Stemming from a long, colorful history, the city of East Palo Alto (commonly known as EPA) now embraces a very promising future. It is a historically significant area that has seen many transitions in both industries and demographics, and today the city is on the cusp of its next dramatic change.
A Dynamic Past
The history of East Palo Alto goes back all the way to approximately 1500 BC, when the ancient Ohlone tribe of Native Americans used the site as a temporary settlement. Centuries later, an attempt was made by American settlers to make the area a shipping destination in 1849. Though this effort met no success, a brick factory was installed and operated in the area for a time until farmers and flower-growers reclaimed the land for agricultural use. Urbanization efforts after WWII transformed much of the farmland into residential developments, inducing several waves of demographic changes augmented by the recent arrival of popular commercial developments.
Prime Real Estate
Despite being called East Palo Alto, the city is actually directly north of Palo Alto. East Palo Alto is often incorrectly assumed to be part of the city of Palo Alto, even though it has been a separate entity since 1983. Before that, the vicinity was regarded as an unincorporated “island” of San Mateo County, which led to a lack of neighborly unity and organization. Overcoming many cultural and socioeconomic contentions in the past few decades, East Palo Alto is now emerging as a destination for both residential and commercial developers.
Growth & Expansion
In recent years, more than a quarter of East Palo Alto has been replaced with new housing and well-known retail establishments, including IKEA, Target, and The Home Depot. Amazon has moved offices into the area, and the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel has been installed in one corner of the city to showcase the area’s potential for gentrification. The neighboring presences of Facebook’s campus and Dumbarton Bridge have also encouraged commuting residents to take advantage of living within the city’s highly central location.
Leisure & Recreation
Since East Palo Alto borders San Francisco Bay, the area offers much scenery for residents to enjoy. Direct access to the Baylands trails allows for easy bicycle commuting to nearby companies and abundant recreational opportunities. From the scenic outskirts of the city, residents can see miles of wetlands and natural surroundings with the mountainous Diablo Range looming in the distance. Golf courses, the Palo Alto Airport, and major events at Shoreline Amphitheatre are all easily accessible. Additionally, a weekly farmers market is held in the city, and downtown attractions in both Palo Alto and Menlo Park are a short drive away.
In just the past several years, East Palo Alto has matured from a metaphorical oddball into an eclectic community abounding with modern potential. Its coveted setting between major tech campuses and premier neighborhoods is redefining the city as a haven for commuters and a hotbed of commercial development. The changes brought on by this transformation may very well position East Palo Alto to become the home for some of Silicon Valley’s most dramatically appreciated real estate.
Notable Residents—Past and Present
Paul Bradford, former NFL player
KeeSean Johnson, NFL player
Sean T, rapper and record producer
Devin Wyman, former NFL player
The public schools are among the best in the nation. Graduates from the local high schools attend the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country, with a much larger than average number admitted to neighboring Stanford. Abundant bike paths make it easy for most students to bike to their local schools, giving them a sense of independence that is valued by parents and children alike.