Palo Alto: Wikis

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City of Palo Alto
Palo Alto
Stanford, Mayfield
—  City  —
University Avenue

Nickname(s): PA
Location in Santa Clara County and the state of California
Coordinates: 37°25′45″N 122°8′17″W / 37.42917°N 122.13806°W / 37.42917; -122.13806Coordinates: 37°25′45″N 122°8′17″W / 37.42917°N 122.13806°W / 37.42917; -122.13806
Country United States
State California
County Santa Clara
First Settled 1769
Incorporated as City April 16th, 1894
Government The terms of the Mayor and Vice-Mayor are for one year and expire at the first meeting in January. The General Municipal Election is held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, in odd-numbered years. Council terms are for four years, a former Mayor once described her position as "I get a parking spot, that's about it"
 - Type City Council Mayorship
 - Mayor Pat Burt[1]
 - Total 25.6 sq mi (66.4 km2)
 - Land 23.7 sq mi (61.3 km2)
 - Water 2.0 sq mi (5.1 km2)
Elevation 30 ft (9 m)
Population (2007)
 - Total 61,200
 Density 2,475.3/sq mi (955.8/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 94301, 94303, 94306
Area code(s) 650
FIPS code 06-55282
GNIS feature ID 0277572

Palo Alto (pronounced /ˌpæloʊˈæltoʊ/, from Spanish: palo: "stick" (or "pole" or "tree") and alto: "tall") is a California charter city located in the northwest corner of Santa Clara County, in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, USA. It is named after a tree called El Palo Alto. The city includes portions of Stanford University and is headquarters to a number of Silicon Valley high-technology companies, including Hewlett-Packard, VMware and Facebook. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 58,598 residents.



Earliest recorded history stems from 1769, when Gaspar de Portolà noted an Ohlone settlement. This remains an area of known Indian mounds. A plaque is erected at Middlefield Road and Embarcadero Road to commemorate this area.

The city got its name from a stand of tall Redwood trees, El Palo Alto, by the banks of the San Francisquito Creek bordering Menlo Park. You can still find one of these trees (the other was destroyed during a storm in the late 20th century) along the foot bridge on Alma Street. A plaque recounts the story of a 63 man, 200 horse expedition from San Diego to Monterey from November 7–11, 1769. The group overshot and reached the San Francisco Bay instead. Thinking the bay was too wide to cross, the group decided to turn around near 'el palo alto.'

About 1827 Rafael Soto, tenth child and son of De Anza Expedition settler Ygnacio Soto and María Bárbara Espinosa de Lugo of Alta, California came to stay with Maximo Martinez at his Rancho Corte de Madera for seven years. Located south of the San Francisquito Creek, west of today's I-280, Rancho Corte de Madera covered most of Portola Valley to Skyline Boulevard extending south to about Foothill College. In 1835, Rafael Soto and family settled near the San Francisquito Creek near Newell and Middlefield, selling goods to travelers. Rafael Soto died in 1839, but his wife, Maria Antonio Mesa, was granted Rancho Rinconada del Arroyo de San Francisquito in 1841.

Their daughter María Luisa Soto married in 1839, John Coppinger, who was the grantee of Rancho Cañada de Raymundo. Rancho Cañada de Raymundo was West of San Francisquito Creek, and began at Almbique Creek, the north border of Rancho Corte de Madera, and extended north, including present day Woodside. Bear Gulch Creek (Bear Creek) flowed on his land in Portola Valley. The rancho also abutted Buelna's grant near Skyline Boulevard and Matadero Creek. Upon Coppinger's death, Maria inherited it and later married a visiting boat captain, John Greer. Greer owned a home on the property that is now Town & Country Village on Embarcadero and El Camino Real. Greer Avenue and Court are named for him. To the west of Rafael Soto, near El Camino and following the Creek, was Rancho San Francisquito granted in 1839, to Antonio Buelna and wife Maria Concepcion.

To the south of the Sotos, the brothers, Secundino and Teodoro Robles, in 1849 bought Rancho Rincon de San Francisquito from José Peña, the 1841 grantee.[2] The grant extended from San Francisquito Creek, Alpine Road and Bishop Ln. (behind Stanford Shopping Center) and golf course. Then South along the Santa Cruz Foothills between Junipero Serra & Hwy 280 to the (Intersection of Matadoro Creek/ Hillview /Miranda) & then SW near the intersection of Page Mill & Arastradero Rd. where the Jone's House was), then east down Arastradero Rd. to the north property line of Alta Mesa Memorial Park and Terman Park. Follow the trail of what was once the old stage road over Adobe Creek/Yuegas Creek to El Camino Real & then east on San Abtonio Rd. to the Bay marshes passing over the RR and what was once the Jeffry's House & Stables. The property then went along the bay to the Embarcadero, a major boundary in the day. Then up to the Stanford University gates, up Galvez and along Campus way to the hills near the golf course. The grant was bounded on the south by Mariano Castro's Rancho Pastoria de las Borregas grant across San Antonio Road. That's the Robles Rancho, about 80% of Palo Alto and Stanford University. It was whittled down by 1863 through courts to 6,981 acres (28.25 km2). Stories say their grand hacienda was built on the former meager adobe of José Peña near Ferne off San Antonio Road, midway between Middlefield and Alma Street.[3] Their hacienda hosted fiestas and bull fights. It was ruined in the 1906 earthquake and its lumber was used to build a large barn nearby which it is said lingered until the early 1950s. In 1853, they sold 250 acres (1 km²), comprising the present day Barron Park, Matadero Creek and Stanford Business Park, to Elisha Oscar Crosby, who coined Mayfield. In 1880 Secundino Robles, father to twenty-nine children, still lived near present day Sears store.

Many of the Spanish names in the Palo Alto area represent the local heritage and descriptive terms and former residents. Pena Court, Miranda Avenue, which was essentially Foothill Expwy was the married name of Juana Briones and the name occurs in Courts and Avenues others in Palo Alto to Mountain View in the quadrant where she owned vast areas between Stanford Univ., Grant Road in Mountain View and west of El Camino. Yerba Buena was to her credit. Rinconada was the major Mexican land grant name.

