Neighborhoods: Roosevelt

This is the twelfth in my series of blog posts about Redwood City’s seventeen neighborhoods (only five to go!). This week, I’m taking a look at the Roosevelt neighborhood. For each neighborhood, Redwood City has created a neighborhood association with a chair (or co-chairs, as is the case with the Roosevelt neighborhood) and either regularly scheduled or as-needed meetings. The Roosevelt neighborhood association meets monthly at the Veterans Memorial/Senior Center building, which, as you might expect, is located within the neighborhood. Residents of any of Redwood City’s seventeen neighborhoods can register to be notified of upcoming meetings, and are of course invited to attend those meetings. See the appropriate neighborhood association’s web page for the relevant information.

The following map shows both the extent of the Roosevelt neighborhood and its surroundings. The inset shows the neighborhood’s location relative to the whole of Redwood City. Click the map for a version you can zoom in on.

As you can see from the map, the Roosevelt neighborhood is completely surrounded by other Redwood City neighborhoods. And as you can see from the inset, this is a good-sized neighborhood, although it is by no means the largest. From the map, which delineates each of the neighborhood’s parcels, you can probably guess that this neighborhood is primarily residential based on the small size of just about all of those parcels. Of course, there are a couple of large parcels which are not being used for residential purposes, including a couple of retail shopping areas, Roosevelt Elementary School, and, of course, Red Morton Park. Finally, this neighborhood is neatly bisected from left to right by Roosevelt Avenue.

The neighborhood’s boundaries are fairly irregular. To the north, Jefferson Avenue forms a clean border. To the west, Alameda de las Pulgas forms another border, one that would also be sharp and clean except for the three blocks to the west of Alameda that are assigned to this neighborhood. Goodwin Avenue forms about half of the southern border, but then that border zig-zags around somewhat. Look closely, and you can see that in two places the southern border doesn’t follow a street, meaning that a few Roosevelt neighborhood residents have next-door neighbors who are represented by a different neighborhood associations. Finally, the eastern border jogs around so much that I’m not going to even bother trying to describe it in words. Here, a picture really is worth a thousand words!

The Roosevelt neighborhood, as I noted, is primarily residential. It contains a couple of small apartment buildings, and a number of duplexes, but by far and away it is mostly full of single-family homes. None of those seem to be exceptionally old, and in fact I don’t believe that there are any homes in the Roosevelt neighborhood that are considered historic. Of course, there are a number of new (or newly remodeled) homes in the neighborhood.

Most of the homes in the neighborhood are what I would consider typical suburban California homes. Some of the homes do stand out, though. For instance, early on in my exploration of the neighborhood I walked by this neat little one:

The living space of this particular house is entirely behind the garage; that roof you see against the left edge of the picture is a neighboring house. In case you are curious (I certainly was), this house has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and is just under 1,000 square feet in size. It was apparently built in 1940, but clearly it has been updated since then.

That house is an anomaly, though; its size is by no means typical of the neighborhood. Most of the houses in the Roosevelt neighborhood appear to be somewhat larger. For instance, here is one that is located in those three blocks west of Alameda de las Pulgas:

Or, there is this somewhat difficult-to-photograph house over by Roosevelt Center:

Note the differences in styles; the Roosevelt neighborhood, like most of Redwood City’s residential neighborhoods, has houses in a wide variety of designs. While it doesn’t have houses that I would classify as “estates,” it does have a few really good-sized houses, such as this one, that is still under construction:

That little house I started off with was built in 1940, whereas this one is brand new. Given the sheer number of houses in the neighborhood, you could probably find a house in this neighborhood built in every year between the two.

Before I finish showing some of the neighborhood’s houses, I though I’d show you at least one duplex. This particular one is on Madison Avenue, close to Valota Road:

This duplex is a side-by-side design. The division between the two units is between the two garages, and from the outside it appears that the two units are simply mirror images of one another.

