Facts and Figures
- Offered at $688,000
- Sold for $840,000
- 2 bedrooms 2 bathrooms
About the Antique Forest Homes Neighborhood
Though the MLS calls adjacent to “Belmont Country Club,” present-day Antique Forest Homes carries more of the old golf club’s DNA. The course itself was located within Antique Forest Homes and the original plans of Belle Monti developers Monroe, Miller and Lyon focused on property located east of Alameda de las Pulgas. It’s not by mistake that you’ll find streets named “Fairway,” “Monroe,” “Miller” and “Lyon” in Antique Forest Homes.
Belmont’s country club dreams ended before World War II but the development of Antique Forest Homes went on. Within Antique Forest Home neighborhood you’ll find a number of blocks developed in the late 1940s and early 1950s alongside ones left undeveloped until the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Mixed in among these are a few original “hunting lodges,” rustic cabins built in the 1920s by weekenders drawn by the promise of golf, swimming, clean air and seclusion.
As it is with every other neighborhood in Belmont, the “typical” Antique Forest Homes is difficult to pin down. It could be a modest 1950s rancher, part of the original Belmont Country Club tract. It could be a one-off custom job from the 1960s or 70s, peeking out among the trees and wild grasses along Terrace Drive. It could be a crisp, 1970s contemporary home with 2,000-plus square feet of space or it could be something bigger, built in the past 20 years on a sloped, barely cleared lot on Folger Court. It could even be an apartment or one of the new, neo-Craftsman townhouses on Edgewood, just a block from El Camino Real.
The area is flat and hilly. Its streets have sidewalks, except when they don’t. It includes Central Elementary School, very highly rated with a nine out of 10 score on Greatschools.net. Its southeastern border includes part of downtown Belmont and El Camino Real. Many of its homes feature views of either hillside or San Francisco Bay views.
Given its diversity, it’s difficult to determine the value of an “average” Antique Forest Homes property. During the first five months of 2018, 18 homes sold in this neighborhood, ranging in value from $1.1 to $3.25 million. The majority of sales were in the $1.7 to $2.2 million range, with a median sale price of $1.95 million.
Another way of looking at it is that Antique Forest Homes – closer-in than Belmont Woods and Belmont Country Club but more secluded than Carlmont and Homeview — has something for everyone.
Outside of Homeview, Antique Forest Homes claims the richest history among Belmont’s five MLS-designated neighborhoods. Early Belmont’s wealthy landowners favored Antique Forest Homes. It’s here that S.M. Mezes put down roots and Corsican Leonetto Cipriani purchased a large tract of land in 1853, only to return to Europe in 1984, selling his property to banker William Ralston.
Ralston’s mansion, called “Belmont,” is the centerpiece of its namesake. Before his 1875 death, Ralston’s 42-acre estate hosted kings, presidents, generals, admirals, writers Bret Harte and Mark Twain and even one-time Peninsula visitor Anson Burlingame.
Upon Ralston’s death, “Belmont” was purchased by Senator William Sharon. After later stints as a seminary and a sanitarium, the mansion was acquired in 1913 by the sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, who used it as the start point of Notre Dame College (now Notre Dame de Namur University).
It wasn’t long after this that Lee Monroe, Lawrence Miller and Arthur Lyon came south from San Francisco with the idea to turn 1,000 acres of undeveloped Belmont land into “the next Hillsborough.” Their plan included a golf course designed by William Dunn, a swimming pool and wading pool, tennis and handball courts and the club’s centerpiece, a $65,000 clubhouse located on Alameda de las Pulgas.
The project, called “Belle Monti,” commenced in 1925. Monroe, Miller and Lyon applied marketing strategies they’d used to great success in Los Angeles, offering free bus rides from San Francisco, on-site refreshments and free beer. Club membership cost $100, which would then be applied to the cost of a buildable lot. Showing sensitivity to Belmont’s history, the developers named streets after Belmont pioneers: Mezes, Cipriani, Sharon, Monserat and Carmelita (two of S.M. Mezes’ daughters).
At first, the project was a great success. By 1926, hundreds of lots had been sold.
Unfortunately, the trio’s marketing skills far exceeded their skills as builders. Problems with utilities and plumbing led to paving and utility companies putting liens on properties. By 1929, the project was struggling, it. Then came the stock market crash. The developers went bankrupt, leaving the eventual Antique Forest Homes neighborhood to develop piecemeal over a period of decades.
Not all of Antique Forest Homes can trace its roots to the Belle Monti Country Club. The eastern edge of Antique Harvest Homes retained its agricultural flavor into the 1930s even as the western half was chasing country club glamour. By the dawn of World War II the hills above Ralston Avenue near Holly Road were full of family- owned and commercial nurseries growing asters, sweet peas and chrysanthemums.
Early residents quoted in “Belmont as We Remember It” recall Chinese immigrants “walking down Ralston with heavy bundles of flowers on their backs” on their way to downtown’s railroad tracks, where their loads would be shipped via train to San Francisco.
Residential development in Antique Forest Homes took off after the war, producing at first orderly streets like Fairway Drive and Robin Whipple Way (named after Belmont’s first World War II casualty) then more haphazard building on the district’s more challenging hills. However much Antique Forest Homes has changed since the days of S.M. Mezes, William Ralston and the brain trust behind the Belle
Monti Country Club, Ralston’s original Belmont mansion still stands as a reminder of its – and Belmont’s — past for whomever wants to see it.
Antique Fosters Homes neighborhood contains some of the most significant landmarks in Belmont
Antique Forest Homes is a large neighborhood whose character changes frequently and suddenly. It’s historically important, containing within its borders some of Belmont’s most significant landmarks, and its housing options cover almost every price point of the sub-$1.5 million market. The site of not only the original Belle Monti Country Club but also William Ralston’s mansion, Antique Forest Homes is also where you’ll find Notre Dame de Namur University, Notre Dame High School and eccentric Oak Knoll Drive, which terminates in a loop atop a bluff, affording its small collection of late 1940s – early 1950s homes tremendous views of San Francisco Bay.
Our Featured Listings
1312 Palm Avenue
2 Beds | 1 Bath | 1680 sq. ft.
Offered at $1,698,000
1309 Bernal Avenue
4 Beds | 3 Baths | 2700 sq. ft.
Offered at $2,600,000
1249 Laguna Avenue
3 Beds | 2 Baths | 1604 sq. ft.
Offered at $1,998,000
603 Fordham Road
5 Beds | 4 Baths | 3,800 sq. ft.
Offered at $3,650,000
Sold for $3,650,000