San Mateo County History
History of San Mateo County
by Philip W. Alexander, 1916


ALTHOUGH San Mateo County's natural beauties and advantages have been the prime factors of development; the progressive spirit manifested by the people, and the activity of the county's various promotion organizations have been the actual moving forces behind the phenomenal development which has taken place during the last few years. The achievements of the San Mateo County Development Association command particular attention.

This aggressive association is the most important of these organizations in the county. It was organized in April, 1910 by the public spirited citizens of the county, primarily to obtain better transportation facilities and lower rates, and in general to develop the resources and advertise the natural advantages of the county.

The first activity of this body was to commence an action against the Southern Pacific Company for lower rates, which resulted in material reductions on all classes of tickets. Half-fare rates for school children were obtained on the line running through the county.

The most herculean task undertaken, was initiating and carrying through the campaign for a one million two hundred and fifty thousand dollar bond issue for good roads, which was carried by a vote exceeding four to one. This was accomplished in less than a year from its inception, and with an actual campaign of public speaking that covered only one month.

One of the great public accomplishments engineered by the Association was in connection with the eighteen million dollar state highway bond issue, when on August 7, 1912, at their invitation, the first shovelfull of earth was turned over in San Mateo County by Burton A. Towne, chairman of the California State Highway Commission. This ceremony took place in San Mateo County, at San Bruno, on the State Highway, at a point just opposite Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Among the other public benefits inaugurated and successfully carried through by this body, was the formation of the motor bus transportation service, known as the Peninsula Rapid Transit Company which filled a long-felt want for better transportation facilities.

Among other activities which this body was instrumental in bringing about, was a tour of inspection by the Congressional Rivers and Harbors Committee to pass upon the merit of the county's harbor projects. Innumerable other undertakings for the general upbuilding of the community have also been fostered and carried to a successful conclusion.

A high-water mark of community publicity has been reached and maintained, which is regarded with envy by other county commercial organizations, and is considered a standard for imitation by all such bodies. As a result of the "get together spirit" manifested by San Mateo County, this community is now being carried forward upon a flood tide of prosperity and ever increasing popularity.

This is largely the direct result of the untiring efforts of the San Mateo County Development Association.

The officers of this body are as follows: M. B. Johnson, President, (Montara); Asa Hull, Vice-President, (San Carlos); Frank L. Eksward, Secretary-Manager, (San Mateo); and S. D. Merk, Treasurer, (Burlingame).

The Board of Directors is as follows: D. G. Doubleday, (Millbrae); W. A. Brewer, (Hillsborough); W. H. Brown, (San Mateo); J. T. Casey, (Colma); W. O. Graiber, (Lomita Park); F. A. Cunningham, (South San Francisco); W. J. Martin, (South San Francisco); J. M. Custer, (San Bruno); D. A. Deleau. (Redwood City); T. Masterson, (San Mateo); Dr. C. L. Morgan, (Halfmoon Bay); C. M. Morse, (San Mateo); E. M. Moores, (Burlingame); Henry Marcus, (Redwood City); H. C. Tuchsen, (Redwood City); and Charles L. Biebel, (Daly City).

Various other organizations throughout the county, of which there are a large number, consisting in part of urban improvement clubs, women's clubs, city-beautiful organizations, entertainment committees, merchants' associations, and chambers of commerce of the various cities, have all been active in successful development work.

The occasions and events in which the activities of these various bodies were manifested, have been state highway parades, flower days, county days, city fetes and many other such celebrations taking place within the boundaries of the county. The "Good Roads Day" was an occasion never to be forgotten when the county-wide agitation was in progress to improve the highway system. At this time, visitors from Santa Clara County were entertained, and ways and means discussed with the Santa Clara delegates as to mutual county cooperation to secure a better highway system.

Probably there is not a county in California that is accomplishing more general development work than San Mateo. Scores of homes are being erected, schools are being urged and built, churches are undergoing alterations, city streets are being improved, store buildings are going up, and the county highway work is being steadily extended.