That particular duplex is very close to what has to be the Roosevelt neighborhood’s pride and joy, Red Morton Park. At nearly 32 acres, Red Morton is Redwood City’s second largest park (Stulsaft Park is larger, although, unlike Red Morton, much of Stulsaft Park is fairly natural and wild). Red Morton Park is divided into numerous sections, with multiple sports fields, two playgrounds, picnic areas with BBQs, a skate park, a public swimming pool, a par course, a set of Bocce Ball courts, a new and extensive Community Center, the Parks & Rec offices, and the Veterans Memorial and Senior Center buildings — and that’s not all. This park is well-used by the entire Redwood City community, as it should be, given that it has something to offer for just about everyone. Even for the rose fanciers among us, who can enjoy the park’s beautiful rose garden (adjacent to the Parks & Rec offices on Roosevelt Avenue):

Red Morton Park is expecting two major changes in its near future. One, the Magical Bridge Playground, is well underway and is scheduled to be completed next January. This all-inclusive playground is designed for people of all ages and abilities and should be a wonderful addition for both the park and the city at large. The Magical Bridge Playground is being built at the end of the park along Valota Road, and is replacing one of the park’s two regular playgrounds.

The other major project that likely will get underway in the next year or two is the Veterans Memorial Building/Senior Center-YMCA project. This is a rather complex undertaking, one that is worthy of an entire blog post or two — which of course I plan to get to at some point. For now, though, allow me to simply borrow some of the text from the project web page:

The project would include a brand new modern Veterans Memorial Senior Center (VMSC) with a theater, catering kitchen, multi-purpose rooms, senior club room, non-profit partner offices, gardening space, and technology hub.  Programs that seniors are receiving right now, for free or low-cost, will continue at the new VMSC. The campus of buildings and spaces that will be replaced include the Veterans Memorial Building, Herkner Pool, Wellness Center (Old 49er Building), Resource Building (City Administration and Senior Center Gift Shop), and the NFL Alumni Building.

For those interested in this project, Redwood City’s Architectural Advisory Committee will be reviewing the city’s portion of this project on Thursday, September 5, at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall. As always, the public is welcome to attend.

Moving on from Red Morton Park, a short walk down Roosevelt Avenue took me to the intersection of Roosevelt Avenue and Upton Street, the location of the Roosevelt neighborhood’s largest cluster of retail. At this intersection you’ll find Key Market, a Shell gas station, a Rite Aid drugstore, and the small Roosevelt Center, which is home to a number of retailers and service providers, including Baskin-Robbins, Little Caesar’s Pizza, Prima Deli, Summit Cafe, Oh Baby Sushi, and a handful of others:

Across Roosevelt Avenue from Roosevelt Center you’ll find Dehoff’s Key Market. If you’ve never been, Key Market is a terrific independent grocery store that just recently became home to a new mural, thanks to CATA (Community Advocacy Through Art):

This is the second CATA mural to be painted on a retail outlet in the Roosevelt neighborhood, incidentally. The first, I’ll get to in just a second. But sticking to the subject of retail, the Roosevelt neighborhood’s other pocket of retail can be found at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Alameda de las Pulgas:

Here you’ll find a gas station next to a very small strip center grandly named “Jefferson Plaza.” Jefferson Plaza includes the small B&W Market, a Mountain Mike’s pizza parlor, the ever popular Donut King, a barber shop, and the Nine Lives Foundation cat clinic. Then, across Upton Street, there is Emerald City Liquors. Emerald City Liquors had the honor of receiving the very first CATA mural in Redwood City. Dubbed “Missing Peace,” this mural is to the left of the Emerald City Liquors entrance, and faces Jefferson Avenue. Here is a picture I took back in 2017, while that mural was being painted:

That about does it for retail. As you can clearly see from the neighborhood map with which I began this post, the Roosevelt neighborhood contains one large public school, aptly named Roosevelt School. Roosevelt School is part of the Redwood City School District and serves children in classes from Transitional Kindergarten through eighth grade.

The large Roosevelt campus cascades down the one hill that keeps this neighborhood from otherwise being completely flat. Above the school, at the intersection of Vera Avenue and Alameda de las Pulgas, is one of Incredible Edible’s small public gardens. Down towards the bottom, and over by the Euclid Avenue side of the school, is the Schaberg Branch of the Redwood City Public Library system, a nice little neighborhood library that seems designed especially to cater to the students at Roosevelt School.

