http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2012/02/17/castlewood


Pleasanton Weekly

- February 17, 2012

Castlewood

West hills neighborhood -- prestigious and historic

The Castlewood neighborhood, just south of Pleasanton city limits, covers 500 tree-studded acres, which were purchased by George Hearst in 1886, to use for hunting. After his death in 1891, his widow Phoebe Apperson Hearst hired architect Julia Morgan to design a palatial home for the site, which she named the Hacienda del Pozo de Verona. The 53-room hacienda served as the Castlewood Country Club until it burned down in the 1969; the new clubhouse was built in the Mediterranean and California Mission style of the original building.

"People move to Castlewood because of the beauty of the area and to own a piece of an established, prestigious and historic neighborhood," said Realtors Phyllis Weiner and Peter McDowell, who specialize in the area.

"For those who do enjoy golf, it provides an amazing location for access to two incredible 18-hole golf courses and all the amenities associated with country club living," they added.

Phoebe Hearst's chosen style of architecture was followed by other architects around 1920-35 when wealthy residents of San Francisco and Oakland built second homes in the area. Hearst died in 1919, and the estate was sold in 1924 to a group of businessmen. The area became known as Castlewood, in deference to the impressive hacienda and the wooded hills.

The businessmen formed a country club and hired architect William P. Bell to design the Hill golf course, known for its views and its challenge, according to club literature. In 1954 a more traditional course was added, known as the Valley course.

"It is not mandatory to be members of the country club in order to live in Castlewood, although the benefits of being a member are wonderful and the prices are remarkably reasonable compared to other golf and country clubs," Weiner and McDowell said.

The next building phase came in the 1950s, when ranch-style homes were built on the golf course, then there was another wave of building in the late '80s to early '90s, and there are now about 190 homes in Castlewood. Lots now vary from a quarter acre to several acres, and many of the homes are situated to protect their privacy.

Residents find Castlewood to be a warm and friendly place.

"Families enjoy the amenities such as pool, tennis and the great restaurants," Weiner and McDowell said. "Children can take swimming and tennis lessons, young adults can take golf lessons from a pro, and everyone enjoys special events occurring throughout the year."

Since Castlewood lies outside the city limits, it receives police services from the Alameda County Sheriff's Department; the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department provides fire protection.

"The location is ideal, nestled against the beautiful Pleasanton Ridge, with easy access to Highway 680, and very close proximity to downtown Pleasanton," Weiner and McDowell said.

FACTS

FIRE STATION:

Station No. 4, 1600 Oak Vista Parkway

LIBRARY:

Downtown branch, 400 Old Bernal Ave.

PARKS:

Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park

POST OFFICE:

4300 Black Ave.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS:

Hearst Elementary School, Pleasanton Middle School, Foothill High School

SHOPPING:

Pleasanton Gateway, Koll Shopping Center, Oak Hills Shopping Center

MEDIAN 2011 SELLING HOME PRICE

$1,337,000 ($1,525,000-$1,150,000)

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