As a direct result of all this activity, the county has manifested a phenomenal growth. Every merchant, property owner, and commuter tell the same tale of progress.

Statistics on the population of the county, dating back fifty-six years, illustrate what has been accomplished. In 1860 the population was 3,214; in 1870, 6,335; in 1880, 8,669; in 1890, 10,087; in 1900, 12,094; and in 1910, 26,585. The population for 1916 is estimated from 35,000 to 42,000.



THE school system of San Mateo County embraces the kindergarten, the primary schools, the grammar schools and high schools.

From the time children reach school age until ready for the university, they may attend school and remain at their own homes. Throughout all this time they are pursuing a well laid out and carefully planned course which completely covers, in a minimum time, all that is required by the laws of the state. Further than this, most of the pupils are not only taught the statutory subjects but are also given instruction in manual and domestic arts as well as in drawing and music.

To cover this work and to accommodate the five thousand boys and girls in attendance throughout the county, there are five kindergartens, thirty-three elementary and four high school districts, employing 190 teachers. The cost of maintaining this system during the school year of 1914-1915 was $308,761.00.

The teachers of San Mateo County are practically all university or normal trained, whose salaries, while not high, are so fair as to assure few changes in the department each year.

The buildings and equipment in the majority of districts are as fine as can be found.

The pupils of the public schools of San Mateo County represent most of the nationalities of the civilized world, and are as a rule bright and active, responding readily to the instruction given them. A large percentage of those who graduate from the grammar schools attend high schools.

The high school students who are graduates of the elementary schools of this county, are in practically all cases found to be proficient in their work, whether they come from the graded town school or the ungraded, one-room school of the smaller communities. The high schools of San Mateo County maintain an unusually high standard, graduates being admitted to the different universities and normal schools without examination. The courses of instruction are varied; and while the scholastic branches are carefully followed, practical business instruction, skill in carpentering and home keeping or domestic science are so taught that pupils are well equipped mentally and physically to grasp the opportunities that present themselves upon graduation. In short, it may be said that San Mateo County has as good a school system as can be found in the State of California.

Concerning the high schools of the county, only two—those of San Mateo and Redwood City will be described in detail, as they are the largest.

The San Mateo Union High School is the largest in the county, having an enrollment in 1916 of 250 pupils and employing seventeen teachers. This high school has achieved a remarkable growth during the last ten years, in which time its enrollment has about quintupled, while the list of teachers has quadrupled.

In addition to being the largest high school in the county, the San Mateo Union High School has the distinction of being the only school in the state furnishing free text books, purchased by the school for both day and evening classes. They are the property of the school and are issued on library cards for a designated period of time. Another interesting feature of the school work is the actual printing of a very creditable school paper entitled, "The San Mateo Hi." A military feature has been added to the school curriculum which includes drilling and rifle practice. The equipment for the above is also furnished by the school.

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A night school with an enrollment of 150 students is maintained by the San Mateo Union High School, in which practically all the subjects taught during the day may be studied in the evening.

An important feature of the school's curriculum is the department of manual training in which the young men may learn the fundamentals of carpentering, joining, cabinet making, turning and machine practice. Domestic Science is taught for the benefit of the young ladies, the course including full instructions in cooking, food values and the serving of a meal. Another pleasant branch of the school work is the School Band and Orchestra.

The San Mateo High School is constructed of reinforced concrete, and was erected at a cost of $295,000.00, including the value of the property upon which it stands. This includes a $35,000.00 gymnasium with ample provision for outdoor sports on the school grounds. An auditorium, seating five hundred, an automatic ventilating and cleansing plant, and a system of artesian well water are among the features of the school buildings.

Mr. W. L. Glascock is principal of the San Mateo Union High School, and San Mateo Union Evening High School.

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The Sequoia Union High School of Redwood City, of which Samuel Pressly McCrea, A. M., has for ten years been the principal, has few peers among the small high schools of California. Serving the large territory from Menlo Park to Belmont and from the bay front to the mountains, it is one of the most important educational institutions in San Mateo County, and considerably the oldest.

