Fairview Plaza feels like a step back in time – and in many ways, it is. This little neighborhood is so quaint and unique that it seems perfect for a movie set. Located close to downtown and equally close to huge expanses of open space, it enjoys its own park, has an interesting history and is enough off the beaten path that it goes largely undisturbed.
In 1880, Frank McCullough came to Los Gatos and bought 166 acres of prime real estate. From that land, he donated a parcel to become a park, now Fairview Plaza Park. At one time it included playground equipment and a bird sanctuary too. Today it’s a little more congested with cars on the street, but it’s still quite pleasant. This little park is the heart of the neighborhood. Have a look at the video to get a feel for the area, then continue reading for more info on the neighborhood.
Being an older part of town, Fairview Plaza is an official historic district for the town. It gets some special attention for this, but also some restrictions so that the character of the neighborhood is not harmed by bad remodeling or additions.
A prized part of Fairview Plaza is the Clara Huntington Perkins house, which was designed by Julia Morgan in about 1918-1919.
To get to Fairview Plaza, you have two choices. You can make use of a walkway / staircase that rises from Bayview and makes a direct connection to the neighborhood, or you can arrive there via Pennsylvania Avenue, Fairview Avenue, and then Fairview Plaza. The street is really an enormous cul-de-sac, with no “through traffic.” But unlike the cul-de-sacs of suburbia, this one is an entire community unto itself. Make a visit up there and rest a bit in the community park. You will enjoy pretty architecture but also a glimpse back in time. Enjoy!
(And if you liked this video, please see http://www.YouTube.com/popehandy for more videos of Los Gatos neighborhoods.)
View homes for sale in the Fairview Plaza neighborhood
Below, browse available real estate listings in the Fairview Plaza neighborhood, the Glenridge neighborhood and the Almond Grove neighborhood – lovely residential areas with historic homes!
April 18, 2011
From 1910 to 1955, the hills over Los Gatos just off Bear Creek Road were home to a boys’ school, the Montezuma Mountain Ranch School for Boys. Although there was never an enormous population of students, at one point the campus did include a whopping 300 acres.
Known for discipline, hard work and ethics, the school appears to have been exceedingly well respected and influential for its work with students all the way from k – 12.
Notably, Julia Morgan, the renowned architect best remembered for her design at the Hearst Mansion, seems to have played a hand in the school’s buildings too, making the site doubly interesting from an historical perspective.
A Catholic religious order, The Sisters of the Presentation, bought the site in 1956. Initially it was Presentation College (from 1958 to 1971), connected with the University of San Francisco (a Jesuit college) and served as that order’s novitiate. Today it is the interfaith Presentation Conference and Retreat Center. (Check out their photo tour and map, which calls out Montezuma Hall too.)
The Montezuma Foundation continues to be active more than a half century after the school’s closing. Each summer the members offer a three day leadership program at the Presentation Center, the old campus location, and it boasts that “over 300,000 high school students have participated in this program since its inception in 1934”. Pretty impressive that the influence of the school’s founder lives on.
The sisters have an “open house” about once a year where visitors can come and take in the scenery, check out their “green building” program and have a look around.
In the near future, though, is their annual Mother’s Day Brunch, which is open to all. If you have never been up to this scenic spot, Mother’s Day might be the perfect time for the trip!
Newsletter article from the Preservation Action Council of San Jose, summer 1998
Online article History of Montezuma
Historical info from the Presentation sisters on their order, the prior school, their college and the work at the campus today.
Images of the Montezuma School in 1940, care of the Hooked on Los Gatos program