Los Altos, CA Real Estate
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Los Altos is a city in Santa Clara County, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. The population was 28,976 according to the 2010 census.
Most of the city’s growth occurred between 1950 and 1980. Originally an agricultural town with many summer cottages and apricot orchards, Los Altos is now an affluent bedroom community on the western edge of Silicon Valley, serving as a major source of commuters to other parts of Silicon Valley. Los Altos strictly limits commercial zones to the downtown area and small shopping and office parks lining Foothill Expressway and El Camino Real.
Living In Los Altos, CA
The area was originally called “Banks and Braes”. Paul Shoup, an executive of the Southern Pacific Railroad, and his colleagues formed the Altos Land Company in 1906 and started the development of Los Altos. The company acquired 140 acres (57 ha) of land from Sarah Winchester. Shoup wanted to link Palo Alto and Los Gatos by making Los Altos a commuter town. It continued a train-a-day operation to and from San Francisco.
In 1908, Southern Pacific Railroad began running steam train service through Los Altos (April 19, 1908) with five trains per day. Two freight cars served as a train depot. Also, the first commercial building, Eschenbruecher’s Hardware, was built in downtown. In 1913, the craftsman-style Los Altos train station was built at 288 First Street.
By 1949, many residents were dissatisfied with the zoning policy of Santa Clara County, and there was a constant threat of annexation by neighboring Palo Alto and Mountain View, so they decided to incorporate. Los Altos became the eleventh city in Santa Clara County on December 1, 1952.
Train service ceased operation in January 1964, and the train track became Foothill Expressway. Los Altos may have a legitimate claim to having the first scientifically designed sound baffle in 1970. Santa Clara County undertook a seminal study to calculate the effects of alternate soundwall designs along Foothill Expressway. The resulting wall brought about the predicted reduction of seven to ten decibels in noise pollution levels experienced by adjacent homes.
In 1976, Apple co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak built the first 50 Apple I computers in Jobs’s garage in Los Altos.
In 2004, landlord Judy Fusco rented her Los Altos home, later known as “Casa Facebook”, to Mark Zuckerberg; there, he and a few other associates scaled Facebook from 200,000 members to 2.5 million.
On April 15, 2021, Los Altos became home to the world’s first consumer flying car showroom.
Los Altos is near the San Andreas Fault and therefore subject to earthquakes.
- 1906 San Francisco earthquake – Although Los Altos was hit extremely hard (VIII on the intensity level), the main local effort was to help rebuild nearby Santa Cruz, which was nearly destroyed.
- 1989 – On October 17, Los Altos experienced the Loma Prieta earthquake, but was spared major damage. Los Altos and its churches combined efforts to clean up hard-hit areas such as Watsonville and Santa Cruz.
Los Altos is bordered by Los Altos Hills to the west, Palo Alto to the west and northwest, Mountain View to the north and northeast, Sunnyvale to the east, and Cupertino to the southeast.
Los Altos is crossed by three creeks that flow north to San Francisco Bay, Adobe Creek on its western boundary, Stevens Creek on its eastern boundary and Permanente Creek in the middle. Hale Creek is tributary to Permanente Creek, and Permanente Creek is now largely diverted to Stevens Creek by a diversion channel. All three creeks originate on the flanks of Black Mountain.
Los Altos strives to maintain a semi-rural atmosphere. Los Altos has few sidewalks except in commercial zones and along arterial roads. Minimum lot size for most residential housing is one-quarter of an acre. Most streets have broad dirt shoulders and little or no street lighting. The civic center sits in the middle of an orchard, a remnant of those that once covered the area. The downtown is a triangle with arterials and collector streets on all sides that enable most through traffic to bypass Main Street.
Many Los Altos homes fetch $2 million and higher, putting the city (along with neighboring Los Altos Hills, with which it shares ZIP codes) at numbers 24 and 28 on Forbes’ “Most Expensive ZIP Codes in America” list in 2007. In 2015, Forbes placed Los Altos (ZIP codes 94022 and 94024) as the 11th and 57th most expensive ZIP codes in the United States, behind such cities as Atherton, California and Sagaponack, New York. For the 94022 ZIP code, which includes parts of Los Altos Hills, California the median home price is $4.9 million with an average of 120 days on the market. For the 94024 ZIP code, the median home price is $2.8 million with an average of 36 days on the market.
