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
While there are many neighborhoods with homes which qualify as historic, such as Glenridge, just five of these areas have the historic district designation: Almond Grove, University or Edelen, Fairview Plaza, the Broadway area, and Downtown.
The Town of Los Gatos has a wealth of information on the districts designated as historic and what qualifies them as such. For more information, have a look:
The Town of Los Gatos is home to many lovely neighborhoods with historic homes (Broadway Area Historic District, Fairview Plaza and others), but perhaps none is so quaint or popular as the Almond Grove. (See video drive through this neighborhood near the bottom of this article.)
Location, location, location: the Almond Grove’s got it
The location itself could be very compelling alone as the Almond Grove neighborhood is as much “in town” as “walk to town” with so many activities and opportunities happening along North Santa Cruz Avenue, Main Street and University Avenue – all a stone’s throw away. Quite vibrant, downtown Los Gatos enjoys an inordinate amount of restaurants, shops, coffee houses, bars, places to dine , taste wine, stroll or take in a film. It’s also home to free musical concerts in the summer, a parade in December, a gorgeous new public library, a Farmer’s Market every weekend and many other events year round. Finally, the Almond Grove is set near two parks, Bachman Park and the Los Gatos Town Plaza, so there’s a good amount of open space nearby too. There’s something for everyone!
Traditionally designed neighborhood with good community results
The allure of the Almond Grove is more than convenience, though. There’s an old time friendliness that seems to come with the big, welcoming front porches on so many of the older houses. Dwellings are also set closer together than one might find in suburbia, too. Rather than live so much in the privacy of the backyard, there’s an invitation implicit with this combination of close neighbors and a front porch that seems to underscore that residents are part of the neighborhood community and a bit less secluded.
The Almond Grove displays that sense of community from October to January especially, when it steps out as the best decorated corner of Los Gatos with a huge percentage of participation in the effort. Halloween is a great example. People’s enthusiasm is evident in by the beginning of October as props come out for the spookiest day of the year. Sometimes even in September, “Land of the Giant” sized spiders begin to appear, life-sized ghosts start to swing from porches and trees, the normally tidy and trim picket fences become smudged with spider webs, and every manner of Halloween decor drapes the district. On Halloween night, the Almond Grove district becomes positively overrun with enthusiastic kids from all over Los Gatos. I’ve been told that some homes get as many as 1,000 trick or treaters on Halloween night there. Continue reading
December 10, 2011
About four years ago, The historic Cats Restaurant in Los Gatos quickly and quietly closed without much warning (see article in the Los Gatos Observer). One of the area’s older buildings, it was constructed as a stage coach stop in the late 1800s, possibly around 1896.
In 2008 I was near the tavern, photographing Leo and Leona at the entrance to Poet’s Canyon just steps away, and popped by old building to see what was going on with it.
To my surprise, it appeared that The Cats was being made ready to reopen. There were several trucks and workers in view and the parking lot sported new blacktop and parking stripes.
I could not find any news about a reopening, and apparently there were issues with permits.
The Cats has served many functions over the years and is an area landmark. It would be great to see it open again.
The Cats Restaurant is located at 17533 Santa Cruz Highway, just past the downtown entrance to the freeway from South Santa Cruz Avenue.
Leo and Leona can be seen from this freeway exit too. For more on the two concrete cats, please visit this earlier post: How did Los Gatos get its cat logo?
July 17, 2010
Yesterday as I was driving up University Avenue in Los Gatos, I saw a large sign in front of a home that has been getting some remodeling. Not only is it beautiful looking on the outside, it’s a Sunset “Dream Remodel” home and tours will be starting next weekend!
Having seen some stunning “Sunset homes”, I was ecstatic to stumble upon this home and planned to get it into my blog this weekend. This morning, though, I saw that I was scooped by the Merc, which ran a nice piece on the home and tours today.
In case you cannot read the small print, the cost is $15 for adults, for seniors (65+) it is $12 on Fridays only and it’s $5 for kids 12 & under. Someone from Sunset sent me the following photos, and said that I could use them online, so here’s a peek at the interior of the house.
For more information, please see www.sunset.com/dreamremodel.
Fabulous Historic Walking Tour of Downtown Los Gatos is Back! Mark Your Calendars for June 13th & Reserve Your Spot Today!
May 22, 2010
A fun, hands-on way to learn a bit about Los Gatos history is the downtown Los Gatos Historic Walking Tour. Offered about once a year, the guide through the downtown and through the past benefits the Museums of Los Gatos. There’s lots of participation from the community as local residents play the roles of famous Los Gatans of years gone by, bringing history to life.
The tour begins at the Art Museum of Los Gatos: 4 Tait Ave., Los Gatos, CA 95030. The date is Sunday, June 13th, 2010. Three tours are offered, beginning at 1pm. These tours DO sell out, so don’t wait!
To reserve your spot, and to buy the tickets, call 408 395-7386. Cost is $25. (Great price – lower than in the past.)
I’ve been on this tour twice and really enjoyed it, so give it a strong endorsement.