Remembering downtown Menlo Park “back in the day”

by Laura Pitchford on September 15, 2012

Recently, I was lying awake in the middle of the night trying to remember the name of the record store in downtown Menlo Park I went to with my younger sister Shell to buy Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (the 1978 movie version featuring The BeeGees and Peter Frampton). I could remember the day like it was yesterday, down to the name of the guy (Johnny Ransahoff) who sold me the record (yes, record) and how much I paid for it, but I could not for the life of me remember the name of the store.

The next morning I sent an email to my siblings and several of our lifelong friends who also grew up in either Menlo or Atherton to ask if anyone could remember the store’s name. With over 500 years of memories between us, we were able to come up with it — Joe Prein’s Music Store. [Joe Prein is right in photo circa 60s; anyone know who the other man and woman are?]

My one question was the beginning of a chain of emails filled with long forgotten Menlo Park trivia. Our 50-year-old memories began to wake up. We all remembered certain things: That life was simpler then.  That we rode our bikes everywhere in search of the best candy, toy, beloved pet, music and fun.

We remembered getting pixie sticks, red ropes, gum balls and chewable wax teeth, lips and mustaches from the Little Store, dipping into the pickle jar at Duca and Hanley, buying cinnamon sticks at Toy and Party, and sitting on Santa’s lap in this little holiday house in front of Menlo Camera. We all seemed to remember certain stores: Mary’s Stork to Teen, Stevens Fabrics, Derry’s Feed and Fuel. 

Charline reminded us of the over abundance of Palm Readers in Menlo Park. We counted at least three. We recalled charge accounts at Draeger’s and Preuss. We could even remember several of the shop owners and employees who fitted us for school shoes and restrung our tennis rackets.

Almost all of us remember Edy’s Ice Cream [on Encinal, now the Carriage Stop portion of Roger Reynolds Nursery.]. LeeLee said that she can still hear the little bell ring as the screen door opened, the smell of the refrigerating ice cream, and having to climb on a step on tip toes to see over the counter. Lisa loved the Swedish Raspberry and Bayomints. Pat remembers puking there when Rooney and Seamus took Mark’s and Pat’s Little League team there post-game.

Some of the fun was trumping others as the emails crossed paths. Lisa came up with Gindell’s Pet Shop, a name that escaped the rest of us, although we all could remember exactly where the pet store was located on Santa Cruz, and that Mrs. Gindell had a blonde beehive hairdo. Lauren remembered getting her hamster there, while Rooney remembered buying his box turtle and riding home with it on his handle bars.

We also remembered that there were two bike shops but we only went to one, Menlo Bike and Key… that the Pink Pastry was a particular favorite and that Oxford’s Delicatessen had the best roast beef sandwiches. And, of course, George and Bob [who owned a Chevron station] actually filled your car’s tank with gas at a fraction of what it costs to self serve today!

All in all, we came up with a close to a hundred businesses but even more wonderful memories!  What started as a forgotten store name on my part turned into lots of laughs.

Do you have memories and photos from some time “back in the day” whether that’s the 50s, 60s, 70s or 80s in Menlo Park? Let us know: tips[at]

Photo courtesy of Menlo Park Historical Association

{ 140 comments… read them below or add one }

Craig K February 28, 2015 at 3:32 pm

OK, how about the gas station on the corner of ECR and I believe Oak Grove….maybe it was a Mobil station owned and operated by Frenchy Pomes. His son was Rod, and we played little league and babe ruth together. He later moved to the Half Moon Bay coast and owned the Miramar Beach Inn. Anyone recall?


Madeline February 28, 2015 at 4:21 pm

Yup……my dad owned Menlo Bake Shop on ECR and had his trucks serviced at Frenchies gas station. I think Frenchy retired at some point and sold the gas station to a guy named John?? Wasn’t the station next to A&W??


Craig February 28, 2015 at 10:41 pm

I thought it was kiddy corner to Fosters Freeze….I recall some in ground trampolines that you could rent during the late fifties and early sixties time period……as for the A&W…not sure.


Madeline March 1, 2015 at 10:58 am

There were 2 gas stations… on each corner. I believe on one side was Rappy Raposo’s station……….next to what was once a trampoline center. Frenchie’s station was across the street next to Foster’s Freeze. A&W was next to the gas station…….across the street from Round Table Pizza. My dad’s shop was on ECR near Rose Ann’s Dance Studio and the Menlo Cobbler Shop…….I’m trying to remember the restaurant on the corner of Santa Cruz Ave and ECR??? I worked there as a hostess in the ’70s…..Mr. Jeffrey was my boss?? BUT I can’t remember the name of the restaurant…HELP


Susie D. W. March 1, 2015 at 1:00 pm

Was it Gale’s Coffee Shop. North corner of ECR and Santa Cruz Ave? I had early breakfast there nearly everyday when I worked at Irving Lundborg brokerage for Bill Halford, Hank Needham Sr., Dave Skuce.

Craig K March 1, 2015 at 2:03 pm

Madeline- Didn’t the dance studio have a different name prior to Rose Ann’s? I know I was forced to go to dance lesson by my parents…..I could have died then if my friends knew I was taking dance lessons!!! The restaurant you are talking about escapes me, but I do recall it was like a cafeteria style food service, is that right?
My dad had a business down behind ECR and between Oak Grove and Santa Cruz Ave….it was a group of businesses one of which was a leather shop that did horse tac etc., and my dad’s business was a Independent Insurance broker for years. He was active in Kiwanis, The chamber of commerce and Babe Ruth baseball. His office was not too far from Shreve’s Sporting goods. As a kid he took me to the Barber Shop right next door to the dance studio and Derry’s Feed and Fuel sponsered my little league team!

Marilyn M. June 5, 2017 at 10:07 pm

When Mr. Jeffery owned the restaurant it was called the Walnut Tree.

Marilyn Amaya March 14, 2018 at 9:15 pm

When the jeffery’s owned it it was the Walnut Tree. It’s weird I would just read this today. Yesterday I was looking in the “junk” drawer for matches and found a book of matches from the Walnut Tree.

