Lush tree branches reach over the wide streets of Crescent Park, giving the Palo Alto neighborhood a small-town feel even though it's just blocks away from downtown's bustling University Avenue.
Located between San Francisquito Creek, Newell Road, Channing Avenue and Middlefield Road. Crescent Park often gives visitors and new Stanford students their first impression of Palo Alto as they exit U.S. Highway 101 heading down University Avenue toward El Camino Real.
Most passersby likely will notice the neighborhood's Spanish Colonial streetscapes, which can mostly be attributed to the work of celebrated 20th-century architect Birge Clark.
In addition to the mature trees and notable architecture, the neighborhood is home to Eleanor Pardee Park, one of the largest neighborhood parks in Palo Alto, with a picnic area, playgrounds and even a community garden with plots for residents to grow fruits, flowers and vegetables.
"The beauty, the architecture and the trees are what attracted us to the neighborhood as well as kept us here for 30 years." said Bob Wenzlau, who moved to the neighborhood in 1989 and has watched his children stay connected with their childhood friends through the years.
Wenzlau said he enjoys the multicultural aspect of the neighborhood, which has allowed him to meet people from many different countries. While the neighborhood is diverse in many ways, most of its residents are professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, professors and those in the tech industry, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
One issue that has shaped the neighborhood in more ways than one is flooding. Connie Linton, a 30-year Crescent Park resident, said that flooding has been a real issue in the neighborhood over the years. Flooding also has prevented "McMansions" from cropping up because speculative developers cannot build large homes with a basement in a flood zone, Linton said.
"However, there are many spots in Crescent Park that are not in the flood zone," she added.
It's in these areas where Crescent Park has begun to see small changes to its generally classic "Palo Alto style."
Linton said despite the changing architectural styles, the neighborly vibe has not changed.
"If you go out and walk your dog, you will meet everybody," she said. "It is a very friendly place."
The Crescent Park Neighborhood Association (CPNA) has been a way to engage with community and citywide concerns, like traffic and parking — two items neighbors say are big issues in Crescent Park. The association runs a monitored online chat room that allows members to post questions and suggestions. Linton said she even adopted her dog through the chat room after a neighbor posted a notice about trying to find a new home for the pooch.
FIRE STATION: No. 3, 799 Embarcadero Road
LIBRARY: Rinconada Library, 1213 Newell Road
LOCATION: bounded by San Francisquito Creek, Newell Road, Channing Avenue and Middlefield Road
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Norman Beamer, president, 650-327-7071
PARKS: Eleanor Pardee Park, 851 Center Drive; Hopkins Creekside Park along Palo Alto Avenue
POST OFFICES: Hamilton, 380 Hamilton Ave.; Main, 2085 E. Bayshore Road
PRIVATE SCHOOLS: St. Elizabeth Seton School, 1095 Channing Ave.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Duveneck Elementary School, Jordan Middle School, Palo Alto High School
SHOPPING (nearby): The Willows Market, 60 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park; University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto; Edgewood Plaza Shopping Center
Sophie Pollock is a former intern at the Palo Alto Weekly.