Archive of Jym Clendenin

Jym Clendenin has lived in Menlo Park for 35 years and thinks the town’s best attributes are its attractive housing, friendly residents, and just-right downtown, not to mention the near perfect weather. He worked nearby at SLAC for 33 years as an experimental and accelerator physicist, retiring in 2008. Now he enjoys running, biking, backpacking, cooking and reading as well as unearthing facts about Menlo Park’s little known corners and hidden past.

Jym has written 51 article(s) for InMenlo.


Post image for New planting boxes bring extra burst of Spring to downtown Menlo Park

In early 2013, the Menlo Park City Council decided to invest in an upgrade of the street plantings and furniture on downtown Santa Cruz Avenue (SCA). The project was completed in early 2014. The following is a reconstruction of an interview on April 24th with the project leader, Ruben Niño, Assistant Director of Public Works.

JC: What was the extent of the program?

RN: The project included redoing the irrigation system for the planting areas on both sides of SCA, new plantings throughout, and new sidewalk furniture (benches, recycling and trash cans). The old irrigation system, which dated back to the mid-1970s had suffered extensive damage from tree roots. The newer irrigation system for the center median of the street, installed in the 1990s, was ok.

The assessment district created in the 1990s was used to pay for the project, with the City paying 2/3 and the property owners 1/3. New plantings were put in the center median as well as along the sides. New street furniture was also put in Fremont Park. The total cost of the project was on the order of almost $700,000, including the $200,000 the City paid for the sidewalk furniture.”

purple flowers_downtown planter

JC: What is the origin of the project? Who initiated it?

RN: A pilot project was in the works to upgrade the planting area in front of Chase Bank. When the Council met in January 2013, to set their goals for the year, they decided they wanted to invest in upgrading the appearance of downtown area. The net result was to expand the pilot project (still in the planning phase) to include all of SCA.

JC: How was the project organized? Who were the contractors?

RN: A group consisting of local citizens and City staff, including Fran Dehn (President of the Chamber of Commerce), Rick Ciardella (local landscape architect), Dave Johnson (then the City’s Business Manager), Dave Mooney (City Parks Supervisor) as well as myself had been working on the plans for the pilot project. These early plans were applied to the expanded project area by Peter Callander, a landscape architect based in San Mateo.

The implementation of the plans was carried out by Del Conte’s Landscaping based in Fremont. There had also already been an installation of new sidewalk furniture in Fremont Park. It was decided to use this same type of furniture for SCA.

yellow flower_downtown planter

Ruben gave me a sketch of the original planting pallet. The plants include Carex tumulicola, Liriope ‘Silver Dragon,’ Liriope muscari and the colorful Phormium ‘Maori Maiden’ in one grouping; Phormium ‘Maori Maiden,’ Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’ along with the Maori Maiden in a second grouping. A flower box includes Hemerocallis ‘Stella de Oro’ surrounded by the Silver Dragon.

Maintenance of the new plantings have been contracted out to Gachina Landscape Management. The plants are doing well and should be fully mature by summer. The public can be seen on most days making good use of the new benches, enjoying the new plantings and (importantly) using the new recycling and trash cans.

Flower identification: top – Hemerocallis ‘Stella de Oro’; middle – Geranium ‘Rozanne paired with reddish Phormium ‘Maori Maiden” bottom – not fully opened ‘Stella de Oro’

Photos by Frances Freyberg

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One thing leads to another – and end result is one of Menlo Park’s most enchanting home & garden

Thumbnail image for One thing leads to another – and end result is one of Menlo Park’s most enchanting home & garden

In the Bay Area it’s not unusual for a house to be painted a non-traditional color or colors. But here in Menlo Park, there is a house that has gone beyond just color: It’s a house plus garden that together presents an enchanting picture for the passer-by. A typical reaction is “it makes me feel […]

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The tale of Two Menlos on display at the Menlo Park Library through February

Thumbnail image for The tale of Two Menlos on display at the Menlo Park Library through February