Chuck Harvie March 22, 2019 at 11:26 pm

The in-the-ground trampoline place was across from Foster Freeze and Johnny’s Smoke Shop. Next to Johnny’s wast the Menlo Park post office which was next to a French Laundry where they would wash and press my dad’s shirts. Behind Johnny’s and that laundry was a auto towing and body shop. I am going to guess it was Bill Mumford’s business may be I am wrong on the name On that alley way if you drove to the back entrance to the A&W you passed another laundry place.
Back to the subject of gas stations along El Camino Real I think it was on the corner of Robles and El Camino I had my first real job at the Flying A station which was eventually taken over by Phillips 66. The gas station was next to Keplers Book store. The owner of the gas station was Erv Strick. I may be wrong on the spelling of his last name.
My dad was a good friend of Joe Prein’s Record store. Do you remember there we’re record booths along the wall where you could listen to the 45 or LP album before you bought it.
The other bicycle store was on Santa Cruz Ave. It was called Joslyn’s Bike shop. Sid Joslyn was his name. His son Tony was a year maybe two years ahead of my class also worked at the shop. I believe it was in the same block as The record shop and Toy and Party.
All for now.


Barry Anderson March 23, 2019 at 8:33 pm


The laundry behind Johnnys Smoke shop was Wo Sing…years ago they were in the building next to the Guild theatre…the Menlo clock shop is there now….The Menlo Clock shop used to be in the same building as the Sunshine Market on he corner of Santa Cruz ave and Chestnut st.

Remember the Western Auto store across the street from the Menlo Medical Clinic on the corner of Santa Cruz avenue and University.
The Alpine Deli replaced Dudley’s Delicatessen where the Posh Bagel is now. And Shreves Sport shop, before moving to Live Oak was on Santa Cruz ave. The Pink Pastry moved in after Shreves moved out.

Susie D. W. March 1, 2015 at 12:53 pm

The Mobile gas station. Is this the one that John Conway bought and owned for a number of years. Later bore the BP logo.


Craig K March 1, 2015 at 11:27 pm

Suzie…not sure how old Bill Halford and Hank Needham Sr. are or were…but both names are very familiar. Were either involved in the Chamber/Kiwanis or the Menlo baseball programs?


Susie D. W. March 2, 2015 at 1:55 pm

Both gents have passed on but would be in late 70 to mid 80 age. Bill may have been involved with Kiwanis. I doubt he was involved with baseball. Horses, tennis. Hank may have been involved with baseball. I think his son, Hank Jr played ball at some point.

Jeannie C March 21, 2016 at 5:03 pm

I think the 2nd owners were named Ayers. We went there all the time. The son, Kenny, was friends with my first serious boyfriend.


Emily March 22, 2016 at 9:26 am

Frency’s gas station was at the corner of ECR and middlefield. My dad had a TV store and Frency and his wife Irene lived accross the sreet from us. They were the kindest neighbors.


Jeannie C March 22, 2016 at 11:33 am

The Ayers, werfe there brothers..Kenny and? I do believe I played Little League and or Babe Ruth with someone named Ayers.
Craig K


Jeannie C March 22, 2016 at 4:40 pm

Gosh, I don’t remember if Kenny had a brother. It was he & his dad that owned/ran it and, then, I think, it became just Kenny’s. I spent a lot of time there, hanging out, trying to meet Kenny’s friend and who ending up being the father of my son! Guess I’d say I was successful in meeting him …


Madeline March 4, 2015 at 4:30 pm

My dad supplied the donuts on First Friday……Menlo Bake Shop……Ed Terry??? My maiden name is Terry……your brother Pat was in my class at St. Raymond’s. Elgin Juri’s sister, Madeline, was in our class, too. I remember all you guys…………


Barbara September 12, 2015 at 11:15 am

I remember those heavenly glazed donuts Mr Terry would deliver to St Raymonds on First Friday. I was in your class also Madeline, my maiden name was Lamb.


Mary Jeanne Oliva September 13, 2015 at 10:39 am

Hi Barbara,
I remember you! We were in that same class with Madeline and I think our moms were friends, too.


Barbara Price March 22, 2016 at 9:40 am

Hi Mary Jeanne
Yes, we were in the same class at St. Raymond. I live near Sacramento now and have been in touch with Madelaine Juri. Our Moms were all friends, I remember Mrs Juri was our Girl Scout troop leader. Great memories growing up in Menlo Park, every kid should be so lucky!


ajnevin March 4, 2015 at 5:08 pm

We use to go to Swensons..always recalled how wonderful it smelled in there of the ‘chocolate’ and loved the old fashion atmosphere.

Who recalls the fire at Flegles Furniture? We were in Baskin Robbins and could feel the heat inside!!!


Rod March 5, 2015 at 6:29 am

Craig, Mark is his son, and to this day, my best buddy.


Kristin March 5, 2015 at 9:52 am

I was on Willow the other day and had a powerful flashback of Add Janes Swim School where I learned to swim in the ’60’s. Was it in that neighborhood? Where was it?!


Craig K March 5, 2015 at 10:53 am

Kristin, yes it was on Willow Rd between Middlefield Rd and where the Veterans Hospital was. I too, took Add Janes swim lessons and participated some on their swim team. I used to play some of our Babe Ruth baseball games at the Vet field where WWII and Korea Vets would come out to watch……don’t forget Sunset Magazine was not too far from there on the other side of Middlefield Rd.


Kristin March 8, 2015 at 6:06 am

Thanks Craig K. I thought so. I drove around looking, but what is now on the site where Add Janes used to be? Homes?


Erica April 21, 2015 at 1:12 am

Yes, Add Janes is long gone and houses now. We kids practically lived there, and my mother kippered herself daily in baby oil and sunshine there. Can still feel the sting of chlorine up my nose! I remember seeing Mr. Janes often–he was quite elderly by the 70’s, but you’d never know it. He too was kippered–very darkly tanned, and he used to do laps in his own pool, blowing off the old ladies and kids in his way. I adored that place—it was so patently a poor man’s outfit for those who couldn’t afford the Circus Club yet still couldn’t face the hoi polloi in Burgess Park.


Erica April 21, 2015 at 1:17 am

And the “hoi polloi” was us!

Adrian March 8, 2017 at 8:23 am

I learned to swim in the warm indoor “kiddie” pool at Add Janes … later I was on their swim team and spent all of my time in and around the larger outdoor pool.

Houses were never built on the Add Janes site at 570 Willow. The site is currently occupied by Menlo Park Surgical Hospital operated by Palo Alto Medical Foundation … before that it was “Recovery Inn”. It’s right across from the always sort of run-down seeming Menlo BBQ. As I recall, the adjacent Valero gas station had a different name & owner back then. And the “Pacific Parc” townhome cluster on the other side of the Add Janes site was the site of Foremost Dairy.


