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

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

San Mateo County Places - Menlo Park

Oliver Diary
Menlo Gate
In 1854 two Irishmen, Dennis Oliver and D.C. McGlynn purchased acreage bordering County Road (El Camino Real) and built two houses with a common entrance.  They erected a wooden gate with high arches displaying Menlo Park, for Menlough in County Galway, in foot high letters  and the date Aug. 1854.

Nine years later the railroad arrived.  Though it was just the end of the line at the time, the station needed a designation.  A railroad official eyeing the gates as a discussion was held decided Menlo Park was an appropriate name.

On 23 Mar 1874, needing to raise money for road repairs, Menlo Park became the second city to incorporate in San Mateo County.  The city which included Fair Oaks (now Atherton) and Ravenswood (now East Palo Alto) was fleeting.  It dis-incorporated in 1876.

By 1911 Menlo Park was again discussing incorporation.  However, border disputes with neighboring Atherton kept the status as a village for another sixteen years.  In the meantime the establishment of WWI's Camp Fremont led to electrification and other improvements in the area.  Businesses grew up and the population grew from the prewar count of 2300.  The end of the war left enough service center activity that even after the camp's dismantlement that there was another effort to incorporate with the same boundaries as the city of 1874.  Atherton, however, had different plans and their representatives beat those of Menlo Park to the courthouse.  Final incorporation of Menlo Park took place in November 1927.


Books and Articles
At Last: Menlo Park beyond the Gate
WorldCat Book List - Menlo Park   
SMCHA, La Peninsula, "Menlo Park-Oldest Railroad Station" May 1964

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