The Sequoia Union High School first opened its doors to students on September 16, 1895 with David A. Curry as principal, and for nine years was housed in the grammar school building of Redwood City. At that time it had an enrollment of only a few students, and the faculty had but three members. Under the first principal 27 students were graduated.

In 1899 Frank S. Rosseter was chosen principal and in 1900 the school gained a place on the accredited list of the State University which it has since retained. In 1902 the San Mateo Union High School was opened, thus narrowing to some extent the field from which students were drawn to Sequoia. In the five years he was principal Mr. Rosseter graduated 66 students, and gave the school some of the features it has since retained.

It has advanced steadily in usefulness and popularity, in time outgrowing its first quarters, and increasing in numbers until it comfortably fills its magnificent building which is one of the most imposing structures in Redwood City.


Its registration is now 107 and the faculty has eight members. Its expenditures are greater than those of a small college a generation ago, and its field of work is considerably broader. It now covers History, Civics and Elementary Economics; Latin, German and Spanish, the Physical Sciences and Mathematics, English Literature and Composition, Bookkeeping, Stenography and Typewriting, Drawing and Vocal Music, Domestic Science and Art, Carpentry and Cabinet Work.

Although only twenty years old, some of the county's leading men and women are listed among its graduates. In the last ten years 131 students have been graduated from the school, many of whom continued their studies until graduation in Stanford University, the State Normal schools and other institutions. Of the graduates of the last two classes, seven went to Stanford in 1915, one to the College of the Pacific, two to the San Jose Normal, and one to the San Francisco Normal. At least, the school is inspiring many students to go higher.

To meet the modern school demands in secondary education many new departments have been added. Drawing, Music, a four year Commercial course, Domestic Science, and Manual Training are all features added during the last ten years. The school is now planning to erect a special building for the work in carpentering, blacksmithing, machine shop practice and other industrial arts.

This High School has already found it necessary to establish four regular courses—Literary, Scientific, Commercial and Industrial. Two of these are designed to prepare for higher institutions, and the others for various occupations.

For the first twelve years Geo. C. Ross of Belmont presided over the Board of Trustees of the school. Since that time L. P. Behrens has acted in that capacity, and except for two years, the latter has been a trustee of the High School since it was opened in 1895. With such a record of achievement the future is bright with promise.

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The private schools of the county are known throughout the country for their standing, ranking high among the famous institutions, both east and west.

One of the most important of these educational institutions in the county is the Belmont School for Boys, now in its 31st year. This is primarily a college preparatory school, as 329 of its 381 graduates have entered colleges or schools of science, as follows: 175 entered the University of California, 100 entered Stanford, and 54 entered Harvard, Yale, Cornell and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Eight other colleges received one or two each, leaving 44 to go directly into business.

The school was founded by W. T. Reed, Harvard '68, soon after his retirement from the presidency of the University of California. Through the financial assistance of W. H. Martin, he was enabled to purchase a portion of the famous Ralston estate at Belmont, and the school was opened in August 1885 with fifteen pupils.

Mr. Reed's varied experience in the Boston Latin School, in superintending the public schools of Brookline, Massachusetts and in the San Francisco Boys' High School had given him a familiarity with educational requirements that was of great service to him in laying out the work that Belmont should do.

The grounds—45 acres in extent—lie on the lower slope of wooded hills almost surrounding a valley which fronts the Bay of San Francisco. From the summit of these hills may be seen Mt. Diablo, Mt. Tamalpais and the chain of Crystal Springs Lakes. A picturesque brook, edged by live-oaks, divides the buildings of the school into two groups. On the north are two dormitories, the dining room and the new Physical and Chemical Laboratory; on the south are the Senior House, gymnasium, swimming tank, Head Master's house, the manual training shop, power house and steam laundry.


