Barron Park History on Exhibit at Main Library

by Doug Graham, History Committee Chair

February was "Barron Park History Month" at the Palo Alto Main Library. Featured on the exhibit board in the reading room was Doug Graham's exhibit of photographs and maps from the agricultural era in our history, 1919-1946. On display were some never-before-public photographs of our neighborhood during the 1930s and 40s, showing orchards and open fields stretching to the foothills. There were also photographs of the El Camino strip, the dairy, auto camps and the California Military Academy in the old Wallis-Barron mansion. Numerous favorable comments were noted by the Palo Alto historian and the reference librarians. Another exhibit is tentatively scheduled for January, 1997.

The exhibit was seen by a descendant of Professor Carruth, who has asked for a copy of the references. Stanford English Professor Carruth founded and named the Roble Ridge neighborhood in the 1920s. Concurrently, a Sausalito resident who grew up in the Roble Ridge house originally built by Carruth has contacted us to tell us that she is researching Carruth¹s life ‹ her contact was stimulated by the story in the Winter issue of this newsletter. All this should lead to much information on life on Roble Ridge from the 1920s through the 1950s.

Also this month, an important accession of historical materials occurred. Kees Bol has donated surviving financial records of the Emway Mutual Water Company (later the Barron Park Water Co., popularly known as the Bol Water Co.) to Doug Graham for Barron Park history research. Ultimately, they will go to the Palo Alto Historical Association archives. These records include the entire checkbook history of the company from the founding in 1934 through sale to the City of Palo Alto in 1953. There are also two large bound ledgerbooks containing customer account records from the 1950s. This is a goldmine for present and future local historians.

Please take note; if you have any old papers or photographs -- especially photographs -- lying around, check with Doug Graham to see if they are of historical interest. They probably are. We can scan them while you wait, so we'll have a digital record, and you take your photos home with you. You can reach Doug at 493-0689.

Many of the photographs shown will be available in scrapbooks at the May Fete, and will appear in the planned 100-page History of Barron Park presently being written.

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