Redwood City, the county seat of San Mateo County, is located at the head of Redwood Creek and is about four
miles from the open waters of the San Francisco Bay. It is situated on the Southern Pacific Railroad and is about
twenty eight miles south of San Francisco. The town was laid out on the Rancho de Las Pulgas and during the Spanish-Mexican
regime was known throughout the valley as the Embarcadero. The landing was on the creek on Broadway between the
properties now owned by Horace Gardiner and August Fromm. It was situated in this place because of its access to
the timber industry, and the roads leading from the mountain were of good grade and could be followed most of the
In 1851 the first house was built in Redwood City by Captain A. Smith on the south side of Bridge Street as Broadway
was formerly called. The first local industry offering inducement to settlers was shipbuilding, which was started
in 1851 by G. M. Burnham, who built the schooner Redwood, which for years carried lumber, wood and hay from this
place to San Francisco and other bay ports. Following the building of the Redwood these ships were also built,
the Mary Martin, Caroline Whipple, Harriett and the Dashaway. These vessels were erected in the boat building plant
which is now used as the site of the Carnegie Library. Several other boats were built in the yards of William Bell,
which was situated just back of the residence of Supervisor John W. Poole. A drawbridge across the creek on Broadway
allowed the boats to proceed after they were finished.
The first store was established in September, 1852, by William Shaw. In 1853 A. Harris opened a hotel known as
the "American." This building was situated at the head of Broadway and the building which now occupies
the site will be removed soon for the extension of that thoroughfare. The "American" was a hospice of
true, early California style. It possessed a single lodging room with ranges of bunks along its sides. In the summer
of 1853 the opinion prevailed that the grant to the Pulgas Rancho would not be confirmed by the United States Land
Commissioners, and in consequence numbers of squatters made their appearance from the surrounding country and from
San Francisco, to take possession of the supposed public land. There were in all about three hundred of the settlers,
most of whom came fully armed, and proceeded to build shanties, measure off one hundred and sixty acres each, and
take formal possession of the newly acquired property. The land most coveted was that lying between Redwood City
and the San Francisquito Creek which, from its being beautifully wooded seemed peculiarly desirable. Many ludicrous
occurrences took place in the neighborhood during this squatter excitement. The favorite time for operations was
during the night and magic itself could not excel the changes wrought by means of tents, shingle houses, splinter
fences, etc., during the hours of darkness, and often conducted so silently that no one knew of the changes till
daylight developed them. It not infrequently happened that several parties were attracted by a choice piece of
ground, and having commenced fencing during the night, would discover their error only when the next morning showed
the similarity of intent in their labors. Of course, in such a case a fight ensued, when the strongest party took
the property. On one occasion a party commenced work fencing a piece of land during the night, and on completing
their labors next morning discovered in the center of their enclosure an occupied dwelling, built several days
before, but which in their eagerness, they had not observed. Fence rails were at this time twenty five cents each,
sixteen to twenty of which would be an ordinary armful, the venders of this apparently valuable article grumbling
at the exceedingly low prices. Lumber commanded the enormous price of fifty dollars per thousand feet, for common
boards, at the mills, only four miles distant. In 1853 the large gang mill, with twenty six saws, was built by
Dennis Martin, at a cost of upwards of $30,000. This mill was burned down in 1856. Shingles sold readily at upwards
of ten dollars per thousand.
The little deserted cabin which stood at what is now the junction of the Woodside Road and the Highway, 10 by 15
feet in dimensions, near the county road, opposite town, and upon Hon. Horace Hawes' farm was at this time in full
operation as the "Pulgas Ranch House," where the traveling community were furnished with "accommodations
for man and beast" - which consisted of a soft spot under a tree and a roll up in his own blankets, if he
had any, for the man, while the beast was turned out on the plain. At this time a very singular means for crossing
the creek (on Broadway) was in use, the present bridge not being in existence. This ferrying was done by foot passengers,
with the assistance of a huge pair of boots, rivaling in size the famous seven leaguers of the giant of the nursery
tale. In these enormous boots the passenger encased his extremities and waded through the mire and water safely
to the desired shore. Tradition of the time tells of a diminutive individual who essayed the passage, but lost
his balance when midway, and was nearly drowned, but was drawn out half dead, by the humane inhabitants who came
to his rescue. Near by, in rear of the Engert tract, about this period the great Colonel Harazthy, of mint-chimney
notoriety, possessed a camp, and was engaged in herding cattle.
Upon confirmation of the Pulgas Rancho to the claimants and later day possessors, much difficulty was experienced
in ousting the squatters and for many months affairs in the neighborhood were in a sad condition, many of the "settlers,"
as they termed themselves threatening death to the confirmees of the grant and any others who dared molest them.
Many riots were the consequence, but no blood was shed, though why it was not, under the circumstances, and considering
the desperate character of many of the contestants is very remarkable. Gradually, however, they were one by one
reconciled, and left, or purchased from the grantees.
But little change or progress was perceptible in the shape of improvements, etc., in Redwood City from the time
of the above events until 1856, in which year the Consolidation Act, forming a single Government for the City and
County of San Francisco, and circumscribing the latter within its present limits, went into operation.
Other early day merchants in Redwood City were Charles Livingston, George Thatcher & Son, and J. B. Diller.
And when the county of San Mateo was organized the building in the rear of Diller's store was used as the first
court house, and this building, erected from hewn timbers, is still standing by the side of the creek just back
of the old Chamberlain store.