Brian F March 20, 2015 at 10:53 pm

Wow. What a throwback. My dad was a Menlo fireman, we grew up near the creek. We frequented Menalto Market, swam for years on the Add Janes swim team, and also learned to waltz at Riley’s dance studio. Had a band, the lead guitarist lived at the “Palmistry” place on ECR just North of Oak Grove. Recently met Riley’s daughter, and currently live next to a Draeger. What a truckload of fantastic memories. Wouldn’t trade my Menlo Park childhood for any other.


Jeannie C March 21, 2016 at 4:59 pm

Brian ~ when was your dad a M.P. fireman? My brother was a Captain in the M.P. fire department. I wonder if they worked together…


gary jennings September 8, 2016 at 3:48 pm

I remember riding my bike in the field that is now stanford shopping center

Went to menlo oaks jr H school

riding the bike in the creek when it was dry


Harry Angus March 21, 2015 at 10:01 am

Does anyone remember who owned Guitars Unlimited, 1039 El Camino Real, Menlo Park?
Please email me at [email protected]


Brian F March 22, 2015 at 10:05 pm

Just caught this blog while doing a search for Add Janes Swim School. What a great thread of memories. My father was a MP fireman, so I grew up in MP near the creek and Palo Alto. Schools, downtown MP hangouts, throwing water balloons on Willow, ECR, swimming, Riley’s dance…did it all. What a great time and great town to have been raised in. Cherish the memories. Wouldn’t trade my MP childhood for anything.


Rod Lum April 25, 2015 at 10:04 am

Growing up above my dad’s Lum Toy Flowers I remember walking to Edy’s for ice cream. Linoleum floors, lots of jars of goodies and wonderful cones, as long as we didn’t drop them (and when we did, the nice folks inside always replaced them for free). A bit older I was big into model airplanes so of course Don’s Hobby Shop was my shrine of desire. Downtown there was Jeff’s Jeans where they had you lie down to pull on the supertight jeans that were the rage in the seventies. Awed by the first of the megabox stores Alec with its massive facade and canopied entrance. One of the only places my brother and I could “get lost” in and panic our parents. But back then it was a seemingly more benign world and some adult would help us find our folks


Nancy Van Roy January 17, 2016 at 11:27 am

Hi Rod,
Was the Alec store you are speaking about on El Camino Real a little North of Middle in Menlo Park? I remember during the late 60’s and early 70’s a huge store there with some underground parking. You could have your groceries delivered down to the parking area with a ticket attached, by the time you got down to your car the groceries were there waiting for you on a conveyor. That was so helpful for a young mom with kids. There also was parking outside in front, but you would need to walk up a long ramp from that outside parking area, the kids always loved walking up that ramp. Rod is this at all familiar to you? I’d love a picture of this memory.

Thanks for any help you other readers can provide!
Nancy Van Roy


Rod January 18, 2016 at 10:27 am

Yes, that was ALEC where the Safeway center now sits on El Camino.

No photo but check out this neat drawing


Steven Smith January 18, 2016 at 3:06 pm

I remember when Alec opened – guessing it was around 1961-62. It was on the west side of El Camino, between Roble and Middle. Nancy’s memory is spot on: the store sat on pylons so there was parking beneath, and the main store entrance was a ramp from the street level parking lot. If I recall right, their logo had a squirrel in it?


Jan July 29, 2020 at 4:53 pm

Nancy – I am wondering about Alec too. It sounds familiar, but I just ⏰don’t see it anywhere in my mind. But I believe the parking area you are describing here is below Safeway and what one day was a Payless store. There is also a large parking area on the surface area. Back then there was indeed a long ramp to access the store’s entrance, at least, before they tore down the original stores to build a new store replacement for Safeway. Everything changed with that retail area as well.

There was parking at an angle as the driveway led to the downstairs parking area. I remember it well. When I picked up my son from Hillview later (He was in 6th grade) he asked what had happened to my (new!) car? I got out to view a bashed in side door, much to my chagrin! No note, of course. The insurance adjustor guessed that someone had lost control of their shopping cart and it gained plenty of speed as it traveled down the driveway on its own only being stopped by my car. It was a Mazda mini-van. I never bought another Mazda!!!! I learned that the metal was so soft that it would only take a stare to cause it to dent. Probably more than you wanted to know!

Jan Detlor Scripps


John Richards September 10, 2020 at 1:43 pm

The ramp! Lord knows how many times our mother dragged us up that ramp to go shopping in there. It was always lined with alluring gum ball & plastic toy dispensers. I got the model airplane bug around 1968 and begged for rides to Don’s to paw over the inventory. Anybody ever eat at the Hippo burger restaurant. I vividly remember the cartoon image of the Hippo, but we never ate there. It later became the site of Jeff”s Jeans.


Linda Post June 5, 2017 at 10:10 pm

Hi Rod
My father worked for your family back in the 50’s. We lived on Watkins and I used to walk over to the shop to see my dad. His name was Joe Post. I still remember the smell of flowers as I walked into the shop.


Rod June 6, 2017 at 10:32 am

Thanks Linda for your nice comments. The 50s were before my time so I don’t recall your dad, but maybe you knew John, Chuck, Eppie, Molly, etc. who all worked there. Yes, memories are still strong of the fragrance of all the different flowers; wasn’t it great? Thanks again for reminding me. Rod Lum


Darcy September 21, 2015 at 5:26 pm

I worked at Shreve’s Sport Shop for several years before it closed. That place was the last one that had store accounts so the kids could come in a charge things to their parents accounts. I loved the family feel of downtown Menlo Park. The Post Office, the corner Health Food Store, the fabulous hardware store that sole everything anyone could want! The good old days….

I am trying to remember the name of my favorite pediatrician from Menlo Clinic. He was a former football player from Stanford, I think. Wonderful, lovely man. Help me!


Craig K September 21, 2015 at 11:15 pm

Could the name have been Dr. Barthold?


Jim September 29, 2015 at 1:34 pm

That would be Dr. Richard “Dick” Horn. Awesome guy. A QB from Santa Monica High School and a QB/Defensive Back at Stanford – a member of the 1951 How Boys team that played in the 1952 Rose Bowl. A member of the Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame and a well-respected physician at the Menlo Clinic after attending Stanford Medical School.


