“Packed with personality, the College Terrace district offers incredible diversity as well as significant walkability.” ”
The relatively small borough of Palo Alto’s College Terrace (MLS #236) was born out of an eagerness for the development of Stanford University. A century after its creation, this district’s nickname is still appropriate and continues to firmly connect it to the university. A favorite among university employees and graduate students, College Terrace counts among its street names a variety of renown colleges including “Yale”, “Harvard”, “Oxford”, “Columbia”, “Princeton” and, of course, “Stanford”.
According to the MLS, College Terrace includes Evergreen Park, another more commercial neighborhood located across El Camino Real that expands it 24 square blocks to include California Avenue and other streets containing eateries, shops and commercial space. Both of these boroughs comprised a significant portion of the town of Mayfield (altogether different from Mayfield Farms of Barron Park heritage) and were annexed by the city in 1908.
A fusion of single and multi-family units with a smattering of retail and light commercial property, College Park residents enjoy its pedestrian-friendliness and high walkability to Palo Alto’s second downtown on California Avenue. Residents are committed to maintaining the relative peacefulness of their borough by limiting traffic and reducing noise.
The homes within this sub-district offer substantial variety, from vintage bungalows to more spacious two-story dwellings. It’s not uncommon to find the occasional impressive modern rebuild situated alongside a tiny, long-standing cottage on a 25-foot lot.
For residents lucky enough to call this borough home, College Terrace presents the epitome of living with its proximity to California Avenue, Stanford University, diversity of home styles and its well-guarded peace and quiet.
History of College Terrace, Palo Alto
In 1887, agriculturist Alexander Gordon acquired 120 acres of unoccupied Mayfield property from its two German farming owners, Frederick Weisshaar and Peter Spacher. Leland Stanford, successful business magnate, politician and the founder of Stanford University, had built up his Palo Alto Stock farm by purchasing adjacent plots and had his eye on the farmers’ acreage. Weisshaar and Spacher held Stanford off, finally selling to Gordon who soon began subdividing.
Inspired by the impending Stanford University nearby, Gordon took to naming the streets of his neighborhood after great universities such as Oxford, Yale and Harvard. Much to the chagrin of Leland Stanford, Gordon named his borough ‘The Palo Alto Tract’. Stanford had intended to name his city Palo Alto but due to a miscommunication, right-hand man Timothy Hopkins officially named the town “University Park’ while Stanford was away on business, leaving the designation ‘Palo Alto’ available for use by Gordon. An extremely displeased Stanford had to pay Gordon $1,000 for the rights to the name and as a result, “The Palo Alto Tract’ became College Terrace. In 1908, College Terrace was incorporated as part of the town of Palo Alto.