The business of wagon making and blacksmithing because of the large amount of teaming between Redwood City and
the mills became an important industry at an early date and was started by George Dyzart in 1851. He was follow
ed by Smith & Chew, then by Chew & Hilton and later by the firm of Hilton & Titus, which continued
in the blacksmithing business for many years. In 1853 J. M. Allen located on what was then the corner of Main Street
and the County Road.
In the professions Dr. A. T. McClure was the first to locate in this section. In January, 1854, Mr. S. M. Mezes,
one of the proprietors of the Pulgas Rancho laid out and planned the town of Mezesville, covering a part of the
territory now occupied as Redwood City. This survey was recorded in San Francisco and later in August of 1856 was
officially designated as the name of this municipality, and for years all deeds to property were made as of the
town of Mezesville. The early settlers not liking the term "Embarcadero" and because of the large shipments
of Redwood lumber, called the place Redwood and the name of Mezesville could not change the name in the minds of
those who resided here and so when the town was incorporated the name was officially changed to Redwood City. The
first pioneers of purely native strain were the twin sisters Mary and Caroline Tyler, children of Peter Tyler,
one of the first ship carpenters here. The first post office was at the Steinberger house which was known as the
John Hays property and Jesse D. Carr was postmaster until 1853, when George Thatcher was appointed.
In 1856 Mr. S. M. Mezes donated a block of land for a courthouse and a tax was put upon the property of the county
and in 1858 a beautiful new brick courthouse costing $10,000 was erected.
Although religious services of various kinds were held before that time the first permanent church organization
was started here on the 2nd of November, 1862, when Rev. J. S. Zeilie settled here. The charter members of this
church were Rev. J. S. Zeilie, Mrs. C. P. Zeilie, James Dunn, Mrs. Ann Dunn, Mrs. Prudence Merrill, J. J. Dorland,
James Cook, Robert McMillan, Mrs. Melissa McMillan, Mrs. Martha Chandler, Mrs. A. A. Thurber, and Samuel Churchill.
On the 16th of October, 1863, the first passenger train of cars passed through Redwood City on an excursion trip
over what was then called the San Francisco and San Jose Railroad, and the following account is taken from the
Gazette of October 23, 1863:
"On Saturday last, the western portion of what is to be the great trans continental railway, was formally
opened from San Francisco to Mayfield. An excursion train, consisting of six passenger cars and a number of freight
cars, drawn by two splendid locomotives, and carrying some four hundred passengers, ran from San Francisco to Mayfield,
then returned to the San Francisquito Creek, and joined in a picnic gotten up in fine style by the managers under
the immediate supervision of our friend and patron Saulman, than whom, none could have done it better. Everything
that was good for man was there in abundance, and much that is called good that we do not believe in. Many who
indulged freely in champagne on that occasion must have found 'real pain' a few hours after. After a couple of
hours of uninterrupted pleasure in the grove, the excursionists returned and were borne by the iron horse back
to San Francisco. Through the kindness of the managers, we were 'along,' and we heard but one opinion expressed
in regard to the road that it was one of the smoothest that ever a train ran over. The locomotives are first class
and all the cars are gotten up after the most improved models used at the east.
"On Sunday, two trains ran each way, and since then, trains have run regularly on schedule time one train
each way, daily, arriving here from the city at 10, and leaving here for the city at 11 A. M. This arrangement
is somewhat inconvenient for our people who would prefer to go down in the morning and back in the evening. When
the road is opened through to San Jose no doubt the company will find it to their advantage to run two trains a
day each way and then we can go whichever way we please, and return the same day.
"The work is being pushed rapidly forward and it will be but a few weeks before the road will be fully open
to San Jose."
The coming of the railroad served to curtail the activities of the stage coaches which had been up to that time
the principal means of locomotion between Redwood City and the metropolis. The condition of the streets in Redwood
City and the roads leading to adjacent territory had for a long time been the main topic of conversation. For during
the rainy weather all business practically had to cease because of the impossibility of either wagon drawn transportation
or travel by foot. To remedy this condition a petition was presented to the county court praying that the town
of Redwood City might be incorporated under the general law for the incorporation of towns. The petition was granted
and an election ordered for May 11, 1867, at which date the following officers were elected: Trustees, J. V. Diller,
S. S. Merrill, J. W. Ackerson, John Titus, and L. A. Parsons; marshall, J. C. Edgar; assessor, Andrew Teague; treasurer,
S. H. Snyder.
The first meeting of the board was held May 11, 1867, and John Ames was elected clerk. The initiatory steps in
the matter of improved streets were taken on the 3d day of October of that year, when a contract for the construction
of one thousand feet of street, between the railroad crossing and the county road, was let to Owen McGarvey at
$1.50 per lineal foot. The street of broken rock was twenty feet wide by one foot in depth. In March, 1868, Harvey
Kincaid, Esq., then Senator from this district, introduced and procured the passage of a special act of incorporation,
under which the town continued to be governed until the amended and revised act of 1874. Under this charter of
1868 an election was held May 4, when the following officers were elected: Trustees, J. V. Diller, John W. Ackerson,
Andrew Teague, John Crowley, and James Hilton; marshal, J. C. Edgar; treasurer, S. H. Snyder; assessor, Wilson
On the 4th day of August of that year the board ordered an election for the purpose of submitting to the people
the proposition to borrow $5,000 for street improvements. The election was held on the 29th of August, and resulted
in an affirmative response to the proposition. A loan was negotiated of William C. Ralston, with interest at the
rate of ten per cent per annum, principal payable in five annual installments. This loan, together with the taxes
of that year, put the trustees in possession of about $8,000, and with it they commenced work by letting to Peter
Connally, September 2, 1868, a contract to curb and macadamize Mound, Main and Bridge streets, at $2.18 per lineal
foot. The contract called for rock from the McGarvey ranch, but difficulty being encountered in obtaining it from
that source, Hon. T. G. Phelps, without compensation, furnished the town with material from his premises.