Stan Sayles June 2, 2017 at 2:06 pm

The pediatrician you are referring to was Richard Horn, I think.
Nice man.


Mary Cornell December 23, 2017 at 9:58 am

Absolutely Richard Horn. I (& my two children) lived just down the street on University Drive. My son ( now 51) would become ill very rapidly as he was born weeks early. Dr Horn would actually make “house calls” to attend to him & my then two year old daughter. Was just sharing wonderful memories of Dr Horn with my 15-year old visiting Grandson. Good to hear that others feel the same way. Stayed with him from the birth of my daughter at Stanford Hospital in 64’ to when both children aged-out. He even pierced both my daughter’s & my ears () as she had a lot of scar tissue on the back of one ear years after he sutured from a cat claw. He was amazing. Anyone know where is is now?


Tom Madson December 25, 2017 at 6:41 pm

You must be Darcy King??????? I miss all of my former employees…
Do you live in Menlo Park?? I’d love to see you, I am going to be in
Menlo Park on 1/11/18 for several days, send me an Email and we can
get together, maybe Ann’s coffee shop.
I still own the building that Shreve’s was in. Now Lindamoodbell
Learning Center rents from me.


Neil McCarty February 24, 2019 at 3:00 pm

Bud Shreve, the owner of Shreve’s Sport Shop was my stepfather. After Bud died, I remember a Tom running the store while my mom, B, prepared to sell it. Are you that Tom?


Tom Madson February 25, 2019 at 5:31 pm

Yes I am that Tom. I still own the building.


Sabine Core October 15, 2015 at 3:17 pm

Hello, If it interesting to have come upon these comments about Menlo Park since I am in the midst of recalling as much as can about it. Although I only lived a fraction of my life there , Atherton , and in Palo Alto ( until age 14), it feels like I actually lived a majority of my life there. Perhaps those childhood experiences end up being the most vivid. I also so loved riding my bike every where, I mean everywhere starting at a young age. We loved Foster’s Freeze and A&W, and so did my Dad. My little brother and I often rode ( 70-80-‘s) our bikes over to Candy Depot to delight in candy shopping which usually consisted of choosing the best jelly bellies: Island Punch. And some of those little colored licorice candies for my Mom. Menlo Park Round Table Pizza, best pizza ever. Beltramo’s, I had forgotten about that, that’s where we’d get beer nuts. Roger reynold’s was always magical, I still love it to this day even though I have not been there in forever. Bud’s ice cream, peppermint stick, soooo good. The Hallmark Store, the amazing dollhouse store. Bob stanchovich (sp?) tailor. Peet’s coffee always smelled so good. Draeger’s had the best ambrosia, I can still taste it. It was great being a kid in Menlo Park. Safe, beautiful, clean, sophisticated yet still real. Lots of happy , friendly, smart people . Soft colors, white houses, yellow flowers and all of those amazing trees and plants in that perfect climate. That’s how I remember Menlo Park.


Judi October 30, 2015 at 8:24 pm

I can’t forget the Hippo on El Camino at Oak Grove. It had the best hamburgers and crazy ice cream desserts. They had one called the “Glub” which was a brownie, ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream. This was a favorite celebration place for Stanford students in the 60’s. Does anyone know when it closed?


Steven Smith December 25, 2015 at 6:57 pm

Here’s a link to the 1959 Polk’s City Directory for Menlo Park and Atherton. It contains detailed street-by-street, house-by-house, business-by-business listings for that year, plus lots of advertisements:

There are other years available too, go here to see the whole list:

I lived in Woodside Hills in the 50s and early 60s, but spent a lot of time in Menlo Park. Don’s Hobby Shop and Foster’s Freeze were favorites. My mom spent hours at Stevens Fabrics, which meant my sister and I spent hours there too. Loved the raisin rolls from Marcel’s bakery. Great memories.


Jeannie C March 21, 2016 at 5:05 pm

What schools did you all go to? I went to Hillview on SCA for grammar and Woodside High School. We lived on Nancy Way off Orange Avenue. Others?


Craig K March 22, 2016 at 11:26 am

Jeannie C…I went to Hillview for Kindergarten only and then back to Las Lomitas. It was really dumb on the school district part to have me go to Hillview, because I lived behind Las Lomitas in Atherton and could walk to school. After LL, went to Woodside, graduated 1964…Go Wildcats!


Jeannie C March 22, 2016 at 12:36 pm

I went to Hillview 5th thru 8th. I graduated Woodside 1966 which makes our 50th reunion this year …. however, I’m not too interested in going. Where do you live now? We live on the Central Coast between Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo. When we lived in Hayward, my husband & I used to love to cross the bridge to the Woodside Bakery. Great food! Finding your site yesterday really took me back in time to some very fond memories.


Craig K March 22, 2016 at 12:47 pm

You graduated from WHS in 1966. Did you know Brenda Badger. She was a Cheer Leader and was in your class?


Jeannie C March 22, 2016 at 4:42 pm

Sure, I remember Brenda Badger. Cute, popular girl.

Craig K March 22, 2016 at 5:14 pm

Yes, she was a popular girl. My understanding is she passed away a while back! We dated for some time 63-64 time period!

Priscilla Galvin August 25, 2016 at 9:49 am

Does anyone recall the name of a place in the early 90s a little Swedish?café/really great quiches and hand made Chocolate truffles.
Run by a husband&wife.south end,right hand side of Santa Cruz Ave.opposite end if of the El Camino intersection.


Melanie March 14, 2017 at 7:17 pm

Village Host Pizza was the place to be on Friday nights, and does anyone remember “cruising” up and down El Camino, yelling to friends in other cars?! And is Sharon Estates where the “fake boulders” were, supposedly used in a movie filmed there? We snuck in to see those one or two times, in sort of a wooded area, not sure if same place. And one time we went to a Stanford frat party and then snuck down a path to Searsville Lake, til cops told us to go back.


Bob birchett May 18, 2017 at 1:11 pm

I remember Central School on ECR. Also Sheppard Cadillac that took that space.


Bob birchett May 18, 2017 at 2:07 pm

Thinking of Duca and Handley.
I have two items from the old days. One is a post binder from 1949 the other is a Ledger Book from 1943. I enjoy the Way Menlo Park used to be


Laurel Gooch May 19, 2017 at 8:41 pm

Thanks for the memories everybody!!! I lived in Menlo Park from 1941 t0 1990. Great to see all those familiar places mentioned.


