Santa Clara County Genealogy
Source:  San Jose Mercury, 22 Decembr 1901, page 24


One of the Oldest Towns of the County and Situated in a Splendid Agricultural Section.

One of the oldest towns in Santa Clara County is Mayfield, located thirteen miles northwesterly from San Jose, and only one mile distant from the famous Stanford Unviersity. For beauty of location and charm of natural surroundings Mayfield is suprassed by few if any towns in the valley. To the west there is a gentle incline to the foothills and mountains of the Santa Cruz range, while eastward and in from the cultivated fields slope down to the bay, whose placid surface is only a few miles away. The Mission mountains and Contra Costa Hills are plainly in view on the opposite side of the bay, and southward the flourishing orchards, grain lands and seed farms stretch away to Mountain View and far beyond. The picturesque buildings of the university are close at hand, and whichever way one turns he is met by a picture that is inviting and characteristic of this favored Santa Clara Valley. The local climate is correspondingly attractive, the town lying in the lower end of the thermal or warm belt that follows the western foothills from the San Francisquito creek at Stanford to Los Gatos and beyond. Although so well adapted to successful fruit culture, there are but few orchards comparatively in the Mayfield section, as much of the territory ocntiguous to the town in owned by the Stanford University, or is held in other large tracts.

A Productive Section.

It is as a procuder of hay, grain and fine stock that Mayfield district is specially notable, but its shipments of berries, fruits, wines and vegetables are extensive and steadily increasing. The early strawberries that find their way to market in March are grown near Mayfield, and the production of tomatoes is one of its leading industries of the soil. The shipments of local productions of all kinds from the Mayfield station run from 300,000 to 1,500,000 pounds a month throughout the year. These figures are largely exceeded by the freight received, owing to the fact that the vast quantities of materials for the costly improvements that are continuously going on at the university are shipped to and hauled at Mayfield. These consist of lumber, lime, coal, cement, brick, iron, stone, etc., making with the local products that are being forwarded daily by rail a brisk freight business. There are a few large orchards, vineyards and wineries in the vicinity, and with the subdivision of present extensive holdings that is bound to come in the near future numerous orchards and rural homes will follow, and the hay and grain fields will give way to more extensive forms of cultivation.

Early History.

Mayfield is on the public highway from San Francisco to San Jose, and a number of the buildings that were erection [sic.] during the early stage coach days, long before the advent of the locomotive, are still standing. Historical structures are these, dating back to the time when cattle and horses in droves and bands of thousands roamed the valley and the hills; when the wild oats reached up to the pommels of the vaqueros' saddles, and the mustard growth was that of a veritable forest. The town stands on land that was occupied in 1853 by E.O. CROSBY as a farm. He named his home Mayfield, suggestive of sunny spring skies and fields of many-hued flowers, and when by the addition of other settlers a little town sprung up, the name was appropriately retained for the town. A store, blacksmith shop and butcher shop were opened in 1854, and in 1855 a Postoffice was established, with James OTTERSON as Postmaser. A small schoolhouse was also built, and in 1857 the first hotel was openedf. The railroad from San Francisco was opened through Mayfield in 1864, and in 1867 the town was formally laid out by William PAUL, being surveyed by J.J. BOWEN, the County Surveyor. In 1871 a Catholic church was built, and in the following year a Methodist Episcopal Church was erected, and a new and larger schoolhouse took the place of the little "herring box" which for a time had answered the purposes of the new district. Mayfield for a number of years grew slowly, but substantially, and in recent years its growth has been very considerable, especially in the way of residence buidling.

Mayfield's Modern Era.

Mayfield's modern era began with the opening of the Stanford University. Streets and lots were laid out on the western side of the town as far as the line of the university property, and as this addition possessed the advantage of elevation and proximity to the university it was soon the site of many handsome modern residence structures. The business portion of the town has kept pace with the residence improvements, and a number of business blocks, both of wood and of brick, have been erected. Prominent among the brick structures the Odd Fellows block, a $15,000 building, and the Dornberger block. The business houses of the town consist of hotels, large commodious and well kept; hardware and tin shops, stores of dry goods and of general merchandise, drug store, livery stables, bicycle shops, soda works, brewery, butcher and baker shops, blacksmith and woodwork shops, and in short all lines usually maintained in a modern progressive town that is surrounded by a richly productive area of cultivatable lands.

Residences and Gardens.

Residence improvements have not been confined to the western addition, known as College Terrace, and there are many fine residences in the older portion of the town. These are set off by flower gardens, some charmingly old fashioned, others more modernly prim, but all attractive. During the year now nearly closed the Postoffice has done an increasing business, and this is an unfailing evidence of local growth. A fine example of the modern spirit that animates the town is the public schoolhouse, which was built a few years ago at a cost of $14,000. This is one of the very largest and best equipped school buildings in the county, every room being liberally furnished and the entire building arranged with a view to the convenience, comfort and health of pupils and teachers.

The citizens of Mayfield believe in the spirit of fraternity and benevolence, as represented by the fraternal orders, and they sustain thriving lodges of the Independent Order of Odd Felloows, the Ancient Order of United Workmen, the Druids, the Independent Order of Foresters, and the Rebekahs. For years a local newspaper has been identified with the progress of the town, chronicling home events, and pointing out the advantages of the place for business and the inducements for the home-seeker.

Steady Development.

The development of the Mayfield section and the progress of the town, which is its center, are destined to be much more pronounced in the future than they have been in the past. All the local conditions favor growth. It cannot fail to feel the impulse given to the valley's development by the completion and operation of the coast railroad, which is now a pleasing fact, and with the building of a double track from San Francisco, soon to be consummated, and the more rapid service which will follow that improvement, the town, like Menlo Park, will be made the home of numerous San Francisco business men, who will run down to their business every morning and return to Mayfield in the evening. This will insure the building of many residence buildings and an improved local trade. The University, too, cannot fail for all time to attract settlers to Mayfield for the educational advantages which that superb institution affords, and with the additional demand for home sites which these conditions and agencies are certain to create, the big farms will be subdivided into small holdings and Mayfield will enjoy a constantly increasing population and prosperity.

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