Since the mid-1990s, downtown Los Altos has experienced mild economic difficulties due to competition from nearby shopping centers and chain stores, as well as its lack of a hotel or movie theater. Revitalizing downtown is a major issue in city politics.
Primary and middle school students attend schools in the Los Altos School District, the Cupertino Union School District, or Bullis Charter School (K–8). The Los Altos School District has one of the highest average API scores in California and includes seven elementary schools in the Los Altos–Mountain View area.
Local residents generally attend high school in one of two public school districts: Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District or Fremont Union High School District.
All of the public schools are highly regarded, and many graduates of Los Altos-area high schools continue their education at well-known universities.
Los Altos is also served by highly regarded private and religious schools. St. Nicholas School, St. Simon School, Miramonte Elementary School, (JrK–8th) Canterbury Christian School (K–6th), the Lower and Middle Campuses (K–6th) of Pinewood School, The School for Independent Learners, and the lower school campus of the Waldorf School of the Peninsula are located within city limits. Others nearby include St. Francis High School (Mountain View), Mountain View Academy, and The King’s Academy (Sunnyvale). Other schools farther away with students from Los Altos include Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton, Mitty High School, Menlo School, Woodside Priory School, Castilleja School, The Harker School, and Bellarmine College Preparatory.
Santa Clara County Library operates the Los Altos Library and the Woodland Branch Library in Los Altos.
Parks and conservation
Adobe Creek flows through Redwood Grove, a 5.9-acre (2.4 ha) nature preserve off University Avenue in Los Altos purchased by the city in 1974. In October 2009 Los Altos contracted with Acterra to remove non-native plants and revitalize the redwood, oak woodland, riparian and grassland ecosystems by installing native plants, improving soil conditions, and creating habitat for wildlife such as bird houses and native bee boxes. The coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) were transplanted by the Halsey family from a location on Summit Road in the Santa Cruz Mountains and replaced the native willows. The historic Halsey House, built in the late 1920s by Theodore and Emma Halsey, is a good example of Spanish Revival architecture. The city designated Halsey House a local landmark in 1981 and until recently it housed the Florence Fava collection of Coastanoan or Ohlone Indian artifacts from a nearby archeological excavation in Los Altos Hills (now moved to the Los Altos History House). On June 16, 2010, the Los Altos City Council finalized the purchase of 10,000 square feet (930 m2) of creekside property from Delbert and Marlene Beumer, who wanted to provide a safe pathway connecting Shoup Park and Redwood Grove.
Steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) occurred historically in Adobe Creek. However, tidal gates at the mouth of Adobe Creek as well as culverts at the El Camino Real and Interstate 280 overpasses probably preclude the passage of migrating salmonids, even though the reaches upstream from Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills have been judged excellent trout habitat.
Los Altos has a variety of youth-oriented sports organizations, programs, and after-school activities. Some examples include:
- The Mountain View Los Altos Soccer Club (MVLASC) has provided competitive soccer for the MVLA community since 1972. It is a member of the California Youth Soccer Association – North (Cal North Soccer) and plays in the Foothill Youth Soccer League. The club has won 14 State Championships and two National Championships.
- Los Altos–Mountain View Pony Baseball is for boys and girls aged 5 to 19. It is the largest youth baseball program in the San Francisco Bay Area, and a chartered league of PONY Baseball, Inc.
- West Valley Pop Warner offers cheerleading and football programs to local youth.
- The El Camino YMCA Youth Basketball League teaches basic basketball skills and the YMCA’s core values.
- The Los Altos Town Crier, a weekly, is the primary newspaper for the town, “serving the Hometown of Silicon Valley since 1947.” The San Jose Mercury News is the primary daily newspaper serving the town, delivering a Peninsula Section to Los Altans and locations north in lieu of the Local section delivered to those in San Jose and other communities closer to San Jose.
In the California State Legislature, Los Altos is in the 13th Senate District, represented by Democrat Josh Becker, and in the 24th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Marc Berman.
In the United States House of Representatives, Los Altos is in California’s 18th congressional district, represented by Democrat Anna Eshoo.
Los Altos Schools
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