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December 24, 2016



Well, I have to throw in a little history here-

The area around Oak Grove and California Drive was full of bungalows shortly after the turn of the 20th century. Real estate listings from Neuchatel show that there were already two homes constructed on the small street by 1920.

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 William Charles Frederic Gillam who wanted to recreate an english village of modest homes on small lots built close together to enhance their charm. Gillam lived in Burlingame (including at 1404 Palm Drive) from 1922-1962, when he died., and is locally best known as the architect of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, on El Camino Real, though there are numerous citations for his architecture and design work, elsewhere.

The english style development was built on the site of a former nursery: “Peterson & Haywood Nursery”, and a property parcel was cleared on Palm and incorporated into a road and entrance to the new subdivision.

Gillam also designed the tudor revival home at 1125 Palm Drive, adjacent to the nursery property, a few years earlier. The new development was named Willborough Place, combining the names of the two developers, Williams and Burrows, 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

These homes are now under construction, to be complete in every detail-- Select yours now!”


Very nice. Thank you. Where are the neighborhoods in San Mateo located?


Chesterton Place, off of El Camino Real, adjacent to Monte Diablo Avenue. These are a different style of home, but built on similarly small parcels; very village-like. I think there are some nice (brick?) entrance pillars there, too.


Thank you for the history lesson Jennifer as I have always wondered about that quaint little neighborhood. That is exactly where I was thinking (Chesterton Place) when reading your first post.

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