The laboratory, Senior House and swimming tank, all lately built, have an outside finish of plaster and red Mission tile roofs. The swimming tank has a pool 75 by 32 feet, lined with white, glazed tiling and surrounded by a red tile walk. The water is 8 feet deep at one end and 3 feet deep at the other. It circulates through a heater, being kept at a temperature of about 68 degrees, and also passes through a filter which, it is claimed, keeps it freer from germs than when fresh drawn from the water main. The gymnasium, with which the swimming tank is connected, is supplied with shower baths, dressing rooms and lockers.

The recreations include football, baseball, tennis, basketball, swimming and dramatics; and to boys who are fond of tramping and picnics, the hills, lakes and even the ocean furnish inviting objective points.

Two housemothers give their entire time to the well-being and happiness of the boys, while the matrons and the wives of the teachers are all interested in creating a pleasant school atmosphere.

As a means of securing the best physical development, habits of neatness and prompt obedience, and to add to the esprit de corps of the school, either the ordinary military drill or the regular setting up exercises of the army are required three times a week.

The course of study covers 9 years. Pupils satisfactorily covering the 45 units necessary for graduation, are admitted upon the recommendation of the Head Master to all Colleges that admit on certificate.

The system upon which, so far as practicable, the discipline of the school is founded may be inferred from the school motto, "On Honor" and the motto, "Ring True," which is cast into the school bell. The faithful, straightforward boy is sensible of little restraint, but it is intended to make the restraint seriously felt by boys who are not readily reached by appeals to their sense of duty and honor.

The school is non-sectarian but it is intended that it shall be a Christian school and that its daily influence as well as its Sunday services shall further the development of Christian character.

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On 63 Griffith Avenue, San Mateo is the San Mateo Collegiate School for young ladies, conducted under the able principalship of Mrs. Dora H. Shinn.

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Notre Dame Convent at Redwood City, Sacred Heart Academy, St. Joseph's Parochial School and St. Patrick's Seminary at Menlo Park comprise the Catholic institutions of the county. The first three give the usual courses, while the last named, with its magnificent equipment and location in the center of a beautiful natural park, is intended solely for the education of boys and young men desiring to devote their lives to the priesthood. The seminary was dedicated in 1898 by Archbishop Riordan. The buildings comprise an administration building, a junior and senior college, a central chapel, a detached service building, a distinct refectory, in grandeur of conception, the peer of any in the country—all in Romanesque style of architecture.


SAN MATEO COUNTY'S spectacular growth during the last ten years, when it has almost quadrupled in population, has been made possible by steadily improving transportation facilities which now serve every portion of the county. These bring the majority of the desirable locations, homesites and places of interest, within a little over a half hour's trip from San Francisco; while the further and more inaccessible portions in the county are about an hour's ride from the business center of the metropolis, thus bringing the advantages, charms and opportunities of this region within easy reach of the business man, homeseeker and farmer.

There are virtually five transportation systems that serve the county and peninsula. These are the Southern Pacific Railroad, constructed through the county in 1852-53; the United Railroads, in 1902-03; the Ocean Shore Railroad, in 1907; the Peninsula Rapid Transit Company which began operations in 1915; and a line of baygoing freighters plying between Redwood City and San Francisco points on a daily schedule.

The transportation companies out of San Francisco, in the order of passengers carried daily, are,—the Southern Pacific Company, with depot at Third and Townsend Street; the United Railroads with a terminal and transferring point at Fifth and Market Street; the Peninsula Rapid Transit Company, with one of its terminals at Fifth and Market Street; the Ocean Shore Railroad with depot at Twelfth and Mission Street; and lastly the newly created line of bay going freighters which ply from the San Francisco waterfront to South San Francisco and Redwood City on daily trips, and unlike the foregoing companies, carry only freight. Passenger traffic from the south through the county comes only by the Southern Pacific trains and the Peninsula Rapid Transit Company whose busses run direct from Palo Alto to San Francisco.

In addition to the regular lines through the county, there is a little electric line that serves the foothill region adjacent to Easton, and connects with the Southern Pacific at Easton Station.

