Archive of Bo Crane

Bo has written 6 article(s) for InMenlo.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony honoring the completion of a wooden arched gateway that replicates what had stood alongside what is now El Camino Real from 1855-1922, will be held Sunday, March 17, at 2:00 pm at the Menlo Park Main Library.

The tall main arch had the name MENLO PARK painted across the top by the two Irish men, named for the ranch they owned behind the gateway. The archway name faced eastward. When railroad tracks were installed in 1863, “Menlo Park” was used as a reference for the temporary end of the line while a bridge was being built across San Francisquito Creek to continue the tracks toward San Jose. The name stayed in use and was chosen for the name of the train depot built alongside Ravenswood Avenue.

The replica gateway with MENLO PARK letters back in place once again faces toward the depot only now from the corner of Ravenswood Avenue and Alma Street, where the brief ceremony will be held. The gateway project was initiated by the Menlo Park Historical Association (MPHA), whose office is in the adjacent library building. Funds were raised through donations by businesses as well as individuals and matched by the City of Menlo Park. The city provided the civic center location for the installation and will take ownership of the gates. Mayor Ray Mueller will address the March 17 gathering, which is free to the public.

The gates date back a year before San Mateo County was created. In 1855, Leland Stanford was still tending his general store in the gold rush foothills. El Palo Alto had twin trunks but the town of the same name was 40 years away. Mayfield was the name of a farm on the County Road, to become an official township that year. Franklin Pierce was the American president with Abraham Lincoln two elections away.

The painted MENLO PARK letters faded away over time as the gate remained a weathered but honored city landmark, avoided by the busy activity of World War I’s Camp Fremont. But in 1922 an automobile late at night careened into the aging structure, splintering it into a pile.

In 2014, members of MPHA begun a long-discussed effort to recreate the gates. Years of fund raising ensued until work began late last year. The committee members, some of whom passed away during the process, will be honored on March 17. The gates architect and contractor Sam Sinnott, is also a MPHA and Menlo Gates Committee member.

“Menlo Park” was chosen as a name by one of the two Irish ranch owners for Menlo village, near his hometown of Galway, Ireland. Fittingly, the ceremony will be held on the afternoon of St. Patrick’s Day.

Top photo by Bo Crane (c) 2019: historical photo courtesy of Menlo Park Historical Association

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Remembering Menlo Park’s hippie past – and the Whole Earth Truck Store

Have you heard about the famed counter culture publication from the 60s and 70s called the Whole Earth Catalog? The Whole Earth Truck Store (WETS) was a 1963 Dodge truck that was not simply a store on wheels but also an alternative lending library with a mobile micro-education service. A catalog was developed to explain […]

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Menlo Gates starting to take shape near Menlo Park Library, but additional funds are needed

The Menlo Gates project, long in the planning and fund raising, has finally begun construction, though funding is remains short $15,000 of the final goal. Construction is proceeding. The steel cross beams have been placed and the redwood covering comes next, weather and holiday permitting. By the end of the month, some or all of the […]

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100th anniversary of Armistice Day to be celebrated at Fremont Park

Beginning at 10:30 am on Sunday, November 11, the Menlo Park Historical Association (MPHA) will host an event at Fremont Park in downtown Menlo Park celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Armistice that ended the Great War, now known as the World War I. The celebration will also include the 80th anniversary of the […]

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Revisiting Round Table Pizza just shy of its 60th anniversary

Two national businesses that our town of Menlo Park spawned are still alive and well. One was incorporated in 1998 and first set-up in a garage of a newly-purchased home at 232 Santa Margarita. Now headquartered in Mountain View, Google is part of everyday life. The other began in a California Water Service building on […]

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

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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