Books

Post image for Bo Crane authors a book, The Streets of Menlo Park, in time for the city’s 90th anniversary

Take a quick glance at the photo to the right, taken in Menlo Park. Now answer: Where exactly? Is there a street in Menlo called Fourth Street?

Of course there is, or it wouldn’t be in the new Menlo Park Historical Association book written by Bo Crane called the The Streets of Menlo Park.

Bo explained that there used to be a First, Second and Third Street, too, all going into Dibble Hospital on the site that now houses SRI International. “They’re just driveways now,” he said. “Only Fourth Street remains off of Ravenswood Avenue.”

Bo started research for the book this past February at the request of MPHA President Jim Lewis who thought it would be interesting to compile information about every street that has a Menlo Park mailing address, whether it be in the city or the county, in time for the City of Menlo Park’s 90th anniversary of incorporation on Nov. 23.

It became Bo’s full time task. He used subdivision maps that give the name of the developer and sometimes adjoining property owner, which are filed with the County of San Mateo and can be researched online. Another source was Census data from 1860-1940 that he accessed via Ancestry.com.

“The most difficult are streets with first names of people,” Bo said. “We’re hoping that people contact us if they have information about streets that are missing.”

The MPHA is located on the lower floor of the Menlo Park Library; email is mphistorical@yahoo.com. The Streets of Menlo Park can be purchased online.

The rear cover of the book states: “This is just not a compendium of street name origins — it is a book of people, those for whom the streets were named and those who developed them. Within this book is a story told through street names of how an American town was formed over the last 150 years.”

Here are a few fun facts from the book:

Thirteen streets have “oak” as part of a name, e.g. Oak Grove Avenue, or within a name, e.g. Oakley.

Some names are simply descriptive. Newbridge Street was named for the Dumbarton Bridge which opened to vehicular traffic in January 1927 [replaced as a four-lane structure in 1982].

Sometimes streets are out of sync. Partridge Avenue lies inexplicably amongst collegiate street names, parallel to College and Cambridge Avenues because when Patrick Mary Partridge, who owned property fronting El Camino Real, passed away, his heirs did not sell the family parcel to a developer purchasing surrounding properties.

If you’re going to call your development Sharon Heights, then evidently give streets mountainous sounding names: Warner Range, Siskiyou, Monte Rosa, Crest, Olympic, Sierra, Cascade, Trinity, Tioga.

Don’t want to slight a person? Then combine the names of two people, Marion and Ramona, into one street name, Marmona. They were granddaughters of a colonel who served in the Union Army during the Civil War.

Photo by Robb Most (c) 2017

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La Entrada Used Book Fair runs from Nov. 6-9

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Please join us at the La Entrada Used Book Fair from Nov. 6-9. The hours are 7:30 am to 4:00 pm, Monday-Wednesday and 7:30 am to 2:00 pm Thursday. Choose from over 6,000 books in all genres ranging from children’s to adult books. Picture books, board books, early readers, young adults, adult fiction, biographies, mysteries, […]

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Holly Hayes returns to Menlo Park to launch her book, “From Basement to Sanctuary”

Thumbnail image for Holly Hayes returns to Menlo Park to launch her book, “From Basement to Sanctuary”

Holly Hayes returns to Menlo Park on October 27, a town where she’s experienced some of the lowest and highest points of her life. She’s back home to launch her book, From Basement to Sanctuary, a story of conversion and transformation through God and the 12-step recovery movement. The launch event takes places from 6:00 […]

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“Nora Webster” is Menlo Park Library Literature Book Club’s October pick

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Join the Menlo Park Library Literature Book Club for a discussion of the novel Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín on Tuesday, October 10 from 7:15 to 8:30 pm at the library. About the book “Widowed at forty, with four children and not enough money, Nora has lost the love of her life, Maurice, the man […]

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Friends of the Library book sale set for September 23-24

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The Friends of the Menlo Park Library will hold a two-day book sale on September 23rd and 24th, featuring thousands of books. The event will take place from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturday, and from noon until 2:00 pm on Sunday. Shoppers on Sunday will be able to fill a bag with books […]

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Bay Area author Mark Coggins talks about his novel, Runoff, at Mystery Reader’s Club

Thumbnail image for Bay Area author Mark Coggins talks about his novel, Runoff, at Mystery Reader’s Club

The Mystery Reader’s Club invites the greater community to join them when they welcome local author Mark Coggins on Sept. 20 at 7:00 pm at the Menlo Park Library The crimes in his book Runoff take place in multiple spots throughout San Francisco and feature private investigator and jazz bass player August Riordan. Coggins’ work […]

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Sonia Arrison explores the impact of radical human longevity – and its intersection with technology

Thumbnail image for Sonia Arrison explores the impact of radical human longevity – and its intersection with technology

Reading Sonia Arrison’s bio on her website, we were a bit stumped. So, when we stopped by her office on Sand Hill Road, we immediately asked: “What is it that you do?” “I have trouble describing myself,” she acknowledged. “So sometimes it’s easiest to say I’m an author.” That she is, and her most recent book, 100 […]

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Author Donia Bijan is featured at First Friday event on Sept. 1

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Author and Menlo Park resident Donia Bijan will appear at the next First Friday on September 1st at Woodside’s Town Hall (2955 Woodside Road). Donia’s latest book is The Last Days at Cafe Leila. Elizabeth Church writes: “The Last Days at Café Leila is a novel that will engage all of your senses and then make […]

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Catching up with Jean Forstner, Executive Director of Kepler’s Literary Foundation

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By Jean Forstner’s reckoning, she’s “just a do-gooder at heart.” “I’ve worked my entire life building community around ideas. So I’m very intrigued about building community around literary events,” she said of her recent appointment as Executive Director of Kepler’s Literary Foundation (KLF). KLF was created as part of  Kepler’s 2020 Project, whose goal is to […]

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Hometown author Barry Eisler launches new John Rain thriller at Kepler’s

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Menlo Park author Barry Eisler emailed: ” My new John Rain novel — Zero Sum — is out today! This is another prequel, again set in Tokyo ten years following the events of Graveyard of Memories: “Returning to Tokyo in 1982 after a decade of mercenary work in the Philippines, a young John Rain learns that the […]

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Spotted: Author Donia Bijan at Kepler’s celebrating book launch with her family

Thumbnail image for Spotted: Author Donia Bijan at Kepler’s celebrating book launch with her family

We admit to loving this photo of author Donia Bijan celebrating the publication of her first novel with husband Mitchell Johnson and son Luca at Kepler’s last night. What a happy looking family! All the copies of The Last Days of Café Leila got snapped up, but Kepler’s has more on order. Earlier this week, we ran our […]

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