University Avenue at the Circle with train steaming toward El Palo Alto, 1894

The township of Mayfield was formed in 1855, in what is now part of South Palo Alto. Leland Stanford starting buying land in the area in 1876 for a horse farm, which became a university after his son died in 1884. In 1886, Stanford came to Mayfield, interested in founding his university there. He had a train stop created near his school on Mayfield's downtown street, Lincoln Street (now named California Avenue). However, he had one condition: alcohol had to be banned from the town. Known for its 13 rowdy saloons, Mayfield rejected his requests for reform. This led him to drive the formation of Palo Alto, originally called University Park, in 1887 with the help of his friend Timothy Hopkins of the Southern Pacific Railroad who bought 740 acres (3.0 km2) of private land for the new townsite. Stanford set up his university, Stanford University, and a train stop (on University Avenue) by his new town. With Stanford’s support, saloon days faded and Palo Alto grew to the size of Mayfield. On July 2, 1925, Palo Alto voters approved the annexation of Mayfield and the two communities were officially consolidated on July 6, 1925. This saga explains why Palo Alto has two downtown areas: one along University Avenue and one along California Avenue.

The Mayfield News wrote its own obituary four days later:

It is with a feeling of deep regret that we see on our streets today those who would sell, or give, our beautiful little city to an outside community. We have watched Mayfield grow from a small hamlet, when Palo Alto was nothing more than a hayfield, to her present size … and it is with a feeling of sorrow that we contemplate the fact that there are those who would sell or give the city away.

Many of Stanford University’s first faculty members settled in the Professorville neighborhood of Palo Alto. Professorville, now a registered national historic district, is bounded by Kingsley, Lincoln, and Addison avenues and the cross streets of Ramona, Bryant, and Waverley. The district includes a large number of well preserved residences dating from the 1890s, including 833 Kingsley, 345 Lincoln and 450 Kingsley. 1044 Bryant was the home of Russell Varian, co-inventor of the Klystron tube. The Federal Telegraph laboratory site, situated at 218 Channing, is a California Historical Landmark recognizing Lee de Forest's 1911 invention of the vacuum tube and electronic oscillator at that location. While not open to the public, the garage that housed the launch of Hewlett Packard is located at 367 Addison Avenue. Hewlett Packard recently restored the house and garage. A second historic district on Ramona Street can be found downtown between University and Hamilton Avenues.

Environmental features and geography

Guinda Street in Palo Alto

Palo Alto has a number of significant natural habitats, including estuarine, riparian, and oak forest. Many of these habitats are visible in Foothill Park, which is owned by the city. The Charleston Slough contains a rich marsh and littoral zone, providing feeding areas for a variety of shorebirds and other estuarine wildlife.[4]

Palo Alto is in the south-eastern section of the San Francisco Peninsula. It is bordered to the west by Menlo Park, to the north by East Palo Alto, and to the east by Mountain View and Los Altos. The southern border is made of Stanford, California (Stanford University) and Los Altos Hills.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 66.4 km² (25.6 mi²). 61.3 km² (23.7 mi²) of it is land and 5.1 km² (or 7.6%) is water.

The official elevation is 56 feet (17 m) above sea level, but the city boundaries reach well into the peninsula hills. There are signs denoting the city limits on Skyline Boulevard (highway 35) and the Stevens Canyon trail (San Andreas fault rift zone).


Typical of the San Francisco Bay Area, Palo Alto has cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers.

In January, average temperatures range from 38.5 °F (3.6 °C) to 57.4 °F (14.1 °C). In July, average temperatures range from 54.9 °F (12.7 °C) to 78.4 °F (25.8 °C). The record high temperature was 107 °F (42 °C) on June 15, 1961, and the record low temperature was 20 °F (−7 °C) on December 23, 1990. Temperatures reach 90°F (32°C) or higher on an average of 9.9 days. Temperatures drop to 32°F (0°C) or lower on an average of 16.1 days.

Due to the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west, there is a "rain shadow" in Palo Alto, resulting in an average annual rainfall of only 15.32 inches (389 mm). Measurable rainfall occurs on an average of 57 days annually. The wettest year on record was 1983 with 32.51 inches (826 mm) and the driest year was 1976 with 7.34 inches (186 mm). The most rainfall in one month was 12.43 inches (316 mm) in February 1998 and the most rainfall in one day was 3.75 inches (95 mm) on February 3, 1998. Measurable snowfall is rare in Palo Alto, but 1.5 inches fell on January 21, 1962.[5]

Local government

Palo Alto was incorporated in 1894, and in 1909 created, by municipal charter, a local government consisting of a fifteen-member City Council, with responsibilities for various governmental functions delegated to appointed committees. In 1950, the City adopted a Council-manager government. Several appointed committees continue to advise the City Council on specialized issues, such as land use planning, utilities, and libraries, but these committees no longer have direct authority over City staff. Currently, the City Council has only nine members.


The city is strongly Democratic with 52% of those registered with any party being Democrats, versus 25% registered with the Republican Party.[6] In the state legislature Palo Alto is located in the 11th Senate District, represented by Democrat Joe Simitian, and in the 21st Assembly District, represented by Democrat Ira Ruskin. Federally, Palo Alto is located in California's 14th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D+21[7] and is represented by Democrat Anna Eshoo.


As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 58,598 people, 25,216 households, and 14,600 families residing in the city. The population density was 955.8/km² (2,475.3/mi²). There were 26,048 housing units at an average density of 424.9/km² (1,100.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 75.76% white, 2.02% African American, 0.21% Native American, 17.22% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 1.41% from other races, and 3.24% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.65% of the population.

There were 25,216 households, of which 27.2% had resident children under the age of 18, 48.5% were married couples living together, 7.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.1% were non-families. 32.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.2% under the age of 18, 4.9% from 18 to 24, 32.4% from 25 to 44, 25.9% from 45 to 64, and 15.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 95.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.6 males.

According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $119,046, and the median income for a family was $153,197.[9] Males had a median income of $91,051 versus $60,202 for females. The per capita income for the city was $56,257. About 3.2% of families and 4.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.0% of those under age 18 and 5.0% of those age 65 or over. The reason for the difference between the household income and the family income can be explained by the fact that some areas of Palo Alto are populated by graduate students from Stanford University who do not live on the Stanford campus.


