Origin of street names (and other tidbits related to public streets) in Burlingame and Hillsborough:(Sources are noted when available. List compiled in August 2012, updated 2015 and 2017 by the Burlingame Historical Society). NOTE: There are NO “streets” in Burlingame! (Main Street was the only exception, and it is long gone.) -August 4, 1922, pg. 1 Burlingame Advance reported: There are 40 miles of paved streets in Burlingame.
ADELINE DRIVE: (Burlingame) named in honor of Adeline Mills, who married Ansel I. Easton. She was the mother of Ansel Mills Easton, and they were responsible for subdividing the Easton Estate, creating the town of Easton which later became North Burlingame. (Peninsula Life Magazine, pg. 30. July 1946)
ALPINE AVENUE: (Burlingame) According to a 1985 account by Dick Thompson, 536 Marin Drive, the street was named for John W. and Fred W. Alpen (yes, with an “e”), who lived at 833 Alpine Avenue for many decades (the home is still there in 2012). Previous to 1928, Alpine Road was named 1st Avenue.
ALVARADO AVENUE: (Burlingame) Presumably named after Juan B. Alvarado, an early Mexican Governor of California from 1836-42ß. He led and won a revolution against the preceding Mexican governor in 1836, and took part in another uprising eight years later against Gov. Micheltorena. Alvarado was a central figure in California history in the twenty years before the U. S. occupation. Together with Castro and Pico he led the Mexican opposition to the American occupation. (From “SF Street Names” by Henry C. Carlisle)
ANSEL ROAD: (Burlingame) named for Ansel Easton, Burlingame property owner and developer. D.O. Mills brother-in-law, or his nephew.
ANZA: (Burlingame) Presumably named after Captain Juan Bautista who led a sizable party of soldiers and settlers from Sonora, Mexico across the Colorado River to California, and then north to establish the Presidio in San Francisco in 1776 on a colonizing expedition. (From “SF Street Names” by Henry C. Carlisle).
ARC WAY: (Burlingame) Reference to construction on “The Circle” on El Camino across from new school. (Burlingame Advance, August 15, 1913, pg.1. Ordinance #57 names Arc Way (Burlingame Advance, March 1, 1913)
ARGUELLO AVENUE: (Burlingame) Presumably after Comandante José, Presidio Comandante, Governor. The Commanding officer of the Presidio of San Francisco from 1787 to 1806; later governor of California. (From “SF Street Names” by Henry C. Carlisle)
BALBOA AVENUE: Assumed to have been named for explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa.
BARRIOLHET AVENUE: (Burlingame and Hillsborough) This misspelling, and its pronunciation, Barryolay, have become established, no doubt because the original pronunciation was so difficult. The street was the Barroilhet Lane in the 1890s when Henri Barroilhet [S.F. Banker] had his estate here; earlier, from the time it was opened over the hill in the middle 1850s, it had been the Crystal Springs road. (Place Names of SM County, Dr. Alan K. Brown SMCHA pg.5.)
THE BAYSHORE: In 1889 the Southern Pacific first announced its plans for its Bay Shore Division, which was to run north along the shorefront what is now South City. The line was not built until 1904-7; but by that time the old San Bruno turnpike along the shore had become known as the Bay Shore route. The highway from San Francisco to San Jose was projected in the early 1920s under the name Bay Shore boulevard, because it was to follow that road near the City (and though much of the route is well distant from the shore.)
The Bayshore highway was constructed between 1928 and 1935 (though note that a sign on El Camino in Sunnyvale still had Bay Shore); it was abbreviated as “Bayshore.” The highway was completed up to Broadway, Burlingame by late 1928, and the shopping and service street functioned not only as the southernmost exit of the highway, but also as the link to the continuation southbound via El Camino Real (then called 101). Since 1947 a good deal of the road has become what is officially called and named a “freeway.” (Place Names of SM County, Dr. Alan K. Brown SMCHA pg.5.)
Prior to the late 1940s the Bayshore highway was similar in function to El Camino Real, with cross-streets and signals to access residential neighborhoods. It was known by locals as the ‘Bloody Bayshore’, for the accidents that occurred regularly as a result of the 55mph speed limit and no center divide. In that period, the Junior College of San Mateo was located at Coyote Point, and there was considerable cross traffic from the students, as a result.
In 1947 (Burl. Adv. March 10, 1947), the San Mateo Planning Commission and residents lobbied the highway engineers to reduce speeds from 55 to 35 mph to cut down on accidents. This was deemed a last resort solution by the engineers who instead held stakeholder meetings for public input. The San Mateo Chamber of Commerce, engineers and residents agreed to a solution that would create – 6 lanes of highway, in addition to what would be known in freeway language as an “outer highway” a 2-lane street, run between the “over- ramps” at Broadway and Peninsular Ave. already under construction.
The frontage roads would function to carry local traffic on access roads parallel to the freeway, and would create the service district of small businesses while leaving undisturbed the 1920s residential subdivision that was then still relatively new. Highway widening in East Palo Alto had already created loss of homes and much upset, to the south. (Series of articles from hard copy Burlingame Advance newspapers in the late 1940s-Burlingame Library)
In 2017, the “new” Broadway interchange was completed after two years of construction. It is located slightly north of the original.
BLACK MOUNTAIN: (Hillsborough, just north of Crystal Springs road. SE/4 36 4S5W.) The name was certainly in use in the 1860s; it obviously refers to the dark chaparral. It is hard to see why the word “mountain” should have ever been attached to the hill, unless (as seems quite possible) it is a translation from Spanish: “cerro Prieto” or something of the sort. (“Cerro” can be applied to what is in English a high hill, but it usually translates “mountain.”) (Place Names of SM County, Dr. Alan K. Brown SMCHA pg.8.)
BAYSWATER AVENUE (Burlingame): Likely refers to the original close proximity of the street, to the Bay, before the mudflats were filled in, and the Bayshore freeway developed.
