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

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

San Mateo County Places - Atherton

Originally known as Fair Oaks, this city just north of Menlo Park was a whistle stop on the railroad in 1866.  Early owners traveled by train from the city to their large "country" estates.  Today, Atherton remains much as it was at the turn of the twentieth century, an oasis of large houses secluded from the rest of the busy Bay Area by groves of trees.   

Incorporation came in 1923 when Menlo Park decided to incorporate and Atherton residents realized that they would need to incorporate separately if they wanted to maintain a strictly residential town. After winning the fight with Menlo Park for valuable land, the town was established as Atherton, for early-settler, Faxon Atherton and his daughter-in-law noted author Gertrude Atherton,  after learning that its original name of Fair Oaks was already in use by a small town near Sacramento.

Besides the Athertons, early residents of the area included Charles Holbrook, Thomas H. Selby, John T. Doyle, James C. Flood and other wealthy San Francisco businessmen.

Atherton Links

Some Atherton Publications to look for:

  • Bush, Sara L. & Genevieve Merrill, Atherton Lands 
  • Carmody, Robert Fulton Jr., An Island in Suburbia: The Study of Atherton, California 
  • Norris, Barbara & Sally L. Bush, Atherton Recollections, 1973 Town of Atherton 
  • Menlo-Atherton Recorder 9/28/1966 1

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