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Menlo Park Historical Association aims to re-create gateway

 

Members of the Menlo Park Historical Association have lauched a drive to build a replica of a historic 19th century gateway, built near present-day El Camino Real and Ravenswood Avenue, that first bore the name of Menlo Park.

The gateway was demolished in 1922 by a speeding car. Ninety-four years later, a committee has begun work on drawings, met with city officials to figure out a potential location, and launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise the estimated $65,000 it will cost to construct and install the gateway, according to historical association president Jym Clendenin.

The committee includes architects Ernst Meissner and Sam Sinnott, historical association members Jym Clendenin and Dick Angus, Dexter Chow of Cheeky Monkey Toys, Brian Flegel of Flegel's Home Furnishings, and Bill Weseloh of Weseloh & Young Real Estate.

Menlo Park's signature gateway was erected by Irish immigrants Dennis J. Oliver and Daniel C. McGlynn in 1854 and 1855.

Mr. Oliver had previously been an importer and wholesale dealer for paints and glass in San Francisco, before he and his brother-in-law, Mr. McGlynn, transititioned into the cattle-raising business, according to the historical association.

In 1852, the two bought 1,700 acres of land and built the arched wooden gateway at the entrance to their ranch, on what is now the west side of El Camino Real, about 500 feet south of present-day Menlo Avenue. On the arch, they hung a sign saying "Menlo Park," after their original home in Menlough, near the city of Galway, in Ireland.

In 1863, when the San Francisco and San Jose railroad was built (along what is now the Caltrain line), the rail depot near the gateway adopted the name "Menlo Park."

There is no consensus on where the replica would be erected except that it would ideally be on city property, Mr. Clendenin said. One possible location is between the Menlo Park Library and the historic Latham-Hopkins Gatehouse at 555 Ravenswood Ave., where the Junior League of Palo Alto-Midpeninsula resides.

Preliminary designs show the gateway would have a steel core with a redwood finish.

Go to gofundme.com/menlogates for information on the crowdfunding drive.

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