By the early 60s, plans were underway for the removal of the canary island palm medians on Bayswater Avenue. The palms had been planted on Bayswater and Peninsular Avenues when the original subdivision was laid out near the turn of the last century; the palms on Peninsula Avenue had already been removed in 1924 (Trustee Minutes Book 5, May 1924). Many residents considered their removal beneficial, citing the remaining roadway to be too narrow and dangerous. Others resented being held responsible for maintenance of the medians. At the same time, Council adopted a resolution proclaiming Bayswater Avenue a “major city street,” a designation that would provide state fuel tax funds for the proposed tree removal and accompanying drainage upgrades. (A film taken by a Bayswater resident at the time shows the majestic palms having been set on fire and destroyed-VHS and DVD Copies in archives of the Burlingame Historical Society.) Almost immediately after their removal [in 1964], residents would start to complain about problems associated with speeding cars and lack of stop signs on the very long and wide roadway. (June 5, 1961 Trustee Minutes, Book No. 11, pg. 285.)
BERNAL AVENUE (Burlingame): Presumably named after Juan Francisco Bernal who came north with Anza in 1776 and was the forebearer of the California Bernal family, whose holding included 4,400 acres including the Hunters Point area and land to the south extending into today’s San Mateo County. (From “SF Street Names” by Henry C. Carlisle)
BLOOMFIELD RD: (Burlingame) Presumably named for the acres of hot house flowers grown on some blocks of Bloomfield, Clarendon and Dwight, by the McLellan family, local flower producers, though this has never been found in any literature, so far (2012).
BROADWAY (Burlingame): It is now a common local practice to name a downtown center and the tributary community after the main business street. Broadway is the longest established example. Between 1900 and 1910 the area had grown into a separate community named Easton (by and for the owner and subdivider of the original ranch); during the existence of the Easton “Blackhawk Ranch” it was known as Lanpher Lane after Charles Lanpher who managed the Easton stables. The stables and his home were located east of the railroad tracks on what is now Broadway. Subsequently, the street was christened Buri Buri Avenue (for the land grant: see under that name). In 1910 Burlingame annexed the town of Easton; and in 1926 the street name was officially changed to Broadway, because this did not suggest beri-beri! (For all this see Dr. Stanger in the Burlingame 50th anniversary issue of “La Peninsula” magazine, May 1958.) The new name was quickly extended to the still separate community; the large Broadway sign facing on Bayshore in the 1930s, and the lack of a generic word such as “avenue” in the name, must have helped. (Place Names of SM County, Dr. Alan K. Brown SMCHA pg.11.)
BROADWAY (Burlingame): As early as August 19, 1912, pg. 3, The Burlingame Advance newspaper reports that the Burlingame Woman’s Club Civic Section plans to ask the Trustees to change the name Buri Buri to Elm Avenue. According to the Advance, May 10, 1912, pg. 1, Mrs. Aubury of the Woman’s Club writes the Trustees saying “Buri Buri is like beri beri”, and asks them to change the name. [Additionally, she asks that they change “Bellevue” because San Mateo has a “Bellevue.”]
The Burlingame Advance on March 14, 1913, pg. 1, reports that there is a suggestion to change Buri Buri to a shorter and more “euphonious name and designate the station, the same.
According to an article that appears in the Burlingame Advance newspaper, referring to the renaming of Buri Buri Avenue to Broadway in 1914 (or 1915, not legible). It mentions that while there was little debate about renaming the business district, east of the El Camino Real, there is considerable debate about the extension of the Broadway name, westward over the county road (El Camino). Other names (“Ramona”, “Marshal”, “Portola”, and “California Avenue”, among others suggested during a meeting of the Easton Civic Association.) In the end, the vote is split 11 to 11 (out of 24 cast), with one person not casting a vote, thus President Cheney [Pres. of the Association] casts deciding vote in favor of the entire renaming of the street as “Broadway.” (Burlingame Advance newspaper- 1914 or 15)
BROMFIELD (Burlingame and Hillsborough): Davenport Bromfield, the civil engineer. It was in the year of 1888 that William H. Howard who owned several acres lying between the village of San Mateo and what is now Burlingame Avenue, began an active campaign of subdivision, and employed Bromfield to lay out what is known as the Western Addition to the City of San Mateo. Mr. Bromfield subsequently laid out practically all of the most important tracts and subdivisions throughout the peninsula, from the southern boundary line of San Francisco to the Menlo Park vicinity.
The platting of the Western Addition to San Mateo was followed by the first subdivision of the Town of Burlingame (being that portion of the town now lying south of Burlingame Avenue). Later came a subdivision of a portion of Mr. Howard’s home place, now known as Highland Park in the City of San Mateo. This work was the beginning of the expansion of San Mateo northerly, and the foundation of the present City of Burlingame. (http://www.sfgenealogy.com/sanmateo/history/smhsm3.htm History of San Mateo County, by Philip W. Alexander, 1916 Chapter XI: Suburban Development Period)
BURI BURI: “Wuriwuri” was an Indian place name for something in the vicinity of the present town of San Bruno; it seems pretty certain that it was not an inhabited village. The Indian use appears a couple of times in the Mission Dolores baptismal register in entries of the 1780s: #178, the Shalshon Indians “come as far as Guriguri and San Bruno” (not the present city, but the Colma area); #165, “Sicca village in the immediate vicinity of Guriguri” #168, the Sicca Indians “stay now at San Bruno and now at Guriguri. No Indian of the hundred or so of the Shalsohon tribelet is ever listed as coming from Guriguri as such. The village of Urbure, which has been supposed to be the origin of the name, seems to have been somewhere in San Francisco. In records of the 1790s the spelling with “b” appears; as is regular in Spanish with such cases, the “w” was changed to an easier sound. In 1797 the rancho de Buriburi was established near present Serra boulevard and Jenevein Avenue’ the corral de Buriburi was near Sneath Lane on San Bruno Creek, which is called the “Sanjon de Buribur” (Buriburi glulch) on the 1835 Sanchez ranch sketch map. A record of 1828 mentions the “montes of Buriburi” (Buriburi woods) back up in the hills. The name by itself continued to be used, for what must have been the area around these features. In the late 1830s records of this usage cease; Buriburi became at that time merely an alternate designation for the large San Rafael or Sanchez land grant. However, a record of 1864 (SM Misc 2:278) calls a 100-acre tract two miles north of Sneath lane, the Wory Wory ranch. This is, among other things, a quite surprising revival of the original Indian pronounciation – confusion with the land grant seems to be precluded. It may or may not be a coincidence that this tract was the northeastern half of the present Rancho Buri-Buri” subdivision – which is generally called simply Buri Buri. The separation of the name into two words was perpetrated in the early 1850s by U.S. Land Commission clerks. (Place Names of SM County, Dr. Alan K. Brown SMCHA pg.12-13.)
