Town of Atherton celebrates its centennial at new Town Center

by Linda Hubbard on September 25, 2023

The Atherton Town Center (80 Fair Oaks Lane) was filled with residents and dignitaries on Sunday afternoon, all gathered to celebrate the town’s centennial.

Attendees could learn about the various Atherton neighborhoods, sample treats from French bakery Mademoiselle Colette which is located at the town’s new library, and enter to win an oak tree.

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo spoke as did various Atherton City Council members and  State Senator Josh Becker and County Supervisor Ray Mueller, the last two sneaking in a bit of Menlo Park to the festivities given that they are residents of the neighboring city.

That seemed only fitting as in 1923, Menlo Park wanted to incorporate its lands to include Fair Oaks, the original name of Atherton. During a meeting of the representatives of the two communities, the Fair Oaks property owners maintained their community was a strictly residential area and they wanted to incorporate independently.


Both groups rushed to Sacramento but the Fair Oaks committee arrived first. It was at that time they realized that they could not keep the name Fair Oaks, as it was already the name of a town near Sacramento. It was decided to honor Faxon Dean Atherton who had been one of the first property owners in the south peninsula and name the town for him. Atherton was incorporated on September 12, 1923.

Other chose Atherton to build their estates. The Mayor of San Francisco, Thomas H. Selby, purchased over 400 acres and called his estate Almendral. John T. Doyle, an attorney, also built a home off Middlefield Road, Ringwood. James C. Flood, owner of Linden Towers, now known as Lindenwood. The Joseph A Donohoe estate was Holmgrove and is now the site of Menlo Atherton High School.

Today the town covers six square miles and is home to about 2,500 households.

Top three photos by Robb Most; photo of tree giveaway by Linda Hubbard (c) 2023


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