College Terrace, Palo Alto

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When wealthy farmer and landowner Alexander Gordon from San Mateo County purchased a 120-acre tract of land in 1887, he named its streets after illustrious American colleges and universities, giving birth to College Terrace.

The neighborhood, with its vast streets, fragrant gardens and pastiche of architectural styles, is “the most neighborhoody neighborhood in Palo Alto,” said homebuilder William Hurt, former vice president of the College Terrace Residents’ Association (CTRA) and a resident of 56 years.

“Everybody knows everybody else. It’s also small unlike Midtown, which is generic.”

With its four modest parks, labyrinth of blocked-off streets and collection of childcare centers, College Terrace is notoriously kid-friendly. Children and parents can be spotted hand-in-hand on summery Friday afternoons, strolling past old houses with towers and side gables in the Queen Anne style, and quaint English cottages. The neighborhood’s most ancient dwelling, 2310 Yale St., was built in 1889. The Victorian house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

FACTS

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: College Terrace Children’s Center, 2300 Wellesley Ave.; Bing Nursery School, 850 Escondido Road; Escondido Kids’ Club, 890 Escondido Road; Pepper Tree After School Program, 865 Escondido Road

FIRE STATION: No. 2, 2675 Hanover St. and No. 6, 711 Serra St. on the Stanford campus

LIBRARY: College Terrace, 2300 Wellesley St.

LOCATION: bounded by Stanford Avenue, El Camino Real, California Avenue and Amherst Street

NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: College Terrace Residents’ Association, Brent Barker, president

PARKS: Donaldina Cameron Park, 2100 Wellesley St.; Mayfield Park, 2300 Wellesley St.; Weisshaar Park, 2298 Dartmouth St.; Werry Park, 2100 Dartmouth St.

POST OFFICE: Cambridge, 265 Cambridge Ave.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Escondido Elementary School, Jordan Middle School, Palo Alto High School

SHOPPING: California Avenue

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