BURLINGAME: A tract of land and a proposed town on it were so “named in [June 1866] by William C. Ralston for his friend Anson Burlingame (1822-1870), well-known orator and dipolomat….” (Gudde, s.v.) The name was preserved by Ralston’s Burlingame Dairy on the “Burlingame Rancho.” Over a period of thirty years the town of Burlingame was several times laid out, but without much more result than the establishment of the Burlingame railroad station, post office and Country Club in 1893-94. “Burlingame” at this time generally referred to the club alone. Around 1904 the town began to exist in fact. (For additional details, see Stanger, “Peninsula Community Book”, pp. 72-79.) The joking pronunciation Blingum originated in the 1890s as a dig at the anglophile mannerisms of the county-club set from the city. (Place Names of SM County, Dr. Alan K. Brown SMCHA pg.12-13.)
BURLINGAME SQUARE: (Burlingame) Original (1894) public center of the town, with Burlingame station in center. Building of station was by 1893 agreement from Southern Pacific Company, landowners William H. Howard, H.P. Bowie, executor of Agnes Howard Bowie (then deceased), William Corbitt, F.G. Newlands (as Trustee to Estate of William Sharon). The parties “propose to provide for the building of a first-class railway ticket station on the line of the railroad.” The station grounds, originally conceived of as a circular, Spanish court style with fountains, lawns, trees and potted plants, (SF Chronicle, Dec. 10, 1893) had become the square design we have today, by 1896 at the latest, with East and West Lanes clearly marked on D. Bromfield’s map of the William H. Howard subdivision. (Note: by Ordinance No. 40 North Lane, South Lane, and East Lane are officially proclaimed, West Lane, though it appears on maps as running parallel to East Lane, though indicated on maps, is not proclaimed). Burlingame Square became the business center of town by 1904-5. But by 1909-1911, there was already legal action taken by the City of Burlingame regarding property claims that challenged Burlingame Square as a public place. After contentious court battles c.1910, the lawsuit was won by the City, and one known property (FD Lorton’s), that had been illegally constructed on the Square, was ordered removed. By January 1911, W.H. Hanscom (Burl. Advance 1-27-1911) had purchased the original Lorton structure and announced plans to roll the structure to his lot next to the Middlefield Realty Co. building (possibly the then empty lot at the southeast corner of today’s Lorton Avenue); by March, arrangements have been made to move the structure; in April the move has occurred (Burlingame Advance 4-28-1911) and the building is being rapidly rebuilt in a larger form, as three stores. Back on the Square, a new building is constructed that replaces the original Lorton Structure. The new building is constructed off of the public Square, back in the tree grove. ‘About a dozen large gums’ were permitted to be felled to accommodate it (Burlingame Advance, 1-27-1911). The new building becomes ‘Burlingame Realty,’ in business at that location for many years before morphing into various other uses, including many popular teen restaurants, like Hasty Tasty and Flings. That structure is still standing in 2012 (today’s donut shop structure, albeit much altered on facade).
South Lane was closed at the track crossing on June 28th, 2007, as part of Caltrain’s platform upgrades (and to make fewer “at grade” crossings for safety purposes). Since it was in poor condition, the Burlingame Square marker remnants at South Lane were removed by Caltrain (given to the Historical Society) and newly imprinted in the new concrete poured in 2008 at the same location with a similar font. Two original markers (out of three or perhaps four) that were imprinted from the period circa 1909-13, still exist around the grounds.
South Lane is to be reopened as a through street if ever there is grade separation at the station, this per contract with the City of Burlingame Public Works Dept. and Caltrain.
CABRILLO AVENUE: (Burlingame) assumed to have been named after explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo.
CADILLAC WAY: (Burlingame) An interesting development occurred in 1966 that illustrates the growing influence that auto dealerships had cultivated with the city. A request was presented to Council by John L. Rector to change the name of ‘Industrial Way’, a street located off of Carolan near Broadway to ‘Cadillac Lane,’ the new site of a new Rector Cadillac dealership, formerly located in the Packard showroom at 1021 Burlingame Avenue. (City Trustee Minutes)
Despite objections from some neighboring businesses citing costs associated with reprinting business cards and other advertising materials, the name change was approved, with only one modification: The city engineer suggested that “lane” was an inappropriate description for a 40 ft. wide street, and thus the street became officially renamed ‘Cadillac Way.’
In 1967, Rector returned, this time with an appeal of the Planning Commission’s decision to deny an 80’ high rotating sign and fountain base at the corner of 1010 Cadillac Way. The height of the sign caused Councilwoman Charlotte Johnson to ask rhetorically, ‘Are we the city of signs, or the city of trees?” The Council majority voted 4-1 to overturn the Planning Commissions denial. (City Trustee Minutes)
Rector’s ads from that year tout the facility on Cadillac Way as “The Most Modern Cadillac Dealership in the West.” Ironically, despite the street name change, the dealership would eventually represent Porsche and Audi decades later.
CALIFORNIA DRIVE: (Burlingame) formerly San Mateo Drive, renamed California Drive in 1925, presumably to set itself apart from its neighbor to the south, San Mateo. The pavement at Highland still reads (in 2012) ‘San Mateo Drive.’ (Burlingame Advance Newspaper, 1-7-1925)
Note: A small stretch of street running parallel to California Drive, off of Oak Grove, bears the name “San Mateo Drive”, likely named after the larger blvd. became California Drive. (George Whitesell, ‘Peninsula Panorama’ section of SM Times(?) January 1961.)
CAROLAN AVENUE: (Burlingame and Hillsborough) Francis J. Carolan and Harriet Pullman Carolan, landowners.
