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The Redwood Estates Post Office is a gathering place


Redwood Estates is a rural community along State Route 17 in the coastalmarker Santa Cruz Mountainsmarker of Californiamarker, USAmarker. The Census Bureau includes it in a census-designated place named Lexington Hills. It lies inside the confines of Santa Clara Countymarker. The area is about eight miles from downtown Los Gatosmarker and nine miles from the Santa Cruz Countymarker community of Scotts Valleymarker.

Nearby Summit Road is roughly the dividing line between the counties: Santa Cruz County areas being generally west of Summit Rd. The Butano Fault (also known as the Butano Rift Zone), roughly follows Summit Road through the area. The ZIP code for post office boxes in Redwood Estates is 95044, although the city and ZIP code for street delivery is Los Gatos, 95033. Street addresses are usually five digits. The U.S. Geological Survey, National Geographic Names Database, lists the NAD27 coordinates of the community as . The community is inside area code 408 while communities further west (but outside Redwood Estates) are in the coastal area code 831marker.

The architecture of homes in the community varies widely. The roads are paved, but narrow and winding when compared to modern urban streets. While area housing prices have been buoyed by rising real estate prices in Silicon Valley, the area is quiet and informal. There are few lawns: most homes have redwood duff in the front yard. Poison oak is evident in the area. There are very few storm drains, curbs, or sidewalks. Roads are framed by vegetation and wind along the contours of the area's hills. As the name implies, the area is populated by the towering redwood trees ubiquitous to the occasionally fog-shrouded areas of the California coast. Redwood roots seem to serve as informal speed bumps on many of the narrow community roads.

Business occupancies in the community include Redwood Estates Store, 20121 Broadway, Redwood Mutual Water Company on Madrone Dr., Santa Clara County Fire Department Redwood Station at 21452 Madrone Dr., and the Redwood Estates Post Office. A traffic focal point is the SR17 interchange with Madrone Drive. Summit Road has an interchange with SR17 and approximates the southern extent of the community.

The area has a history with ties to railroading. Until the 1940s, a Southern Pacific Railroad line to Santa Cruzmarker passed through Holy Citymarker east of Redwood Estates. A factor in the removal of the rail line was its high maintenance cost. The portals of three tunnels along this line were closed during World War II in case an invading military force might use them as cover.

Winter in Redwood Estates

The area gets significant rain during winters. SR17 is occasionally closed or affected by runoff, fallen trees, or mud slides in the winter. As a consequence, weather-influenced collisions occur more frequently in winter. Snowfall is rare, but occurs during some winters. Utility power can be out for several days at a time during a bad winter storm. Some residents own engine-generator sets for use during such power outages.

A resident living west of Redwood Estates said the fog and rainfall of the Santa Cruz Mountainsmarker caused roofing material on his home to last about half of the rated life. The resident attributed this to the fact that the material never dried out in the humid redwood forest environment.

Nearby

Other nearby mountain communities include Chemeketa Parkmarker, Aldercroft Heights, and Zayante. Previous communities include the ghost towns Holy Citymarker and Wrights (also known as Wrights Station).

Moody Gulch oil field, an abandoned field, is north of Redwood Estates. There are roughly twenty plugged wells, some with buried well heads, in the area. Moody Gulch extends in an arc east to Chemeketa Parkmarker north of the street named Apache Trail. One well is shown on the 7.5-minute quadrangle at (NAD83).

References

  • U.S. Geological Survey, National Geographic Names Database.
  • Map: U.S. Geological Survey, Los Gatos, California, 7.5-minute Quadrangle, 1980.
  • The Thomas Guide Santa Clara County Street Guide and Directory 2001, (Irvine, California: Thomas Brothers Map Books, 2001).


Notes

  1. State of California, Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources, Map W3-10, 08/11/2003.
  2. Los Gatos, California, 7.5-minute quadrangle, U.S. Geological Survey, 1980.


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