Mollie Reingpach Edwards June 1, 2017 at 6:47 pm

Hi Laurel
Class of 59!!!
Los lomitas I think we both were there.
Reunion coming up!!!


Lynne Hills Reister June 1, 2017 at 2:12 pm

Well I remember Jiffy Burger.
And there was definitely a donut shop I don’t remember the name of it though anybody remember???? That’s the late 50s…
Thanks for the Memories everybody


Lesanne June 1, 2017 at 2:32 pm

Yes to whomever questioned the name of Rose Ann’s dance studio, it was Rose Ann’s. I was a dancer there until 1957. I also remember Johnny’s smoke shop, on Santa Cruz, almost to El Camino. Great place for candy, and for us bad kids, cigarettes. How can anyone forget Marquad’s drive-in on El Camino. It was cool to drive around and around , just to see who was there. I remember Lee Pennel was especially good at it. Marquad’s had the best burgers and shakes in my memory, especially delicious for a late night meal on date night. My last visit, shocked me. Our poor little town looks like it will sink any minute with the weight of all the new buildings that fill every single empty space. My childhood home, is a two story mansion…progress. We never dreamed of silicon valley and how that would change our childhood town.


Chuck Harvie March 22, 2019 at 11:42 pm

if You were a dancer there maybe you recall one of the instructors there, my cousin, named at that time Sandy Walker. Her dad was Jim Walker owner a nursery business on El Camino between Cooks Sea Food and Alec’s I think the back of his property was the property line to the side of the Masonic Hall behind Cooks Sea Food.
All for now.


Mike Geib June 2, 2017 at 12:34 pm

Thanks for all the great memories that have been posted. It was a great area to grow up in.


Rich Simrin June 5, 2017 at 8:00 pm

I worked at Foster’s in 1961 for 90 cents per hour. Then at Johnny’s Smoke Shop for $1.55.


Stan Sayles June 6, 2017 at 9:11 am

I think you followed me at Johnny’s Smoke Shop. That is where I learned to play gin rummy. What a great education.


John Mercer June 8, 2017 at 6:59 pm

Lucky to have Grown up in Menlo!!! Just a few names/stores: Preins Music: Joe throwing out Wooden Tokens the night before! Simpson’s Barber Shop on El Camino! Shreves Sports – HAD to go there! Alpine Deli on Santa Cruz!
McFarlands Ice Cream and Kepplers on El Camino! “Plaza Days” on Santa Cruz (when opening up a new Parking Lot! Van De Sands -Dick & Jack!
Andersons Shoes – Andy! Rileys Dance Studio by the Fish Market! Frenchy’s original Gas Station – originally diagonal from Fosters on ECR! Fosters and Johnny’s on Oak Grove! Preuss’ on Santa Cruz! Millers Bakery & Jerry’s on Santa Cruz! Bridgman Market on Santa Cruz! Edy’s (Carriage) on Felton . . Razed!!! Menlo House / ECR! Don’s Hobby Shop and Jiffy’s Oxford’s Deli on Santa Cruz! Baker’s Dozen on Santa Cruz! ETC. ETC, ETC.
Best Place in World To Have Lived in Those Years!!


CK June 9, 2017 at 5:09 pm

How about Fox & Carskadon (Foxy Coxy) Babe ruth Team?


Dennis July 24, 2017 at 5:29 pm

Yes I grew up in the fifties and I do remember Marquads drive in (in fact we lived down the street from it on Cambridge.

I also remember Bettencourts market down the street from Draegers.
Live was simpler then for sure,


Chris August 13, 2017 at 4:02 am

Luv’s Family Restraunt (owned by Vince), John’s little store on the corner of Gilbert Ave and Willow Road, Menalto Market (best 3 for a dollar pot stickers ever!), Fox and Carskadon Realty, The Oasis bar and grill with all the peanut shells on the floor, The British Bankers Club (when they still had the exclusive Ascot Club), the bridge just inside Palo Alto you never ever wanted to cross into East Palo Alto (million dollar mansion on one side and slums on the other side) and last but not least…Burgess Park and Flood Park.


Tom Madson October 5, 2017 at 11:41 pm

I was the last owner of Shreve’s Sport Shop on Oak Grove Ave.
I had many wonderful employees. We were the second oldest member of
the Chamber of Commerce right behind Ann’s Coffee Shop.
I sold my inventory in 1988 and moved to Hawaii. However I still own the


batareaboy December 25, 2017 at 10:16 am

If it hasn’t already been brought up, how about Shreve’s Sports Shop.

Also, what was the name of the little head shop in the 1970’s across from the old Arby’s restaurant. The Elephant something?


Jon lechich January 12, 2018 at 12:05 pm

Johny’s Smoke Shop!
Fosters Freeze Ice cream!
Menlo Square Market!
There was a bakery next to the Menlo Square Market and I would save up 35 cents to get a cream filled donut. Yum!
Fish and Chips on Elcamino


Jon lechich January 12, 2018 at 12:06 pm

Five and dime store on Santa Cruse Ave.


Lisa Jan Rose June 3, 2018 at 6:42 pm

I lived on Bellair Way from 1955 until 1962 when we moved down the road to Atherton where my mother, Judy Rose, still lives. My early memories are of the Alameda between Avy to Woodside Road. In the ’50s, you could bet most of what you needed between Avy and Ashton. Two supermarkets, one on each side of the Alameda, Don’s Butcher Shop, Stowe’s 5 and dime, a hardware store, McQuarries Pharmacy, the Bluebell Cafe (where Flea Street is today), a dry cleaners. I walked from Bellair way to Las Lomitas, the best school in the world as I recall. I remember there was a men’s barber shop. Above, someone mentioned Joe Prein’s Music Store on Santa Cruz Ave. where I bought my first ’45s as a small kid, probably Elvis (I still have them in a box). Joe and his family lived down the street from us on Bellair Way. His daughters attended Catholic school I think. Every so often he had a “wooden nickel day” where he’s scatter wooden coins all over (or at least that’s what I thought at the time). I can attest that he scatted plenty on Bellair Way because I’d get up early on Saturday morning to hunt for them. Then I’d exchange them for more ’45s. All of this happened before the Sharon Estate was developed. As kids we’d go up into those hills for a day of roaming, then arrive home in the evening. Yes, those were the days. My brothers and I were between 7 and 10 years of age, and we roamed anywhere we wanted fearlessly. I attended Ladera for first grade (Mrs. Sanders), Las Lomitas for 2nd through 6th (Davenport, Rhoads, Martin, Rhoads), La Entrada for 7th and 8th (the best teachers ever including Miss Jones and the amazing unforgettable Mr. Ron Rice). Then onto Woodside for high school. My 3 younger siblings (David, Mathew, and Sara) followed in my footsteps.


