Hillsborough Celebrates 100th Birthday
5/6/2010 - Hillsborough Celebrates 100th Birthday
By Bill Silverfarb
San Mateo Daily Journal
The sun shined on Hillsborough yesterday as the town’s residents celebrated its 100th birthday in
style with about 500 people packed between Town Hall and the newly-dedicated Centennial Park
on Floribunda Avenue.
Two bands, a barbershop quartet, women dressed in period costumes and seven former mayors
were on hand for the event as Mayor Christine Krolik served as the master of ceremonies. A
special phone call from U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, a Hillsborough resident, congratulating the town
on its special day was one of the highlights of the event.
“I’m proud to be a resident of our great community,” Speier said from Washington, D.C. “I’d
rather be there with you all than here.”
The town put together a time capsule that will be opened in 50 years. It contained letters from
many Hillsborough elementary and Bridge School students and other timely items that was
buried in Centennial Park.
The town was incorporated May 5, 1910.
The birthday party attracted many local lawmakers including county supervisors Carole Groom,
Adrienne Tissier, Mark Church and Rich Gordon. Special proclamations were presented to the
town including a joint proclamation from both state Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, and
state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo.
A brief history lesson was also given.
The town was once the home to sprawling estates with a population of about 1,000 but has
grown into a town with many neighborhoods that now has about 10,000 residents.
“The stillness of those great estates are now bustling neighborhoods and the old polo fields are
now schools,” Krolick said.
William Davis Merry Howard and his wife, Agnes Poett Howard, purchased “Rancho San
Mateo” in 1846, according to town history. This tract of over 6,000 acres encompassed most of
what today is Hillsborough, Burlingame and part of San Mateo. The couple built one of the first
great homes on the Peninsula, El Cerrito, which became the center of Peninsula society and
The town grew significantly after the earthquake of 1906 that left much of San Francisco
destroyed as many families migrated to the Peninsula.
Today, Hillsborough is also known as a center of philanthropy, with its residents offering
generous support to many nonprofit agencies that operate in the county, including Community
Gatepath, which offers a broad range of services for people with disabilities.
Deborah Rush, who grew up in Hillsborough, wore a vintage dress to yesterday’s celebration.
Her father, Jack Rush, was the town’s former public work’s director.
Rush puts on vintage fashion shows and has a collection that spans 200 years.
“I wanted to wear something that might have been worn when the city was incorporated,” said
Rush, who was wearing a silk velvet print.
The town has two more main events scheduled this month to celebrate its birthday. May 14, five
historic Hillsborough homes will be open for viewing and May 31, the town will hold “The
Parade of the Century” that will start at Town Hall and wind its way up Floribunda Avenue to
the North School field. A barbecue, music and entertainment will follow the parade.