History of Burlingame, California
From: The Story of San Mateo County, California
By: Roy W. Cloud
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company.
Chicago, Ill 1928


The city of Burlingame, which is one of the most progressive communities of northern California, is located on the bay shore of San Mateo County and is situated on the north end of the San Mateo Grant and the south end of the Buri Buri Rancho. June 9, 1866, Mr. Anson Burlingame purchased a holding of 1,000 acres of the Howard rancho from J. H. Poett and for a time lived in this city. Mr. Burlingame later became famous as the minister to China who was able to persuade the Chinese Empire to open its doors to the trade of the Western world. Following Mr. Burlingame's time a few of the wealthy residents of San Francisco seeing the beauty of the location, settled in Burlingame, which was considered part of San Mateo. It was unincorporated territory but part of the San Mateo school district, and the Peninsular Avenue school, which was erected in 1905, took care of the children of the locality. In 1907 the residents of the section began to clamor for incorporation, and on the sixth of January, 1908, a petition was presented to the supervisors of San Mateo County for the formation of the city. The date of the election was fixed for May 28, 1908. The feeling aroused over the matter became quite intense and at the close of the polls it was found that there were ninety votes for incorporation, and eighty three against the proposition. Them first officers for the new municipality were Trustees Edward Treadwell, Hugo P. Frear, Eric Lange, Sam W. McGavran, George W. Gates. Mr. Treadwell was elected president of the board and ex-officio mayor of the city.

The officers elected since the incorporation have been as follows:

Trustees: Harry W. Bodwell, John P. Cleese, Gustave J. McGregor (x), August Berg (x), Albert A. Meyer, Ernest N. Smith, Edward V. Chevalier, E. M. Moores, Wm. H. Pearson, E. E. Johnson, Ernest C. Douglas, John R. Lynden, Frank Lindsay, Wm. Waters (x), Myron G. McClinton, Gordon C. Hess, Harry A. Totten, Rockwell Stone, Cornelius A. Buck.

Messrs. Lange, McGregor, Moores, Pearson, McClinton, Hess and Totten serving as chairmen.

Treasurer: C. E. Dunshee, 1908-1914 (x); John V. Doherty, 1914-1924 (x); E. C. Anderson, 1925-; F. A. Bloom, 1926 (incumbent).

Clerk and Assessor: Dr. Ira H. Chapman, 1908-1910 (x); James R. Murphy, 1910 (incumbent).

(Those whose names are followed by (x) are deceased.)

Following the incorporation the residents of the section asked that they be set apart as a separate school district. This action occasioned considerable discussion and mass meetings were held to consider the matter. It being found that the petitioners were legally within their rights a school district was established and Mrs. George B. Miller, Mr. C. C. Barre and Mr. William H. Edwards were appointed school trustees. Mr. August Berg, one of the very public spirited citizens of the town, erected a rambling red schoolhouse near the highway and here the school was opened and continued for two years until a bond issue was passed which allowed for the erection of the McKinley School at the junction of Oak Grove Avenue and the highway. Mr. H. E. H. Ruggles was the superintendent of schools until 1924 when he resigned and Mr. L. E. Adams, present superintendent, was elected to take his place. The Burlingame High School was built in 1923. Mr. W. L. Glascock is superintendent and Mr. R. N. Faulkner is principal of the school.

The city hall of Burlingame was erected in 1914, being completed in May of that year. The cost of this building was twenty five thousand dollars. It is located at 237 Park Road and is one hundred feet south of Burlingame Avenue, the leading business thoroughfare of the city.

The Burlingame Advance-Star has been for years the newspaper of the community. The publisher for years was Mr. Sam D. Merk. Dun August 1st, 1927, A. B. Cargill took over Mr. Merk's interests.

The early professional men living and practicing in Burlingame were Dr. A. L. Duffield, who was the first physician. Dr. Offield opened his office in 1907 and is still practicing his profession in Burlingame. Dr. Paul E. Biber was the next. Dr. Biber opened his office in 1915, and continued as a practicing physician until his death in 1926. Dr. Ira H. Chapman was the first dentist of the community and began his practice in Burlingame in 1906 and continued until his death in 1912. Drs. Henry T. Daly and Arthur J. Belton followed shortly afterwards, and they are both still active in their profession. Major Charles M. Kirkbride, who maintained offices in San Mateo, was the town's first attorney, serving from 1900 to 1910. Major Kirkbride was followed by John F. Davis, who acted as city attorney until 1924, when he in turn was followed by Judge Fletcher H. Cutler, who had shortly before moved from Humboldt County and had opened offices in San Francisco and Burlingame. Judge Cutler, who is one of the most prominent men in fraternal circles and is a past grand president of the Native Sons and a present grand officer of the Masonic order, is the incumbent city attorney. Mr. Davenport Bromfield laid out the subdivision of what was originally the town of Burlingame. It was bounded by Peninsular Avenue on the south, the first township line on the north and El Camino Real on the west. In 1911 the territory lying west of El Camino Real, extending from Barroilhet Avenue to Sanchez Avenue was annexed to the town. This was followed by the eastern addition in 1912. The population of Burlingame in 1910 by national census was 1,585. In 1920, 4,107. Beginning in 1921 an era of building developed which has continued to this date, the estimated population in 1927 as computed by the city clerk, Mr. James R. Murphy, being 13,500.

All of the streets of Burlingame are fully paved and side walked, the paving contract aggregating over a million dollars. The streets are lined with trees of various kinds all put in under public improvement assessment by the city and paid for by the property owners.

The homes in Burlingame are as attractive and beautiful as can be found anywhere in the western world. Gardens and lawns meet the eye everywhere, and the set back lines have been so placed that the streets have a fine wide appearance.

Pacific City, which is just at the western end of Haward Avenue, is a famous place of amusement and a well known swimming place, having been formerly known as San Mateo Beach.

The Congregational Church was the first religious institution of the community. After building the first church building in the city it discontinued its work and sold the church to the Burlingame Library Association. The Methodist Church then opened their work under Dr. E. Lyttle, who for years labored in the community. Dr. Lyttle acquired a site on Burlingame Avenue and erected thereon a church and parsonage. This property became very valuable, it was sold to Levy Bros. and a new site was secured and a commodious structure erected on El Camino Real. Dr. James Grant, who for years was in charge of the Catholic work in Burlingame, was one of the best beloved men of the section. He secured a site and built a fine church and parsonage. After this work was finished Father Grant, as a comparatively young man, died. Dr. William A. Brewer began his pastorate in Burlingame in June, 1915, when he discontinued St. Matthew's School. His work has steadily grown and on February 6, 1927, his new St. Paul's Episcopal Church was dedicated. The cost without windows and furnishings was $53,000. Since the dedication $15,000 has been given as memorials.

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