Palo Alto, north of Oregon Expressway, is filled with older homes, including Craftsman and California Colonials, some of which date back to the 1890s but most of which were built in the first four decades of the 20th century. South of Oregon Expressway, the homes, including many Joseph Eichler-designed or Eichler-style houses, were primarily built in the first 20 years after World War II.

While the city contains homes that now cost anywhere from $800,000 to well in excess of $40 million, much of Palo Alto's housing stock is in the style of California mid-century middle-class suburbia. It has highly rated public schools (see: Paly and Gunn), a high quality of life, and a vibrant downtown. The median home sale price for all of Palo Alto was more than $1.3 Million in 2006.[10] The median home sale price of Palo Alto as of July 2009 was $1,363,000[11] Palo Alto ranks in as the 5th most expensive city in the United States, with an average home sales price of $1,677,000 as of 2007[12]. Palo Alto is by some measures the most expensive college town in the United States;[13] as a result, most Stanford University students live on campus.


The main entrance of the HP headquarters building

Palo Alto serves as a central economic focal point of the Silicon Valley, and is home to more than 7,000 businesses employing more than 98,000 people.[14] Many prominent technology firms reside in the Stanford Research Park on Page Mill Road, while nearby Sand Hill Road in the adjacent city of Menlo Park is a notable hub of venture capitalists. The city’s economy generally follows the economic trends of the rest of the Silicon Valley. Well-known companies and research facilities headquartered in Palo Alto include:[15]

In addition, Palo Alto has a lively retail and restaurant trade, and the Stanford Shopping Center and downtown Palo Alto (centered on University Avenue) are popular destinations.


Unlike surrounding communities, electric and gas service within city limits are provided by the city of Palo Alto. A minor exception is a rural portion of the city limits in hills area—west of Interstate 280 and along Page Mill Road—which gets gas and electric service from Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).

Water and Gas Services (WGS) operates gas and water distribution networks within the city limits. Natural gas is purchased from PG&E or third parties and delivered to Palo Alto via PG&E's gas transmission pipeline network. The city operates gas meters and the distribution pipelines. Water comes from city-operated watershed and wells, the Santa Clara Valley Water District, and the City and County of San Francisco Hetch Hetchy system. The city is located in Santa Clara Valley Water District, North Zone. Hetch Hetchy pipeline #3 and #4 pass through the city.

The city operates its own electric power distribution network and telemetry cable network. Interconnection points tie the city into PG&E's electric transmission system, which brings power from several sources to the city. A claim to fame is the city's exemption from rolling blackouts during the summer 2000 power shortages. Palo Alto is a member of a joint powers authority (the Northern California Power Agency), which cooperatively generates electricity for government power providers such as the City of Santa Clara, the City of Redding, and the Port of Oakland. Roughly the same group of entities operate the Transmission Agency of Northern California (TANC). TANC transports power (called wheeling) over its own lines from as far as British Columbia through an interconnection with the federal Bonneville Power Administration. A local oddity is a series of joint poles on Arastradero Road near Page Mill Road. The primary conductor cross arms are marked PGE and CPA (city of Palo Alto) to identify each utility's side of the shared cross arms.

Palo Alto has an ongoing community debate about the city providing fiber optic connectivity to all residences. A series of pilot programs were proposed. One proposal called for the city to install dark fiber which would be made live by a contractor. Internet connectivity over fiber optic lines is not universal or city-wide as of spring 2006.

Services traditionally attributed to a cable television provider were sold to a regulated commercial concern. Previously the cable system was operated by a cooperative called Palo Alto Cable Coop.

The former Regional Bell Operating Company in Palo Alto was Pacific Telephone. The company is now called AT&T and was previously called SBC and Pacific Bell. One of the earliest central office facilities switching Palo Alto calls is the historic Davenport central office (CO) at 529 Bryant St. The building was sold and is now the home of the Palo Alto Internet Exchange. The former CO building is marked by a bronze plaque and is located on the north side of Bryant Street between University Avenue and Hamilton Avenue. It was called Davenport after the exchange name at the introduction of dial telephone service in Palo Alto. For example, modern numbers starting with 325- were Davenport 5 in the 1950s and '60s. The Bryant CO, located at 37°26′44″N 122°09′39″W / 37.44556°N 122.16083°W / 37.44556; -122.16083, contained several floors of clattering Western Electric Step-by-Step switching equipment that historically handled calls for homes and businesses in Menlo Park, Atherton, East Palo Alto, and Palo Alto. The Step-by-Step office was scrapped and replaced by stored-program-controlled equipment at a different location about 1980. Stanford calls ran on a Step-by-Step Western Electric 701 PBX until the university purchased its own switch about 1980. It had the older, traditional Bell System 600 Hz+120 Hz dial tone. The old 497-number PBX, MDF, and battery string were housed in a steel building at 333 Bonair Siding. (The building still stands but Stanford's present-day PBX switch is elsewhere). From 1950s to 1980s, the bulk of Palo Alto calls were switched on Number 5 Crossbar systems. By the mid-1980s, these electromechanical systems had been junked. Under the Bell System's regulated monopoly, local coin telephone calls were ten cents until the early 1980s.

During the drought of the early 1990s, Palo Alto employed water waste patrol officers to enforce water saving regulations. The team, called "Gush Busters" patrolled city streets looking for broken water pipes and poorly managed irrigation systems. Regulations were set to stop restaurants from habitually serving water, run off from irrigation and irrigation during the day. The main goal of the team was to educate the public in ways to save water. Citations consisted of Friendly Reminder post cards and more formal notices. To help promote the conservation message, the team only used bicycles and mopeds.

Fire and police departments

Palo Alto City Hall, as seen in 2004.

