Menlo Park Historical Assoc.

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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It’s a celebration of smart mobility and Menlo Park’s birthday at 11th annual downtown block party

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Vehicles abounded — many of them electric — at last night’s 11th annual downtown block party on Santa Cruz Avenue, sponsored by the City and the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce. The theme was “Menlo on the Move,” and the emphasis was on “smart mobility.” A side street featured a line of electric cars available for test […]

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The former Roger Reynolds Nursery set to meet the wrecking ball

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Menlo Park Historical Association member Jim Lewis emailed: “The guillotine is falling. It’s the end of the road for the endeared local historical property formerly known as the Roger Reynolds Nursery, along with its iconic Carriage House [shown with adjacent dumpster]. “You may wish to take your own photos, documenting one piece of Menlo Park’s […]

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Great estates of the Peninsula is topic of recent talk sponsored by the Menlo Park Historical Association

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Earlier this fall, Carmen J. Blair, Deputy Director of the San Mateo County Historical Association, gave a talk at the Menlo Park Library entitled The Great Estates of the Peninsula. Carmen was invited by the Menlo Park Historical Association, and her talk was part of that organization’s annual meeting. Carmen’s talk explored the Mid-Peninsula lifestyle during the late […]

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Kathy Wade takes us on a tour of Holy Cross Cemetery in Menlo Park

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Holy Cross Cemetery, located at the intersection of Santa Cruz and Avy in Menlo Park, is a place that hundreds pass by daily, but we’re guessing few residents venture in, or know its history, unless they have deep Catholic roots in the community. That assumption — and a couple of upcoming  public events — prompted […]

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Menlo Park’s first resident, Dennis Martin, is subject of book by local author

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It is only fitting that the full story of Menlo Park’s first resident, Dennis Martin, should have been unearthed (so to speak) by ultra-local resident Bo Crane. Bo was born in the old Palo Alto Hospital (now Hoover Pavilion) and was baptized at Holy Trinity Church on Pine near Ravenswood a few years before the […]

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Former Menlo Park City Attorney Jack Jorgeson talks about the 60s and 70s at Menlo Park Historical Association annual meeting

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At the annual meeting of the Menlo Park Historical Association an audience of about 50 were taken back to the City of the 1960s and 70s by Jack Jorgenson, the Menlo Park City Attorney from 1961 to 1985. In 1960, Jorgenson was assistant to City Attorney James O’Keefe, Jr. when O’Keefe left to take an elective […]

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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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Caltrain’s 150th Anniversary Celebration at Menlo Park

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We stopped by today’s celebration of Caltrain’s 150th Anniversary at the Menlo Park Caltrain station. It was a wonderful family event – lots to see and enjoy. Here are some photos of today’s celebration!

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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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