The very first subdivision or planned neighborhood in Los Gatos was along Broadway and nearby (Clifton Avenue, Broadway Extension and Wood Road), now the Historic Broadway Area (or Neighborhood or District). There had already been quite a few houses built at that time in Los Gatos, but none were planned areas per se. The Town of Los Gatos has called this the first residential street of Los Gatos! John Lyndon was the developer and he bought the land and created 48 parcels which were sold in September 1881 – a good six years before the far larger Almond Grove district was created and 6 years before the town was incorporated, too. A few homes in this area may already have been present, though, and seem to predate the 1881 date.
No doubt, Mr. Lyndon’s real estate buying decision was at least partially influenced by the location of his Lyndon Hotel, a whose bar was a popular hangout for the likes of John Steinbeck and Charlie Chaplain, which was located at the corner of Santa Cruz Avenue and Broadway, and now is the Lyndon Plaza (since sadly the hotel was torn down in the 1960s).
What was once a fairly quiet end of town is today mostly in the heart of it. The area closest to the post office enjoys a wide road (if desperately in need of repair), a good variety of Victorian and mostly older, historic homes, and is very uniformly well kept. Because it is either “in town” or “close to town”, the road is lined with cars most days – perhaps also because these houses of course pre-dated garages.
Historic Broadway Area Photos
Where is the Broadway Historic District in Los Gatos?
The Town of Los Gatos has a Historic Districts Map – have a look:
Broadway neighborhood of Los Gatos real estate information
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 neighborhood. (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.
This Los Gatos real estate article was originally written in 2007 but updated in late August 2015 and again in March 2020. Some of the photos are from the original post and some from 2015. – 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, truck yard and car lot 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 (not an affiliate link or sponsored ad, I just really enjoyed this book!) 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 in August 2015 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 framed in one photograph. The “Hooked on History” project of Los Gatos has a wonderful historic photo on its site, with a better view of the house as well as an interesting history of The Skinkle House as it is sometimes called!
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 featuring Orson Welles (shot in 1970) 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, and is sometimes called the Miles House.
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.
A charming Los Gatos neighborhood with diverse architecture in the central part of town, if not quite downtown, is the San Benito Avenue area. This neighborhood sits on a gentle hill, a bit of a ridge, and many of the homes in this section of town enjoy lovely views due to the mild elevation. Here, a small road named Creffield Heightsstarts at San Benito Avenue and slides back into the hill, where the far point of the road stretches into Monte Sereno before looping back into Los Gatos.
The pluses for this neighborhood are huge: proximity to downtown Los Gatos, proximity to Oak Meadow Park and Vasona Lake County Park, the scenic vistas of the hills, the diverse architecture, the well-maintained homes, the highly regarded Los Gatos schools, and much more.
The negatives are few and far between. In some areas, especially some of the streets running between San Benito and North Santa Cruz Avenue, roads are narrow and overcrowded with cars. In some areas, residents may only park on one side of the street. Another issue is the hill itself. Often with hillside properties and neighborhoods, water running off the hill, or under it until it finds level ground, can cause home owners tremendous headaches. See “What To Consider When Buying a Hillside Home in Silicon Valley”
I’ve been curious about the inviting little pocket of homes for over 20 years – who could resist the signs on stucco which announce the street and neighborhood name with so much dignity? When I checked the county records, I found just 10 residences on this street (and some are flag lots), so it’s a very small community. Two of the parcels are in the city of Monte Sereno. The home styles and ages are also all over the place, giving each home a unique charm and personality. It’s kind of a funny pocket! Even so, that area has a little more altitude, so some of the views are delightful.
