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—  Unincorporated community  —
Ladera is located in California
Location within the state of California
Coordinates: 37°23′58″N 122°11′50″W / 37.39944°N 122.19722°W / 37.39944; -122.19722Coordinates: 37°23′58″N 122°11′50″W / 37.39944°N 122.19722°W / 37.39944; -122.19722
Country United States
State California
County San Mateo
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 94028
Area code(s) 650
FIPS code
GNIS feature ID

Ladera is an unincorporated community located in San Mateo County, California adjacent to Portola Valley. Primarily a residential community, it comprises approximately 520 homes with about 2,000 residents. The ZIP Code is 94028 and the community is inside area code 650.



Ladera is located at the bottom of the eastern slope of the Peninsula Range of the Santa Cruz Mountains.[1] It is bordered on the west by the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve operated by Stanford University, on the east by Alpine Road, and on the north by Webb Ranch.


The community of Ladera occupies land that was originally settled by the Ramaytush Ohlones peoples prior to the settlement of California by the Spanish. In 1833 the Mexican Governor of Alta California, José Figueroa, granted one square league of land called Rancho de Corte de Madera to Maximo Martinez and José Domingo Peralta. After statehood, the land that comprises Ladera was recorded to Martinez in 1858.

The land was used for grazing and timber through 1927 when it was joined to the Ormondale Ranch, owned by the Macdonough family. The Macdonoughs raised cattle and sheep, and bred racehorses; their most famous horse, Ormonde, raced primarily in England and never lost a race. In the 1930s, the majority of the Ormondale Ranch land was developed and incorporated into Portola Valley.

In 1944, the Peninsula Housing Association (PHA) was formed with the goal of purchasing a tract land and developing a housing cooperative. Several prominent members of the Stanford and Palo Alto communities joined to develop the fledgling PHA co-op. It began subscribing members in 1945 and its 150 members purchased the remaining 260 acres (1.1 km2) of the former Ormondale ranch for $155,000 on July 31, 1946.

The members chose the name Ladera (over alternatives Lark Hills and New Rochdale) to reflect the Spanish history of the land — ladera is Spanish for hillside. Streets are Spanish phrases or botanical names. Early members of the cooperative included author Wallace Stegner and Klystron tube inventor Sigurd Varian of Varian Associates. (Varian had grown up in Halcyon, another intentional community in southern California.)

Due to financial difficulties caused in part by refusal to place restrictive covenants on the title deeds, the PHA failed after only a few houses had been constructed [2]. The land was sold to Hare, Brewer, and Kelley, who completed the development.

Political and Economic

As an unincorporated area, Ladera lies in the sphere of influence of Portola Valley. It draws its police services from the County of San Mateo and is a part of Woodside Fire District.

School districts that serve Ladera include the Las Lomitas Elementary School District for elementary and middle school and the Sequoia Union High School District for high school. The local school in the community is leased to the private Woodland School.

Along Alpine Road are two small commercial developments: a small shopping center to the north of La Mesa and an office complex south of La Mesa.


  1. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ See Ladera Online for more details of Ladera's history.

External links



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