Craig June 4, 2018 at 12:24 pm

I shared some of the same teachers as you did at Las Lomitas. What years did you attend Woodside? I graduated in 1964.


Marlene Bumgarner July 29, 2018 at 8:41 pm

Hi – I used to frequent a wonderful natural food store on Santa Cruz Avenue. Does anyone remember the name of it, or even better, the owner/manager in 1976?

I am researching for a book and would love to get my facts straight. Thanks.

Marlene Bumgarner


Adrian Brandt July 30, 2018 at 3:40 pm

My mom was “into” natural (aka “health food”) stores in the 70s. You could buy nuts, grains and flours in bulk (as is now common in some “mainstream” stores like Safeway and Whole Foods). I don’t recall a natural food store on Santa Cruz … but I do remember my mother frequenting one in the 70s at 625 Oak Grove (a short block west of ECR on the corner with Maloney St. … about across from where Perry’s Feed & Fuel used to be before it blew up and burned). It was the first place I heard about and tasted “frozen yogurt” … which was a very new “thing” in those days. Kind of like I encountered and played my first “video game” (Pong) at the Oasis in the 70s.


Margo August 14, 2018 at 12:18 pm

Anyone remember Lucille’s Dress Shop, corner of Menlo Ave and ECR— also McMurray Appliances, the first TVs in Menlo. People stood outside the big windows to see what TV looked like.


barbara anderson mcneal June 28, 2019 at 8:57 pm

Yes, I remember Lucille’s Dress shop. And later a dress/lingerie shop over the Village Host. My mom shopped at both. I worked at Clifford’s Pharmacy on Santa Cruz Avenue in the late ’40s and early ’50s.


Mary Barrett June 29, 2019 at 11:34 am

Re: Lucille’s dress shop in Menlo Park, does anyone remember Lucille’s last name?


Laurel (Gooch) Tremaine June 29, 2019 at 3:40 pm

I got my prescriptions at Clifford’s after Preuss Pharmacy changed hands. Mr. Clifford was a nice guy. I came to his door one night to pick up a prescription minutes after he had closed the store, and he let me in! : )


Judith Keenan September 26, 2018 at 10:33 am

I lived in Palo Alto and went to the “Convent of the Sacred Heart in Menlo Park”. Apparently Sacred Heart annexed itself to Atherton and renamed itself when it went co-ed. Duca and Handly also had their flagship store in Palo Alto and my brother and I went to school with Reese and Laurie Duca. Reese and Chop are still great friends. Kepler’s Books changed my life. I went there while boarding at school, had no idea what I wanted to read, and was given five books by Aldous Huxley. Been going ever since even though my dad said it was a “Commie” bookstore. Don’t forget Anderson’s Shoes. They had the contract with CSH for the ugly shoes we had to wear with our ugly uniforms. Pat Anderson was in my class (’64). Last memory is the carnival they had on Santa Cruz Ave. I went on some vomit inducing ride and barfed all over the place while way up in the air. Sorry for being so graphic but I’m laughing as I type this.


CK September 26, 2018 at 1:17 pm

Kepler’s changed your life how. By selling some fictional books?


ned spieker January 7, 2019 at 12:50 pm

remember Ramar Oaks Restaurant in Atherton on EL Camino near
the old Scotty Cambells restaurant …the elegant places in the area!!!
Ramar Oaks had beautiful oak trees in the parking area!!
Scottys had very plaid finished booths…
also Rats was owned by George and Gene Sousa..George resembled a rat…!!!
these remembrances are great…
our family moved here is 1947…and am in Atherton today…71 years!!
i remember most all the places mentioned…thanks !!! ned spieker


Ellen Colin Freitas November 24, 2019 at 12:52 am

Loved reading about Menlo Park memories! I grew up on Gilbert Ave and my dad was the pharmacist at Menalto Pharmacy and later at Clifford’s on SCA.
So many familiar business names. Such a wonderful place to grow up in.


Hal Williams November 24, 2019 at 12:40 pm



Jon November 24, 2019 at 3:10 pm

Painting windows with water colors of Christmas screens on merchants windows on Santa Cruse Ave.


CHARLES WERTHEIMER January 19, 2020 at 11:47 am

I lived near Menlo Park in the 60’s There was a butcher shop on Santa Cruz Ave. Might have been called Mike’s Meats. Not sure. My mom shopped there a lot. Apparently the owners were real cards. Mom would ask, Do you have any dog bones? We had 2 big great danes. One of the counter guys would say to her, we have cow bones, lamb bones, ham bone, but no dog bones. Those were the days!


Shirley Crofts Monroe June 3, 2020 at 1:42 pm

I have very fond memories of growing up in Menlo Park. My 3 sisters and I all graduated from M.A. (1957, 58, 61, & 63). Our family moved to Linfield Oaks when it was new. We would sometimes take a shortcut through the old Stanford Village when we walked home from M.A. It was a great place to grow up. For lunch during high school, we would go to Oxford’s Delicatessen and get a great salami sandwich for 35 cents !


Madeline March 1, 2015 at 2:24 pm

You might be thinking of The Riley’s……..they were husband and wife and taught ballroom dancing to school age kids?? My sister took dance lessons from them ……..most of the kids were in elementary school. NONE of the kids in thoses dance classes wanted to be there……… was TORTURE!!
OMG…… dad went to that barber shop until the guy retired….I think his name was Tony?? I worked at Clifford’s Pharmacy…..Ann’s Coffee Shop and my best friend’s dad owned the kids shoe store on Santa Cruz and University Dr.


