Redwood City

“Its hills filled with meandering roads and a colorful past, rural yet convenient Clifford Heights claims a top spot among Redwood City’s most desirable boroughs.”

The unincorporated district of Clifford Heights (MLS #337), better known as Palomar Park, borders Cordilleras Heights and shares many similarities in terrain, luxury homes and it’s appeal to high-end homebuyers. Clifford Heights differs in that there are less than 1,000 residents occupying 300 households in this ruggedly secluded borough. Though its is population sparse, its community-mindedness is enduring and has been since the district’s inception.

The Palomar Property Owners was established in 1956 and is comprised of residents and property owners of Palomar Park. They work together to maintain roads, fences, signage and any other community property in need of upkeep or repair. They also promote connectedness through social events, their annual picnics being one of the most renown, and the association ensures their district has a rigorous emergency planning and evacuation plan.

Housing options in Clifford Heights can only be described as diverse. A borough filled with narrow and often one-lane or dead-end roads surrounded by thick foliage, the homes here are first and foremost designed to fit the requirements of the topography. Dwellings in ‘lower’ Clifford Heights are the traditional suburban 2,000 square foot two-story or ranch designs built in the 1960s and 1970s. The exception to this rule is the gated community of Belle Roche Estates. Created in the 1990s and 2000s, this compilation of sixteen, 4,000 square foot-plus ‘mansions’ alighted upon half acre lots sell for a premium price. Also found here are homes built by Laura and A.J. Harrow in the 1920s and 1930s interspersed with houses built sporadically in the years afterward. Along with varying square footage and architectural design, including the occasional prohibition-inspired basement bar, many homes perched on the hillside offer unparalleled views.

At odds with its obviously rustic locale, Clifford Heights is surprisingly close to local amenities. It’s a short two miles to Redwood City’s downtown as well as to the neighboring city of San Carlos and Eaton Park. For those searching for a sweet spot of rural seclusion, architectural diversity and accessibility, Clifford Estates/Palomar Park checks all the boxes.

Neighborhood Price Point

$1,000,000 – $2,200,000

Favorable Attributes
  • One of Redwood City’s most highly sought after neighborhoods
  • Significant architectural diversity, in size, style and price
  • Perfect rural ‘escape’ from the stresses of Silicon Valley
  • Within 2 miles of Redwood City’s downtown amenities as well as that of San Carlos
  • Strong, established home owner’s association
  • In close proximity to San Carlos’ Eaton Park

History of Clifford Heights, Redwood City

Clifford Heights goes by many names and is most referred to as Palomar Park or, at times, by the name “Rattlesnake Hill”, a moniker acquired prior to its residential development.

In 1915, San Francisco hosted the Pacific International Exposition and one of the exhibits included photographs and descriptive stories about the Peninsula, specifically the expanse between Hillsborough and Atherton. Soon thereafter, the Allis Chalmers Corporation, a Wisconsin tractor company and event exhibitor, bought up a large portion of unimproved peninsula real estate including what would eventually become Palomar Park.

The land was later sold to the Bulletin Publishing Company. Prior to her marriage to her San Francisco lawyer husband, eccentric AJ Harwood, Bulletin Publishing heir, Laura Harwood, inherited the property. In 1927, the couple built the inaugural home in Palomar Park, a Spanish-style home at 158 Palomar Drive that afforded the couple spectacular views. Soon after, the Harwoods formed PalPar, Inc. and began developing their 423-acres of land. Generally offbeat, AJ was often referred to as the “Land Baron of Palomar Park”. As PalPar, Inc., they constructed 8 additional residences from 1927 to 1933. From the early 1930s through the late 1950s, they continued to subdivide their property, selling it to future residents.

Despite the Harwood’s early residential development, roughly 60% of the homes in Clifford Heights were built between 1960 and 1990.