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


Hillsborough is situated just west of San Mateo and Burlingame and is probably one of the richest municipalities in California, so far as per capita wealth is concerned. This wonderfully beautiful section of rolling foothill land with level valley below was early acquired by wealthy business men of San Francisco who, seeing its wonderful possibilities, established country homes in the neighborhood. A large part of the holdings was early in the hands of John H. Redington, one of the early pioneers of the county who came by way of the Isthmus of Panama in 1849 and settled here in 1864. His original grant of twenty acres was received from his father in law, Dr. Joseph Henry Poett. To this land he added about 800 acres which extended approximately from the El Camino Real to the bottom of the canyon now covered by the Spring Valley Lake. Mr. Redinigton was an extremely hospitable man and for years his home, which was the only one in the neighborhood, was a place to which the socially prominent of San Francisco delighted to come. One of Mr. Redington's sons who is known locally is Arthur H. Redington, now city attorney of Hillsborough. Mr. George H. Howard was also a resident of the section for many years, and his home was also one of the beauty spots. His property was later acquired by Henry P. Bowie. Mr. Bowie proceeded to beautify his home site in 1879 and planted Coyote Point, known for years as San Mateo Beach and later as Pacific City, with 120,000 young trees and purchased 650 acres of the bay shore lands. The trees which he planted remain today as a testimony of his foresight. Shortly afterwards he employed John McLaren, now superintendent of Golden Gate Park, as head gardener of the San Mateo Rancho, to plant all of the back hills with groups of eucalypti. These and cypress which he also planted are species of trees which add greatly to the beauty of the section. Located within this beautiful section is the Burlingame Country Club, the San Mateo Polo Club, golf links and beautiful homes.

On January 18, 1910, a petition was filed with the board of supervisors asking for incorporation. The election held April 25th resulted in a vote of 60 for and 1 against the proposal, and on May 2, 1910, Hillsborough was set apart as an incorporated city of the sixth class. This action was taken largely to prevent its annexation to the city of San Mateo, which was at that time reaching out for further territory. The officers who have been in charge of affairs in this growing city are as follows:

W. A. Brewer, May, 1910, to December, 1916, Trustee No. 1
E. H. Clark, Jr., December, 1916, to February, 1927
R. Bocqueraz, February, 1927, to May, 1927
Wm. Prescott Scott, May, 1927, to date
Norris K. Davis, May, 1910, to September, 1917, Trustee No. 2
Chas. Crocker, September, 1917, to January, 1918
H. W. Poett, January, 1918, to date
Henry Scott, May, 1910, to November, 1916, Trustee No. 3
Geo. A. Pope, November, 1926, to date
Chas. T. Crocker, May, 1910, to March, 1911, Trustee No. 4
Samuel Knight, March, 1911, to April, 1916
Samuel Knight, September, 1919, to January, 1925
Mr. G. Hitchcock, April, 1918, to September, 1919
R. G. Hooker, January, 1925, to date
Geo. H. Howard, May, 1910, to July, 1927, Trustee No. 5 (Since resigned)

President of Board
W. A. Brewer, May, 1910, to December, 1916.
Henry T. Scott, December, 1916, to November, 1926.
R. G. Hooker, November, 1926, to date.

A. W. Redington, May, 1910, to date.

John A. Hoey, May, 1910, to date.

W. C. Hammatt, March, 1913, to January, 1924.
Geo. A. Kneese, January, 1924, to date.

Fire Chief
W. A. Grant, May, 1913, to October, 1914.
R. E. Soule, October, 1914, to November, 1917.
W. C. Paling, January, 1918, to date.

G. L. Conens, May, 1910, to April, 1916.
C. M. Hirschey, April, 1916, to date.

H. P. Bowie, May, 1910, to September, 1918.
H. N. Stetson, April, 1918, to January, 1921.
Elliott McAllister, January, 1921, to date.

Wm. H. Crocker, April, 1914, to September, 1917.
Chas. Templeton Crocker, April, 1914, to September, 1917.
Wm. Prescott Scott, September, 1917, to May, 1927.
Bernard W. Ford, May, 1927, to date.

It would be impossible to mention any of them without mention of a few of the great pioneers in civic affairs. Dr. W. A. Brewer, the first mayor of the city, is the son of Dr. Alfred Lee Brewer, pioneer Episcopal clergyman and educator of California. Under Dr. Brewer's skillful management after his father's death Brewer's School, which was perhaps one of the best institutions of higher learning in California, thrived until 1916, when Mr. Brewer discontinued the work and took over the pastorate of the Episcopal Church in Burlingame, which has become one of the most active and influential religious institutions in the county. Mr. Norris K. Davis, who was also one of the first trustees, is a grandson of Thomas Starr King, probably the most famous of all of California's early preachers and the man recently selected by the legislature of California for a place in the nation's Hall of Fame. Henry T. Scott of the first board of trustees was for years known as the "iron master of California." He was the guiding genius of the Union Iron Works before its mergence with the United States Steel Corporation. It was under hisguidance that the famous ship Oregon was constructed.

Charles F. Crocker of the first board of trustees has been famous in California as a man of great financial standing and social prominence. And Geo. H. Howard of the famous Howard family was an architect of note and a gentleman of the highest standing. Mr. Howard was connected with the board continuously from May, 1910, until July, 1927, when he resigned.

The city of Hillsborough is unique as a municipality because there are no sidewalks in the village, and there has never been a store or any other kind of public enterprise. The city of San Mateo serves as the place to furnish amusements and also gives the postal and telegraph service to the community. The first town hall was the original Howard home which was brought around the Horn and constructed on a commanding site. In this structure for several years were housed the seat of government, the fire house, the village school, the records court, and the village meeting place. The first of these institutions to depart from this hospitable building was the school, which in 1913 went to a building constructed on a beautiful three acre tract. This little building, which was the work of Architect Louis P. Hobart, a resident of the city, was fashioned on mission lines, and its beautiful lines, its tiled roof, and its court yard attract much attention. Mr. R. L. Crane, Jr., has charge of this delightful school and in it the children of the institution are instructed along absolutely individual lines. This is probably the only school in California of any size where individual instruction is followed with every child, and the boys and girls in Mr. Crane's charge are promoted by subjects just as fast as they can cover the work to be done in a certain grade.

One of the most attraètive features of Hillsborough is the Woodland Theatre, which was constructed in the rear end of the school grounds. Here on Sunday afternoons during the past summer symphony concerts and musical programs of wonderful excellence were produced. The citizens of Hillsborough who made this theater possible are to be congratulated upon their good work, as they have made available an institution that will mean much for the musical life of San Mateo County. The officers of the Philharmonic who made possible the brilliant musical events of 1927, were Mrs. George N. Armsby, president; Mrs. John B. Casserly, vice president; and Mrs. Thomas A. Driscoll, secretary.

The population of Hillsborough is in the neighborhood of 1,300 people.

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