Older & Historic Homes
Older & Historic Homes in Silicon Valley
Each autumn, the St. Martin of Tours School puts on a fabulous tour of lovely homes in San Jose’s Rose Garden neighborhood. While anyone driving through this central San Jose area can appreciate the diverse and beautiful architecture, often the best features of these homes are found inside.
This year is the tour’s 22nd Anniversary! The homes tour is a large scale fundraising effort for the school. Tours are self-guided with hosts in each home ready to answer questions and share interesting historical facts and stories about the homes. On display will also be floral designs, artwork, and perhaps some treasures. The garden segment of the tour includes the Tea Garden, a spot to sit and enjoy complementary refreshments or a gourmet lunchbox (available to pre-order through October 6th with your tickets). The tour also features a boutique, where 100% of the proceeds will benefit St Martin of Tours School (credit cards accepted!) and a donation drawing.
Tour dates are Saturday, October 14th and Sunday, October 15th from 10am-4pm both days. No children under 12 are allowed on the tour. Come any time within the tour hours to begin, but note that it is recommended that visitors allot about 2 hours to view every home and the tour ends promptly at 4pm.
Tickets are available at the door, online, or through families in the school.
To read about the homes from last year’s tour, and to learn more about this year’s tour, and to purchase tickets, and more please visit the official Rose Garden Homes Tour website.
$458,800 : 3276 Shadow Park PL, SAN JOSE2 beds, 1 bath
$999,999 : 4298 Voltaire ST, SAN JOSE3 beds, 3 baths
$479,000 : 1331 Scossa AVE 2, SAN JOSE2 beds, 1 bath
$759,900 : 1381 Crailford CT, SAN JOSE3 beds, 2 baths
$1,029,000 : 1637 Marconi WAY, SAN JOSE3 beds, 3 baths
$649,000 : 2144 Mondigo AVE, SAN JOSE3 beds, 2 baths
$1,629,950 : 2261 Gunar DR, SAN JOSE4 beds, 2 baths
$199,900 : 2150 Monterey RD 42, SAN JOSE1 bed, 1 bath
$1,000,000 : 331 Grandpark CIR, SAN JOSE3 beds, 2 baths
$938,000 : 2074 Mary Helen LN, SAN JOSE3 beds, 4 baths
See all Real estate in the city of San Jose.
(all data current as of 2/22/2018)
Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.
The University Square neighborhood in Santa Clara is walking distance to Santa Clara University. I grew up there, riding my bike in the forbidden college walkways, and recall my Realtor mother referring to the area as “Little Professorville.” That was a reference to a lovely Palo Alto neighborhood in the shadow of Stanford University. She wasn’t wrong – we knew some professors who walked to SCU each day from that neighborhood, including my grandfather.
Where is the University Square neighborhood?
The neighborhood may not have exact boundaries, but appears to be bordered by Park Avenue on the east, Washington Street on the west, the University to the north, and Newhall Avenue to the south.
The area closest to the campus is fairly congested, both with density of housing and the amount of cars parked everywhere. This is where you’ll see the reminder that it’s a quiet, residential zone.
Get past Poplar, though, and suddenly it’s a completely different feel, with almost no cars on the street and homes being spread further apart.
The homes found between Washington and Park, and along Alviso Street, are mixed architecturally. Some streets, like Circle Drive and College Avenue, are primarily ranch style houses built from 1955 – 1950 (some of the county records say 1900 – that just means they lost the records and don’t know!). Some of these have been expanded tremendously. The house I grew up in as a child was 1400 square feet, but it’s been added onto a couple or more times and is now more than 3000 SF.
Hilmar Street is older, mostly built in 1940 with a mix of styles, including Cape Cod, Tudor, and Bungalow. Most of the homes have detached garages, and on the south side of one block, the garages are accessed by an alley! We do not have many areas like that in Silicon Valley, but it makes the front of the home look almost like a movie set. That street is also lined with Cherry trees which explode with blossoms each spring, making a beautiful sight. Here’s a photo I took on February 14th, 2006 of that street.
And one more view, from the same day.
The homes here are mostly on 6000 to 9000 sf lots, and range from 1400 to 2500 SF in the majority of cases. There are 2 car garages. In the older houses, the garages will be detached, but in the ranch style houses, they are attached.
There are sidewalks throughout the University Square neighborhood. Often there’s a sidewalk strip, meaning a space for trees and other landscaping between the street and the sidewalk. Other times, the sidewalk is directly adjacent to the road.
This is not a pretentious neighborhood. The homes are mostly fairly modest, middle class homes. But they are convenient for both the university and for a trip to downtown San Jose via either The Alameda or Park Avenue. There’s a lot to be said for not needing a freeway with today’s congestion! As it is scenic, well maintained, and convenient, it’s also expensive, with home prices running about 20% more than the county average for a single family house.
