was as housing for parish members and staff of neighborhood churches. These large dwellings were constructed of redwood and those who resided there were 90% Catholic, earning it the nickname, “Vatican Row”. Today, St. Claire is family-oriented with modernized, more traditional home designs.