Although San Mateo County’s natural beauties and advantages have been the prime factors of development; the progressive spirit manifested by the people, and the activity of the county’s various promotion organizations have been the actual moving forces behind the phenomenal development which has taken place during the last few years. The achievements of the San Mateo County Development Association command particular attention.
This aggressive association is the most important of these organizations in the county. It was organized in April, 1910 by the public spirited citizens of the county, primarily to obtain better transportation facilities and lower rates, and in general to develop the resources and advertise the natural advantages of the county.
The first activity of this body was to commence an action against the Southern Pacific Company for lower rates, which resulted in material reductions on all classes of tickets. Half-fare rates for school children were obtained on the line running through the county.
The most herculean task undertaken, was initiating and carrying through the campaign for a one million two hundred and fifty thousand dollar bond issue for good roads, which was carried by a vote exceeding four to one. This .vas accomplished in less than a year from its inception, and with an actual campaign of public speaking that covered only one month.
One of the great public accomplishments engineered by the Association was in connection with the eighteen million dollar state highway bond issue, when on August 7, 1912, at their invitation, the first shovelfull of earth was turned over in San ‘Mateo County by Burton A. Towne, chairman of the California State Highway Commission. This ceremony took place in San Mateo County, at San Bruno, on the State Highway, at a point just opposite Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Among the other public benefits inaugurated and successfully carried through by this body, was the formation of the motor bus transportation service, known as the Peninsula Rapid Transit Company which filled a long-felt want for better transportation facilities.
Among other activities which this body was instrumental in bringing about, was a tour of inspection by the Congressional Rivers and Harbors Committee to pass upon the merit of the county’s harbor projects. Innumerable other undertakings for the general upbuilding of the community have also been fostered and carried to a successful conclusion.
A high-water mark of community publicity has been reached and maintained, which is regarded with envy by other county commercial organizations, and is considered a standard for imitation by all such bodies. As a result of the “get together spirit” manifested by San Mateo County, this community is now being carried forward upon a flood tide of prosperity and ever increasing popularity.
This is largely the direct result of the untiring efforts of the San Mateo County Development Association.
The officers of this body are as follows: M. B. Johnson, President, (Montara); Asa Hull, Vice-President, (San Carlos); Frank L. Eksward, Secretary-Manager, (San Mateo); and S. D. Merk, Treasurer, (Burlingame).
The Board of Directors is as follows: D. G. Doubleday, (Millbrae); W. A. Brewer, (Hillsborough); W. H. Brown, (San Mateo); J. T. Casey, (Colma); WV. O. Graiber, (Lomita Park); F. A. Cunningham, (South San Francisco); W. J. Martin, (South San Francisco); J. M. Custer, (San Bruno); D. A. Deleau. (Redwood City); T. Masterson, (San Mateo); Dr. C. L. Morgan, (Halfmoon Bay); C. M. Morse, (San Mateo); E. M. Moores, (Burlingame); Henry Marcus, (Redwood City); H. C. Tuchsen, (Redwood City); and Charles L. Biebel, (Daly City).
Various other organizations throughout the county, of which there are a large number, consisting in part of urban improvement clubs, women’s clubs, city-beautiful organizations, ‘entertainment committees, merchants’ associations, and chambers of commerce of the various. cities, have all been active in successful development work.
The occasions and events in which the activities of these various bodies were manifested, have been state highway parades, flower days, county days, city fetes and many other such celebrations taking place within the boundaries of the county. The “Good Roads Day” was an occasion never to be forgotten when the county-wide agitation was in progress to improve the highway system. At this time, visitors from Santa Clara County were entertained, and ways and means discussed with the Santa Clara delegates as to mutual county cooperation to secure a better highway system.
Probably there is not a county in California that is accomplishing more general development work than San Mateo. Scores of homes are being erected, schools are being urged and built, churches are undergoing alterations, city streets are being improved, store buildings are going up, and the county highway work is being steadily e tended.
As a direct result of all this activity, the county has manifested a phenomenal growth. Every merchant, property owner, and commuter tell the same tale of progress.
Statistics on the population of the county, dating back fifty-six years, illustrate what has been accomplished. In 1860 the population was 3,214; in 1870, 6,335; in 1880, 8,609; in 1890, 10,087; in 1900, 12,094; and in 1910, 26,585. The population for 1916 is estimated from 35,000 to 42,000.