Former U.S. Sen. Milton S. Latham bought a 380-acre property east of the railroad tracks in Menlo Park from the estate of William E. Barron, according to "Menlo Park: Beyond the Gate" by Michael Svanevik and Shirley Burgett.
It was 1871, and the selling price was $75,000.
On that site, the 50-room Thurlow Lodge rose.
The authors write of the mansion: "Elaborately carved and corniced, the house was immense with a tower rising just over 98 feet above the ground."
While the mansion was being built, Mr. Latham, a banker, was becoming a "dominant force" in Northern California railroading an enterprise that eventually "broke Latham's financial back," the authors say.
He resigned his banking position in 1878, and auctioneers began selling off the Latham estate in September 1880.
This photo is courtesy of the Menlo Park Historical Association.