In March, 1869, Heller and Phelps streets were ordered graded and turnpiked, and in August of that year a contract
was awarded to Mr. Phelps for curbing and macadamizing "A" Street to the railroad crossing, at $1.60
per foot. In November, Second and Third streets were ordered to be turnpiked, on the petition of property owners.
In 1870, the macadamizing of "A" Street was completed by Peter Early. In 1872, Heller and Phelps streets
were macadamized, and Redwood City, which, in early days, had an unenviable reputation for the character of its
roads, could now take commendable pride in them.
The first school was started in 1853 and was held under a big oak tree on the corner of what is now Whipple Road
and the El Camino Real. The first schoolhouse was a small board shanty erected at the Embarcadero through the liberality
of a few citizens. Ten pupils only were found to occupy it and a short time afterwards a better schoolhouse was
built on what is now Winslow Street on almost the exact location of the Peninsula Garage. After its abandonment
the schoolhouse was for many years occupied as a residence by John Hanley and family, and one of his daughters,
Mary Hanley, was for many years a teacher in the Redwood City schools.
Of the pioneer hotels the first was the "American" House, which was burned several times, being rebuilt
each time until 1878, when after its destruction by fire it was not rebuilt, The Grand Hotel, owned and conducted
by John Crowley, stood on the location now occupied by the First National Bank. It also was destroyed by fire and
was never rebuilt. The Tremont House, just across the street from the Grand Hotel on Main Street, was for a long
number of years conducted by Charles Ayres and wife.
The stage coach lines were among the highly picturesque businesses of this locality and for years the stage coaches
drawn by six fine horses made their daily trips between Woodside, Searsville, La Honda, San Gregorio, and Pescadero.
S. L. Knight was the veteran proprietor of this business and he in turn turned it over to his son, Walter Knight,
who is still a resident of Woodside. The drivers of these stages were Tom Stout and Tom Sloane, and they were known
personally by every man, woman and child along their right of way.
Two popular business houses began in the early days; the Eureka, a brewery conducted first by Gevert Plump, later
by Claus Hadler, and later by Max Spoerl, was located on the corner now occupied by the Sequoia Hotel, and the
Pioneer Brewery was conducted by Michael Kreiss on the Highway just south of town. These two popular breweries
were forced to go out of business, however, prior to the time that prohibition came to the city.
The pioneer blacksmiths of Redwood City were Hilton & Titus, J. M. Allen & Son, W. H. Simmons, L. Fisher,
Daniel Ford and John Gunning, and later William Bement, Pat McCann, Jeff Wilson, and William McDonald, the singing
blacksmith, who left during the '90s to book as the heavy bass singer for the Bostonians. George T. Durham is now
the only successor to these smiths who wielded the sledge and welded the steel in the days gone by.
John W. Glennan was the pioneer harness maker of the town, J. F. Viner and Dan Mullen also going into the same
business. Mr. Glennan who was one of the very prominent citizens of the community was succeeded by his son F. W.
Glennan who still maintains a harness making business, but whose time is now largely occupied in making automobile
tops and taking care of the leather goods in automobiles. Besides his harness business Dan Mullen was also the
village dancing teacher and violinist and his services as a musician are still in demand when an old time fiddler
The merchandise establishments have been recounted. Following the early store keepers came Diller & Cooper,
this business being purchased by Chamberlain & Wilcox. Mr. P. P. Chamberlain who was also in the general merchandise
business for many years was county treasurer for a longer period than any other official had ever held office in
the State of California, he having been elected county treasurer in 1878 and continued on in the office until 1927
when he retired to make way for his successor, Mrs. Grace L. Cooper, a daughter in law of the man whose business
he had purchased. Other pioneer merchants were Claus Hadler, L. Jacobson, and his sons Charles and Harry, Martin
Kuck, Gevert Plump and his sons Will and Carl and Adolph, who are still alive, two of them being residents of this
city, T. J. Smith, David Baker, J. F. Fitch, and Prebble & Green. These in turn were followed by James Stafford
who turned over his business to his sons Daniel and George, the latter of whom is now in the grocery and hardware
business with his partner P. E. Long under the firm name of Stafford & Long.
T. J. Smith conducted a general merchandise business, his specialty being auction sales; Henry Hurd was also a
pioneer grocer, as were the Offerman brothers, Henry and John. Gabe Einstein, who was one of the best known and
best liked merchants of Redwood City, started a dry goods store here about 1885 and continued until his death.
His successor was Henry Marcus who is now in business here in his store in the Woolly building on Broadway.