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The Southern Pacific gives the county the cheapest, the quickest and most comfortable steam train service in the United States. The imposing terminal at Third and Townsend Streets is a recently completed structure constructed in the old Mission style. From here, the "Coast Line" trains of the Southern Pacific run southward along the Bayshore Cut-off and enter San Mateo County just before reaching Visitacion.

To make this short and direct route possible, the company bored a series of five tunnels through the San Bruno Hills at an expense of millions of dollars. The old line, circling the hills by way of Colma and Baden, rejoins the main route at San Bruno.

Thirty-three suburban trains and twenty-one through trains are operated on these tracks each day—a total of fifty-four trains, north and south bound.

The roadbed is particularly smooth, being rock-ballasted and equipped with ninety-pound steel rails. At regular intervals along the right of way are the automatic electric block safety signals. The engines are all of the oil-burning type, and the steel coaches are fitted with comfortable cushion seats, and are well lighted and ventilated.

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The United Railroads offers a cheaper single way fare than the Southern Pacific, and although it only penetrates the county as far as San Mateo, its cars are always well filled with passengers.

In 1901, when nearly all the street car lines in San Francisco were bought up by the United Railroads, the franchise for the San Mateo line was purchased and work immediately commenced upon its construction.

The first car carrying passengers over this line was operated December 31, 1902. On January 1, 1903, regular service was put on between San Mateo and Holy Cross Cemetery—with cars leaving every hour. These cars connected with the Cemeteries line for San Francisco at Holy Cross. In November of the same year, high speed double truck cars, with a seating capacity of 48 passengers, were put in service over this line running between San Mateo and Fifth and Market Streets, San Francisco.

In December 1907 the large interurban cars which are now being used on this line, were put into service. These cars have a seating capacity of 56 passengers, and leave each terminal on a twenty-minute headway through the week; a fifteen minute headway on Saturdays and ten minute headway on Sundays. This schedule is in force at the present time.

Actual running time between the San Mateo Depot and Fifth and Market Streets, San Francisco, is 60 minutes; the distance is 20 miles, and the fare 25c each way, which includes the 5c city fare entitling the passenger to a transfer to any part of the city.

When this line was started, it served a district which was practically unpopulated except for ranchers outside of San Mateo, Burlingame and Millbrae. The rapidity of the growth of this section was entirely unexpected by the United Railroads when the line was built.

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The Peninsula Rapid Transit Company is of comparatively recent origin, and serves more particularly the region immediately adjacent to both sides of the State Highway from the southern boundaries of San Francisco to Palo Alto.

The company runs a sufficient number of busses to maintain a half-hourly service between San Mateo and San Francisco terminal at Fifth and Market Streets; while an hourly service is considered sufficient between San Mateo and Palo Alto. Since its organization the company has manifested a steady growth, continually adding to and improving its service.

The busses ride smoothly along the polished surface of the State Highway, and are comfortably fitted and equipped. Each bus has a capacity of 22 passengers. The fare from San Francisco to San Mateo is 25c, and from San Mateo to Palo Alto 25c. Fares between various parts of the line vary from 5c up, according to the distance traveled. The time between Fifth and Market Streets, San Francisco to San Mateo is 60 minutes; from San Mateo to Palo Alto is 30 minutes.


The Ocean Shore Railroad, winding through one of the most picturesque regions of the world, is one of the important carriers of the county, from both a passenger and freight traffic standpoint.

The present terminal is at Tunitas Glen which is thirty-eight miles from the San Francisco station at Twelfth and Mission Street. There is promise in the near future of this road being extended through to Santa Cruz along the coast.

The company was incorporated in 1905; and the first cars were run over the road in 1907. The road operates under a daily week-day headway of two trains in the morning and two in the afternoon. On Saturday afternoon there is an extra train that leaves the San Francisco station at 5 P. M. to accommodate those who wish to spend Sunday fishing. On Sunday there are two extra trains,—one in the evening and one in the morning.

The Ocean Shore Railroad operates 27 passenger coaches, 2 observation cars, 10 engines and 139 freight trains. The freight rate on garden produce averages $3.00 per ton.

