Archive of Jym Clendenin

Jym Clendenin has lived in Menlo Park for 35 years and thinks the town’s best attributes are its attractive housing, friendly residents, and just-right downtown, not to mention the near perfect weather. He worked nearby at SLAC for 33 years as an experimental and accelerator physicist, retiring in 2008. Now he enjoys running, biking, backpacking, cooking and reading as well as unearthing facts about Menlo Park’s little known corners and hidden past.

Jym has written 66 article(s) for InMenlo.

Editor’s note: We received an email from neighbors of this small lane today and ask that you read about but not visit this historic home: “We had an influx of people today. Many residents on this small road are in high-risk groups for coronavirus & would prefer not to be a tourist attraction at this time.”

The late 19th century was a time when wealthy families in San Francisco followed the rail line to the Peninsula to build elegant summer homes. Most of these Grand Dames long ago died or have been institutionalized. In Menlo Park, only 10 Maywood Lane remains as a family residence.

This 8,000 square foot mansion (three floors plus a full basement) was built over a three-year period (1907-1910) by Andrew Jackson Clunie, a wealthy San Francisco lawyer and onetime California Insurance Commissioner. Clunie was very particular about the materials used in the house. The wood must not have any knots. Supposedly three other houses were built with the wood he rejected.

The first two floors have about a dozen large rooms surrounding a grand open staircase area finished with wood paneling. A unique feature of the house is an air moat built under the veranda that surrounds three-quarters of the house. The cool air trapped in the moat moderates the temperature inside the house, cooling it in hot weather, providing insulation on cold days.

The original property extended from Middle Avenue south to San Francisquito Creek, and from San Mateo Drive to several blocks east. The original driveway – now a private lane – begins at the still-standing gate on Middle Avenue. It winds its way past a dozen or so homes that have resulted from various subdivisions of the property and then suddenly terminates at this magnificent structure. The house was last purchased in 1950 by Robert Oakford (1918-2008), later to become a professor of industrial engineering at Stanford University. His surviving family is still resident. [2020 update: Real estate records indicate the home was sold in 2017.]

Stepson Don Smith, who believes the house is a Victorian, was good enough to give us a tour recently. What makes the house so impressive is that there has been so little remodeling inside. That makes it a little antiquated in function, but then again it fits. From the third floor (unfinished), looking out the front, you see only lawn, trees and bushes. The neighboring houses in that direction are almost invisible.

Photos by Linda Hubbard (c) 2020


Donation drive to construct new Menlo Gates continues

The several year effort to collect funds to reproduce the Menlo Gates (originally constructed 1852-4) that gave Menlo Park its name is rapidly coming to a conclusion. The Menlo Park Historical Association  now has an agreement with the City of Menlo Park to donate $43,000 in a matching fund a contract with Sinnott & Co. […]

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Another successful Tour de Menlo in the books

Another great Tour de Menlo — my fourth — held on Saturday, August 18. Taking off from Menlo-Atherton High School, stops included Crystal Springs, Portola Valley and Stevens Canyon Park on the 65-mile ride I did. Whether riders chose the 65-, 46- or 35 mile ride, they all returned to M-A where there was lunch […]

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Backpacking the Sierras continues as a favorite pursuit, this year marked by water – and mosquitos

Editor’s note: Jym Clendenin, a long-time Menlo Park resident and occasional contributor to InMenlo, recently spent a week with six others backpacking in the Sierra Nevadas. His report follows, part of our continuing coverage of how people spent their summer vacation. If you had an interesting adventure, let us know: tips[a] We started our adventure […]

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Menlo Park gates to live again – if enough money can be raised

“Portals of Early Days’ at Menlo Park Laid Low; Landmark of 1854 Falls.” Thus headlined an article in the July 7, 1922, Palo Alto Times. “The landmark…was struck early this morning by two automobiles, filled with singing passengers, which careened down the highway and crashed into the old arch…” The wood “…was rotted and scarcely […]

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Camp Fremont Centennial Committee formed to plan events and celebrations

Ninety-nine years ago today (April 6, 1917) the U.S. entered the European war. At the time, Menlo Park was a relatively sleepy country community consisting of a couple hotels, a few businesses (including several bars) and perhaps 2,000 residents clustered around a Southern Pacific train station. As Barbara Wilcox details in her new book, World […]

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Menlo Park expands Friendship City program

During the month of March, the display case at the Menlo Park Library entrance features two of Menlo Park’s friendship cities: Galway City in Ireland and Bizen in Japan. The signing of a friendship agreement with Galway City in 2013 was the culmination of over 50 years of official and unofficial contacts between the two cities. […]

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Spotted: New shiny red bike racks at Trader Joe’s

There are now five new, bright-red bike racks to compliment the two older gray ones at Trader Joe’s. The ironic thing was that I had just been at the City Admin building discussing bike racks with Mayor Rich Cline. He told me the City is looking to install more of them on Santa Cruz Ave. I complained about not […]

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

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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A look at Menlo Park schools from 1875 to 1927 is focus of mini-exhibit

A new mini-exhibit with photos and other items chronicling Menlo Park schools from 1875 to 1927 is featured in the Menlo Park Library’s downstairs display case through October 30th. What is the significance of these dates? In the 19th century, the name Menlo Park was used for essentially all the area between Redwood City and the […]

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Local bicyclists view coastal farms on 20-mile POST organized ride

On Saturday morning (6/27), over 75 bicyclists of all ages and skills — many from Menlo Park —participated in the first Bike the Coast with POST (Peninsula Open Space Trust). The 20-mile loop began on Cloverdale Road just outside of Pescadero. Riding south, the first stop was at the Root Down Farm , a new organic […]

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