In the hay and grain, wood and coal business John Christ was the pioneer, he having his feed and fuel store by
the creek on Broadway, his yards taking up the entire portion of the block which is now occupied by the Gardiner
buildings. When he was forced to move by the erection of Price's hotel, which was the first three story brick building
in town, and in its time the most beautiful hostelry on the peninsula, he moved to a place on Washington Street
which is now occupied by the San Carlos Creamery, Redwood City Undertaking Parlors, Mrs. Titus' rooming house and
Pacific Gas & Electric Substation. He continued in business until the '90s when he retired to take up the duties
of town marshal. Cullen & Company have been in business continuously since the opening of the business by Pat
Cullen in the '70s. Mr. Cullen until his death, which occurred in a runaway accident on the county roads, was assisted
by his sons Ed, Charley and Jack, and later by his son Cornelius, who gave up his position as train master in San
Francisco to take over the business which is now conducted by Mrs. Cornelius Cullen. J. B. Perry & Son, who
also are engaged in the sale of feed and fuel, began business here some twenty years ago and are now active in
In plumbing in the early days was James Fitch. Mr. Fitch sold his business about 1882 to T. J. McNamara, who with
his family conducted the establishment for a long number of years. Henry Horton, who had as his chief assistant
George Heller, sold his business in the early '90s to T. C. Barton, who with his sons John and Charley, conducted
the place until Mr. Barton's death. It was later taken over by Rudolph C. Holmquist, who has conducted the business
since in connection with his hardware store which is located on the corner of Main and Stambaugh streets. Percy
Jamieson was another of the early day plumbers in Redwood City, and one of the earliest arrivals in Redwood City.
His son, William Jamieson, followed in the footsteps of his father and upon the death of the latter took over his
patronage. Mr. William Jamieson is still one of the operating plumbers in this city. Of the present plumbing establishments
Philip Brand on the corner of Washington and Marshal streets and William Hogan on Winslow Street and R. C. Holmquist,
Jr., on Main Street, take care of all the work in that line.
In the hardware line P. P. Chamberlain & L. Jacobson supplied the local trade along with their other merchandise
business. In 1892 N. B. Graves entered the local field with a straight line of hardware and continued in business
until his death when the store and stock were taken over by Asa and Guy Hull. This business was conducted by Mr.
Guy P. Hull until his death three years ago when Asa Hull sold his creamery business which he had conducted for
many years as the San Carlos Creamery and took over the active management of the store.
Men's furnishings were for years part of the stock of all of the different merchandise establishments. The first
to enter into the sale, strictly, of gents' furnishings was Horace B. Gardiner, who began business here in 1906
and has continued to date. About ten years ago Milton Marcus opened a business separate from his father's and continued
in business until three years ago when he sold to Mr. A. J. Weiss who is now in that line.
Of the tailors, the first to enter business in this section was Mr. F. E. Bartlett, who maintained the Main Street
tailoring establishment. Mr. Bartlett was perhaps the most active of all of the early pioneers of Redwood City,
he having been Captain of the Jefferson Troop maintained in this city throughout the war, and was the first master
of the Redwood City Lodge of Masons. He continued in business for a number of years when he sold to Mr. A. Kelly.
Mr. Kelly was for years in his tailoring establishment. Others were here for a shorts time, but with little success.
In 1896 Carl Muller entered the business and since then until the present has been one of Redwood City's most prosperous
Of the pioneer barbers Henry King was the main tonsorial artist of the county. Joe Larkin and John Fehrn then opened
shops. E. Ted Thompson came to Redwood City in the middle '90s and F. Rosselle, father of Frank Rosselle, followed
soon after. On his retirement his son Frank took over the business and he with Mr. Ted Thompson and the latter's
son, Frank, are the pioneers in that line of work in this city.
The James Crowe Undertaking Company was for many years the only one in the undertaking business in the southern
section of San Mateo County and until his death James Crowe had almost the exclusive rights to all this territory
in his line. Mr. Crowe's chief assistant for years was his nephew, Richard Pigeon. Upon his death the business
was taken over by Mr. W. A. Crowell, who later was married to Miss Kitty Crowe, daughter of the pioneer undertaker,
and the business is still conducted as the James Crowe Company. Mr. John Layng came to Redwood City some twelve
years ago in 1915 and has built up a good business under the firm name of the Redwood City Undertaking Company
and now has a well planned establishment on Washington Street.
The early day painters of Redwood City were Dennis G. Leary, Fred Whooton, Ed Thompson, and H. E. Heiner.
In the lumber business Hanson Ackerson & Company were the pioneers. Mr. Charles Hanson had been connected with
shipping interests and John Ackerson, the first sheriff of the county, was connected with various lines of endeavor
until the two formed a partnership. They secured heavy holdings in Washington and the city of Tacoma grew up on
their land, so at an early date they were able to dispose of much of their retail business and devote themselves
to the milling and realty business. Mr. Ackerson left Redwood City in the '60s while Charles Hanson continued to
make this his home and at his death the business passed into the hands of his son, William H. Hanson, who died
some years ago. Will Hanson changed the name of the local firm from Hanson & Company to the Tacoma Milling
Company and it is now the property of E. B. Fox and George McNulty and is known as the Fox-McNulty Lumber Company.
Mr. McNulty has for many years been a member of the board of town trustees, a past master of the Redwood City Lodge
of Masons and is active in all lines of public work.
Mr. G. B. Hartley, for many years county superintendent of schools and principal of the local schools, with G.
