Then and now | January 9, 2019 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Cover Story - January 9, 2019

Then and now

Recently digitized city photographs illuminate a Menlo Park of yesteryear

by Kate Bradshaw

Interactive version

'It started, honestly, as office clean up," said Thomas Rogers, principal planner at the city of Menlo Park.

When Menlo Park's City Hall was being renovated in 2017, Public Works Director Justin Murphy delivered a number of boxes that had been sitting in his office to Rogers.

In the boxes were hundreds of old photographs of Menlo Park over the years, many dating as far back as the 1960s.

In the months that followed, the Planning Department proceeded to digitize those photos, which have been publicly accessible since about last August, according to Rogers. They are considered part of the public domain and are available online via Flickr, he said.

Many of the photos are from September 1968 when, for some reason lost to time, the department took a photographic survey of the city's downtown.

Other photographs were slides that were "kind of random," Rogers said. When planning officials were able to figure out the time period that a photograph was taken, they listed it beneath the image, Rogers added.

A few of the interesting things he learned from the project about the city's history are that Kepler's bookstore used to be located on the other side of El Camino Real, near where the Starbucks is in the 800 block; that Menlo Avenue and Ravenswood Avenue didn't intersect at some point in the past; that Santa Cruz Avenue had no median running through it at one time; and that in 1968 the BBC building was an office for the Richard Nixon/Spiro Agnew presidential campaign.

To see additional archive photos and an interactive "before and after" display of the photos included here, go to

The archive photos are also at

Do you know more about these photos? Email


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