During the month of February, a display at the Menlo Park Library entrance will feature the recently signed Friendship Agreement between the City of Menlo Park and Galway City, Ireland. As many are aware, Menlo Park is named for the very old Gaelic village of Mionloch (anglicized to Menlough and usually shortened to Menlo), which […]

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Friendship with Galway City results in visit to Menlo Park from Senator Cáit Keane

Thumbnail image for Friendship with Galway City results in visit to Menlo Park from Senator Cáit Keane

Senator Cáit Keane, who grew up in Galway City and represents South-West Dublin in the Seanad Éireann, the upper house of the Oireachtas (legislature) of Ireland, visited Menlo Park last Tuesday, Jan. 7th. She met  with Menlo Park Council Member and last year’s Mayor, Peter Ohtaki, at City Hall. She was here on holiday to visit […]

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Friendship agreement signed between Menlo Park and Galway City, Ireland

Thumbnail image for Friendship agreement signed between Menlo Park and Galway City, Ireland

Almost exactly one-year ago Gerry Hanley came from his hometown of Menlo (or Menlough, the anglicized version of the Irish Gaelic Mionloch, which means “small lake”), now a section of Galway City, Ireland, to Menlo Park with a personal mission to establish a friendship relationship between the two cities. His point of contact here was […]

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Festivities celebrating Caltrain’s 150th anniversary set for Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Menlo Park train station

Thumbnail image for Festivities celebrating Caltrain’s 150th anniversary set for Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Menlo Park train station

On October 17, 1863, the construction of the rail line for the San Francisco and San Jose Railroad was completed from San Francisco to Mayfield. A festive train brought 400 dignitaries, including Gov. Leland Stanford and Gov. A. C. Gibbs (Oregon), to a grand picnic just north of the San Francisquito Creek in today’s Menlo […]

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Summer adventures: Kibbie to Many Island Lakes backpack trip takes unexpected twists and turns

Thumbnail image for Summer adventures: Kibbie to Many Island Lakes backpack trip takes unexpected twists and turns

My backpacking trip this summer was one of the most difficult I’ve ever experienced. Seven of us set out to conquer the wilderness between Kibbie and Many Island Lakes in the southwest corner of Yosemite National Park, but we failed. The distance between these lakes is only about two miles as the crow flies, and the […]

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The Jewel of Santa Cruz Avenue grows up — beautifully

Thumbnail image for The Jewel of Santa Cruz Avenue grows up — beautifully

In the 1930s, the brothers Bert and John Bartolome, while engaged in construction work at Stanford University, began building what turned out to be a rather whimsical house — completed in the early 1940s — on Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park. The Jewel of Santa Cruz Avenue was first described in a March 4, […]

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Two Menlos nearer to forming friendship relationship

Thumbnail image for Two Menlos nearer to forming friendship relationship

The creation of an informal friendship relationship between Menlo Park and Galway City (which has absorbed the village of Menlough, Menlo Park’s namesake) took another step forward on June 5th when a letter to Cllr. Terry O’Flaherty, Mayor of Galway, was sent by Menlo Park Mayor Peter Ohtaki proposing a dialog between the two cities […]

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Then and now: El Camino Real moves west in Menlo Park

Thumbnail image for Then and now: El Camino Real moves west in Menlo Park

The photo above showing the western side of El Camino Real between Santa Cruz and Oak Grove avenues in Menlo Park dates from about 1937. Menlo Grocery at 1101 El Camino was the successor to the venerable Duff & Doyle’s General Store, which was liquidated in the early 1920s. The second floor had long been […]

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Then and now: The changing face of downtown Menlo Park

Thumbnail image for Then and now: The changing face of downtown Menlo Park

You can’t deny that there has been a dramatic change in the appearance of downtown Menlo Park over the past 65 years. The black and white photo (above) is from about 1950, taken near the corner of Santa Cruz Avenue and Doyle Street. Bank of America came to Menlo Park in 1937. Its first location was […]

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