Palo Alto Meadow Park Neighborhood: Secluded Eichler homes with great Walkability
INTRODUCTION TO MEADOW PARK, WHERE SECLUSION MEETS CONVENIENCE IN PALO ALTO
A small neighborhood in south Palo Alto, which features large lot sizes, Meadow Park is remarkable for its balance of tranquility and accessibility to shopping, recreation, and transportation. Bordered by Adobe Creek, Bibbits Drive, Charleston Road and Grove Avenue, Meadow Park enjoys Palo Alto’s myriad of amenities and yet embodies the feel of a peaceful, intimate community.
Meadow Park is visually distinct from other Palo Alto neighborhoods because of its history as an Eichler development. In 1958 Meadow Park was advertised by Eichler Homes as the newest prestige development featuring 34 homes, each a minimum 7,800-square feet. “They are specially designed for the family that appreciates the finest in California Living,” reads the brochure. Many of the original features touted by Eichler abound in Meadow Park. 728 Gailen Ave. contains some of the best examples.
A recent ordinance limiting homes to a ‘single-story overlay’ preserves the unique visual cohesion of this neighborhood’s quiet streets and cul-de-sacs. Meadow Park is a perfect illustration of customizable Eichlers; the houses are similar in structure, yet each made distinct through adjustments to landscaping and the home’s exterior.
Walking through Meadow Park, its mid-century homes appear in subdued shades of tan and sage, as well as in dusty blue and bold apple green. Spacious front yards range from manicured lawns to wildflower beds, occasionally punctuated by children’s toys. City trees are planted in front yards along the sidewalks, creating a canopy over wide streets such as Louis Road. There is very little traffic through Meadow Park; one is more likely to encounter dog walkers or children biking than have the neighborhood’s serenity interrupted by a vehicle.
Although secluded, Meadow Park is only a few blocks away from endless Palo Alto resources. Its location is enhanced by proximity to Middlefield Road, a major artery running through residential Palo Alto. Two minutes away, at the intersection of Middlefield Rd. and Charleston Rd, the Charleston Shopping Center houses Peet’s Coffee and Piazza’s Fine Foods, and is a convenient stop for residents on the way to or from work. Rick’s Ice Cream, frequented by locals from all corners of Palo Alto, is also located within the Center.
Mitchell Park and Library, just north of Charleston on Middlefield Rd., is easily accessible from Meadow Park and includes a recreation center, lighted tennis courts, baseball field, playgrounds and fenced dog run for use by Palo Alto residents. The 21.4-acre site hosts Palo Alto events such as the annual summer chili cook-off and music in the park evenings.
Beyond the park are Fairmeadow Elementary School and J.L. Stanford Middle School. “The schools were a big factor in our move,” says one Grove Ave. resident. Many families with young children are attracted to Meadow Park because of easy access to quality Palo Alto public schools.
A few minutes south of Meadow Park is San Antonio Shopping Center and 5 minutes east are major shopping outlets such as Costco, Office Depot, REI and Best Buy. There is immediate access to Highway 101 with efficient routes to Silicon Valley, San Francisco and the East Bay.
Hot spots such as Phil’z Coffee and Midtown shopping center are a short distance north on Middlefield Rd. Midtown mixes larger staples such as Safeway and CVS pharmacy with smaller favorites such as Palo Alto Café. Downtown Palo Alto and Stanford University lie a few minutes beyond on University Ave.
“I love the convenience to [Charleston Shopping Center] and to Mitchell Park,” says Faith Hastings, secretary of the Meadow Park Neighborhood Association. “Now we have a lot of shopping across San Antonio Ave., so it’s a very convenient location.” Hastings moved to Meadow Park with her husband, Al, in 1965, and raised a family in the neighborhood.
In addition to its convenient location, the warm atmosphere of the neighborhood attracts residents. “You see people out walking, walking their dogs, talking, and that makes it feel more like a neighborhood,” Hastings says.
The next post in this series explores the community of Meadow Park in more detail.