B. Borden of Halfmoon Bay maintained a shingle business here. The Sampson brothers, David and Lyman, sold lumber,
and the Saunders Lumber Yard which belonged to Joshua and Ambrose Saunders, maintained a lumber yard here for many
years with Benjamin A. Rankin, a Grand Army veteran, for the manager. The Virginia Timber and Milling Company then
entered the field with Frank Gray and Kilbourne List as the managers. This business was taken over by Gray-Thorning
Company, of which William P. Gray and Z. T. Thorning are owners, and they with Lindsey Gray, son of Mr. W. P. Gray,
are now conducting the business. Mr. Thorning is a member of the board of trustees of Redwood City and is active
in all lines of public endeavor. The Progress Lumber Company, the property of William H. Pafflin, and a branch
of the Sudden Lumber Company, are also among the present day lumber companies of Redwood City.
The "Farmers Home" which for many years occupied the site used by the Woolly Building, was at first conducted
by James Horn and wife and later by G. Tribolett and family. It was the hotel for the working men of the town.
The "Redwood City House," erected in the late '70s, was for a number of years maintained by the late
C. J. Hynding, who conducted it until the time of his death. In late years Mr. Bertolucci and Joe Bertolucci have
had charge of this place. The Del Monte Hotel, just adjoining, was built in the early years of this century by
Charles Luscher and is still the property of his wife.
In the butcher business Joseph Smith was perhaps the pioneer. He was followed in turn by Harvey Bishop, J. Tisdale,
Andrew Nelson, Steve and Al Davis, A. and L. Green, Thomas Hinds, and T. P. Maloney. This brings the business down
to the present day, and there are now in the community ten firms conducting businesses of this kind.
A business which has come within recent years to Redwood City is the groceteria business. Mr. Elmore B. Hinman
who for several years was president of the Chamber of Commerce, was the first to start a store of this kind. He
was followed soon afterwards by a local branch of the Sunshine Stores. H. Swanson followed, his business now being
conducted by William Hahn, and in June, 1927, a branch of the Piggly Wiggly Grocery business was opened here.
In the drug business S. S. Merrill was the pioneer. He was followed by Will Frisbie and later John J. Hays, who
also conducted a real estate and insurance business opened an opposition store. Following these two Andrew D. Walsh,
Will Stewart, and Ed Fisher were pioneers in that work. Of the present druggists, of which there are now five,
P. A. Ryan has been in business in Redwood City for thirty one years and conducts his store just opposite Young's
Drug Store on Broadway.
Among the business interests which have been discontinued was the shoe factory on Washington Street, the Redwood
City Milling Company which operated in the southern end of the town, a grist mill conducted by Lyman Sampson, a
flour mill conducted by Bunn Bros., and the J. Horstman Chemical Company which operated here for many years.
The pioneer in the realty business was George Lovie, who opened and conducted the first building and loan association
in Redwood City. Following Mr. Lovie, W. H. Adams, the first man to put on a subdivision in San Mateo County, came
here in the '80s and subdivided the McEvoy tract just south of town. Mr. Adams was before his time, however, as
the subdivision failed. He continued in the real estate business for many years, his office being located on the
corner just now occupied by the Carnegie Library. Wellesley Park Realty Company followed and in the early '90s
their firm put that section of the city on the market. At the opening of the sale Baldwin & Howell of San Francisco
staged a tremendously big auction at which a number of the lots were sold at prices varying from one hundred to
one thousand dollars apiece. The Redwood City Realty Company next opened its doors with Charles G. Lambert of Belmont
in charge. Mr. Lambert conducted the business, later taking it over and finally engaging in business under the
firm name of Lambert and Walter with Mr. Dave Walter as his partner. Others now engaged in the real estate business
in Redwood City are Henry Witte & Company, Robert Letts, Whitcomb & Smith, William Dusel, Redwood Highlands
Company, Leonard & Holt, Daniel R. Stafford, E. W. Magruder, H. E. Hallet, A. D. Walsh, Mark A. McCann, and
Hare, Brewer & Clark.
The pioneer banker was L. P. Behrens, who in 1895 organized the First National Bank of San Mateo County, which
for many years was under his guidance and care. About 1905 the Redwood City Commercial Bank was organized and this
in turn was taken over in 1919 by the Bank of Italy.
The newspapers and churches of this section will be dealt with in a separate article.
The pioneer physicians of the county were A. S. McClure who located on the ten acre field just opposite the
present site of the Southern Pacific Station and whose home was located about in a position where the bunkers of
the Redwood City Material Company now stand; Dr. A. Milliken, who was located on Webster Street just back of the
courthouse; A. S. Forrest; C. A. Kirkpatrick, whose home and offices were located just on the corner of Winslow
and Broadway, where the Fitzpatrick & Curran Service Station now stands. This home was also for many years
the residence and office of Dr. A. S. Loveland, Dr. Kirkpatrick having moved to the home just across from the Congregational
Church now occupied by A. M. Robertson; and S. S. Stambaugh, after whom Stambaugh Street was named. They in turn
were followed by Doctors J. L. Ross and W. A. Barrett. Besides Doctor Ross there are now located in Redwood City
a number of physicians, namely: H. A. Clattenburg, John Blood, F. S. Gregory, W. H. Murphy, H. Peddicord, J. H.
Of the dentists Dr. Stuttmeister was the pioneer of the county. The next who followed Dr. Stuttmeister was George
Milliken, son of Dr. A. A. Milliken. At present those engaged in the business are N. C. Cummings, Norman and Sidney
MacKenzie, W. H. Hatch, A. E. O'Neil and W. B. Langston.
