Hello Friends and Family,

1977 Los Gatos

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

In 1977, I moved to Los Gatos, California — having transferred to a new position at Control Data in Sunnyvale. The housing market there was going crazy at the time and shopping for a home was quite a challenge. Finally, I found this home that seemed to be having a problem finding a buyer — the cause of which seemed to be that it backed on a church. That did not bother me and the price was relatively reasonable — $94,000.

The church turned out to be a good neighbor — I only knew they were there on Thursdays when they had choir practice and left the sliding glass door open in their rehearsal room. Would you believe that house is now valued by Zillow.com at $2,344,093? I sure wouldn't mind having that asset in my pocket today.

You may recall that I shared some photos of Los Gatos in 2019, taken on my last trip anywhere prior to the pandemic. To see what that house looks like now, click here.

Here is a shot of the living room — coincidentally, the house featured a sunken living room just like my home in Minnesota. Thinking about it now, I wonder if that feature may have convinced me to buy this particular house. Maybe not but it was a nice architectural detail.

Next, you can see the master bedroom with a glimpse of the master bath — nothing special, of course.

Not only was my house in Los Gatos nice, but the entire community was also quite charming. Both then and now the town was/is considered one of the more desirable communities in the South Bay area — obviously with home prices to match. Los Gatos had a feeling of being a town rather than just another suburb of San Jose. This photo shows the Town Center, a relaxing park where residents could meet but which was also used for holiday celebrations, doggie parades, local art shows, etc. To see the shot I shared from my 2019 trip, click here.

The architecture of numerous buildings supports that small-town vibe. Note this shop at the corner was still The Corner Drug Store when I was living in Los Gatos, not so in the shot from 2019 — click here.

You may recall what I wrote in 2019, "Nearby is a landmark bar that goes by the name Carry Nation's, whose namesake was the famous (or is it infamous) temperance advocate best known for using a hatchet to demolish barrooms. Notice the hatchet images on the awning and the stained glass in the front door. Another historical note, the bar was originally opened in the 1970s by Gary Dahl, “inventor” of the Pet Rock, and that’s a pedigree of which any watering hole could be proud." You can see that photo here.

Again quoting from 2019, "Just down the street is the Los Gatos Theatre which has been a fixture in the town since 1915. It was originally called the Strand Theatre but was renamed after a fire in 1929 and subsequent remodeling in the Art Deco Style. I remember it as a great place to see older classic films plus foreign films, not just the current hits. In those days, they had their own take on the snack bar — yes, they had popcorn, candy, etc. but they also offered apple cider and bundt cake alongside the usual carbonated soft drinks and M&Ms." To see the accompanying photo to compare how it has been changed, click here.

Ah, this was one of the landmark properties when I lived in Los Gatos — The Chart House Restaurant. You may recognize the name of the chain — known for seafood and prime rib. This Victorian building was originally a residence but subsequently was converted to a funeral home before it became a restaurant. Rumors claimed that the place was haunted — although I never saw, heard, or felt any spirits when I dined there. The Chart House closed and the building is now occupied by The Palms, Pacific Rim Restaurant. The online reviews are quite good — maybe I'll have to try it the next time I'm in the Bay Area.

Over on University Avenue, one finds Old Town, a collection of boutique shops and restaurants housed in a building that was originally a grammar school.

I always enjoyed visiting here even if I wasn't planning to buy anything because the architecture and landscaping were so interesting.

In the back was an amphitheater, where an eclectic mix of different performers would put on shows. How eclectic, you ask? I recall that once there was a troupe of teenage girls from China performing Chinese folk dances for the patrons who were taking a break from shopping. The girls were quite good and it was great fun for all.

Next door was Saint Luke's Episcopal Church. I always enjoyed the architecture — classic Spanish Californa style.

I'm sure that all my northern California friends have visited Los Gatos — for those who live elsewhere, be sure to include the town in your itinerary on your next visit — it is well worth seeing.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com