San Benito Ave Area
This area is much larger and includes the Creffield Heights block. Within this neighborhood are 10 units in condo ownership (built 1981), 6 listed as duplexes (built from 1900 – 1998), and 12 Multi Family Units (built 1918 – 1998). Most of the area is occupied by over 200 single family homes built between 1900 and 2019. The average age for these homes is 62 years and the median age is 69 years old. As you might expect, homes here can vary a great deal, for instance they come in a range of 1 – 7 bedrooms, so buyers looking in this area should expect to be flexible and patient. In the past year (as of writing, March 2020) only 4 homes sold in this area and none are currently listed.
Terrain for the San Benito Avenue area
Below please find a terrain map with the very approximate neighborhood boundaries marked. The outlined and blue-filled area of the map is the greater San Benito Avenue area. The bright green marker is for the appx center of Creffield Heights, and the pale green one is where the impressive “Creffield Heights” sign and entrance may be seen (photos below in slideshow).
Photographs of the Creffield Heights and San Benito Avenue neighborhood
Please enjoy some photos I took recently, mostly on San Benito Avenue in Los Gatos
Real estate prices & homes for sale in the San Benito area
This area has so much diversity that it would be very difficult to give an estimate of what it would take to buy a home in this area. Houses vary in age, size, grandeur, condition, view, and lot size. Many smaller homes on smaller lots will sell for between $1.4 and $2 million. Large homes on large lots, perhaps will views, will sell for considerably more. Over the last year (as of March 2020) only 4 homes sold in this area. They ranged from a tiny home (under 1,000 sqft) on a good sized lot (over 6,500 sqft) for only $1,215,000 to an average sized home on a large lot (almost 7,500 sqft) at $2,210,000. This is a “low turnover” area, but homes that come to market generally sell quickly.
Below please find homes for sale by map for this area, and a list of available homes through the link.
The Vista del Monte neighborhood is popular with Los Gatos home buyers as it offers close proximity to downtown Los Gatos (about a mile from Los Gatos High School), tree lined streets, sidewalks, and a beautiful neighborhood park. The terrain is mostly level but there are a few homes with views.
Like most of Los Gatos, there is some variation in the size of the houses and lots, but to describe the area generally, it’s fair to say that most are ranch style homes (single story, split level and 2 story homes) built in the late 1950s to mid 1960s, with some built in the late 70s. The average home size is about 2300 SF (most range between 1500 and 3000 SF) and the average lot size is about a quarter acre (many are 8000 to 10,000 SF, but a few are far larger). Most houses include attached 2 car garages, but a few of the larger homes or those built more recently offer 3 car garages.
This is a nicely maintained area where you’ll find pride of ownership in the upkeep of homes and yards.
Some facts about the Vista del Monte residential area:
Location – the Vista del Monte neighborhood is in in east Los Gatos. It is located off of Kennedy Road and Harding Avenue and is adjacent to Worcester Park.
Size & boundaries – neighborhood boundaries are not exact, but the area includes about 180 homes east of Worcester Park, between Kennedy Road and Alta Vista Avenue. Several of the streets have “Vista” as part of the name: Vista del Mar, Vista del Prado, Vista de Sierra, Vista del Campo, and of course Vista del Monte. Other included roads are Cerro Chico, Jared Lane, Worcester Loop, Worcester Lane, and Harding Avenue.
Schools – Vista del Monte is in the Los Gatos Union School District.
The Park – Worcester Park is an 11 acre park with 3 trails, one of which leads to a meadow with views of the hills.
Video drive-through of the Vista del Monte neighborhood
Recently I video taped some of this area while being driven through it. This was filmed in late September of 2014, so during the 3rd year of a drought, and you will notice that the neighborhood looks a little dry (lawns are a little more tan than usual). This is true throughout Silicon Valley and California as a whole during any prolonged drought, but is not the norm otherwise.
Homes for sale in and near Vista del Monte – browse by map:
What does it cost to purchase real estate in this area?
As of March 3, 2020, four homes sold in this area over the last year. Averaging these, a 4 bed and 2 full bath home in Vista del Monte lists at almost $2.6 million and sells at almost $2.7 million. The actual range for sales was between $2 million – $3.6 million. All homes over this last year sold at a blazing speed, never lasting more than 8 days on the market!