The lawyers of the county were Charles N. Fox, Benjamin F. Fox, H. A. Schofield, Harvey Kincead, Andrew Teague,
E. L. Head, George W. Fox, L. D. Jenks, W. R. Smith, H. N. Nutting, George C. Ross, George H. Buck, Edward F. Fitzpatrick
and J. J. Bullock. Judge Edward F. Head was the blind judge of San Mateo County and a jurist of great repute. George
H. Buck is now and has been since 1889 one of the best known public officials in the State of California in his
position as Superior Judge of the County of San Mateo. George C. Ross, who has been in the legal business for about
the same number of years is now the pioneer of the county's barristers, and is associated in business with his
sons, Hall C. and Lee T. Ross, under the firm name of Ross and Ross. Besides this firm the attorneys now in business
here are James T. O'Keefe, who for a time represented San Mateo County in the State Legislature; J. J. Bullock,
who was for several terms district attorney of San Mateo County; Franklin Swart, who has been district attorney
of San Mateo County since 1910; Edmund Scott, his assistant; A. J. Stebenne; Archer Kincead, who succeeded his
father in the law business in the early '90s; Joseph A. Fitzpatrick, who took over the business of his father,
John E. Fitzpatrick, when the latter passed away in 1926.
The cobblers of Redwood City played quite an important part in the early day life as ready made shoes were not
so easily secured then as they are now, and besides cobbling and mending shoes the men who did this work also made
boots and shoes for their patrons. Of these early day tradesmen Fred Botsch was probably the earliest in his line.
His shop was on Main Street close to the present location of the Sunshine Store. Mr. Botsch was a kind hearted
old German gentleman, as I remember him, with a decided impediment in his speech, and it used to be one of the
delights of the youth of Redwood in the olden days to stand at the door and mimic him, thus insuring a chase with
a leather strap. It is more than probable that Fred could have caught the offenders had he wished, but he always
fell just a little short of his quarry. Another cobbler was Pat McCarthy. Pat's shop was on the corner now occupied
by the California Pacific Title and Insurance Company, and during the summer was a rendezvous for the small boys
of the town. Just beside the shop was a mammoth crab apple tree, and so long as the youngsters did not break the
limbs they could have their fill of the little sour apples which grew in such profusion. William H. Douglas also
made boots and shoes and the writer of this history can well remember his pride and joy when at the age of ten
or thereabouts his father took him to "old man Douglas' " shop and had him fitted for a pair of boots.
They were wonderful to behold with nice brass tips and bright red tops, and as the pantaloons worn at that time
came just to the knees the writer was the envy and admiration of every other boy in school when he first appeared
with his new top boots. Mr. Douglas was also the Justice of the Peace of the township and when a case appeared
it was his wont to remove a chew of tobacco, take off his apron, put on his coat and call the court to order. The
same procedure was followed when a marriage came in sight. He was a kindly, fine old gentleman and although he
hadn't a great store of legal knowledge his decisions were rarely questioned and when questioned were usually upheld.
C. Peterson came to Redwood City and entered the boot and shoe business about 1886 and was for years the leading
shoe merchant of this county. He did an unheard of thing in his time by going to the corner of Cedar and Main streets
and opening a store. A store that far out of town was thought to be an impossibility, but somehow the trade followed
him and for years C. Peterson did a thriving business in that location. F. C. Bomberg came to town in 1890 and
immediately secured a good patronage. Mr. Bomberg was the trombone player in the old town band and as such attracted
all of the band men to his store and many nightly practices were held there, and in addition to furnishing music
he furnished shoes for his listeners.
In the abstract of title business, George H. Rice for years had all of the work in this line for all of San Mateo
County. He was known as a man of absolute integrity and no one ever questioned the titles which he gave. He knew
all of the property in the county by heart and so could almost tell the title without searching for it. Mr. Rice
in his younger days was a woodsman, but losing his arm, was forced to go into other work. Because of his affable
disposition he was elected county recorder of San Mateo County, but retiring from that position started the abstract
company which has ever since borne his name. He was married to Mary L. Teague, the daughter of Andrew Teague, who
was one of the first attorneys of the county. Mrs. Rice is still living with her daughter, Mary, and her son Stanley,
and her daughter in law, Mrs. Stanley Rice. at her home on Edgewood Road, Wellesley Park. Mr. Rice was active in
all civic affairs and was for years clerk of the Board of Trustees of the Redwood City School District and a member
of the County Board of Education. When Mr. Rice felt the necessity of giving up his work he secured the services
of his nephew, Mr. Clarence M. Doxsee, who assumed the managership of the firm. Some years after Mr. Rice's death
the name was changed to the C. M. Doxsee Title and Insurance Company, but it is now listed as the San Mateo County
Title Company. Mr. Doxsee, like his predecessor, is active in civic affairs and for a number of years has been
a trustee of the Redwood City School District. Associated with him are his son, Wilbur H. Doxsee, and his son in
law, Clifton H. Woodhams. The company is located in its own building, a fine concrete structure on Webster Street
just across from the courthouse. About 1904 Mr. A. Taverner entered the abstract of title business in Redwood City
and continued for some time when he sold his business to the late John F. Johnston, who had just retired from the
county recordership which he had held for many years. Mr. Johnston in turn sold his business. Harold Heiner, who
had succeeded him as county recorder, but who resigned to enter private business, and R. F. Chilcott, Mr. Heiner's
brother in law, a practical abstract man who had located here a few years previous, then entered the field. Mr.
