San Carlos had its beginnings in the very early days of San Mateo County and was known principally as the home
place of the Honorable Timothy G. Phelps who was one of the most important men in the history of San Mateo County.
Here also were located the home and brickyard of W. W. Hull, who after closing his kilns, entered the milk business,
and this community was also the abiding place of the Britton family who owned thousands of acres of land.
The city of San Carlos was laid out in the early '90s as a railroad project and the Southern Pacific Railroad Company
erected the finest depot anywhere on its line between San Francisco and San Jose. This depot is constructed of
brown stone with a slate roof, and a big open fireplace in the waiting room gives cheer and comfort throughout
The territory as subdivided comprised a large part of the holdings of Mr. Phelps and among the first to settle
in the community was Captain N. T. Smith for years an official of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. Because
of the lack of a good water supply, San Carlos did not develop as rapidly as had been expected and outside of the
incorporated area only the Phelps, Britton and Hull homes were known to any extent. The Spring Valley Water Company
secured a site in the northern end of the community and erected a large pumping station which was for many years
under the managership of Captain D. Hayes. About 1911 the town began to show signs of life and shortly thereafter
the district school which was located at West Union, about four miles southwest of the town, was moved to San Carlos
and with the advent of the school and the erection of a very beautiful two room auditorium building, families began
On May 11, 1925, a petition was presented to the Board of Supervisors of San Mateo County asking for the incorporation
of San Carlos as a city of the sixth class. An election was accordingly called for June 22 and on that date 157
voted for incorporation and 26 voted against. On July 6, 1925, the supervisors having received the findings of
the election, San Carlos became a municipality.
Of the citizens of the community who have labored zealously for its advancement, many could be mentioned. Mr. John
E. Cowgill was for years its unofficial mayor. Mr. Cowgill, at present Southern Pacific agent, was put in charge
of the Southern Pacific Station in 1906 and from that date until very recently was station agent, Wells Fargo agent,
postmaster and correspondent to various newspapers. Mr. Fred Drake has been active in the real estate business
of the community and has been one of San Carlos' most loyal boosters. Asa Hull has also played an important part.
To name others would be practically to take the city directory, as all of the residents have been particularly
active in promoting the civic welfare of the community.