Madeline March 1, 2015 at 2:25 pm

You might be thinking of The Riley’s……..they were husband and wife and taught ballroom dancing to school age kids?? My sister took dance lessons from them ……..most of the kids were in elementary school. NONE of the kids in those dance classes wanted to be there……… was TORTURE!!
OMG…… dad went to that barber shop until the guy retired….I think his name was Tony?? I worked at Clifford’s Pharmacy…..Ann’s Coffee Shop and my best friend’s dad owned the kids shoe store on Santa Cruz and University Dr.


Craig K March 2, 2015 at 3:11 pm

Could it have been called “Arthur Murray” dance studio?


Madeline March 2, 2015 at 4:35 pm

I went to St. Raymond’s Elementary School……Notre Dame High School in Belmont. Our house4 was directly across the street from Draeger’s……I loved that house!!
YESSSSS…..I think it was Arthur Murray’s Dance Studio….


Mary Jeanne Oliva March 2, 2015 at 9:51 pm

I remember the donuts and hot chocolate after first Friday mass at St Raymond. Weren’t the donut fro you dad’s bakery, Madeline? Cost was 5 cents 🙂


Craig K March 3, 2015 at 11:51 am

I did not go to St. Raymond’s school although I did attend church there and was familiar with Monsenior Kennedy as he did most of my catechism classes and my first holy communion. The church and grounds were beautiful. I liked the Church of the Nativity as well.
How about the Menlo Circus Club for 4th of July fireworks…..great times!


patricia powell November 4, 2018 at 3:48 pm

I grew up in Menlo Park from 1951 to 1957 and moved back in 1961 to 1969 so I have tons of memories about that place. I always thought the Arthur Murrey sign looked like a man killing a ghost.


Madeline March 3, 2015 at 5:56 pm

Yesssss………that was my Dad~~ He loved bringing the donuts to the kids on First Friday!! Miss my Dad and his donuts :=}


Madeline March 3, 2015 at 5:45 pm

OMG…..Monsignor Kennedy!!! He was a real piece of work…..I made my first holy communion in St. Rays……around 1957 or 1958?? I know I was in the second grade when I made my first communion………we must know many of the same people???
Our house on Santa Cruz Ave was so close to the Circus Club that we could see the fireworks from our front porch……


Craig K March 4, 2015 at 12:17 pm

I am sure our paths crossed, probably more than once even though we went to different schools/high schools. Our home was located in Atherton, near Las Lomitas school, although the boundaries were messed up and I spent Kindergarten at Hillview Elementary, then Ist grade at Las Lomitas…go figure! Woodside HS was were I attended.
Since my dad had his business in MP, I spent many a days downtown, riding my bike everywhere, without a worry one! I was always playing sports, so I was involved with Little League and Babe Ruth baseball. So was my dad, he was always either on the board or involved in Kiwanis or in the community some how.


Patrick williams June 9, 2017 at 12:06 am


Fully paid by parish and tuition we forked over


Dennis October 6, 2017 at 5:43 pm

Yes I too remember Monsignor Kennedy, and too made my first holy communion at St. Raymonds, around that same time. Maybe we knew each other!


Hal Williams March 4, 2015 at 3:34 pm

I went to St Raymond’s same time you received First Communion. Marc Elmo, Elgin Juri, Tom Callahan, Patrick Williams, Barry Lenahan…ok who are you?
Hal Williams


Rod March 4, 2015 at 4:07 pm

He’s a former San Mateo Co. sheriff, and a great guy, last I heard moved up to Sacto to be a CHP officer, that’s circa 1981. We were both fortunate to have very great fathers! Also to grow up in Menlo, in those days. Anyone remember Chief Cleland of the M>P>Fire Dept, also Capt. Jim Ackerman, more great men.


Craig K March 4, 2015 at 10:40 pm

Hal….whom were you talking about @ St. Raymonds?


Shannon August 8, 2017 at 1:04 pm

I was in your class, Hal. Jack Daly, Nancy & Sue Cattaneo, Peter Murphy (aka Skipper) Charles Tschanz, Jeannie Carberry and many more.

Does anyone remember Ruth Girard? I often wonder what became of her. I think she left St Raymond’s around third or fourth grade to live with her grandmother.

And we cannot forget Fran Lawler’s lingerie shop!


Craig K March 4, 2015 at 10:38 pm

Whom are you talking about that was a former SMSO? I too worked there from ’69-80….moved to Placerville and worked in the same field there. I knew a Mark Ackerman…related to Jim?


Craig K March 5, 2015 at 9:28 am

I either played baseball (little league or Babe Ruth) with Mark…not sure if we were on the same team or played against one another. Are you Rod Pomes? Anyway, I knew alot of guys from Oak Knoll/Encinal/Hillview because of baseball. Good memories for sure!


Craig K March 8, 2015 at 11:38 pm

Are your Rod Pommes?


Ann C. June 5, 2017 at 6:09 pm

Chief Cleland was my Dad,knew Jim Ackerman very well. Enjoyed. The trip down memory lane very much.


Rod March 9, 2015 at 6:06 pm

Craig, si yo soy Rod Pommes, living on La Ropa Beach Zihuatanejo for 5 months, then NOB to Ariz, Utah, Half Moon Bay, visiting with our son Paul, our best friends Mark and Debbie Ackerman. Hard to leave here, but we must. Miss Zots, the O, Goose, but not 101, or 280. Are you Craig Kerwin?


gerard pommes March 9, 2015 at 9:02 pm

Craig, Are you Craig Kerwin?


Craig K March 9, 2015 at 11:23 pm

Yes, it is the not so famous, Craig Kerwin. Talked with Barry Morningstar just yesterday. Would love to reminisce with you upon your return to the USA, drop me a e-mail and we can connect without using this blog! [email protected] should work. Looking forward to hearing from you.


gary March 10, 2015 at 10:53 am

Does any remember Gary Jennings or Dirk or gary seeley all lived near bay road M P


Craig K March 10, 2015 at 1:33 pm

Gary, sorry I am not familiar with either.


Garen September 21, 2015 at 1:54 pm

I’m guessing you guys are all about 5 years older than me, but I learned at Add Janes, too, and swam on the team. Spent a lot of time in MP, though I grew up in RWC. Can anybody tell me about a big gray victorian I remember, on El Camino, approximately across from the current entrance to Menlo College? I remember going there with my mom to buy Christmas ornaments.


Susie D. W. September 21, 2015 at 6:40 pm

Maybe you’re thinking of The Carriage House. Roger Reynolds Nursery and later, Edy’s Ice Cream.