Heiner and Mr. Chilcott conducted their business with great success until they sold to the California Pacific Title
and Insurance Company which is located on the corner of Broadway and Hamilton streets just opposite the courthouse.
The San Mateo County manager of this corporation is Mr. M. A. Hope, who came to Redwood City shortly after the
World war, he having been an overseas officer during that affair, and Mr. R. D. Smith is local manager.
The first bakery in Redwood City, known as the Bridge Street Bakery, stood just beside the creek on the south side
of Broadway until June, 1927, when the building was torn down. The first baker to locate in this city was Mr. B.
Downs. He tired of the business and sold his interest and property to Mr. Pfrang who continued in business until
his death, when his wife for a time conducted it. About two years later she married Chris Groner and they conducted
the business until the late '70s, when they sold to John Diehlman and wife. The Diehlmans conducted the business
for many years and were good bakers and good business people. Both Mr. and Mrs. Diehlman are at present residents
of Redwood City. One of the pleasant remembrances of the children of the early bakers was that all cookies, no
matter what kind or size, were 5 cents a dozen, and the youngsters always asked for the biggest cookies irrespective
of whether they liked them or not when they were sent by the fond mama to the bakery for cakes for dinner. There
are at present four bakeries in Redwood City, the Broadway Bakery, the Peninsula Bakery, the Enterprise Bakery,
and the Poppy Bakery.
In the milk business Asa Hull is the pioneer. The San Carlos milk business was started by his father, the late
William Hull, in the late '70s. Henry, Guy, and Asa Hull, in their turn, conducted the business. The dairy was
located on property which Mr. Hull bought in the early days of the county. Here he made bricks for some of the
first buildings erected in this city. The old Hull home is entirely constructed of bricks made and burned on the
premises. Tiring of the brick business Mr. Hull bought some cows and established a milk route here. The Hull Ranch
was always one of the pleasant places of the section to visit because of the hospitality of the owners. Mr. Hull
sold the San Carlos Creamery to Emilio Botto who now conducts it. The second to engage in this line of work was
P. Flannerly and his son, Tom, who had their dairy on the Flannerly ranch on Semicircular Avenue by them railroad,
on the property now occupied by the Garfield School. They were doing a good business when the town was startled
by the news that Tom Flannelly had killed his father while in argument with him. This killing led to the death
of the sheriff of the county, Phil McEvoy, and the serious wounding of his deputy, J. A. Mansfield, and an account
of this will be given later. The Flannerly business was taken over by J. Britschgi who, with his sons, has conducted
it since. Besides Mr. Britschgi's and Mr. Botto's dairies, there are the Dairy Delivery and the Millbrae Dairy
also supplying this territory in the milk business.
A. Underhill was for years the only fruit and vegetable dealer in town, he having commenced operations here in
the early '60s. He was succeeded by his son, George, who conducted the store on the site now occupied by the San
Mateo County Building and Loan Association until 1910 when he retired from business. The next to enter this line
was A. L. Lown and Son, and the son, Henry Lown, has continued in the produce business until the present time.
Cassaretto and Maranta formed a partnership which for a number of years has continued. They are now located in
the Stafford Building just across from the post office. There are other produce and fruit stores in Redwood City,
but they are in connection with either butcher or grocery businesses.
In the furniture business P. P. Chamberlain was the pioneer and had the exclusive sale of such wares until Mr.
C. H. Woodhams located here about 1909. In this line now besides Mr. Woodhams are the McNeil Furniture Company,
and the Leach Furniture Company. The McNeil and Woodhams stores are on Broadway, while Mr. Leach, who is associated
with his son, Howard, has his place on Main Street. Mr. Leach is located just exactly on the site formerly occupied
by the Pioneer livery stable, which was for years the property of Jack Stafford, supervisor and political power
of this community, who had purchased the business from its former proprietor, Tom Dugan, who in turn had been associated
with John C. Edgar, former sheriff of San Mateo County for a number of years, captain of the guard and then warden
of San Quentin Prison. Others who were for a period of time engaged in the livery business were Chris Hartsough
& Sons, S. H. Cronk, who for years enjoyed the distinction of being the fattest man in Redwood City, Julius
and Al Eikerenkotter, and Dan Murphy and Dan Wood. The livery business, like the blacksmithing trade, however,
has now given way to the automobile industry.
The first to engage in the automobile industry in Redwood City was Miller Paulsen, who had for years had a bicycle
repair shop at 222 Main Street, the present site of the Peninsula Bakery. Seeing the rapid development which took
place in motor travel he gave up his bicycle and machine shop work and entered the automobile repair business and
is now the pioneer in that work in Redwood City. Besides Miller Paulsen, his nephew, Jake Paulsen, who learned
the business with him, has a garage and sales agency under the firm name of Paulsen & Dearborn on the highway;
the Service Garage belonging to Roy and Carl Rasmussen is on the Highway; the Sequoia Garage, belonging to the
Bevilockways, is on the Highway; Peninsula Garage, belonging to Joe Smith, is just opposite the depot, and the
Ford Garage, the property of Kendel Towne, is on Main Street. These are the principal auto repair shops. There
are, however, a number of auto sales agencies located here.