The city was among the first in Santa Clara County to offer advanced life support (ALS) paramedic-level (EMT-P) ambulance service. In an arrangement predating countywide paramedic service, Palo Alto Fire operates two paramedic ambulances which are theoretically shared with county EMS assets. The Palo Alto Fire Department is currently the only fire department in Santa Clara County that routinely transports patients. American Medical Response holds the Santa Clara County 911 contract and provides transportation in other cities. Enhanced 9-1-1 arrived in about 1980 and included the then-new ability to report emergencies from coin telephones without using a coin. Palo Alto Fire also provides service to the Stanford University campus.

The police station was originally housed in a stone building (still) marked Police Court at 450 Bryant St. The building is now a senior citizens center. In modern times, police are headquartered in the City Hall high rise. The Department is staffed by just under 100 sworn officers ranking from Chief, Captain, Lieutenant, Sergeant, Agent (corporal) and Officer. The staff is supplemented by approximately 10 Reserve Officers and professional staff to support the Police Department and the Animal Services organization.

School system

Public schools

The Palo Alto Unified School District provides public education for most of Palo Alto. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Palo Alto has a student-teacher ratio of less than 46, much lower than some surrounding communities. Juana Briones Elementary has a student/teacher ratio of 14.4.[16] The school board meets at 7 p.m. the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month; the meetings are open to the public and city cast live on Cable Services Channel 28 in Palo Alto. Palo Alto students attend one of two high schools, the critically acclaimed Gunn High School or Palo Alto High School.There are also 3 middle schools, J.L.S., Jordan, and Terman.

The Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District provide public education for the portion of Palo Alto south of Adobe Creek.

Private schools

  • Bowman International School – a K-8 school founded in 1995 which emphasizes learning about different cultures.
  • Castilleja School – a girls’ school for grades 6-12
  • Challenge Summer School - Morrissey/Compton – Challenge is a five-week summer program for elementary students with mild to moderate learning or language disabilities. The program focuses on maintenance of academic skills, instruction in new strategies to succeed in school, and the continuing development of self-esteem.
  • Challenger School – a K-8 School with extreme emphasis on academics
  • Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School – a K-8 Jewish day school; school's name changed from Mid-Peninsula Jewish Community Day School (MPJCDS)[17]
  • International School of the Peninsula – a Nursery-8 bilingual immersion school with two Palo Alto campuses. Offers two Nursery - 5 programs: Chinese-English and French-English, and an international middle school. Established in 1979.[18]
  • Kehillah Jewish High School – a new preparatory high school with both secular and Jewish studies
  • Keys School – a co-ed, independent K-8 school focused on learning for life
  • Kitty Petty Institute – a preschool for disabled children
  • Palo Alto Montessori School – an accredited preschool which has been educating 2–5 years olds since 1977.
  • Pinewood School – located on Fremont Road in Los Altos Hills; most of the students are from Los Altos Hills/Los Altos area
  • St Elizabeth Seton Extended – a Catholic school
  • Stratford School – a K-5 school focused on all round development[19]


The Palo Alto City Library has five branches, with a total of 265,000 items in their collections.[20] The library's mission is to enable people to explore library resources in order to enrich their lives with knowledge, information, and enjoyment. For Palo Alto library card holders, the main library web page also offers links to primary source databases with collections of magazine, newspaper, and other print articles. The Palo Alto City Library is also a member of the Northern California Digital Library, which allows card holders to browse and download the digital resources made available. Library cards are freely available for Palo Alto residents.


The Palo Alto Daily Post publishes six days a week. Palo Alto Daily News, a unit of the San Jose Mercury News, publishes 5 days a week. Palo Alto Weekly is published Fridays. Palo Alto Times, a daily newspaper served Palo Alto and neighboring cities beginning in 1894. In 1979 it became the Peninsula Times Tribune. The newspaper ceased publication in 1993.[21]

KDOW 1220 AM began broadcasting in 1949 as KIBE; it later became KDFC, simulcasting classical KDFC-FM. As KDOW it broadcasts a business news format. The transmitter is in East Palo Alto near the western approach to Dumbarton Bridge with power of 5,000 watts daytime and 145 watts nighttime.

The Midpeninsula Community Media Center provides cable TV access channels 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30.[22]


Palo Alto is served by two major freeways, Highway 101, and Interstate 280, and is traversed by the Peninsula’s main north-south boulevard, El Camino Real (SR 82).

The city is also served indirectly by State Route 84 which traverses the Dumbarton Bridge to the north. None of the highways on the Peninsula side of the bridge have been upgraded to freeway status due to opposition from residents of Palo Alto, Atherton and Menlo Park. The freeway opponents fear that upgrading Highway 84 will encourage more people to live in Alameda County (where housing is more affordable) and commute to jobs in the mid-Peninsula area, thus increasing traffic in their neighborhoods to the south of the bridge. Also, Palo Alto has only one major crosstown arterial, Page Mill Road / Oregon Expressway, which completely connects the two freeways. Because of these two defects in the regional road network, Palo Alto is notorious for severe traffic congestion at rush hour.

Palo Alto is served by Palo Alto Airport of Santa Clara County (KPAO), one of the busiest single-runway general aviation airports in the country. It is used by many daily commuters who fly (usually in private singled engine aircraft) from their homes in the Central Valley to work in the Palo Alto area.

Train service is available via Caltrain with service between San Francisco and San Jose and extending to Gilroy. Caltrain has two regular stops in Palo Alto, one at University Avenue (local and express) and the other at California Avenue (local only). A third, located beside Alma Street at Embarcadero Road, is used to provide special services for occasional sports events (generally football) at Stanford Stadium. The University Avenue stop is the second most popular (behind 4th and King in San Francisco) on Caltrain's entire line.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) provides primary bus service through Palo Alto with service to the south bay and Silicon Valley. The San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans) provides service to San Mateo County to the north. The Stanford University Free Shuttle (Marguerite) provides a supplementary bus service to and from the campus, and the Palo Alto Free Shuttle (Crosstown and Embarcadero), which circulates frequently, and provides service to major points in Palo Alto, including the main library, downtown, the Municipal Golf Course, the Caltrain University Ave. Station, and both high schools.

There are no parking meters in Palo Alto and all municipal parking lots and multi-level parking structures are free (limited to two or three hours any weekday 8am–5pm). Downtown Palo Alto has recently added many new lots to fill the overflow of vehicles.

