San Mateo County Genealogical Society's Blog featuring society events, projects, meeting notes and other items of relevance to genealogists.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Roads: San Bruno Turnpike Road

In 1858 The San Bruno Turnpike (1) Road Company was established under the provisions of an Act of the Legislature (12th May 1853) for the formation of Corporations to construct Plank and Turnpike Roads and an Act of the Legislature (26th Apr 1858) granting the right of way over certain lands of this state in the counties of San Francisco and San Mateo.  The bylaws state the corporation will exist for twenty years from the 30th of Jun 1858 when it was first formed.

The purpose of the company was to "construct and maintain a turnpike road from the south end or side of the Potrero Nuevo in the city and county of San Francisco over the most favorable ground as near the Bay of San Francisco as practicable to intersect the present stage road from San Francisco to San Jose at a point near fifteen mile house in the county of San Mateo and extending and maintaining the said road Northerly and Easterly from the point first above mentioned as far as the company may deem expedient, the exact termini location, width and mode of construction being determined by the company on proper surveys and reports of its engineer."

Daily Alta California 12 Sep 1858 Vol 10 p 3 c 1

At a meeting on 10 Sep A E Easton was elected President, O Cipriani as Secretary, CB Polhemus as treasurer and A B Forbes, P Dows, P P Heeley, P W Brittoen and DL Cook as directors.  It was reported that the worth of the stock of the company was $40,000.

They also resolved to establish a tollgate within San Mateo County as close to Point San Bruno as was practical.

The Bylaws were filed on the 20 of Sep
In 1858 the Board of Directors for the San Bruno Turnpike Company informed the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors that they had set the tolls as
12 1/2 cents for a single animal
25 cents for a single team
50 cents for a double team.

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Guidelines - Visitacion Valley
Near the tollgate stood Six Mile House, both a rooming house and tavern which provided a stopping place for passengers to rest and drivers to change their horses. It was opened in 1876 by Henry (Pop) Blanken. Images of America's San Francisco's Visitacion Valley notes, "Pop Blanken's Six Mile House located on Bayshore Boulevard near today's county line, was for many years a place popular with business men and politicians. ....in addition Six Mile house offered recreational opportunities like trap and rifle shooting, shuffleboard and bowling , and served as the training headquarters for prize boxes, including "Gentleman Jim Corbett.  Pop Blanken died on 30 Dec 1915, Six mile house continued for another couple of decades.  It was eventually razed in 1938 to make way for a garage and gas station.

The road was sold to San Mateo County in 1889.  In the 1890s a Toll House was built for caretaker James Richardson.  It was ranch style with 4 bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room and a small room for taking baths.  It was enclosed by a fence and a vegetable garden filled the land from the fence to the house. (2)  

The toll road evolved into the Bayshore Highway.  Today portions bear the names Bayshore Blvd, Airport Blvd and San Mateo Ave.

(1) a road on which turnpikes, or tollgates, are established by law, in order to collect from the users tolls to defray the cost of building, repairing, 
(2) Clara Boner's recollections of her life as a child in the Toll House 1944

Sources:
  • Scuffhauer, Joyce, San Bruno Road - Turnpike, SSFHS 1944, SMCHA SM 632
  • DOCS 88-178 Road Construction - First Township SMCHA Collections
  • San Bruno's Toll Road was the Main Thoroughfare
  • Images of America's San Francisco's Visitacion Valley 

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