NEW! Burlingame Then and Now

Woman's Club smlc.1909 THEN Woman's Club sml2014 NOW Roosevelt Grammar School sml in 1935 Roosevelt School 2014 smlA visit to our history museum will reveal some exciting changes. During the past three months, we’ve been very hard at work, installing a new “screening” area for digital-based exhibits. The modern red naugahyde seating may look familiar to you; it was rescued from the now defunct “Shoe Clinic” establishment on Primrose Rd.

Beginning this fall, we are presenting an extensive, ‘Then and Now’ slideshow production featuring 200 images of our city, from the 1890s to the present.

Collecting and assembling the images turned out to be quite a revelation. Residents in the early days after incorporation lived in mostly modest dwellings, as compared with the prevailing neighborhood trends over the past several years. We discovered that while parts of Burlingame have undergone significant physical change, other parts, particularly those where significant heritage trees are visible in the background still reinforce our sense of place regardless of era and distinguish us from other cities. There have been no fewer than four generations of street lampposts downtown, including the brand new ones on Burlingame Avenue. We also noticed remarkable differences in the types of businesses once booming in our downtowns, as well as the disappearance of others. Establishments that are seldom seen these days, like the undertaking business, and cleaning and dying shops had the same presence as theatres and soda fountains. Restaurants, the few available, were basic cafeteria style, tending to be associated with residential hotels. The one constant however, are real estate offices, car showrooms, and the heavy presence of banks downtown.

Who could have predicted the computerized world of retailing, plein air dining on the sidewalks at any number of diverse restaurants, or the daily street scene of dogs and other pets being leisurely paraded through the downtowns? Come by and have a look at a century of change! We’d love to see you!

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