In 1949, an ‘extension’ of Carolan Drive was proposed that would link the roadway in front of Burlingame High School with a newer northern section of roadway (also named Carolan) at Toyon and Larkspur. This proposal seemed to have been spearheaded by the “Burlingame Improvement Association.” Against protests of 200 neighbors and other residents, the ‘extension,’ a paved four-lane roadway, was eventually completed between Oak Grove and Toyon in 1966, financed largely with gas tax funds. The creation and widening of a roadway that previously didn’t exist, resulted in the acquisition and razing of several homes on or abutting Linden, Morrell, Alpine and Park Ave. (the latter three streets being part of the original Villa Park Subdivision from 1905). One house at the intersection of Carolan and Morrell (1035 Morrell Avenue) remained in place but a portion of it was cut off. The remaining portion of roadway north to Broadway would be “improved” and financed by the Burlingame Shore Land Company. Previous to the completion of the Carolan extension, open space had extended behind the homes up to the railroad tracks. (City of Burlingame minute logs, city maps and recollections from Kathy Graves 724 Carolan and Bill Blumer)
CHAPIN AVENUE/LANE: Though the surname ‘Chapin can be seen off and on in Burlingame, into the mid 20th century, it is unclear what early role the family played, if any, or why these streets were named after anyone by that name. It is likely that an early landowner, who may or may not have lived in Burlingame, was responsible.
On November 15th, 1915, there was an effort by the majority of Trustees, to clarify various locations on Chapin: “Chapin Avenue, beginning at the south westerly corner of Lot 17, Block 14, Burlingame Park, City of Burlingame, and continuing on the southeasterly line of said lot across said avenue in a straight line to the intersection of Bellevue Avenue, be officially changed and named West Chapin… That Chapin Avenue from the southeasterly line of Lot 21, Block 12, Burlingame Park , City of Burlingame , continued in a straight line across said Chapin Avenue to the intersection of Ralston Avenue be officially changed and named East Chapin. [This does not appear to have stuck, with the only subsequent change being to distinguish “Chapin Avenue” from “Chapin Lane,” though we have not found the ordinance for that action.]
In 1953, letters of appreciation were sent by owners of Chapin Avenue property owners who had paid an assessment to the city for the widening of Chapin Avenue. The street still had been considered largely residential, but there appears to have been an orchestrated movement towards enticing new businesses, into the area. The letters recommended “adoption of diagonal parking, in order to obtain the maximum number of cars on the street, and that traffic signal lights at the El Camino intersection be installed.” (City of Burlingame Trustee Minutes)
COLUMBUS AVENUE: (Burlingame) Ordinance N. 305 changes the name of Hoover Avenue to Columbus as per the recommendation of the Planning Commission on Sept. 21. 1936. Adopted Nov. 16, 1936.
CORBITT: after William Corbitt, landowner, coffee importer who created a stud farm in Burlingame, on the site of the current Burlingame High School.
COYOTE POINT: (San Mateo. NE/4 17 4S4W.) This is the new form that has been replaced, largely within the last twenty years, “the Coyote,” “the Big Coyote,” (“Big”) “Coyote hill or knoll”. The original name was given around 1850 by the people engaged in shipping grain from the nearby San Mateo embarcadero: “the Id. is called by the boatmen—‘Big Coyote’.” (Coast Survey, 1851. See Little Coyote point.) Big Coyote Hill appears in a record of 1853 (BLM FN254-21). It seems that the word “coyote” was for some reason used for islands in the marsh at that time: compare the Coyote hills across the bay. Coyote Point was first used around 1890 in connection with a beach development, and now the name is thought of as applying primarily to the recreational facilities at the knoll.
The knoll has generally been called “San Mateo point” on charts and official maps. This comes from an early Spanish name: a record of 1810 mentions “la punta de San Mateo” (PSP 19:280), and Beechey’s 1827 chart has “Punta San Matheo”. Land grant records of the 1830s and 1840s generally label the knoll “potrero”, the usual word for a naturally-enclosed pasture. (Place Names of SM County, Dr. Alan K. Brown SMCHA pg.12-23.)
THE CROCKER MOUNTAIN: (See the San Bruno Mountain.) (6, 8, 9, 15, 16 etc. 3S5W.) In Spanish times this was the “cerro de San Bruno”; in San Francisco it was often called simply “el Cerro” (the Mountain). The present version of the name appeared in the 1850s. In the last sixty years the name the Crocker mountain has sometimes been used; the mountain is still [?] part of the Crocker Estate. (Place Names of SM County, Dr. Alan K. Brown SMCHA pg.12-80.)
CRYSTAL SPRINGS LAKES: (35 4S5W; 18 5S4W; etc. etc.) In 1855 the typically named Crystal Springs resort hotel was built across the lake from the present San Mateo Creek dam. Immediately “Crystal Springs” became the name of the settlement area in the valley for a mile around. In 1877 the “Upper Crystal Springs lake” was built and so named because the lower reservoir, covering Crystal Springs proper, was already planned. The collective name for both lakes appeared upon their completion in the late 1880s. The two reservoirs plus San Andreas lake are commonly called “the Spring Valley lakes”, because they were created by the Spring Valley Water Company (which was named in the 1850s for a place now in downtown San Francisco.)—See laguna de Raimundo. (Place Names of SM County, Dr. Alan K. Brown SMCHA pg. 24)
CRYSTAL SPRINGS ROAD: (San Mateo. E/2 31 etc. 4S4W.) This was built up the canyon in 1859-60, mostly to give access to the Crystal Springs area. (Place Names of SM County, Dr. Alan K. Brown SMCHA pg. 24) (San Bruno. (4 etc. 4S5W). This grade was built about 1860, apparently by the water company. The name was in use shortly thereafter, since most of the traffic consisted of resorters on the way between San Bruno Station and Crystal Springs. (Place Names of SM County, Dr. Alan K. Brown SMCHA pg. 105.)
CORTEZ AVENUE: (Burlingame) assumed to have been named after explorer Hernando Cortez.
DAVIS DRIVE: Likely named for (or by) local real estate firm Davis & Clifton (Harry Francis Davis) when Ray Park was developed.
