Considered to be the historic heart of the city, Sunnyvale’s Heritage District Neighborhood harmoniously blends a tight-knit community, and a bustling downtown. This neighborhood is bounded by Maude Avenue on the north, Wolfe Road on the east, Old San Francisco Road on the south, and Mathilda Avenue on the west.
Founding father of Sunnyvale, Martin Murphy Jr., built the Murphy Residence and named it after the glorious view, Bay View. He established a 4,800 acre orchard and granted permission Union Pacific Railroad to build through it, catalyzing California’s commerce and agriculture. He also forged the path for local education by spurring the establishment of Notre Dame College in San Jose and Santa Clara University. The Murphy Family residence, dubbed Bay View, was California’s first wood-framed house, and became the center of social and community celebrations. Six generations of the Murphy family passed through Bay View before selling it to the city of Sunnyvale in 1953. Due to a fire in the 1960s, the house was damaged, and later replicated. It can now be visited at the Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum.
Most of the 69 historic homes or streetscapes in Sunnyvale lie within the district, along with four out of the eight landmarks included in The National Register of Historic Places – namely the Joshua Hendy Iron Works, Del Monte Building, Manuel Vargas Redwood Trees, and Murphy Avenue Historic District, which spans the 100 block of Murphy Street and is the city’s quaint dining and social and community event center. There, residents can enjoy the Saturday Famer’s Market, as well as annual events such as Wine Stroll, Art and Wine Festival, Howl’oween Pet Parade, and Christmas Tree Lighting.
The Heritage District neighborhood offers its residents flexible living with condominiums and townhomes, though single-family homes are predominant. The most prominent condominium complex is Santa Helena, located off of Arques Avenue and North Fair Oaks Avenue. Built in 1995, Santa Helen is comprised of 85 two-or three- bedrooms units that range 1,050 square feet to 1,400 square feet. As for town homes, Villas at Sunnyvale and The Classics at Fair Oaks, are the two largest and most notable. The Villas at Sunnyvale include two-or three-bedroom, and two-and a half-bath units that range from 1,450 square feet to 1,570 square feet. The Classics at Fair Oaks has 54 three-bedroom, three-bath units, ranging from 1,500 square feet to 1,750 square feet.
The majority of the single-family homes are modest, single-story bungalows built between the 1930s and the 1950s. Most of these homes have been preserved in their original condition, with three or four bedrooms and one or two bathrooms, and range from 800 square feet to 1,400 square feet, and were built on lots of 5,000 square feet to 7,000 square feet.
Bishop Elementary and Ellis Elementary serve The Heritage District Neighborhood, while for the middle school, students would attend either Columbia, Sunnyvale, or Peterson. All three middle schools feed into Fremont High.
Two parks serve the Heritage District Neighborhood: Martin Murphy Historical Park and Victory Village Park. Murphy Park offers a recreational center, horse shoe pits, picnic tables, playground, and uniquely, a lawn bowling green and historical museum. Victory Village Park is a toddler park with picnic tables and fenced in playground.