Some things stay the same: Lutticken’s and Country Corner are in their familiar places along the Alameda. Ann’s Coffee Shop and Flegel’s can still be found on Santa Cruz Avenue.
But did you know that Sharon Heights was once the name of a 32-room mansion, not just a neighborhood. And during the 50s, helicopters were manufactured in Menlo Park?
Those two nuggets — and many more, complete with accompanying photos — can be found in the newly-published book, Menlo Park, co-authored by four long-time Peninsula residents, Janet and Reg McGovern and Betty and Nick Veronico, and published by Arcadia Publishing. (Janet and Nick are pictured above.)
“I first met Reg in 1989 when I was writing Wreckchasing, a book on airplane crashes,” said Nick, author of 35 other non-fiction books. “Reg had taken photos in 1953 when a British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines DC-6 plane crashed in Woodside, and let me use them for my book.
“He contributed photos when Betty and I did the Arcadia book on San Carlos in 2007. Then Janet, Reg and Betty and I did two books on Redwood City, using many of Reg’s photographs.”
Added Janet: “When we first talked about a Menlo Park book, Reg didn’t think he had that many photos because it was south of his beat working for the Redwood City Tribune. But turns out he had a lot more than he thought.”
In addition to photos by Reg, who passed away last month at the age of 95, there are photos from the Menlo Park Historical Association and collections owned by Kathleen Lorist and John Harder, as well as those supplied by long-time businesses such as Draeger’s, Beltramo’s, and Kepler’s.
Janet, who describes herself as a “Redwood City person” was surprised at the contrast between her town’s growth and Menlo Park. “In the 1870 census, Redwood City had 700 people and Menlo Park 235, about a third of whom came from Ireland and worked on the area’s large estates.
“But both World War I and II had huge impacts on Menlo Park what with Camp Fremont and the Dibble General Hospital, and not as big an impact on Redwood City.”
Nick was fascinated about how the area east of El Camino developed, including the break up of the Flood estate.
“These Arcadia books are not complete histories,” Janet said. “They are great starting points where you can learn a lot of things quickly. Then you can decide if you want to dig deeper.”
Menlo Park is available at Kepler’s and through the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce as well as on Amazon.
Photo of Janet and Nick taken at Fremont Park by Linda Hubbard (c) 2015
City officials moving into new City Hall in 1948 by Reg McGovern (used with permission). Pictured are City Manager Cecil Longson, secretary Florence Surber (center) and City Clerk Margaret A. Becker