Free Victorian Days Walking Tours From Pescadero to Colma Offered by the San Mateo County History Museum

Come learn more about our local history during these FREE Victorian Day Walks in our County. Who knows where this picture was taken?

South San Francisco, CA    June 21, 2018  Submitted by Robert Riechel, San Bruno Community Leader

Victorian Days Walking Tours – Summer 2018

San Bruno: Sweeney Ridge – Saturday, July 7 from 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Join San Mateo County Historical Association President Mitch Postel as he leads a hike to the top of Sweeney Ridge.  From that hill, Gaspar de Portolá’s expedition became the first Europeans to discover San Francisco Bay in 1769.  Wear good walking shoes and bring water.  The walk will start at the trailhead at the west end of Sneath Lane in San Bruno.  Part of the County Parks “Take a Hike” program, please RSVP at

Difficulty Level:  Difficult (paved but steep in places).


San Mateo – Saturday, July 14  from 1 – 3:30 p.m.

Join retired CSM History Professor Mark Still for a walk to look at some of San Mateo’s oldest and most venerable residential structures, all located in the city’s Central District. Emphasis will be on the unique and varying styles of Victorian design.  Highlighting this historical walk will be a tour of the faithfully restored John Maynard House, 1879, a classic example of Tuscan villa Italianate architecture. Meet at the northeast corner of Tilton Avenue and Claremont Street. Tour restricted to 20, please RSVP to 650.299.0104, ext. 220.

Difficulty Level: Easy-Moderate (home is not ADA accessible).



South San Francisco – Saturday, July 21 from 10:30 – 11:45 a.m.

The South San Francisco Public Library will share architectural information about buildings along Grand Avenue built between 1902 and 1930 including stories of the people who lived and worked there. We will see the hotel that housed the earliest workers in the booming industrial town, tour the house that served as the City’s first hospital and discussion a dozen other historical sites.  Gather at the library for a brief presentation before the tour. There is free parking behind the library, enter on Miller. To RSVP or for more information:

Difficulty Level: Easy-Moderate (Grand Avenue is on a slight incline with .5 block hill).



Woodside: Folger Stable – Sunday, July 22 from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Tour the Folger Estate Stable Historic District at Wunderlich Park (4040 Woodside Road). Learn about the history of the main stable, Carriage House, Chinese built stone walls, the blacksmith barn and dairy house. Take a trip back in time to learn about the agricultural uses of the property, the development of the Folger Coffee Company, the architectural legacy of the estate, the influence of horses to the American West and Woodside history.

Difficulty Level: Moderate (Terrain is ADA accessible with some sloped areas and cobblestone walkways).


San Carlos – Saturday, July 28 from 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Tour historic locations in downtown San Carlos with the San Carlos Heritage Association. Meet at City Hall Park at the corner of San Carlos Avenue and Elm Street. The tour will end at the San Carlos History Museum, where there will be refreshments and tours of the museum. For more information call 650.592.5822.

Difficulty Level: Easy (sidewalks, mainly flat ground).


Menlo Park  – Saturday, August 4 from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

The walk features buildings of Menlo Park’s Camp Fremont, celebrating its centennial.  Led by the Menlo Park Historical Association, it begins at the outside flagpole immediately in front of the McArthur Park Restaurant (27 University Avenue, Palo Alto).  The building, designed by Julia Morgan, served as a 1918 Hostess House for visiting families of soldiers training for action in the Great War.  The tour will visit El Palo Alto.  Spanning El Camino Real, the walk will pass by the Cambridge Avenue pillars marking the Stanford Park subdivision, mapped in 1907.  The tour visits at the now former Oasis pub building, which was originally another Camp Fremont building built in 1918 for the YMCA.

Difficulty Level: Easy (2.0 miles on sidewalks, level ground).


Pacifica – Saturday, August 4 from 7 – 8 p.m.

The Pacifica Historical Society will lead a tour of 100-year-old buildings that figured in the early history of what was then called Salada Beach.  Tour meets on the corner of Beach Boulevard and Montecito Avenue across from the Pacifica Pier.  Ample parking.

Difficulty Level: Easy (about 1 mile of level walking).


Burlingame: Broadway – Sunday, August 5 from 1 – 2 p.m.

Broadway is a unique part of Burlingame. Come join the Burlingame Historical Society for a leisurely walk up this historic street.  Learn about its history from a Spanish Land Grant to today. You will also learn about some of its buildings and stores.  Some have changed little over the years and others considerably.  Meet in the Wells Fargo parking lot (behind 1145 Broadway at Chula Vista) at 1:00 pm.  After the tour, visit the Burlingame Hillsborough History Museum (290 California Drive).

Difficulty Level:  Easy.


Burlingame: Downtown Architecture – Sunday, August 5 from 1 -2 p.m.