DONNELLY: John Donnelly, landowner and carpenter, early Burlingame pioneer. Friend of landscaper John McLaren. Owner of what was likely the first home in Burlingame (1876) that was demolished in 1964, for a parking structure. His children had homes in the same vicinity. Donnelly as a real street, only existed after homes were moved off of Burlingame Avenue in the late teens, to make room for businesses. Prior to that time, it appears that the road we now call Donnelly, might have been a private, service road.
DRAKE AVENUE: (Burlingame) assumed to have been named after explorer Sir Francis Drake.
DWIGHT ROAD: (Burlingame) Possibly named after William H. Howard’s wife, Anna Dwight Whiting, considering that he was the property owner of the 1896 subdivision.
EAST LANE: (Burlingame) Name drawn into the William H. Howard 1896 subdivision and most every early map of Burlingame Square. East Lane’s name is ‘fixed’ with Ordinance 40 (June 3, 1912) when North, East and South Lanes are proclaimed. Note: ‘West Lane’, though indicated as a street name on early maps, is not proclaimed an official street by Ordinance No. 40.
EASTON DRIVE: Family name of early landowner Ansel Ives Easton. Brother in Law of D.O. Mills. Wife was Adeline Mills. Town of Easton also named after the Easton family. By 1910, Easton was annexed to the Town of Burlingame.
EASTON CREEK: The name is recent, for Easton Drive in Burlingame, along which the creek flows. (The Easton ranch was here for around sixty years, from the 1860s- see under Broadway and Mills Creek.) In the 1920s the city engineer’s office called it Burlingame Grove Creek, for a subdivision. (Place Names of SM County, Dr. Alan K. Brown SMCHA pg.30)
EL CAMINO, EL CAMINO REAL: (This is usually too literally translated as “the King’s road”. The Spanish phrase does mean “kingsroad” in the old English sense of high road, or highway.) The name was first proposed for the main highway [in Burlingame and San Mateo] previously known as Old County Road of the state (including the main San Francisco-San Jose road) in 1902, with the intention of commemorating the route’s origin as “the old Mission trail”[led by the California Federation of Woman’s Clubs]. An intensive campaign in 1906 made the name official, but it really took hold only in a few urban areas, notably between San Francisco and San Jose, when the road was made into a motor highway. The “Real” has gradually been disappearing from popular usage for twenty years or more, and “the” El Camino has become common in the last few years; the “the” can hardly be called repetitive, and there is plenty of recent precedent for its use. “the current [60s] proposal to re-establish the name El Camino Real for what is no longer popularly called one-oh-one—Federal highway 101 South of San Francisco is fine as far as it goes, but will run into all sorts of trouble locally.)
El Camino Real through the San Francisco Peninsula was paved beginning in 1912, with the Burlingame portion undertaken in 1913. The road between San Bruno and Menlo Park as it was before 1914 was known for sixty years as “the County Road”; this because it was laid out by the San Francisco County authorities in 1850 and 1852, and opened (at exorbitant cost, which was mostly graft) in 1852-3, replacing the old “stage road.” “Old County Road” in Belmont and San Carlos is a part of the road bypassed in 1918; until twenty-five years ago [as of mid 1960s] it was still called the County Road.
Around Menlo and south, present El Camino was sometimes called the Stage Road. The road south of San Francisquito creek was established by stage-coach traffic in 1850 and 1852, and was not laid out or built by the Santa Clara County authorities; the name naturally overlapped onto part of the road in San Mateo County.
The road in Daly City is not called El Camino but “Mission Street,” and a mile and a half of the old road between Colma and South City bypassed in 1915 is the “Mission road.” In 1850 Million street was opened from downtown San Francisco to the Mission, and in 1851 an extension surveyed by the county came into use as far south as the present north South City limits. (The only place this route coincided with the old San Jose road—see San Jose Avenue was at the Mission Street gap). A witness before the 1851 Vigilante Committee evidently referred to the new road as the “camino de la mission”.) Mission Road was the name long used for the main route all the way down to San Bruno. (Place Names of SM County, Dr. Alan K. Brown SMCHA pgs. 31-32.)
*The El Camino Trees lining the highway, planted in the 1870s by John McLaren, were listed in the National Register of Historic Places in March 2012. This (historic district) includes the heritage trees within the Caltrans setbacks, as well as the historic street that has maintained its original width since 1913.
FORREST (sic.) VIEW AVENUE: (Burlingame and Hillsborough) See Oak Grove
GERI LANE (Hillsborough): Geraldine Schmidt was born in 1935 and died in Half Moon Bay on July 17, 2017 (SF Chronicle obit). She was the daughter of Anita and Max Schmidt. Geri (or Gigi as she was also known) grew up in Hillsborough where her father built some of the first subdivisions of the town. He named a charming street for her there, Geri Lane, that has a magnificent gate installed in 1910 by George A. Pope. The street was originally an entrance to his country estate known as Edgecourt. The estate was first built by Dr. Alfred Poett in the 1873, and sold to Senator William Sharon in 1875. By 1894 it had been remodeled by A. Page Brown, and functioned as the second location of the Burlingame Country Club. In 1946 it burned down, and the area was subdivided into parcels for residences, but the historic Edgecourt gate was retained. The gates and landscaping were completely refurbished in 2014 by the Hillsborough Beautification Foundation.
“H” STREET: (Burlingame) Original name for HUMBOLDT ROAD, into the 1920s. “H” likely refers to the Howard Estate, in which the tract was located.