Sister cities

Palo Alto has six sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:

In 1989, Palo Alto received a gift of a large, whimsical wooden sculpture called Foreign Friends (Fjärran Vänner)—of a man, woman, dog and bird sitting on a park bench—from Linköping. The sculpture was praised by some, called "grotesque" by others, and became a lightning rod for vandals. It was covered with a large addressed postcard marked "Return to Sender." A former Stanford University mathematics professor was arrested for attempting to light it on fire. It was doused with paint.[citation needed]

When the original heads were decapitated on Halloween, 1993, the statue became a shrine—flowers bouquets and cards were placed upon it. Following an anonymous donation, the heads were restored. Within weeks, the restored heads were decapitated again, this time disappearing. The heads were eventually replaced with new ones, which generated even more distaste, as many deemed the new heads even less attractive.[citation needed]

A few months later, the man's arm was chopped off, the woman's lap was vandalized, the bird was stolen, and the replacements heads were decapitated and stolen.[citation needed]

The sculpture was removed from its location on Embarcadero Road and Waverley Avenue in 1995, dismantled, and placed in storage until it was destroyed in 2000. Ironically, the statue was designed not as a lasting work of art, but as something to be climbed on with a lifespan of 10 to 25 years.[citation needed]

Notable buildings and other points of interest

Palo Alto Community House
Packard's garage, the birthplace of Silicon Valley

Notable people

Artists & Entertainers

Business Leaders & Entrepreneurs


Politicians & Civil Servants


Sports figures


  1. ^ "Mayor and City Council". City of Palo Alto. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  2. ^ Bancroft plat survey link
  3. ^ Spanishtown Site
  4. ^ Jenks, 1976
  5. ^ Central California
  6. ^ "SD14 partisan registration". California State Senate. Retrieved 2008-09-13. 
  7. ^ "Partisan Voting Index: Districts of the 111th Congress". The Cook Political Report. Retrieved 2009-08-20. 
  8. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Palo Alto Online Real Estate
  11. ^ DQNews - California Home Sale Price Medians by County and City
  12. ^ "2007 Coldwell Banker Home Price Comparison Index Reveals That $2.1 Million Separates Beverly Hills from Killeen, Texas". Retrieved 2009-08-20. 
  14. ^ Palo Alto Business Facts
  15. ^ Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce list of Major Employers (archived)
  16. ^ School Detail for Briones (Juana) Elementary
  17. ^ Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School
  18. ^ International School of the Peninsula
  19. ^ Stratford School
  20. ^ Palo Alto City Library
  21. ^ THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Paper Closes In California, The New York Times, March 15, 1993.
  22. ^ Midpeninsula Community Media Center
  23. ^ Elizabeth Gamble Garden
  24. ^ Lou Henry Hoover Girl Scout House
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ "The Joan Baez Web Pages - Chronology". Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  29. ^ "Disney Legends web site - Legend Bio: Ollie Johnston, Animation". Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  30. ^ "The Grateful Dead: Making the Scene in Palo Alto". Palo Alto Historical Society. Retrieved 2009-08-20. 
  31. ^ 1 "Erle Stanley Gardner (1889–1970): Early Life". 1. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  32. ^ "Adult New York Times Best Seller Lists for 2008". 
  33. ^ "Winners of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine". Nobel Prize Internet Archive. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  34. ^ Markoff, John. Robert Spinrad, a Pioneer in Computing, Dies at 77", The New York Times, September 6, 2009. Accessed September 9, 2009.
  35. ^ "The MOAH Neighborhood". Palo Alto Museum of American History. Retrieved 2009-08-20. 
  36. ^ "Stanford Official Athletic site - Bio: Jim Harbaugh". Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  37. ^ Horgan, John (2005-02-25). "The Last Roundup". Oakland Tribune. Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  38. ^ Tennis, Mark (2003-04-03). "Mr. Basketball 2003: Trevor's Time". 

Further reading

  • John Jenks, David Crimp, C. Michael Hogan et al., Engineering and Environmental Evaluations of Discharge to the Coast Casey Canal and Charleston Slough, prepared by Kennedy Jenks Engineers and Earth Metrics Inc. (1976)
  • Santa Clara County Heritage Resource Inventory, Santa Clara County Historical Heritage Commission, published by Santa Clara County, San Jose, Ca., June 1979
  • A description of high-tech life in Palo Alto around 1995 is found in the novel by Douglas Coupland, Microserfs.
  • Coleman, Charles M., P. G. and E. of California: The Centennial Story of Pacific Gas and Electric Company 1852–1952, (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1952).
  • Hanson, Warren D., San Francisco Water and Power: A History of the Municipal Water Department and Hetch Hetchy System, (San Francisco: San Francisco Public Utilities Communications Group, 2002).
  • Map: PG&E Backbone Gas Transmission System, (San Francisco: Pacific Gas and Electric Co., undated).
  • Map: Water Conveyance, Treatment, and Distribution System, (San Jose: Santa Clara Valley Water District, 1978).
  • Earthquake Planning Scenario Special Publication #61, (Sacramento, California: State of California, Division of Mines and Geology, 1981).
  • $117,730,000 Bond Offering: Transmission Agency of Northern California, (Sacramento, California: Transmission Agency of Northern California, 1992).

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Palo Alto [1] is a bustling, small city on the peninsula south of San Francisco. It is home to Stanford University and hundreds of Silicon Valley technology companies, ranging from Facebook, VMware, and Hewlett-Packard to tiny startups operating in garages.

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°F) 57 61 64 68 73 77 78 78 77 73 64 57
Nightly lows (°F) 38 41 43 45 48 52 54 55 52 48 42 39
Precipitation (in) 3 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 3

Palo Alto enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with dry summers and wet winters.
Check Palo Alto's 7 day forecast at NOAA

Palo Alto means tall tree in Spanish, and in this case refers to an aging redwood tree at the north end of the city. The 1061-year-old Coast Redwood, which stands 110 feet (34 m) high and has a base diameter of 90 inches (229 cm), marks a campsite for the Portola Expedition Party of 1769.

