As I write these city history blogs, I am learning that so much of the city I take for granted was actually established out of a very real need. People in today’s city—San Mateo, California—needed drinking water, so they built the Crystal Springs Dam. They needed a way to get to the nearest big city, San Francisco, so they built a train station.
Urban Sprawl from the Beginning
In 1793, missionaries from the San Francisco Mission established a farming outpost at the spot where St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church stands on El Camino Real. Incidentally, this was the first structure in San Mateo built by Europeans.
San Mateo was formally established on September 3, 1894. Five years earlier, the fire department was established after two horrific fires threatened to destroy the area. That same year, the Crystal Springs Dam was completed, which provided clean drinking water to the surrounding residents.
In 1861, the railroad station officially opened, which cut the commute to San Francisco down to thirty-seven minutes. As a result, businesses sprung up and flourished along the railroad route.
St. Matthew’s Church was built in 1865. But the church suffered major damage in the great earthquake of 1906, and the congregation opted to raze the structure and rebuild a new sanctuary. Many of the original pieces, such as the altar, were recovered from the wreckage and installed in the new sanctuary. It’s still a gorgeous piece of history.
The population surged after World War II, and more modern entertainment options began to pop up. Bay Meadows racetrack opened in 1934 and closed down in 2008. Hillsdale Shopping Center opened its doors in 1954 and is still going strong today.
We Call It Home
Mr. Roofing has been working in this city for twenty-five years. We think it’s a pretty great place to live and work. If you are enjoying these city spotlight blogs, you’ll like reading this one too!
San Francisco’s residential & commercial roofing experts