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 53 article(s) for InMenlo.


Post image for Italian stone pine in Fremont Park gives birth to art & play structure – with new trees to come

From disaster and death can come the birth of something good (myth of the phoenix). The big Italian stone pine that guarded the eastern side of Fremont Park had to be taken down in September, a disturbing event for many in our community. From the collective brainstorming of residents and city of Menlo Park staff, the idea arose to transform the lower part of the tree into a piece of art along with a play structure for Fremont Park.

City of Menlo Park logo from fallen treeThe City has an ongoing contract with West Coast Arborists for tree maintenance. Big Jon Mahoney, a chain-saw artist, works for West Coast and was contracted to use his imagination to create something from the downed tree. He is working on two sections of the trunk plus the stump itself. From the latter he is creating a chair. From the former, one section is proving to be a whimsical set of seats, while the other is becoming a children’s play structure.

The end of one tree section facing the nearby walkway will be cut and sanded flat to expose the approximately 70 growth rings (exact number to be determined later). Menlo Park Historical Association Board member Jim Lewis was contacted by city staff to suggest some appropriate local historical dates with which to mark a half dozen or so of the rings, which will then be protected by a permanent transparent cover. Jim and this author (MPHA President) immediately noticed that the rings tell us that the tree was probably planted when the park was first created (early 1930s, see story in The Gate Post for Oct-Dec 2011).

Behind this artwork, along the fence to the east, the plan is to plant three deodar cedars (same type of tree as on the north side of the project, i.e., toward University Avenue). Because of limited funds, these trees will be a modest 24-inch or so box size, but they will eventually fill the glaring hole in the arborscape to the east.

But there is more! Christian Bonner, the City Arborist, explains that most of the tree’s wood has been given to Menlo Hardwoods (846 Santa Cruz Avenue), who will use it to fabricate some interesting furniture, the sale of which will create funds to be returned to the City for the purchase of a large tree (type not yet determined) to placed between the fence and the walkway.

Fremont Park gets new art, a creative play set, and new trees! The trees will eventually restore the arborscape.

Photos by Jym Clendenin, a frequent contributor to InMenlo

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City of Menlo Park honors the Menlo Park Historical Association

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At last Tuesday’s City Council Meeting, Mayor Ray Mueller presented the Menlo Park Historical Association with a proclamation recognizing its accomplishments since 1971 in preserving the history of Menlo Park and in making its archived materials available to the public, including through its website Most recently the Association was instrumental in the creation of the […]

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

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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. […]

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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