Menlo Park Historical Assoc.

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

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 drives and additional electric cars were on display on Santa Cruz along with electric bikes and scooters.

Other activities included a bike rodeo hosted by the Menlo Park Police Department and a trackless train that snaked up and down the pedestrian-filled avenue.

A huge hit with the kids was the opportunity to don hard hats and reflecting vests and get up close to all sorts of tractors and such stationed on Chestnut Street. Some of the heavy equipment was available for painting while others could be taken for a stationary spin.

Last night was also a birthday celebration for the City of Menlo Park, which turned 90. Four of the five City Council members — Ray Mueller, Peter Ohtaki, Kirsten Keith and Catherine Carlton — led the celebration, and the Menlo Park Historical Association had a brochure filled with fun facts about Menlo, including:

  • Menlo Park first incorporated in 1874 for road improvements and then incorporation lapsed in 1876.
  • Santa Cruz Avenue was originally a two-lane residential street as nearly all businesses were on El Camino Real.
  • When Menlo Park was incorporated for the second time in 1927, its population was a few hundred persons less than the number of students who attend Menlo-Atherton High School today (about 2,500).
  • Bootlegging was a thriving business during the Prohibition years, 1920-1933. In 1928, bootleggers tried to recall Menlo Park’s first mayor for clamping down on their moonshine business.

And for those who remember the old Menlo Park of the 50s and 60s, yes our town has grown. The population was 13,587 in 1950 and slightly over 33,000 today.

InMenlo contributing photographer Robb Most captured some of the evening’s sights.

Photos by Robb Most (c) 2017

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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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Menlo Park Historical Association presents talk by local publisher on Nov. 18

Bill Johnson, the owner of the Almanac and Palo Alto Weekly, will speak on the topic “History Endangered: When Newspapers Are Gone, How will Local History Be Written” on Sunday, Nov. 18 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm.  The Menlo Park Historical Association-sponsored event, which will take place at the Menlo Park Library, is free and […]

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