Here’s another lovely home on Hilmar.
Want to check out the neighborhood some more? Browse the listings of University Square Santa Clara homes for sale here:
Homes for sale or recently sold in the University Square neighborhood in Santa Clara
To see what’s for sale, pending, or recently sold in the University Square neighborhood of Santa Clara, please visit this link:
The Saratoga Foothill Club, designed by Julia Morgan, is a Silicon Valley architectural landmark. It is located in a residential neighborhood near the Big Basin Rd and Sunnyvale-Saratoga Rd intersection, a block away from the downtown area. If you’ve never been, it’s worth a trip! Go for a couple of hours and enjoy lunch in downtown Saratoga Village, too.
Saratoga Foothill Club
20399 Park Place
Saratoga CA 95070
Availability: Tuesday through Sunday, 9:30 AM – 10:00 PM (per this writing)
http://www.foothillclub.org/ (disclaimer: events listed on this page are from 2014 and earlier)
National Register of Historic Places – Registration Form
History of the Club
I’ll post a very detailed history below. Generally, though, this club was part of a trend of women getting involved in their communities to both improve the places where they lived but also to improve their influence. This took place before women were permitted to vote and can be seen as part of the broader, growing civic influence of women.
The Building and Grounds
The architect: Julia Morgan
Today what may be more compelling than the movement behind the building is perhaps the building itself. Fittingly, it was designed by the most prominent female architect in California, Julia Morgan, an graduate of the University of California (Berkeley – it was the only UC at the time) and the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Art in Paris. She was a sorority sister with Grace Fisher Richards, one of the founding members and the then-current president of the Club. She was also the first licensed female architect in the state. (She is best known for her gorgeous work at Hearst Castle.) This certainly was not lost on the women who hired her! Nor on many other clients – “Of the 480 Morgan projects listed in Boutelle’s Julia Morgaa Architect, 1995, from 1896 to 1946, more than one third were for women clients or for women’s organizations…. Even more impressive is the fact that Morgan also hired-women professionals. By 1927, six of her fourteen employees were women, a remarkable number for an established business.” (Per the register)***
The Saratoga Foothill Club was built out of redwood (outside and in, though the floors are hardwood) with a wood shake roof in the Craftsman or Arts and Crafts style in 1915. As with many of her designs, it is simple, understated, and made ample use of natural materials. Julia Morgan was inspired by the local Bay Area School of design. The bungalow feel fits in nicely with the neighborhood.
The structure itself is a one story building that’s 74′ wide across the front and 60′ deep, plus some pop-out areas around the sides. Inside there’s redwood paneling (redwood is a soft wood), hardwood floors in most of the area (carpeting in the entry). The kitchen has sheet vinyl and paster walls – more practical. In addition to the kitchen there’s a main room measuring 33’9” x 40’3 and a dining room with an open fireplace – the last two are joined by two sets of accordian doors. There’s a storage room and also a projection room. And of course there are restrooms. The building is set on a 7409 SF lot, nearly level, with a beautiful courtyard and pergola. (More info below slideshow.)
“Red flags” are clues that something is wrong or potentially wrong. They’re the hints that we need to investigate something further, the sign that we should be on alert.
Some parts of San Jose, and Silicon Valley generally, enjoy beautiful older homes with classic styling and beautiful finishing work. These properties and neighborhoods are prized because they are not cookie cutter, not ranch, not too new. They may be Victorian, Craftsman, Spanish, or any number of other interesting architectural styles.
One area of Santa Clara County that is well known for both charming historic homes and unfortunately also some stuctural issues among those older houses is the Willow Glen district of San Jose.
On Saturday I showed some clients about a half dozen homes, all in Willow Glen, and we saw a lot of “red flags” which hinted of foundation problems, among others. I thought I’d share a few pics I snapped at one of them with my treo camera here. All of these were taken on the front porch of this house – all visible structural “red flags” before we ever set foot into the house.
It’s possible to live in Silicon Valley and have no idea that there are still some original adobe houses to be found right here in the San Jose area. Today, though, I hope to help some of our residents discover the past which is lurking right in front of us!
The historic Adobe Woman’s Club is just a block or two off the campus of Santa Clara University, tucked away on a side street now that The Alameda is re-routed as The El Camino. Address: 3260 The Alameda, Santa Clara. According to the state’s historical preservation site, this state landmark # 249 is one of the oldest in the Santa Clara Valley, was built between 1792 and 1800 and was one of many row houses built for the native Americans who worked at Mission Santa Clara. Please note that this is private property and you may not enter without permission, but the adobe abode is very visible from the sidewalk.
Today the beautifully preserved adobe house functions as a nonprofit group with these objectives: “to promote educational, moral, social welfare, cultural, civic and community service. Anyone who supports these objectives is welcome.” This scenic place can also be rented out for private events. The garden is quite lovely and the interior appears to be very modern. You can see photos of the inside of the house at the club’s website: The Santa Clara Woman’s Club.
