FREE Historical Walking Tours – In Person and Online

South San Francisco, CA  July 9, 2021 h/t to Robert Riechel Reports, Originated with SMC Historical Association


In celebration of its August 21 Online Victorian Days at the Old Courthouse, the San Mateo County Historical Association is presenting free walking tours throughout San Mateo County this summer.  Some of the tours are offered in-person and some are offered online.  Current COVID protocols will be in effect and reservations are required for the in-person tours.  Call the San Mateo County History Museum at 650.299.0104 to reserve your space for the tour.  When you do, you will be given the tour’s start location.

Online tours will be released at by 10 a.m. on the date of the presentation.

Saturday, July 10 at 10 a.m.: Historic Union Cemetery in Redwood City

The tour of Historic Union Cemetery emphasizes the Victorian innovations and people associated with them in early Redwood City.  The tour uses flat, gravel paths and lasts about an hour.  Maximum 20 people, reservations required.

Saturday, July 17 at 10 a.m.: Colma Historical Association ONLINE

“A Taste of the Colma Historical Museum” video (15 minutes) gives you some of the highlights of each of the main museum’s rooms – entrance, history room, library, early Colma home room, cemetery room, police and fire district exhibits. We hope this will entice you to put the museum on your list of places to visit. The Colma Historical Association plans to reopen in early 2022.


Saturday, July 24 at 10:30 a.m.: Folger Stable Historic Site in Woodside

Tour the Folger Estate Stable Historic District at Wunderlich Park. 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 on the American West and Woodside history.  The tour is mainly flat ground with brick/cobblestones in places and lasts 45-60 minutes. Maximum 25 people, reservations required.


Saturday, July 31 at 10 a.m.: San Bruno

Join San Mateo County Historical Association President Mitch Postel in an exploration of San Bruno’s historic business district. 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.  The tour is about 2 hours on city streets (note: the private slot machine collection is not ADA accessible).  Maximum 25 people, reservations required.


Sunday, August 1 at 1 p.m.: Burlingame High School in Burlingame

Take a walking tour around the Burlingame High School campus. Learn about the ground’s former use as a horse ranch and polo field, the origins of the school nearly a century ago, its architect, traditions, famous alumni and more. Special guest will be longtime San Francisco Peninsula news writer and author, John Horgan, who has spent 35 years doing P.A. at BHS during football and baseball games.  The tour lasts about 45 minutes and is on pavement, sidewalks and lawn areas. Maximum 25 people, reservations required.

Saturday, August 7 at 11 a.m.: Pigeon Point Lighthouse near Pescadero

Step back in time to the days of the Maritime West on this guided tour of the historic Pigeon Point Light Station. Hear tales of the many shipwrecks that occurred at the point, how they led to the construction of the iconic 115-foot-tall tower, and the many keepers and their families that came to live here. Visit the Fog Signal Building to view the magnificent First Order Fresnel Lens. The tour is about 45 minutes on flat ground throughout, but often on a combination of either paved, dirt, or pebble ground. Maximum 15 people, reservations required.  Masks are required for this tour.

Saturday, August 14 at 11 a.m.: Cypress Lawn in Colma

You are invited to dress in Victorian attire or come as you are to annual Victorian Days Heritage Tour.  Take a trolley tour of the historic grounds.  The tour lasts about 1.5 hours.  There are steps into the trolley.  Maximum 24 people, reservations required.

Sunday, August 15 at 10 a.m.: Wellesley Park in Redwood City

Learn about Wellesley Park, the first exclusive neighborhood in Redwood City that was a starry-eyed dreamer’s vision backed by prominent professionals from San Francisco. During a tour led by the Redwood City Historic Resources Committee, see what remains of this planned community that welcomed homeowners with a huge iron gate topped by a stag. Follow the path of homes that vary in architecture as much as the famous personalities that owned them.  The tour is 2 hours on easy, flat ground.  Hat, water and good walking shoes recommended.  Maximum 20 people, reservations required.

Sunday, August 22 at 10 a.m.: Holy Cross Cemetery in Menlo Park ONLINE

The Menlo Park Historical Association will present an online tour of Holy Cross Cemetery in Menlo Park. The cemetery was created for the town in the 1860s. In 1883, it was acquired by the Church of the Nativity and consecrated that first year.  Based on Holy Cross’s early founding, plots within tell of the area’s earliest history, including that of Mayfield, an early town on El Camino Real that was later annexed into Palo Alto. Learn about some early pioneers.  Viewers may recognize the names of Juana Briones, Maximo Martinez (his widow and grandson are here), and Faxon Atherton (two of his daughters are here).

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