The draying business of the town has always been in the possession of the Poole Draying Company. In the very early
days of Redwood City Mr. John Poole, a veteran of the Civil war, entered the draying and hauling business. In 1889
when the Spring Valley Water Company laid its mains through Redwood City Mr. Poole had the contract for hauling
the pipe. In loading these big cast conduits one of them rolled on him, making it necessary that his leg should
be amputated. His son, J. W. Poole, immediately left school and took over the business, and has conducted it since
that time with the exception of a year which he spent in Alaska during the gold rush in 1898. Mr. John W. Poole,
the present proprietor, is chairman of the Board of Supervisors of San Mateo County and for many years has been
president of the Board of Trustees of the Redwood City School District.
In the early days there were three tanneries in Redwood City, those of Wentworth and Company, Roney and Doyle,
and Frank Smith. Wentworth and Company, and Smith discontinued business. Henry Beeger took over the establishment
of Roney and Doyle, while in the '70s Mr. S. H. Frank established a tannery here. This business after Mr. Frank's
death was conducted by his sons for a number of years. Louis Frank, a graduate of the University of California,
and a man who represented San Mateo County in the State Assembly, was the manager. Since his death, his nephew,
Frank Marcus, and his brothers have been the main owners of the business. The Frank Tanning Company has for years
been under the management of Mr. Henry Steinberger. Mr. Steinberger has been most active in all civic affairs and
probably holds the record for public service in the county, he having been clerk of the Board of Trustees of the
Redwood City School District for the past twenty five years, and is still actively interested in his school work.
The Beeger Tannery, since the death of Mr. Henry Beeger, has been under the management of his widow and of his
son, Carl Beeger. Carl Beeger, besides the business, has found time to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees
of Redwood City, and another son of the family, Mr. Henry Beeger, Jr., is at present mayor of the town of Redwood
The city hall and the fire house are both located on Center Street upon property which Horace Hawes donated to
the Redwood City School District for school purposes. The fire department is housed in a beautiful buff brick building
designed by Architect J. R. Miller. The chief of the Redwood City fire department is Merk E. Ryan. Chief Ryan in
1927 was accorded the great distinction of being elected president of the Fire Chiefs' Association of the Pacific
Coast. The local fire department has the reputation of being one of the best in the West. The officers of the municipality
for 1927: Geo. W. McNulty, Z. T. Thorning, E. M. Dearborn, Daniel R. Stafford and Henry A. Beeger are the present
trustees. W. A. Price is city clerk.
B. E. Myers is city treasurer and tax collector, he having been appointed to the office shortly after the suicide
of Frank K. Towne, the former incumbent whose tragic death and the startling news of his defalcations occurred
early in 1927. Albert Mansfield is city attorney and Charles L. Dimmit is city engineer and superintendent of streets.
Carl K. Mabie is postmaster.
There are a large number of fraternal organizations in Redwood City. Among them are the Masons, Eastern Star, Odd
Fellows, Native Sons, Foresters, Druids, Eagles, Rebeccas, Fraternal Aid, Woodmen of the World, Moose, Woman's
Relief Corps, Grand Army of the Republic, Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion.
Of the religious organizations the Congregational Church is the oldest, it having been organized in November, 1862.
It is located in a beautiful brick structure on the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Webster Street. This building
was erected in 1923 during the pastorate of Rev. C. H. Stevens. Rev. R. J. Curry is now the pastor in charge of
the work and has been in the local church since 1924. Mr. Curry is also in charge of the newly organized work in
The Methodist Church is under the pastorate of Rev. Winning. Mr. Winning came to the local field after the 1927
conference to follow Rev. A. H. Clarke. The Methodist Church is a beautiful new structure on the Gore lot between
Brewster Avenue and Broadway. It was constructed two years ago and is of stucco construction. The Episcopal Church
work in Redwood City has for the present been discontinued, although services are held by devoted members regularly
at the beautiful new building on Clinton Street between Brewster and Broadway. The Lutherans also hold services
in Redwood City as do the Seventh Day Adventists. The work of these two denominations is of very recent date. The
Christian Science Congregation is held in the Redwood City Woman's Club house and a goodly number of members worship
there regularly. The Baptist Church also holds services regularly in this city.
The Catholic Church with its convent school adjoining is located on El Camino Real and Brewster Avenue. The church
was erected a number of years ago but has been altered to meet present day conditions and is commodious and modern.
Rev. Father Cornelius E. Kennedy has been in charge of the work for the past eight years. Father Kennedy on being
mustered out of the service on the close of the World war was assigned to Redwood City as administrator, the local
priest, Rev. John Sullivan, being in poor health. Father Kennedy quickly won his way into the hearts of his people
and on Father Sullivan's death Father Kennedy was made parish priest.
The elementary schools of Redwood City are under the supervision of Mr. John Gill, he having taken the place of
the writer of this history when the latter became state executive secretary of the California Teachers' Association,
September 1st, 1927. Mr. Gill had been for seven years prior to that date vice principal of Sequoia High School,
Redwood City. Mr. Gill has under his supervision forty four teachers housed in five fine school buildings.
Sequoia Union High School is perhaps one of the finest schools in regard to its physical features in the United
States. It is a beautiful building of modified Spanish architecture, designed by A. I. Coffey & Co., San Francisco
and Redwood City architects. It was built in 1924 at a cost of over one half million dollars on a beautiful forty
acre park which was the home of Moses Hopkins and later of William J. Dingee, two well known California millionaires.
Mr. A. C. Argo is principal of the school in which there are forty teachers and 700 students enrolled.