Nels Winkless September 21, 2015 at 6:47 pm

Would that have been a few doors from Beltramo’s Liquours, which was on El Camino just across from Menlo school? I used to get the Greyhound bus…or start hitchhiking home to San Mateo…there when I
was a student at Menlo School, from which I graduated in 1952.
Different times.


John Mercer August 8, 2017 at 6:58 pm

Guess I was a cuple of years ahead of you??? St. Rays . . Sure was great at the time . . .no???????? I was with Dave Hovey, Tom Kennedy, Mike Brown ,etc.!!
Sorrry not to include all the many others!!! Time does that!!!
Temember Msgr. Kennedy and the ever present Michael Angelo!!!!
A Great Grammer School!!!!!!!!!!


Mary Barrett March 13, 2018 at 5:57 pm

Ruth Girard? Did she have brothers and live in West Menlo on Sterling Ave.


Shannon August 26, 2018 at 8:24 pm

Mary, yes she did. I believe her mom died and and Ruthie eventually went to live with her grandmother. At last that is the memory I have of her. We were friends back then. I wish I knew what happened to her.


Gail Alberti August 15, 2020 at 8:35 pm

Monsignor Kennedy used to scare the heck out of me when I was young but I grew to appreciate him and grew very fond of him as I got older. I did not go to St. Raymond’s. (went to the Convent as it was called back then) but my family were Parishioners at St Raymond’s dating back to before the big church on Santa Cruz Avenue was built. Monsignor Kennedy became a great friend to my parents, the Hughmanicks,

I don’t know about those allergies but Monsignor would stay at my parents’ place on Kauai every summer, free of charge of course. Perhaps your tuition paid for his flights but rest assured that he was not gouging the parish for anything beyond that. He’d stay for about three weeks, maybe a month, as I recall, and this went on for decades. He was so close to my parents that they bought plots next to each other at Holy Cross, where all three of them now rest. Fun to see all these memories, which I am viewing for the first time. A great place to grow up and I still live here.


Craig K March 1, 2015 at 2:41 pm

I recall the shoe store bought many pair of Keds high tops there as well as some Buster Brown dress shoes, it was right around when the Menlo Clinic was….my pediatrician worked there, Dr. Barthold…what a great guy, he even made house calls back in the day!
Yes, Tony was the man for haircuts…..always cut it to short for my liking but dad was paying so it was cut the way dad wanted it. I do recall Cliffords and Ann’s……do you recall Jerry’s store for men…I still have a couple of wooden hangers around from his store…..still in use! Recycling before its time!


Madeline March 1, 2015 at 2:56 pm

It was called Children’s Bootery… all my school shoes there!! OMG….Dr. Barthold was my mother’s doctor for a really long time…..until he retired. My sister and I saw Dr. Doherty at Menlo Clinic…….when the clinic was so small it was in a group of stores??
My dad and brother bought ALL their clothes at Jerry’s Store for Men… was next to a dime store…..Sprouse-Reitz?? Back then, Stanford Shopping Center was just beginning…….everybody bought clothes and shoes from local merchants. My sister still lives in the house we grew up in on Santa Cruz Ave…….our first house was across the street from Draeger’s Market. My friend and I were at the GRAND OPENING of Draeger’s!!


Cathy January 3, 2020 at 7:15 am

Jerry Jacobs- my dad!!! I grew up with Jerry’s Store for Men. I also have a couple wooden hangers!


Craig K March 1, 2015 at 11:22 pm

It appears that our families may have crossed one another at times in the Menlo Park area….Draeger’s was one of my mothers favorite places to buy meat, she loved the butcher there. So, did you got to MA? Woodside? What year did you graduate?
Sprouse-Ritz, what a great store….you could always find a nickle or dime toy or candy bar….great fun. My first savings account set up by my parents was at the Wells Fargo…not far from my Dad’s office… was such a great time to grow up and to experience Menlo. As a young person….my summer jobs were with the MP Rec. Dept., where I work at certain playgrounds and help to supervise kids that came for summer activities…mostly to goof off. It was fun for me and keep some $$$ in my pocket.


Jeannie C March 22, 2016 at 5:35 pm

OMG. I am so sorry to hear that. Did you, by any chance, own a blue Volkswagon at one time?


Craig K March 22, 2016 at 5:39 pm

Yes on the VW, but it was more of a Maroon/purple looking color! Why?


Jeannie C March 22, 2016 at 5:44 pm

Because I knew a Craig K. that had a blue Volkswagon around 1972.


Craig K March 22, 2016 at 11:04 pm

OK, I forgot, I did have a ’68 VW…first year with the larger taillights and I believe they came out with a automatic transmission.
By the way…my last name is Kerwin…if you would prefer to email you can send to [email protected].


John Mercer December 25, 2017 at 3:28 pm

Joe Preins Record Store! Flklore has it, Joe (may) have had a few, goes out late at night and tosses Wooden Nickels all over town – for Free 45’s the Next Day!!! Great Guy, Joe Was!!!!


Clarke Congdon March 15, 2018 at 9:43 am

Mark Ackerman is living in Santa Clara and part time in Tempe. Just went to spring training with him. Sad news, Roddy Pommes passed away about 6 weeks ago.

You all have some great memories!


Clarke Congdon March 15, 2018 at 9:46 am

How the heck are you??
Judy and I purchased our 69 green VW from Gus Mozart in 68 and we still have it! Restored as it survived our two boys driving it thru High School.
Hope all is good with you.


Starr Dehn February 5, 2019 at 8:34 pm

I am trying to locate a high school friend Mark Ackerman who attended Sunny Hills High School and Santa Clara. He played baseball. Is this the same Mark?


Craig March 15, 2018 at 10:15 am

I was saddened to learn of Rod’s passing. It has been several years that I had been trying to rekindle communications with Rod, but he always seemed to be heading to Mexico for a long winters stay. A few months back, he wrote and odd e-mail basically asking who I was? I would guess he was not well at that point.
I met Rod during little league/Babe Ruth years. Rod went to MA and I went to Woodside, so we grew apart until I ran into him in Halfmoon Bay at the Miramar Beach Inn. My father and Rods father, “Frenchy” were close as they worked in Menlo and were involved with the Babe Ruth program.
I too bought several VW’s from Gus Mozart…..I did not keep any of the ones I bought. Great to hear from you and tell Judy hello for me.


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