This Los Gatos real estate article was originally written in 2007 but updated in late August 2015. Some of the photos are from the original post, and some from this last week. – mph
One of the oldest residential neighborhoods in Los Gatos is the Edelen District, also called the University District. Originally a vineyard just north of the town’s school (where Old Town stands today), this residential neighborhood runs alongside the Los Gatos Creek to University Avenue or North Santa Cruz. Streets include University Avenue (south of Highway 9), Miles, Miller, and Edelen Avenues. (For more information on the location, please visit the town of Los Gatos’ statement on the Edelen District,ordinance 2168 on the University/Edelen District.).
This officially designated historic area also once included homes downhill (off Miles), along the banks of the Los Gatos Creek. But frequent flooding made that untenable. Now the lower area, by the edge of the Los Gatos Creek, is home to the town’s recycling center, truckyard and carlot as well as the parks department’s building (Department of Parks and Public Works). And it houses the relocated Maria’s Berry Farm buildings too (formerly near Highway 17 and Lark Avenue and moved when Highway 85 was constructed in the early 90’s).
Filled with beautiful Victorian homes, many built in the late 1800s, the Edelen District boasts an incredible proximity to downtown Los Gatos (as does the Almond Grove, but this area is even closer “in”). The streets are tree-lined and delightful looking, and most owners clearly prize their distinctive and historically important homes and have restored and maintained them lovingly. This is a highly prized bunch of Los Gatos real estate!
For visitors to the Edelen District, parking is a pain. Most of the area is permit parking only, 24 hours a day. And it makes sense. These residences were constructed largely without garages in mind. The folks who live there need to park at home without competing for space with visitors to Old Town or other downtown draws. To further protect this area from undesired traffic, Miller Avenue is closed to automobile traffic where it intersects with Edelen. Shoppers are therefore not tempted to park illicitly.
There are countless architectural treasures in this area, but let’s have a peek at just a couple so you can get a flavor of the neighborhood. (Thanks in advance to the fabulous book, Los Gatos Observed by Alastair Dallas and to the Town of Los Gatos for its Hooked on History Project, sponsored by the Los Gatos Library and History Museum)
The home I photographed this week at the upper right is at 129 Edelen Avenue. It’s a gorgeous Queen Anne Victorian and was built in 1892. Because of the large bushes and trees, it is difficult to get a clear view of the home today from one photographable angle. The “Hooked on History” project of Los Gatos has a wonderful photo on its site, though, and it provides a better view of the house (if in black and white).
Directly across the street is another gorgeous house, located at 130 Edelen Avenue. It was built in 1886 and has been the setting for a movie and a television show. It, too, is a gracious Queen Ann Victorian with lots of splendid detailing. This was the winter residence of John Miles, a founder and developer of this district.
My suggestion for seeing this historic neighborhood is to park at the public lot behind the newer section of Old Town, stroll down University Avenue to Miller and walk down the street to Edelen. Cars cannot pass through the intersection, but pedestrians can. Enjoy a leisurely walk up the tree lined street and then turn back toward University on Miles Avenue.
Bring your camera!
Photo slideshow of Edelen Avenue historic homes
Homes for sale in the Edelen or University Historic neighborhood in Los Gatos
Below please view any homes for sale in this historic Los Gatos neighborhood by map or by list view through the link. Continue reading
July 15, 2010
The historic Almond Grove District of downtown Los Gatos is home to a great number of historic homes, many of them Victorian in age and styling.
The other day, we drove past a property in which an attempt was being made to preserve a portion of the original structure – the front exterior wall and a back exterior wall. Aside from these, only the dirt appeared to be original. The foundation, roof, chimney, porch, interior walls, windows – all gone.
I’m certain that the historic preservation is the motive. But are we kidding ourselves to think that this kind of “remodel” preserves enough of the original structure to warrant calling it a remodel? Or is this just a farce? Perhaps some elements, like interior doors and old glass, are in storage somewhere and will make a reappearance down the road. Even so, if that happens, is it enough?
Here’s a view of the lot with the front remanent of the house showing. Please note: there’s no foundation (let alone any floors, windows or doors).
A closer, angled view reveals that there’s little behind this front wall and posts which at one time supported a roof over a front porch.
In addition to the front wall, a back wall is also left standing, supported by posts to stay erect. Other than these two walls, there’s little else to the lot but dirt.
And yet this is probably going to be considered a remodel for historic purposes. Is remodeling just a matter of interpretation, of hermeneutics? if so, I think we are stretching things too far. I hope I’m wrong about this. I don’t attend town council meetings, so perhaps this has been bantered around and there’s more to it than meets the eye – literally.
But even so, I have to ask:
Los Gatos, is this what we want to see happen to our historic homes?