Get in

Accessible by train, bus or automobile from nearby San Francisco (about 25 miles/40 km) and San Jose (about 20 miles/32 km) airports. US 101 is the primary highway access, although I-280 also passes through the western edge of Palo Alto. Palo Alto Municipal Airport, which is a few miles from the center of the city, serves private aircraft.

Get around

By bus

Bus service runs through most of the major areas within the city. Routes are concentrated around El Camino Real and University Avenue. The Palo Alto Shuttle is free, and serves the otherwise unserved Embarcadero Road corridor, as well as the VA Hospital.

By bike

Bike lanes are nearly everywhere and make riding convenient and safe. One of the most prominent lanes runs down Bryant Street and takes you from South Palo Alto to the downtown district located in North Palo Alto.

By car

Automobiles are definitely the most convenient way to get around, and parking is plentiful everywhere except the downtown area. Municipal parking is complimentary and fairly well dispersed, but usually limited to 2 hours during the business day.

By train

Palo Alto is a stop along the Bay Area train route known as Caltrain [2]. The train station stops off on the west end of University Ave, which is one end of downtown Palo Alto. The train station also has free shuttles (The Marguerite), which go to the Stanford University campus.

  • Stanford University— Offers cultural, athletic, natural and educational resources to Palo Alto visitors. For example, Outdoor Sculpture at Stanford University includes a very large collection of large scale works by Rodin in a garden immediately adjoining the museum of art. Look for Andy Goldsworthy's River of Stone a few steps from the museum's front entry. A guided outdoor sculpture tour is conducted the first Sunday of each month at 2PM, rain or shine. The tour lasts about 1.5 hours, and begins at the entrance of the Main Quad (where The Oval meets Serra Street). One of the most unique things in the USA is the New Guinea Sculpture Garden at Stanford. Made by New Guinean tribes people, it is a beautiful collection of wooden sculptures. (Next to Roble Dormitory, near the intersection of Lomita Drive and Santa Teresa Street)
  • Baylands Nature Preserve— The 1,940-acre Baylands Preserve brings you to the edge of San Francisco Bay and is a component of the critical wetlands needed to preserve wildlife and marine life in the San Francisco region; it is a great place to hike, bike, watch birds and enjoy an afternoon. The Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center has interesting educational programs for children and adults. Take Embarcadero Road east to the very end to get there.
  • Packard's Garage — 367 Addison Ave., Palo Alto. This restored garage is a museum, California Registered and National Historic Landmark -- the site where Hewlett-Packard was founded and the "Birthplace of Silicon Valley." You can only see this from the street.
  • Shockley's Laboratory — 391 San Antonio Road. The other birthplace of Silicon Valley. The first transistors were made here. It's now a Mexican grocery store. William Shockley was a brilliant researcher, but a lousy manager. His team (which included Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce (both co-founded Intel), Eugene Kleiner (founder of Kleiner-Perkins), Jean Hoerni (founder Union Carbide Electronics), Sheldon Roberts, and others) left to start Fairchild Semiconductors, which lead to Intel and many other companies. It was the silicon transistor that created Silicon Valley.
  • Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, 2575 Sand Hill Rd, Menlo Park, 650 854 0683, Make time to go on a free public tour of one of the world's best-known experimental particle accelerators. Managed by Stanford University's Department of Energy, it attracts researchers from all over the world who like to smash tiny bits of matter together and then record the results.
  • Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Rd., Palo Alto, 650.329.2366, A nationally recognized visual arts center that offers a variety of exhibitions, classes, workshops and art education programs. Exhibitions include the best of contemporary fine art, craft, design and new art forms, with a particular emphasis on the art of the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 751 Waverly St., Palo Alto. Fans of the classic cult film, Harold and Maude should head to St. Thomas Aquinas Church, the oldest church in Palo Alto (built in 1902). Intimate and beautiful, with ornate wood ceiling crossbeams and gorgeous stained-glass panels, the sanctuary is the perfect place to step out of the modern world and take a moment for peaceful solitude and reflection.
  • Biking is a very popular Palo Alto activity. Road and off-road trails are plentiful.
  • Walking trails abound in the hills to the west of Palo Alto. Check out the Arastradero Preserve [3] and the four-mile walking trail at the 150-foot diameter Stanford University Radio Telescope, which locals call "the Dish". The trailhead is at the intersection of Junipero Serra and Stanford Avenue. The public hiking trails are only accessible during daylight hours. Sorry, dogs are prohibited. Check out a beautiful hike on skyline called Crazy Pete's hike. Great view of Palo Alto city. Maybe the best part of this hike is the history. "Crazy" Pete was a miner who lived in Coal Creek preserve and built a road -- named Crazy Pete's road -- in the 1800s. Most people don't know how Crazy Pete got his moniker.
  • The Stanford Theater [4]- An old theater showing classics from the 1930s through the 1950s (not open year round). Sometimes features an organist playing live before screenings.
  • Stanford University Free Lectures and Events, for info visit Unless you are a student at Stanford, you won't get into classes for free at this acclaimed university, but there are some events and lectures open to the public each month. Parking can be hard to come by close to the venues of events, but the university runs a free shuttle bus, called the Marguerite, that picks up passengers at several locations including the Palo Alto California Avenue Caltrain station and deposits them within easy walking distance of most event sites. The online schedule of lectures and events is updated frequently and usually lists at least five to seven upcoming free happenings.
  • The Dish Walk, Stanford foothills, Junipero Serra Boulevard and Stanford Avenue. A great way to start the day, a 4 mile walk around Stanford's nature preserve that is complete with gorgeous views of the Bay and the city. Called the Dish Walk because of a radio telescope dish crowning the mountain, this network of paths and trails around the Stanford foothills west of Junipero Serra Blvd. offers numerous hillside trail runs and hikes.


Palo Alto's main shopping district is on University Avenue, between El Camino Real and Middlefield Road. It is a great long street of shopping, coffee spots, eateries and outdoor dining. Influenced by a college and upscale tech demographic, there is a variety of stores available from the local shop, to a unique designer store. A second, smaller shopping area is on California Avenue [5] between El Camino Real and Alma.

