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Charming mix of homes with Hollywood story

Tucked among hills and canyons east of Kensington is the quiet neighborhood of Talmadge. The area is named after the Talmadge sisters who were famous silent film stars in the 1920s. The sisters, Norma, Natalie and Constance, and their husbands raised money to develop what was then called Talmadge Park in 1927. Today, Talmadge is mostly residential with a population of 9,500 living in an eclectic mix of well-maintained homes that wind along its charming streets.

"We find it very pleasant and welcoming," said Bella Hollingworth. "It's a wonderful community." She and her husband, Stan, have lived here for 25 years. Stan Hollingworth is a writer and Bella is an artist who enjoys painting watercolors inspired by the beauty of this neighborhood.

Talmadge lamposts
Vintage lamposts and winding streets with quaint homes give Talmadge its unique character.

The Hollingworths appreciate the peaceful nature of Talmadge. "The area is conducive to quiet concentration for working," said Stan Hollingworth.  "No one drives in here unless they live here or are visiting someone who lives here," "The streets don't go through to any other place," he added.

An unincorporated part of San Diego, Talmadge is bordered by Fairmount Ave. to the west, Montezuma Rd. and Collwood Blvd. to the northeast, and El Cajon Blvd. to the south. The central location is conveniently close to Mission Valley, Balboa Park and Downtown San Diego. While there is very little business activity in Talmadge, there are plenty of convenient options in nearby Kensington and along El Cajon Blvd. to buy anything you would need. To the east, the bustling area surrounding San Diego State University has lively restaurants and nightclubs.

Talmadge Sisters
The Talmadge Sisters: Natalie, Norma and Constance.

Talmadge is within the 92116 ZIP code, which also includes Kensington and Normal Heights. The median price in May, 2015 for a single-family home was $562,500. Talmadge is priced just a little bit less than the more westerly neighborhood of Kensington. There is a variety of architecture styles in Talmadge including bungalows, Cape Cod cottages and Spanish Revival. Currently in this neighborhood there are three-bedroom townhouses for under $400,000 and single-family homes starting in the mid-$400,000s.
At the higher end there are homes ranging from $800,000 to over $1M.

Gates of Talmadge
The "pearly gates" of Talmadge.

A unique feature of this neighborhood is known as the "Gates of Talmadge." These eight wrought iron gates mark the boundary of the original Talmadge Park housing development. Decorated with fanciful curves and shapes, the gates are similar to other Spanish revival designs made in California during the 1920's. They are approximately 10 feet wide and up to 15 feet high and hold decorative light fixtures. The original gates were cast in 1927 at Union Machine Works in San Diego, designed by engineer Frank R. Carlson. In 1998, over $100,000 was raised by local residents to restore the gates that had fallen into poor condition after years of neglect. In 2000, The City of San Diego declared the Talmadge Gates as historic landmarks. They now stand again as a charming welcome to the neighborhood. Near one of the gates, a community association raised money to develop a roundabout to make a safer intersection and create a nice entrance to the neighborhood.
This neighborhood is one of the hidden gems of San Diego. Residents love the peaceful nature of this place "Talmadge has a very strong sense of community," said Bella Hollingworth. "We enjoy living here very much."

Talmadge Street Sign
Like the nieghborhood of Kensington to the West, Talmadge has an eclectic mix of well-maintained homes, many of which were built over 50 years ago.

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