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Description

The First Subdivision Map of Atherton Heights - With Price List!

Rare Subdivision Sales map for Atherton Heights, in Atherton, California, dated May 1937, prepared for Hare, Breweer and Clark, Inc., the owners and subdividers of Atherton Heights. The map includes topographical features, lot details and some landscape information.

Includes a price list dated June 1, 1937, listing the lot prices for 21 lots, two of which are shown as sold. The average home price in Atherton Heights in 2017 was $18.5 Million.

The map is oriented with west at the top and shows the area south and east of the intersection of Stockbridge Avenue and the current Los Pulgas Road. Woodside Heights is just to the west. Streets shown include:

  • Ridgeview Drive
  • Altavista Drive
  • Atherton Avenue
  • Fletcher Driver

The map lists James & Waters, Civil Engineers. and notes that it was recorded with the County of San Mateo, California on May 14, 1937.

Atherton History

In 1866, Atherton was known as Fair Oaks, and was a flag stop on the California Coast Line of the Southern Pacific Railroad between San Francisco and San Jose for the convenience of the owners of the large estates who lived north of Menlo Park. It had been part of the Rancho de las Pulgas. There were several attempts to incorporate Fair Oaks, one in 1874 and another in 1911.

In 1923, Menlo Park wished to incorporate its lands to include the Fair Oaks lands. During a meeting of the representatives of the two communities, it became clear to the Fair Oaks property owners that in order to maintain their community as a strictly residential area, they would have to incorporate separately. 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. That same year, in 1923, the Menlo Polo Club was founded in Atherton.

Faxon D. Atherton, a native of Massachusetts, had spent several years in Chile and Hawaii as a trader in tallow, hides and merchandise. His friend and business associate, Thomas Larkin, had written to him "there is education available for your children and a dignity of living on landed estates down the San Francisco peninsula (that is) convenient and accessible." Atherton purchased 640 acres ) for ten dollars an acre in 1860. His home, "Valparaíso Park", was built several years later.

Because of the development of the railroad, other San Franciscans traveled south and established summer homes. The dirt roads were usually impassable in the winter, so the families were only in residence from May through September.

Thomas H. Selby next purchased 420 acres. A successful businessman, he served as mayor of San Francisco. His country estate was called "Almendral". John T. Doyle, an attorney, built a home off Middlefield Road, "Ringwood". James C. Flood purchased successive parcels and built an extravagant mansion, "Linden Towers". This is now Lindenwood. The Joseph A. Donohoe estate was "Holmgrove" and is now the site of Menlo-Atherton High School. James Thomas Watkins' home was "Fair Oaks" and after two moves, stands restored today on Alejandra Avenue.

Edward E. Eyre was Atherton's the first mayor. In 1928, the residents voted to build a Town Hall, which stands today. The early residents wanted a town that would be divided into large parcels and would not contain businesses. The author Gertrude Atherton, daughter-in-law to Faxon D. Atherton, wrote in The Californians, "Menlo Park (Atherton) has been cut up into country places for what might be termed the 'old families of San Francisco', the eight or ten families who owned the haughty precinct were as exclusive, as conservative, as any group of ancient country families in Europe."

Rarity

The map is apparently very rare. We locate only the 2 examples that we purchased at auction in December 2017.