Roosevelt School may be the one public school in the Roosevelt neighborhood, but it isn’t the only school. The Roosevelt neighborhood has at least two churches — I walked past both Grace Bible Church, at the corner of Roosevelt and McGarvey avenues, and Redwood Baptist Church, at the end of Euclid Avenue, south of McGarvey Avenue — and behind Redwood Baptist I came across Roots ‘N Wings Montessori, a school for children ages 3-6. I can’t say I know much about this school, but it is yet another piece of the whole that is the Roosevelt neighborhood.

The Roosevelt neighborhood is what at one time might have been classified as a solid middle-class residential neighborhood. These days, though, given our home prices, I’m not sure just how you classify any of Redwood City’s neighborhoods. In any case, it seems like a safe, comfortable place in which to live. The Roosevelt neighborhood is well-located: it is easy to get not only to the businesses, parks, and schools that are within the neighborhood, but it is also easy to get to those that are elsewhere in the city. Jefferson Avenue and Alameda de las Pulgas are major arteries that provide quick access to downtown Redwood City as well as to the Woodside Plaza area, and they serve as the first leg of many a commuter’s journey along either Highway 101 or Interstate 280. I personally spend a lot of time walking through the neighborhood, usually because I’m either going to Red Morton Park, or because I’m heading through the neighborhood on my way to somewhere beyond. I enjoy walking the Roosevelt neighborhood very much, and will happily continue to do so. I will say that I learned from my exploration of the neighborhood that I need to vary my typical route through the neighborhood more: I walked down some great streets that I’d never been on before, and undoubtedly there are more that I have yet to see.

7 thoughts on “Neighborhoods: Roosevelt

  1. Just found this website. Great for those of us raised in RC but no longer living anywhere near there. I was raised on Carson Street. My mother and father put down $50.00 as a down payment around 1950. All they saw was a map of proposed homes–nothing built.They moved into the home when it was finished in 1952 or 1953. We always thought of our home as part of Woodside Plaza neighborhood, not Roosevelt. One last thing, Redwood Creek behind our home is not concrete, but natural, thanks to a forward-looking couple on our block. They learned of the plans to “concrete the creek” and had neighbors sign a petition against it. (The block between Alameda and Fernside, east of Stulsaft Park.) I could traipse up through the creek to get to Stulsaft Park.

  2. My family lived on Westwood, just down from the park, from 1951-1996. My folks bought the small house for around $10,000, and eventually sold it for much much more. This was a great neighborhood to grow up in! Went to Roosevelt, Ben Franklin, Kennedy, then San Carlos High. Hung out at Westwood Park, Stulstaff Park and the Shaberg library when we weren’t collecting critters in the creeks and playing on the Hetch Hetchy. There used to be a fabulous park on the Hetch Hetchy land between Westwood and Fernside. When I visit the neighborhood now, it feels so upscale; literally, we were the poor kids bussed to San Carlos High in the 60-70’s. The current owners of my folks house tore it completely down except the single car garage and built a much bigger, unrecognizable place.
    What a delight to read your posts about my hometown. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

    • Hello Anne, I was on Carson Street from 1953-68–that was a great park between Fernside and Westwood. Lots of football and baseball there, and lots of balls going into the backyards of the homes. Maybe that’s why the park has been abandoned by the city. Shaberg was great, as was Stulsaft Park. The frogs and snakes weren’t sad to see me move on.

  3. Hi Greg, This brought back some memories. I lived in this area from 1950-63. I believe the three blocks in the neighborhood to the west of Alameda were included because they were part of the original subdivision on the east side. We moved onto Windsor Way in 1950. The street had just been completed, and we bought a new 800 sq ft 3 plus 1 solid redwood house. The houses on the east side of Alameda were still being built. North of Roosevelt from Connecticut to the Alameda was grassy hillside covered with oak trees. To the east of this area, across Connecticut was a huge granite outcropping over which the current Baptist Church is built. We later moved up Alameda to the corner of Hastings and a bigger house. It was a good time.

  4. Hi Greg, I really enjoy your postings of the Redwood City neighborhoods. While I’m partial to Woodside Plaza (Iiving there 1951-1971) I certainly explored many of the other neighborhood as a young person. I especially enjoy your photos and your narratives continue to bring back memories of a great childhood and neighbors.

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