At Tunitas Glen, connection is made with motor busses to the popular seaside resorts at San Gregorio, Pescadero and Pebble Beach.

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Toward the end of last year an adequate and well organized "jitney" service with branches throughout the county, sprang into existence. This service consists of several lines and a few independents, all of whom have their headquarters in San Mateo.

A regular line with terminals in San Francisco at Fifth and Market Street and San Mateo, maintains a half-hourly service daily except in winter when the cars run upon an hourly headway. Another firm runs a number of five-passenger cars every twenty minutes between San Mateo and Redwood City, and as far as Palo Alto. Other cars run only between San Mateo and Burlingame. Another line runs between Redwood City and Woodside. The Halfmoon Bay Stage makes several trips daily between that point and San, Mateo; and also makes a through trip from San Mateo to San Gregorio.



ALTHOUGH all parts of San Mateo County are within about forty miles of San Francisco and within a few hours by auto, there are few sections of the state that are better supplied with game and fish. It is true that a few years ago there was much better hunting, but everything considered, the coast region in San Mateo County is not to be despised. In years past the grizzly bear was common throughout the peninsula. It is said that these bears were even larger than the famous Kadiak Island grizzlies, said to be the largest in the world. Stories told of the raids made by them on the ranches in the early days are wonderfully interesting. It is probable that the last grizzly was killed in the early seventies, although it is reported that a black bear was killed in the central part of the county about 1892.

Enos Ralston of San Gregorio, whose parents settled on the Corte Madera Creek in the latter part of the fifties, tells of a grizzly bear that he and his small brothers and sisters surprised while they were gathering berries. The bear was on one side of a big red log and the children on the other. When they climbed on the log they saw the bear, it is a question as to whether the children or the bear was more frightened. Anyway, the bear went one way and the children the other.

A bear story with a more serious ending is said to have happened just across the south line of the county. Henry Waddell, who was then living in a cabin near the mouth of the stream that now bears the name of Waddell Creek went out one morning after deer. He was accompanied by a small dog. The dog took the trail of some animal up through a steep side canyon. Near the head of the canyon the dog disappeared behind a turn and almost immediately a big bear came down the canyon at full speed. It was impossible for Waddell to get out of the way and before he knew it he had received a blow from the bear's paw over the head that scalped him, while his thigh was crushed by the bear's jaws. Waddell was so badly injured that he died within a few days.

As long as the present conditions exist in San Mateo County there will be an opportunity for the man who cares for deer hunting to secure venison. With 36,000 odd acres of Spring Valley land upon which there is practically no hunting, and the California redwood park just across the south line where no hunting at all is allowed, the deer can breed undisturbed. When this protected area becomes crowded, the overflow spreads out in the adjoining parts of the county where hunting is allowed. On account of the protection, it has been possible during the past several years to kill an average of 150 deer a year. Deer find San Mateo hills particularly to their liking: the feed is good and the cover is so thick that hunters are at considerable odds unless they are assisted by well trained dogs. Deer have been killed within a short distance of both Redwood City and San Mateo. On a drive through the Spring Valley lands, it is not unusual to see as many as a dozen or more.

Valley quail are the prize game bird of the county. Quail shooting is excellent in many parts of the county and promises to be better on account of the shortening of the season and the reduction of the bag limit at the last session of the legislature. With continual watchfullness necessary, the quail have become more crafty, so that it is difficult to secure a limit, although there may be an abundance of birds in the vicinity. As soon as a few shots are fired the gun-wise birds take to the high brush where it is impossible to find them. Many years ago the mountain quail were found in fair numbers in the higher elevations; but it is doubtful if one could be found in any part of the county today.


San Mateo has long been famous for its excellent rabbit shooting. Both the cottontail and brush rabbits are found in the county, but the brush rabbit far outnumbers the cottontail. The brush covered hills on the coastside afford excellent cover. If given reasonable protection, the rabbits will long afford a source of enjoyment to the red-blooded man who likes to get out with gun and dog. During the first few days of the open season, hundreds of rabbit hunters make their way to the various parts of the county. Most of them return with goodly bags. San Mateo was one of the first, if not the first, to give rabbits the protection of a closed season. This law was found to be so satisfactory, that sometime later a state law was passed giving state-wide protection during part of the year.