  • Stanford Shopping Center [6], Sand Hill Road and El Camino Real. A large upscale mall that features Neiman-Marcus, Nordstrom's, Bloomingdale, Macy's and one hundred and forty other stores.
  • Patrick James menswear, 855 El Camino Real, Ste 20, Town and Country Village, Palo Alto, 650-328-307. Offering traditional menswear, including cufflinks, suits, weekend wear, resort clothing, and custom-made shirts. Providing high quality suits and exceptional service.
  • Leaf & Petal, 439 California Ave, Palo Alto. Excellent womenswear boutique with great service and the best selection of contemporary apparel in town. They carry emerging designer brands and have a gorgeous selection of jewelry and handbags.
  • Lyons Limited Prints, 10 Town and Country Village, El Camino Real and Embarcadero, Palo Alto, 650-325-9010. Check out the impressive array of botanical and architectural prints, maps, and city views for sale. Any of the works sold here can be framed and shipped.
  • Cielo, 110 Stanford Shopping Ctr, Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto, 650-329-8833. High end designer labels can be found here, including Dries, Vanessa Bruno, Zucca, etc. While staff can be a little impersonal, concentrate on the beautiful fabrics and well cut clothing.
  • Bella Luna, 233 University Ave, (650) 322-1846, [7]. Tasty and reasonably priced Italian cuisine. While the service can be questionable, the atmosphere is romantic and intimate.
  • Buca di Beppo, 643 Emerson St, (650) 329-0665, [8]. Family style Italian cuisine, and they do mean family style - one entree will feed multiple people. They do not accept reservations, so get there early.
  • Crowne Plaza Cabana, 4290 El Camino Real, (650) 857-0787, [9]. Features perhaps the most sumptuous brunch buffet that you may experience, on weekends only though. Though a typical Sunday champagne brunch here is $30 (after tax and tip), the amount of food offered and the quality and freshness of food is impressive and well worth it.
  • Compadres, 3877 El Camino Real, (650) 858-1141. Offers moderately priced Mexican food favorites. If you like it spicy, check out the options at the "Wall of Flame."
  • Fuki Sushi [10]. Best Japanese food near Palo Alto, albeit expensive even by local standards.
  • Hobee's, 67 Town & Country Village, (650) 327-4111, [11]. A moderately priced restaurant with California-fusion meals and good vegetarian options. Famous for its blueberry coffeecake with its eclectic omelets and fruit smoothies. Also at 4224 El Camino Real, (650) 856-6124.
  • Mango Cafe, 435 Hamilton Avenue, (650) 325-3229. Caribbean restaurant with wonderful fruit juice drinks. Order 'The Whole Island' if you're starving (jerked chicken wings, island rice, and chicken pelao).
  • Nola, 535 Ramona St, (650) 328-2722 [12] New Orleans themed restaurant with good food. Rowdy bar famous for its Hurricane cocktail.
  • PF Chang's, Stanford Shopping Center, (650) 330-1782, [13]. Offers California-style Asian cuisine in a bistro environment.
  • Pizza My Heart, 220 University Ave, (650) 327-9400, [14] By the slice or by the pie, this place serves up some pretty good pizza. Thin crust only.
  • Pluto's, 482 University Ave. (at Cowper), Ph: (650) 853-1556, Fax: (650) 327-9569, [15]. Some of the tastiest and healthiest sandwiches and salads to be found in the Bay Area. Anything with roasted turkey is particularly recommended.
  • Straits Cafe, [16], 3295 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, (650) 494-7168. Lacking the hip ambiance of its San Jose counterpart, this chain restaurant offers safe, sanitized South East Asian cuisine. The samosas and roti prata are highly recommended and will start your meal off right.
  • Sundance Steakhouse, 1921 El Camino Real, Ph: (650) 321-6798. A very good steakhouse with superb prime rib and a great whiskey peppercorn sauce to go with it; pricey and worth it. The clam chowder is rich and delicious. The restaurant is quiet and provides excellent ambiance for a leisurely dinner.
  • Tamarine, 546 University Ave, Palo Alto, (650) 325-8500, [17]. With a cool but comfortable decor, Tamarine offers consistently well prepared Vietnamese cuisine. Pair your clay pot cod with a tasty cocktail from their extensive cocktail list, and combine it with exceptional service, and you have got the makings for a perfect night out.
  • Sushi House, 855 El Camino Real # 158, (650) 321-3453. Moderately priced Japanese Cuisine. A good alternative to Fuki Sushi.  edit
  • So Gong Dong Tofu House, 4127 El Camino Real, (650)424-8805. Gong Dong has a bright and cheery decor which complements the tasty and healthy cuisine. Dishes include tofu soup, beef dish, and short rib dish which are all rich tasting and delicious. Servers are standing by to explain the menu and the intricacies of the cuisine.
  • Taqueria El Grullense, 3636 El Camino Real, (650) 251-9317. For the best Mexican food Palo Alto has to offer, visit the taqueria and be sure to give their salsa verde a try. Grullense has become famous for its "Super Burritos", which are tasty and very filling.
  • Zibibbo, 430 Kipling (between University and Lytton), (650) 328-6722, [18]. With a high price tag attached to the dishes, you would expect the quality of the good and service to match, but unfortunately, it does falter on occasion. With a huge layout, it's hard to convey ambiance and intimacy, although dishes such a roasted rabbit and wild mushroom pizza do exceed expectations.
  • Pizza Chicago, 4115 El Camino Real, (650) 424-9400. Sun - Thu: 11:00AM - 10:00PM Fri - Sat: 11:00AM - 11:00PM. Great deep dish pizza, although a tad more expensive than your average pie.  edit
  • Bistro Maxine, 548 Ramona St (Exit 101 onto University Ave go 2.2 miles turn left onto Ramona), 650 323 1815, [19]. Tues-Sat 8AM-10PM and Sunday 9AM-4PM closed Monday. Located in downtown Palo Alto, Bistro Maxine is the perfect location for French bistro feel and European atmosphere. Opened in June 2006, it is the only place to offer real authentic French crêpes. $8 - $15.  edit
  • La Bodeguita del Medio, 463 S. California Avenue, +1 650-326-7762, [20]. A great bar and restaurant featuring Cuban inspired cuisine. A friendly and welcoming neighborhood place with a walk-in humidor and smoking patio. There is also a great bar with over 50 sipping rums featuring Cuban inspired cuisine.  edit
  • Antonio's Nut House, 321 S. California Avenue, (650) 321-2550. Popular destination for locals. Primarily a blue collar bar, but dot-com people come through every now and then for a round of pool. Free peanuts for patrons and you can even throw the shells onto the floor.
  • Empire Tap Room, 651 Emerson Street, (650) 321-3030. Bright, cheery bar considering the sometimes crusty clientele. Excellent wine list and delicious calamari.
  • Miyake, 140 University Avenue, (650) 323-9449, [21]. Features high energy atmosphere, 80's music and disco lights, popular with Stanford students. A Sake Bomb (shot of sake dropped into a glass of beer and chugged) is the drink of choice.
  • The Old Pro, 541 Ramona St, (650) 326-1446, [22]. Loud, energetic sports bar in a high traffic part of downtown Palo Alto. A frequent for Stanford students to hang out at.
  • Blue Chalk Café, 630 Ramona Street, Palo Alto, 650.325.1020. Packed with Stanford students playing pool or chilling out in the comfy lounge, but if you want to dance in Palo Alto, then this is the spot. It gets pretty crowded on the weekends and its always wise to head here early on, as the night rolls on, there is usually a cover and a drink minimum.
  • Bistro 412, 412 Emerson St., Palo Alto, 650.326.7183. Bistro 412 take care of their packed crowds beautifully with some nights devoted to DJ dancing, while others showcase live music and the heavy drinks are always flowing here. With a European vibe and a chic decor with an outdoor patio, it's a fun night out and recommended for smaller parties.
  • Gordon Biersch, 640 Emerson St., Palo Alto, 650.323.7723. Although their brick building looks like an unassuming basic beerhouse, they offer food that attempts to be a notch above. This local Palo Alto bar is a must do, especially with the beer being produced on-site. Or sample one of their classic, German inspired microbrews or seasonal specialty beers which, by the way, is an excellent way to spend an afternoon, or a very long evening.
  • Quattro Restaurant & Bar, 2050 University Avenue, 650-566-1200, [23]. Distinctive all-day restaurant, large outdoor terrace and bar. 1/2 price wine on Fridays.  edit
  • Cardinal Hotel, 235 Hamilton Ave., (650) 323-5101, [24]. Close to Palo Alto Caltrain station and Stanford.
  • Creekside Inn, 3400 El Camino Real, 650-493-2411, [25]. Moderately priced, convenient location.
  • Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4290 El Camino Real, (650) 857-0787, [26].
  • Days Inn Palo Alto, 4238 El Camino Real, +1 650-493-4222, [27].
  • Garden Court Hotel, 520 Cowper Street, Downtown Palo Alto, CA 94301, [28]
  • Motel 6, 4301 El Camino Real, (650) 949-0833, Fax: (650) 941-0782, [29].
  • The Stanford Terrace Inn, 531 Stanford Avenue, 650-857-0333
  • Comfort Inn Palo Alto, 3945 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306, 650-493-3141, [30]. Comfort Inn is in the heart of Palo Alto near Stanford- good place to stay while visiting Stanford University.  edit
  • Quality Inn Palo Alto, 3901 El Camino Real Palo Alto, CA 94306, 800-424-6423, [31]. The Quality Inn hotel is near Stanford & Palo Alto shopping  edit