It’s not cheap but the neighborhood tends to hold its value exceptionally well as it enjoys scenic beauty, close proximity to town, great Los Gatos schools and much more. Browse the findings below to get a sense of the current pricing there. Feel free to also check out my post on Los Gatos Real Estate Market Trends and Statistics, updated monthly, for a view of the town’s real estate trends.
Would you like to learn more about buying a home or selling a home in this or any other part of Los Gatos? Please call or email me for a private, no obligation consultation to see if we might be able to work together to help you to achieve your real estate goals.
The Charter Oaks townhome community was built in 3 phases between 1972 and 1975, and consists of 101 units on a verdant, green campus. I’m told that the builder was the highly regarded Blackwell Homes. Each townhome enjoys between 960 square feet and 1,760 sf, with the average being 1452. Most are 2 story but there are a few single story homes as well. Lot sizes are small (1,920-3,205 SF, average is 2477 SF) as there is a great deal of common, outdoors space to enjoy.
Los Gatans are drawn to Charter Oaks for many reasons. First, it offers well built homes that are thoughtfully designed in a beautiful setting. The community features include expansive greenbelt areas and a pool.
The location is a huge plus. It is located alongside the Los Gatos Creek Trail, making it an easy walking or bike commute to Netflix, a simple bike ride to Vasona or downtown Los Gatos, or a convenient route for a longer ride, jog, or stroll. To top it off, this area includes the highly regarded Los Gatos Schools and is close enough to the freeways to make commuting less stressful.
Every area has some location challenges. Because it’s close to two freeways, there’s a bit of noise from the highways but it’s not too bad. The other thing to know is that there’s just one road in and out, and trying to turn left from Charter Oaks Drive onto Lark Avenue can sometimes be frustrating as the cars just keep coming and there’s no traffic signal to help there.
Charter Oaks real estate pricing
Homes in Charter Oaks are selling for about $1,000,000 to $1,300,00 as of early 2020. (See my listing at 126 Charter Oaks Circle here.) As with every complex, some areas will sell for more than others. In this case, because the townhomes are fairly close to highway 17, some areas have road noise and will be a little less desirable. Some will have better or lesser views, access to parking, natural light, and so on. The condition and size of the unit have an enormous impact on housing values too, of course.
Which streets are a part of Charter Oaks?
Includes streets are these: Walnut Hill Court, Charter Oaks Circle, Willow Hill Court, Cherry Hill Court, Almond Hill Court, Spruce Hill Court
At the northwest corner of Los Gatos you’ll find a really beautiful neighborhood that consists of Old Adobe Road and nearby streets. It’s just off of Quito Road on the border with Saratoga one one side and Monte Sereno on another.
This lovely area doesn’t have tightly defined boundaries (at least not as far as I know), but runs roughly between Old Adobe and Quito at the north end to Bicknell at the south and fanning out to beyond Montclair to about More Avenue. It clings to Rinconada Hills along one stretch, too.
What are homes like in the Old Adobe area?
Today I mapped out the approximate neighborhood using the county records and it appears to have about 250 houses or so. Nearly all were built in the 1960s and 1970s, but 10% of the neighborhood spans a century from 1920 to 2018. Most of the homes are between about 2,000 and 3,000 square feet, but about 1/6 of them are larger, a dozen reach 4,000 SF and up, but that is not typical. Most lots are around a quarter to a half acre, but some are bigger and some smaller. So they are comfortable houses on uncrowded lots in a mature neighborhood.
There are some areas within this part of west Los Gatos with no subdivision name, but others are within identifiable subdivisions: Adobe Manor, Verona Manor, Montclair Oaks, Rinconada Acres, Rinconada Terrace, Rinconada Oaks. (A nearby neighborhood is English Oaks, and next to that is Oakwood. Yes, there are plenty of oaks in the region!)