Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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A century after initial plan, hotel finally becoming reality in Los Altos


Photo By: Courtesy of Don McDonald
Photo Courtesy Of Don Mcdonald

A 1908 ad promoting Los Altos announced a free “old-time Spanish barbeque,” pictured above, at “one of the most ideal spots on the peninsula (and) higher than Palo Alto.”

“Better late than never” could well be the motto of the new hotel under construction at the corner of Main Street and San Antonio Road in downtown Los Altos.

The earliest ad for the tiny community of Los Altos circa 1908 promised that “a hotel and bank and post office building are assured at once.” So, after a slight delay of 105 years, downtown Los Altos will finally have its promised hotel.

Thanks to the eagle eye of Jim Lyons, a dealer in historical newspapers, we uncovered this long-ago promise among other details relating to the picnic advertised in a photo from the Los Altos History Museum’s archives. Lyons unearthed the details in the pages of the 1908 Palo Altan.

An ad for the event announced a free “old-time Spanish barbeque” at “one of the most ideal spots on the peninsula (and) higher than Palo Alto.” The ad urged readers to “spend the day amid the woods and wild flowers of Los Altos (and) picnic along the banks (and) cozy nooks of Los Yuegas Creek.” Los Yuegas Creek is now Adobe Creek. Other features promised “delightful views of the Valley and Bay.” The price of the round-trip 11:55 a.m. railroad ticket was 25 cents, including the barbecue.

The picnic heralded the first major public offering of Los Altos lots for sale, most in the $400 to $600 range. Interested visitors were encouraged to board one of two special trains, one from San Francisco and the other from San Jose. They were the first passenger trains to travel over the new single tracks along what was then known as the “Palo Alto-Los Gatos Cutoff.”

The week after the picnic, the Palo Altan reported that the event was a great success, with nearly 3,000 people in attendance, including those who arrived by carriage and automobile. The article claimed that “nearly a ton of beef” was served and “plenty of agents” were on hand to sell lots. Event organizer Walter A. Clark announced sales of $160,000, a sum that we assume included sales to Paul Shoup and his relatives and friends. Clark referred to “many prominent people who had already purchased lots, (among them) officials on the SP and other railroads.”

In previous publicity, Clark mentioned the availability of “attractive sites for country homes (on land adjacent to Los Altos) “in the rolling hills above Yuegas Creek,” which eventually became Los Altos Hills.

A photo from 1910 documents the second major public sales event by the Altos Land Co., organized to celebrate the long-delayed opening of the Peninsula Railway electric line along the Palo Alto-Los Gatos Cutoff.

To entice visitors, the company offered a free excursion on the railway’s new electric cars. The 88 Los Altos residents who accepted the offer rode from the town’s temporary railroad station to Mayfield and to Palo Alto, where a light luncheon was served. The cars then went to Stanford University, where a photographer took a shot of the crowd gathered in front of the cars.

A San Jose Mercury article following the event reported that “the advent of the cars was cheered by all the towns passed through, and from all the farmhouses along the route, greetings were exchanged by the waving of handkerchiefs and hats.”

The Altos Land Co. was absorbed in a reorganization involving San Francisco financiers in 1913. The newly formed Los Altos Co. assumed control of the company’s assets. Although short on details, we believe that the primary reason for the reorganization was the town’s failure to grow as fast as had been planned.

We know from other sources that sales were somewhat disappointing. The panic of 1907 may have been a factor. Another problem could have been the heavy competition posed by other new real estate developments in San Francisco and along the Peninsula.

Shoup was the only officer of the Altos Land Co. to retain his position in the new company. He continued to earn his eventual posthumous reputation as the “Father of Los Altos.”

Don McDonald is a local historian and longtime volunteer with the Los Altos History Museum.

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