Martens-Carmelita neighborhood | News | Palo Alto Online |

Real Estate

Martens-Carmelita neighborhood

A place without 'cookie-cutter' homes

Once an unincorporated part of the county, the Martens-Carmelita neighborhood is one of the only neighborhoods in Mountain View where families can find a particular amalgamation of a near pin-drop quiet noise level, a hodgepodge of cottages, midcentury moderns and two-story homes partitioned by tall hedges and ranch-inspired fences, tiny cul-de-sacs, large lot sizes and only half a street's worth of sidewalks.

"The housing side has no sidewalk because that was formerly county. The school side has a sidewalk. And when you go back past Barcelona Court, that's the newer houses -- codes require that they put sidewalks back there. Carmelita itself ... they don't have a sidewalk, so that's unique," said Tori Atwell, a real estate broker whose children attended the neighborhood's former Abracadabra daycare center, which is now Frank L. Huff Elementary School.

Atwell continued, the homes "also all were on septic originally. They were county property. The city started mandating that you had to go on city sewer, so they built (the system). Last I heard, there were only one or two on septic still."

Many of the rustic cottages on the C-shaped street of Carmelita feature backyard storage sheds large enough to be visible from the street. Although some of the families may have converted the sheds into "granny units," many of the residents may have originally retained the sheds for yard equipment because of the neighborhood's large yard sizes.

"Whenever you have a big yard, you tend to have a lot of yard stuff, or at least you used to. So when people had a big lot, they'd put a big shed on it," Atwell explained.

Not surprisingly, many of the residents within the neighborhood have lived there for a number of years, or are families with children who have attended the local school.

"It's just got that kind of country, rural feel. You know it's a great location for kids, if you have your kids at the school. And also if you want to build," Atwell said. "It used to be that when people wanted a bigger home, they would go out and buy a bigger home, but now it's so expensive that now it makes sense to build if you like your neighborhood. So people stay where they are."

"Cookie-cutter" is not a likely word to describe the homes within this neighborhood. Many of the homes on Carmelita have been renovated or rebuilt, yet still fit in with the agrarian vibe of the area. The fact that so many of the families in the neighborhood have rebuilt their homes, rather than moved out seems to show a true statement about how much residents love the neighborhood.

Chrissi Angeles, 2015



CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Baby World, 1715 Grant Road; Montecito Preschool, 1468 Grant Road; St. Timothy's Preschool, 2094 Grant Road; YMCA — Huff Kids' Place, 253 Martens Ave.

FIRE STATION: No. 2, 160 Cuesta Drive

LOCATION: Martens Avenue and Carmelita Drive and nearby streets

NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Martens-Carmelita Neighborhood Association, Sheila Reddy,

PARKS: Huff Park, Martens Avenue

POST OFFICE: Nob Hill Foods, 1250 Grant Road

PRIVATE SCHOOLS: St. Simon Catholic School, 1840 Grant Road, Los Altos

PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mountain View-Whisman School District — Huff Elementary School, Graham Middle School; Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District — Mountain View High School

SHOPPING: Grant Park Plaza, Grant Road at El Camino Real; Mountain View Shopping Center, El Camino at Grant Road


Previous Martens-Carmelita neighborhood profiles


— Chrissi Angeles, 2015

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Los Altos's State of Mind opening NYC-inspired pizza shop in Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 16 comments | 8,306 views

Flying: How much is enough? It's personal.
By Sherry Listgarten | 13 comments | 2,848 views

Wait, wait – we’re working on it
By Diana Diamond | 18 comments | 2,488 views

My Pet Peeves
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 7 comments | 1,928 views

Goodbye toy stores
By Cheryl Bac | 7 comments | 1,242 views


Short story writers wanted!

The 34th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 27, 2020. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category. Sponsored by Kepler's Books, Linden Tree Books and Bell's Books.

Contest Details