HALE DRIVE (Burlingame): Named after the Hale Brothers (of Hale Department Store fame) who in 1915 traded their former department store building on Sixth Street in San Francisco for property owned by Ansel Easton. The subdivision was named “Burlinghome”. F. D. Lorton was appointed one of the selling agents. (Burlingame Advance clipping, Oct. 15, 1915)
HATCH LANE (also ALLEY or WAY): (Burlingame) after early pioneer builder, John Henry Hatch. Named officially in June 1912, by City Ordinance, as “Hatch’s Alley.” Hatch was born in Half Moon Bay, following the life of a machinist, miner, and a cowboy throughout the West, returning at the age of twenty-eight to become Sheriff of San Mateo County. Moving over to San Mateo, he became Superintendent of the Relief Home (Poor Farm), ran a hotel on 2nd Avenue in SM, was one of that town’s first trustees, and then moved over to Burlingame. His biography states that he built the first two business houses in Burlingame, likely the Lorton-Morton Grocery (Highland on the Square) and the Hatch Wooden Building at 1101-5 Burlingame Avenue. Hatch built at least four other buildings in Block 11, as well as one on the ne corner of Burlingame and Lorton Avenues (no longer there). Some early occupants of the former Hatch building were Rasor and Koop Bicycles and later tenants were Bakewell Super Auto and Express Parcel Delivery, Quellmalz Restaurant, H.E. Dessin Shoe Repairing, J.M. Chrisman Real Estate, J.E. Elder, Burlingame’s first undertaker, and many others. Eventually, Hatch Wooden Building gave way to the Hatch (concrete) Building, designed in 1929 by Ernest Norberg (in 2012 ‘Kabul Restaurant’, 1101 Burlingame Avenue). (Lively Memories, pg. 57 c.1977 Burlingame Historical Society)
Additionally, in April 15, 1905 H.N. Royden real estate advertisement in SM Times, mentions Hatch’s name as a builder.
HOWARD AVENUE: Part of the 1896 Town of Burlingame subdivision established by William H. Howard Family of William Davis Merry Howard, prominent landowners in Burlingame, Hillsborough and San Mateo.
THE HOWARD HILL: This is the grade on Crystal Springs road in San Mateo beginning a quarter mile west of El Camino; also the summit on and near the road. The hill was on the south edge of the Howard estate from the time the road was built, in 1859-60; the name was in use by 1878 (T-G 4/13/78), and was in general use until forty years ago [as of this 1960s writing] and the advent of the automobile. Another name used to be “the Parrott hill”, for the estate on the south side of the road from the 1860s. (Place Names of SM County, Dr. Alan K. Brown SMCHA pg. 55)
HOWARD PARK: This is the triangular piece of land between California Drive, Highland Avenue and Howard Avenue [in 2000s the site of Sam’s Italian Sandwiches in the old Greyhound depot] established in June 1912, by Ordinance No. 41, as a public park. (likely named after subdivision owner and developer William H. Howard). (City of Burlingame Trustee logs)
THE HOWARD HILL: This is the grade on Crystal Springs road in San Mateo beginning a quarter mile west of El Camino; also the summit on and near the road. The hill was on the south edge of the Howard estate from the time the road was built, in 1859-60; the name was in use by 1878 (T-G 4/13/78), and was in general use until forty years ago [as of this 1960s writing] and the advent of the automobile. Another name used to be “the Parrott hill”, for the estate on the south side of the road from the 1860s. (Place Names of SM County, Dr. Alan K. Brown SMCHA pg. 41)
LAUREL AVENUE: (Burlingame) In the Villa Park subdivision (est. 1904), originally named 3rd Avenue.
LINCOLN AVENUE: Situated in the Burlingame Grove subdivision, it was originally called Burlingame Avenue. When the town of Easton was annexed by the city of Burlingame, the name had to be changed. Probably named for President Lincoln.
LINDEN AVE. (Burlingame) In the Villa Park subdivision (est. 1904), originally named 2nd Avenue.
LORTON AVENUE: (Burlingame) Main Street and Middlefield Rd. were renamed Lorton Avenue (in 1925), “in honor of Fred D. Lorton, a pioneer of this city”. It was going to be named “Center Street”, but City Attorney, Judge F.A. Cutler, suggested he be honored “not only as a pioneer, but also with partner [John Rehe] built the city’s first Class A business building at the corner of Middlefield and Burlingame Avenue [Hotel Burlingame]. (1-7-1925 Burlingame Advance Newspaper)
MANGINI WAY (Burlingame High School) – In honor of longtime Burlingame educator, and 4-time Mayor of Burlingame, Victor “Vic” Mangini who died in 2007.
MAPLE AVENUE: (Burlingame) In the Villa Park subdivision (est. 1904), originally named 4th Avenue.
MILLBRAE: Darius Ogden Mills acquired land for a country seat here in 1860. He named his estate Millbrae, in the pseudo-British style popular at the time, built the Millbrae Dairy, and gave land for the Millbrae railroad station, apparently around 1863. Millbrae school district and post office were established in 1866. The name was thus settled on a sub-community consisting of these institutions plus a roadhouse and a farm, or two. In the late 1870s, a small village began to appear to the north, in the present downtown section.
MAIN STREET / MIDDLEFIELD RD.- Burlingame (see LORTON AVE.) Main Street original imprint (in front of Starbucks corner in 2000s) was saved by the Burlingame Historical Society in the 1970s and set into the (then new) aggregate. Middlefield Rd. was likely named for its location on the same axis as was the ‘middle’ of the Polo Field grounds, an area shown on early maps as bounded by Howard Ave. Park Road, Highland and Peninsular Avenues, land leased by the Burlingame Country Club for polo games until its sale in May 1905 (from the Estate of William H. Howard to Charles N. Kirkbride) for $32,000. The new subdivision was called the Polo Field subdivision. (Real Estate transactions, Shellens 51-00034).
MORRELL: (Burlingame) For and by C.H. Morrell, Landowner, San Francisco resident, who with his wife, Rhinette, filed a July 1906 subdivision of Burlingame Grove. (see subdivision map of Burlingame Grove SMCHA Archives). On April 19, 1929 (BA) a pedestrian grade pathway at Morrell over the (streetcar) tracks was given a Commission Permit .
MOSELEY ROAD: (Hillsborough) 1946 purchaser and developer of the then 550-acre Carolands Estate. Street names were created from family members’ and relative’s names: Barbara, Denise, Robin, Robinwood, Darrell, Craig, Alberta. (“No Sidewalks Here”, Svanevik, Burgett, c.1999)
THE MOUND: (In San Mateo just W of El Camino, between the creek and the Burlingame limits.) The large knoll was so referred to in 1857 (SMRA4-1); “mound” is a common word for this sort of thing in the mid-west, but not in this immediate vicinity. A common variation on the name has been “Howard’s Mound,” for the estate founded by W.D.M. Howard here in 1851. (Much later the estate was named El Cerrito, ostensibly for the knoll.) An 1852 deed calls the knoll “the San Matéo hill,” very possibly a translation of a Spanish name, though sketch maps of 1836 and 1844 have simply “loma” (hill).– Modern real estate operations have produced an elegant form of the old name, “The Mounds;” it is hoped this will pass. (Place Names of SM County, Dr. Alan K. Brown SMCHA pg. 59)
MURCHISON: Clint Murchison, financed Paul Trousdale’s subdivision and development of the Mills Estate, 1950s.
