Last updateWed, 18 Oct 2017 10am

Los Altos Turns 60: Glimpses of the Past

Photo Courtesy Of Lisa Robinson/Los Altos History Museum

If you were around in downtown Los Altos in 1952, you’d see scenes like this along Main Street.

The year 2012 marks the 60th anniversary of the incorporation of Los Altos. To honor the milestone, “Glimpses of the Past” will periodically publish photos and items from 1952 Los Altos newspapers.

• The headline “New Boundaries Approved, Election on Incorporation November 18” accompanied an article on and map of the new boundaries. Originally proposed business acreage north of El Camino Real had been withdrawn in the face of opposition from more than 75 percent of the owners there. The estimated population within the proposed boundaries totaled 13,650, with 5,500 voters.

• A front-page story detailed the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce’s recommendation to the Santa Clara County Planning Department that 90-foot frontages and 15-foot side-yard setbacks establish standards for new subdivisions in the area.

• Reflecting on the anti-Communist actions of U.S. Sen. Joe McCarthy (R-Wis.), Don C. Matchman’s “Talking It Over” column stated that he agreed with Sen. Wayne Morse (R-Ore.), who announced that he would “not take part in the campaign (to elect presidential candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower) because his principles will not permit him to support men who, for whatever reason, have endorsed the Senator from Wisconsin. This country in the past has derived strength from the position that the right to disagree is sacred. Under McCarthyism I believe that right would be destroyed.”

The following week’s paper printed a letter from a disgruntled subscriber canceling his subscription because Matchman had been “unnecessarily tough” on McCarthy.

• The paper announced the publication of “A Private Undertaking,” a “swiftly paced” spy novel written by local author Hildegarde Teilhet. Teilhet’s husband, Darwin Teilhet, also an author, wrote a book on Abraham Lincoln.

• A number of articles testified to the continuing real estate boom. Contractor Harry E. Gamel purchased the 200-acre Toyon Farm for $175,000. Realtor E.O. Huttlinger advertised he had sold “Golden Acres” to a “fine Los Altos builder” who planned “custom-built ranch-type homes for the 1/3-acre oak-studded lots.”

• A front-page article described the new Balkema Medical-Dental Building at San Antonio Road and Third Street; inside, a half-page ad listed all of the new building’s subcontractors.


The Los Altos 60th Anniversary Committee is gathering the names and phone numbers of people born or married in Los Altos in 1952. Respond to Don McDonald at 948-4995.

Don McDonald is a Los Altos town historian and regular volunteer at the Los Altos History Museum. He is the author of “Early Los Altos and Los Altos Hills” (Arcadia Publishing, 2010).

Submit a Letter to the Editor

The Town Crier welcomes letters to the editor on current events pertinent to Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Write to us at 138 Main St., Los Altos 94022, Attn: Editor, or email editor Bruce Barton at bruceb@latc.com. Because editorial space is limited, please confine letters to no more than 200 words. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Anonymous letters will not be printed.

You can also have your say right here at losaltosonline.com – scroll to the bottom of any story to add a comment. 

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