The grey tree squirrel is no longer considered game in San Mateo County. They are worth more alive from the aesthetic point of view to satisfy the outer man, than they are dead to satisfy the inner man. Squirrels are found more or less commonly throughout the wooded parts of the county. In parts they are very common, even within the incorporated limits of the cities along the bay shore.

Marsh shooting in San Mateo County has not improved during recent years. Formerly the salt ponds on the bay shore afforded excellent duck shooting but in recent years ducks have become noticeably scarce. There is still in the fall of the year an excellent flight of ducks in the morning and evening, between the Spring Valley lakes and the bay, but shooting is limited to a few moments at that time and it is difficult to get more than a few birds. Better bags of ducks are secured by those hunters skilled in the use of a skulling oar, but this sort of hunting is rather hard work for the average hunter and is not commonly resorted to.

Rail shooting has been one of the sports of the county, but so much land has been reclaimed during the past few years that rail have been greatly reduced and it has become necessary to put a closed season on them. It is probable, however, that in a few years they will have increased to such an extent that a short open season can be declared. The clapper rail is one of the best of table birds and is preferred by many to any other variety of game.

Of all the attractions of San Mateo County perhaps trout fishing is not to be surpassed. There are miles and miles of excellent trout streams easily accessible. Many of these are classic with the angling fraternity; and it is only necessary to mention the Purissima, San Gregorio, Pescadero, Butano, or any of the other well known streams, to start the ball a rolling, or, more properly, the reel a spinning. Wonderful stories are told about the excellent creels of fish that have been taken.

The streams of San Mateo have been well attended to by the State Fish and Game Commission and hundreds of lively fingerlings have been planted during the past years. The following is a record of the plantings that have been made since 1912.

In 1912, there were planted 150,000 steelhead trout, 6000 eastern brook and 114,000 rainbow; in 1913, 117,000 steelhead and 48,000 rainbow; in 1914, 274,000 steelhead, 20,000 rainbow and 400 eastern brook; and in 1915, 400.000 steelhead and 80,000 rainbow trout—a total of 1,213,000 fish.

Added to this vast number, in normal years there is a heavy run of trout from the ocean that spawn naturally, so that even though the streams are heavily fished there should be an abundance of fish for everyone.

To many, the good things that are produced on the land at San Mateo are nothing when compared with those found in the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Every low tide brings scores of residents and visitors from San Francisco to the rocky reefs where the abalone grow; and those who have had the pleasure of eating abalone know what satisfaction it brings to gather a number of these excellent shell fish.


During certain times of the year when the smelt are spawning, they run close to shore and at such times are taken by the sack-full. Fresh smelt are deemed superior to trout by many and certainly are excellent. Salt water eel are found abundantly along the rocky shore.

Great big crabs that are not surpassed in flavor by any crab in the world are taken in enormous quantities along the shore.

Many other sea delicacies might be mentioned, for they are common in San Mateo, but let us offer you the invitation to come and be shown. San Mateo invites you.

In addition to the planting of thousands of fish in the county, the Fish and Game Commission has maintained a constant patrol to see that the game and fish laws are not violated. During the past four years there has been paid out for patrol service $10596. There have been made 231 arrests, and a total of $4120 imposed in fines. The total amount collected for hunting and angling licenses has amounted to approximately $5955. It will be seen that when the cost of fish planting and the cost of patrol service are considered, that the expenditures by the Commission have been largely in excess of the money derived from the county. This is possible on account of the fact that the money collected for the licenses in San Francisco and other large cities can be used in the fields and streams where the hunters from San Francisco find their sport.

Source: Alexander, Philip W. History of San Mateo County : from the earliest times, with a description of its resources and advantages, and the biographies of its representative men.  Burlingame, Calif.: Press of Burlingame Pub. Co., 1916, 247 pgs.

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