Stay safe

Be careful to check for ticks after hiking in fields in the bay area. There is a high rate of lyme disease transmission in the Bay Area. If a bulls' eye rash develops at the tick bite site, immediately seek medical help and treatment with antibiotics.


Downtown Palo Alto, along University Avenue, has free WiFi.

  • Apple Store, 451 University Avenue (across the street from Borders Books). All the computers are on wi-fi and free to use.
  • Palo Alto Cafe, 2675 Middlefield Road. Has a free wi-fi hotspot.
  • Palo Alto's Downtown Free Wi-Fi Internet Hotzone, [32]

Get out

Palo Alto is a good base of operations for visiting both the Silicon Valley and San Francisco, as it is halfway between that city and San Jose. Trips to San Francisco on Caltrain leave frequently and stop just south of downtown. The ride lasts about an hour, and Caltrain's rush-hour Baby Bullets travel the distance even faster. Check out Caltrain schedules [33], and make sure to buy a ticket before boarding.

To the west, the beautiful Coastal Range provides excellent biking, hiking, and other outdoor sports. Taking Page Mill Road due west will get you, eventually, to Highway 1 on the beautiful peninsula coast (although Highways 84 and 92 are preferable, especially the latter). And Santa Cruz is accessible from Highway 17, Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35 to Highway 9), or beautiful Highway 1.

If you're touring universities, the University of California, Berkeley is just across the bay. Take US-101 north through San Francisco and across the Bay Bridge to I-580 north, exiting University Avenue. Or by public transport, take the Stanford Marguerite shuttle to CalTrain and ride the Caltrain to Millbrae. At Millbrae, switch to BART and ride to Downtown Berkeley. (See [34] for more).

Routes through Palo Alto
San FranciscoEast Palo Alto  N noframe S  Mountain ViewSan Jose
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

PALO ALTO, a city of Santa Clara county, California, U.S.A., between two of the coast ranges, about 28 m. S. of San Francisco, and about 18 m. from the sea. Pop. (1906) 4515. It is served by the coast division of the Southern Pacific railway, and is the railway station for Leland Stanford Jr. University, which is about 1 m. south-west of the city. At Menlo Park is St Patrick's Theological Seminary (Roman Catholic). By all real estate deeds the sale of intoxicating liquors is for ever prohibited in the city; and an act of the state legislature in 1909 prohibited the sale of intoxicating liquor within r z m. of the grounds of the university. The name (Sp. "tall tree") was derived from a solitary redwood-tree standing in the outskirts of the city. Palo Alto was laid out in 1891, but had no real existence before 1893. It was incorporated as a town in 1894, having previously been a part of Mayfield township; in 1909 it was chartered as a city. Palo Alto suffered severely in the earthquake of 1906.

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