If you love older residential areas with classic architecture and a canopy of street trees, you’ll want to know about the Buena Vista neighborhood in San Jose. Situated between downtown and the Valley Fair & Santana Row areas, close to Burbank and Midtown, it’s truly “close to everything” and oozing with charm.
Where is the Buena Vista neighborhood? Roughly, it includes areas north of Hwy 280, south of San Carlos, east of Leigh and west of Meridian. It is considered part of Central San Jose by the local MLS.
This historic district has has a voluntary neighborhood association (Buena Vista Neighborhood Association or BVNA) for members, with extremely low dues, though residents who are not dues paying members may attend the monthly meetings. The BVNA website has a wealth of information on the area, including photos of “then and now,” maps (also historic and current), minutes and newsletters and much more. Please have a look to learn more about this corner of Silicon Valley with lovely old homes and tree lined streets, or check out the YouTube video below, which is also on their site:
$998,000 : 29 S Keeble AVE, SAN JOSE2 beds, 3 baths
$899,000 : 761 Emerson CT, SAN JOSE2 beds, 2 baths
$1,000,000 : 751 Emerson CT, SAN JOSE3 beds, 2 baths
$1,395,000 : 2055 Alameda WAY, SAN JOSE4 beds, 4 baths
$2,499,000 : 1470 Calaveras AVE, SAN JOSE5 beds, 4 baths
See all Real estate in the 95126 zip code.
(all data current as of 2/22/2018)
Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.
While most of Santa Clara County (and Silicon Valley too) is filled with ranch style homes, there’s more to the South Bay than the typical rambler. Some areas, such as Los Gatos, Willow Glen, and Palo Alto, seem to be a magnet for diverse types of architecture. Our local multiple listing service, MLSListings.com, includes the following categories for these varied types of homes. It’s not a perfect list, of course, as several of them have a few sub types (think Spanish and Victorian especially). Perhaps rather than Eichler, which is a prominently known mid-century modern home, the category should have been the broader mid-century modern, since there are many which are similar but cannot be attributed to Eichler in particular. In any event, here’s the list:
Today I was wondering which of these types is “in style”, making them sell faster? Continue reading
Many newcomers to the San Jose & Silicon Valley areas want to buy new homes (or newer ones). Santa Clara County, though, had a big “building boom” after World War II ranging from the 1940s through the 70s. At the end of the building frenzy, most of the land was taken. More importantly, most of the really good land was built up.
How old is the “average” San Jose home for sale? Probably about 45 – 50 years old, on average. Depending on where you’re looking, precisely, the homes could be younger or older on average.
There are some nice communities of new and younger homes in Silicon Valley, but there aren’t a lot of them. Most of the new home communities have houses on small lots. Some are near high voltage power lines (homes on Taft in San Jose’s Cambrian Park area) or next to freeways (Summerhill development off Samaritan Drive in San Jose).
The historic Naglee Park Home Tour in San Jose will take place April 21,2012 from 10am to 4pm. Sponsored by the San Jose Woman’s Club, this is the third annual tour. It includes an elegant tea served in the garden of the Catholic Bishop of San Jose, Patrick J. McGrath, a Naglee Park resident.
For all of the details on this event, please see the SJWC website page:
Sorry, but we couldn't find any results in the MLS that match the specified search criteria.
In many communities such as Saratoga, Los Gatos, Los Altos, Willow Glen, Campbell and Palo Alto, there is a high premium placed on homes which are close to the downtown area. Many real estate agents advertise these as “walk to town” but the idea is simple: it’s nearby, you can stroll, skate, ride or bike, wheel yourself and forget the car.
Downtown Saratoga, also called Saratoga Village, welcomes residents and visitors to a charming, scenic area with fabulous shops, spas, wine tasting venues, restaurants and more. This part of the city boasts top scoring schools as well as lovely older and historic buildings and a gorgeous park alongside Saratoga Creek. Whether you spend an afternoon or a lifetime in Saratoga, this part of town will call you back again and again!
What do you need to know about buying a house, townhouse or condo in downtown Saratoga?
There are a few points which you are well served to know when purchasing residential real estate in this upscale community. We’ll touch on a few of them here: historic homes, traffic & noise, natural hazards, parking, and special issues with condos, townhouses and PUDs (planned unit developments).
First, this downtown Saratoga Village zone is historic; while not every property is deemed historic, many are and that means that there will be restrictions on remodeling and expansion of single family homes or houses. For instance, original glass in windows may need to remain if you’ve got a Victorian house dating from the 1890s, and expansions may need to be off the back of the home so that the facade keeps its initial look and feel (just examples). This can be frustrating if you buy a luxury home that “needs work” and you are surprised later. If the house was built before 1950 or so, double check the rules! Continue reading