Burlingame’s founders thought that “good architecture is one of the greatest assets in building up a community, adding to civic pride and making a favorable impression on the home seeker.”  Join the Burlingame Historical Society at the Burlingame Avenue train station (290 California Dr.) for a walking tour of downtown where we will point out notable architects and buildings of early Burlingame.  After the tour, visit the Burlingame Hillsborough History Museum (290 California Drive).

Difficulty Level:  Easy.


Burlingame: Easton Additions – Sunday, August 5 from 3 – 4 p.m.

Join the Burlingame Historical Society for a brief glimpse of life on the Easton estate and a walk through the early days of the Easton Additions to Burlingame.  Meet at the Easton Branch of the Burlingame Public Library (corner of Easton Drive and Cabrillo Avenue).

Difficulty Level:  Easy-Moderate (mix of sidewalks and streets with slight grade).


San Bruno – Saturday, August 11 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Join San Mateo County Historical Association President Mitch Postel in an exploration of San Bruno’s historic business district. Starting at the intersection of San Mateo Avenue and El Camino, the walk down San Mateo Avenue includes the original EIMAC building where vacuum tubes were produced for broadcast and radar transmitters during World War II. The tour will feature a stop at the Welch Family’s private slot machine collection, a rare treat in itself.

Difficulty Level: Easy (note the private slot machine collection is not ADA accessible).


Colma: Cypress Lawn – Saturday, August 11 from 1:30 – 3 p.m.

You are invited to dress in Victorian attire or come as you are to annual Victorian Days Heritage Tour.  Cypress Lawn will have their new trolley available for the tour.  Meet at the green tent next to lake on the East Campus of Cypress Lawn (1383 El Camino).  Refreshments to follow the tour.

Difficulty Level: Easy-Moderate (.5 mile on paved road, moderate incline).  Trolley holds 25 (not wheelchair accessible).


Colma – Sunday, August 12 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

“It’s Great to be Alive in Colma!”  Please join the Colma Historical Association for a tour of our Historical Park Museums (1500 Hillside Boulevard) followed by a complimentary buffet lunch.  The main museum, a circa 1911 office building for Olivet Cemetery, includes displays on our history, government, cemeteries, early home furnishing, library, camera collection and more.  View a video telling of Colma’s history.  Visit the Colma Historical Association’s 1863 train depot and 1911 freight shed with transportation displays and a blacksmith shop with vintage tools.  Please RSVP at 650-757-1676 or email

Difficulty Level: Easy.


Redwood City: Historic Union Cemetery – Saturday, August 18 from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Redwood City’s Union Cemetery dates from the 1850s, right during the Victorian Era.  However, living here in the Redwood City area was closer to life in the “Wild West” than British Society.  On this tour we will compare and contrast life in the Victorian Era with life in Redwood City.  What “new” things crept into life here?  How did people socialize?  What new inventions found their way here?  At the end of the tour we will sit and play a Victorian Card Game.

Difficulty Level: Easy-Moderate (flat, gravel paths).


Redwood City – Saturday, August 25 from 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Redwood City’s Historic Resources Advisory Committee will conduct a tour of historic sites in the downtown area.  Participants will see where Wyatt Earp occasionally came for a drink, where a Wells Fargo Express Office operated in 1875, Redwood City’s first new car showroom salon and auto repair garage, the finest theater on the peninsula in 1896, the former homes of prominent pioneer citizens, and much more. The tour will begin in front of the Lathrop House (627 Hamilton Street).

Difficulty Level: Easy.


Pescadero – Sunday, August 26 from 1 – 3:30 p.m.

This year’s Pescadero history walking tour will begin in front of the Community Native Sons Hall on South Stage Rd.  Greg Timm, History Project President, and local historian, will cover Pescadero’s history from the earliest times up through the present, featuring the period from 1850-1920. The historic 1863 Knapp home will be open for the tour, and we will visit the historic & still working churches during our tour. We will have local artifacts, historic maps & documents on display. If we are fortunate a member or two of a founding pioneer family may make an appearance, too. It will be a fun, fast moving tour, so be sure to bring water, hats, and sensible shoes.  For questions call 650-879-0882 (leave message) or email

Difficulty Level: Easy (flat, paved surfaces).




The Victorian Days at the Old Courthouse takes place Sunday, August 19 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the San Mateo County History Museum, housed within the County’s historic Courthouse at 2200 Broadway in Redwood City.  The FREE admission will include craft activities for children such as once popular Victorian toys and hats.  For children and adults, there will be a Victorian Tea served in historic Courtroom A.  It will feature reenactors playing local Victorian millionaires who will highlight fashions from the era.  The Victorian Tea costs $5 for adults and $3 for youngsters.  For reservations for the Tea call 650-299-0104, ext. 220.  Victorian Days at the Old Courthouse is sponsored by Cypress Lawn Heritage Foundation.  For more information, go to



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