NEWHALL ROAD: (Burlingame/Hillsborough) after property owner George A. Newhall.
NEWLANDS AVENUE: (Burlingame) after developer Francis G. Newlands, who was also an attorney and politician. Son-in-law of William Sharon. Newlands conceived of the development of the Burlingame Country Club and Burlingame Park ‘planned’ community in the 1890s.
NORTH LANE: Segment of “Burlingame Square.” Name not indicated in 1896 William H. Howard subdivision maps. Officially named ‘North Lane’ by Ordinance No. 40, June 3, 1912, when North, South and East Lanes are also proclaimed. Note: ‘West Lane’, though indicated as a street name on early maps, is not proclaimed an official street by Ordinance No. 40.
OAK GROVE AVENUE (Burlingame): This was named in the 1890s for the Oak Grove railroad station, which was here from the middle 1860s until Burlingame station was established in 1894. (Place Names of SM County, Dr. Alan K. Brown SMCHA pg. 62)
The original pillbox station could have been named for John H. Redington’s one-time residence, used later as a private boy’s boarding school, known as “Oak Grove School.” Photos of fields around the school show (Svanevik, Burgett: “No Sidewalks Here”, c, 1999, pg. 13,) groves of live oaks on the acreage.
In 1915, by City of Burlingame ordinance No. 104, Oak Grove Avenue “abutting and abounding on Subdivision No 5, Burlingame Park, be and the same is hereby changed and to be henceforth officially known as Forrest View Avenue.”
[several other streets in the Burlingame Grove subdivision are renamed in this action, distinguishing themselves now as part of Burlingame, rather than part of Easton. Anita Avenue is changed to “Summer”, and Burlingame Avenue in that subdivision becomes Lincoln Avenue. Buri Buri Avenue becomes Broadway.]
Also in the ordinance, Park Avenue in the Villa Park subdivision was to become Villa Avenue, but the change must not have stuck, because as of 2012, Park Avenue still exists.
OCCIDENTAL AVENUE: (Burlingame) named for the ‘Occidental Land and Improvement Company’, part of William Sharon’s Estate holdings, managed by Francis Newlands in the 1890s. In the case of Burlingame, the Company was associated with the formation of the Burlingame Country Club and the Burlingame Park Subdivision. (History of the Burlingame Country Club, Mitch Postel, c. 1982 pp. 12-22)
PALOMA AVENUE: Origin of name unknown, before 1928, street extended only from Burlingame Grove subdivision to Edgehill. Between 1928-9, Grange Road, in the Burlingame Terrace neighborhood, was renamed Paloma Avenue, extending Paloma two more blocks to the Oak Grove Avenue intersection. One can assume this was most likely to simplify street and address confusion.
PARK AVENUE: Part of the Villa Park subdivision and originally part of Corbitt Estate, the name was supposed to be changed to “Villa Avenue” in 1915, according to City ordinance No. 104, but remained even after Easton was annexed to Burlingame, although it continues to cause confusion with Park Road.
PARK ROAD: Appears on earliest maps of Town of Burlingame subdivision. Likely named for the open space surrounding it, that remained until the USPO was built in the early 1940s.
PENINSULA/PENINSULAR AVE. (Burlingame and San Mateo) Coyote Avenue may have been the original name for Peninsula(r) Avenue, according to a map from 1894. By 1897, it is listed as Peninsular Avenue. The Burlingame Advance Newspaper from April 23, 1915 pg. 1 reported that “Burlingame voted to surrender jurisdiction over ½ of Peninsula Avenue and Barroilhet.”
A 1926 map shows “Peninsular” for the street. But by the 1940s, it appears as “Peninsula Ave.” By 1966, (11-22-1966 SM Times (?) article) declares official name change to “Peninsula Ave.” (also) for the San Mateo side, to avoid address and city confusion. It mentions that Burlingame’s side has gone by “Peninsula Ave.” for quite a long time already.
In 1968, officials from San Mateo announced that since Peninsula Avenue had been included in the City-County Highway system, their city intended to widen its half of street “to increase traffic capacity. San Mateo asked Burlingame to consider restricting on-street parking on the Burlingame half of Peninsula Avenue, at least during peak hours. (Trustee Minutes, City of Burlingame.)
POETT ROAD: (Hillsborough) Dr. Joseph Henry Poett, early landowner, and Alfred Poett, early surveyor of the area.
RALSTON AVENUE: William C. Ralston, prominent SF Banker and landowner.
RAY PARK: Ray Park was originally part of the 1,500-acre estate of Darius Ogden Mills. Mr. Mills died in 1910, but his heirs left the property pretty much intact until the 1930s when they began to sell portions of it. In late 1940, Milton S. Ray, a wealthy San Franciscan, obtained permission to develop the 114 acres west of El Camino Real that he had purchased from the Mills Estate. The property was annexed to the city of Burlingame at that time.
Milton S. Ray was an executive of Ray Oil Burner Co. — a company founded by his father in 1872 to manufacture stoves for the galleys of clipper ships. The Ray Burner Company is still in operation in Richmond, Ca.
Milton S. Ray lived in a 10,000 square foot mansion at 2901 Broadway (S.F.) that was built in 1926-1927. (In 2007, the home was the site of a SF Decorator Showhouse). No doubt the housing development in Ray Park was one of Mr. Ray’s investments.
Mr. Ray had many hobbies. He was a history buff and named the streets in his Ray Park development after explorers (Coronado, Marco Polo, etc.) He was also a member of the Cooper Ornithological Society. His interest in birds, eventually became a collection of 75,000 eggs and stuffed birds, many of which were rare and/or extinct specimens. This collection is now part of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California in Berkeley. Mr. Ray was also a published poet. His two-volume collection of poems, published in 1934, is titled The Farallones, The Painted World and Other Poems of California.
Milton S. Ray passed away in 1946. If you Google his name, you will find several articles that describe him in more detail. One newspaper article describing the city’s approval of the Ray Park plans is “Ray Park Plans Approved,” Burlingame Advance-Star, December 19, 1940. This is available for viewing at the main library. (Joanne Garrison compiled in 2010)
RHINETTE: (Burlingame) wife of C.H. Morrell, landowner of Burlingame Grove subdivision. (Juanita, Anita, Marquita, possibly children or other relatives.
ROLLINS ROAD: According to his May 1963 obituary, William Albert Rollins (who resided at 506 Bayswater Ave.) died at 82. Rollins Road that runs through the heart of the Millsdale Industrial Tract, was named after Rollins, a retired superintendent of the Burlingame Street Dept. who had worked for Burlingame for nearly four decades. Mr. Rollins, who came to the area at the turn of the century when only four homes were built in Burlingame, started work with a wheelbarrow, and later got a horse and then a Model T. The obituary recounts that “It was said by a fellow co-worker that it was not unusual to see Mr. Rollins bumping along in the Model T, down the original Rollins Road (then a dirt trail along the levee) dressed in his Sunday go-to-the-meetin’ clothes with a supply of sewer pipes for emergency repairs.” At the time he was the only street department employee. Mr. Rollins was honored by the city fathers and co-workers at a testimonial dinner and presented with a gold watch when he retired in 1944.
ROSEDALE AVENUE: Likely named after Rose Carolyn Ray; wife and joint tenant with Milton S. Ray (developer of Ray Park) of 100.42 acres of property purchased from the Mills Estate, Inc. in 1940.
SANCHEZ AVENUE: named for very early landowner, “Chino” Sanchez, son of José Antonio Sanchez. José Antonio received the grant of Buri Buri Rancho, 15,000 acres extending from the Daly City area in the north to Sanchez Creek in the south. He divided his estate into 1,500 acre portions among his 10 children, and “Chino” received the portion from Mills Creek to Sanchez Creek in what is now North Burlingame.
SAN MATEO DRIVE: See also California Drive. In 1911(Burlingame Advance 7-14-1911) property owners around Burlingame Square (except Mr. Hatch, who refused the sum proposed) had accepted the terms of the Trustees as compensation for condemnation of properties for the purpose of widening San Mateo Drive.
San Mateo Drive was referenced in the Burlingame Advance (11-23-1917) as planned for extension from Oak Grove to Easton, and was ongoing into late 1922 (Burlingame Advance 7-28-1922). See California Drive after 1-7-1925.
SHARON AVENUE: (Hillsborough) William Sharon, US Senator who made his fortune from the Comstock Lode. Nevada agent for the Bank of California. Business partner and main beneficiary of William C. Ralston’s assets (including the Palace Hotel in SF and Ralston Hall in Belmont) when Ralston died in 1875. His daughter Clara married Francis G. Newlands. (Wiki)
SHERMAN AVENUE: Probably named for General William T. Sherman, who was stationed in San Francisco and, reportedly, a friend of the Easton and Mills families. One story was that the Easton and Mills children were so in awe of the General that they would follow him around their estates when he came to this area, and would collect his cigar butts as souvenirs of his visit. (To be confirmed.)
SOUTH LANE: Segment of “Burlingame Square.” Name not indicated in 1896 William H. Howard subdivision maps. Officially named ‘South Lane’ by Ordinance No. 40, June 3, 1912, when North and East Lanes are also proclaimed. Note: ‘West Lane’, though indicated as a street name on early maps, is not proclaimed an official street by Ordinance No. 40.
Closed as through street, June 28th, 2007 at tracks. See BURLINGAME SQUARE.
TANFORAN: Tanforan Park was the name of the racetrack here in the 1890s. The railroad station here in the 1920s used the shorter version of the name, which was for a time extended to the then isolated north San Bruno subdivisions. Toribio Tanfaran was a farmer here from the late 1850s to the late 1870s; the misspelling of his name was established by the Land Commission in the 1850s. (Place Names of SM County, Dr. Alan K. Brown SMCHA pg. 93)
TROUSDALE DRIVE: (Burlingame) Paul Trousdale, Los Angeles developer and Trousdale Construction Company. With financing from Texan oil magnate Clint Murchison, the company subdivided the Mills Estate in 1954, creating Burlingame’s last subdivision of the 20th century. (Burlingame Centennial 1908-2008, J. Garrison, pg. 109)
WEST LANE: Name drawn into the William H. Howard 1896 subdivision and most every early map of Burlingame Square. Oddly, West Lane is left out of Ordinance 40 (June 3, 1912) when North, East and South Lanes are fixed.
WILLBOROUGH PLACE (and presumably WILLBOROUGH ROAD): (Burlingame) During the depression, builders George Williams and Frank Burrows conceived of a quaint new neighborhood that would be nestled between Palm Drive, Oak Grove, and California Dr.
They hired an english architect named Gilliam who wanted to recreate an english village of modest homes on small lots built close together to enhance their charm. Part of the development would be built on the site of an old nursery and would be called Willborough Place, combining the names of the two men, who would go on to develop two similar projects in San Mateo.
Though constructed during the depression, the designs relied heavily on extensive wood trim, both inside and out. An advertisement published on July 3, 1931 reads:
22 Homes for Sale, Five and Six room English Homes, Close to transportation, schools and churches. In Willborough Place, a small restricted tract where quality and attractiveness will prevail, prices are in keeping with the times. These are the largest “dollar value” ever offered in Burlingame Home Construction:
5 rm. homes $5,950-$6,150
6 rm. homes $6,300-$6,500
WINCHESTER DRIVE: (Burlingame) Sarah Winchester (1939-1922), landowner and widow of gun magnate William Wirt Winchester. She also had an “ark” type of boat in the mudflats of Burlingame, located roughly in the vicinity of today’s Anza Drive on-ramp, and end of Winchester Drive (the address in those days was 601 Park Avenue). (Burlingame Lively Memories, Burlingame Historical Society, pg. 5.)
VANCOUVER: (Burlingame): assumed to have been named after explorer Capt. George Vancouver.
(updated November 2017 by J. Pfaff)