Cover Story - October 19, 2011

Picturing Woodside: New book looks at the history of the town through photographs

by Barbara Wood

When Bob Dougherty offered to help the Woodside History Committee put together a book chronicling Woodside's history, he thought the project might be completed in a month. Two-and-a-half years later, with the assistance of Thalia Lubin and the rest of the town committee, the task is complete.

The result of that work is "Woodside," part of Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series. The release of the book will be celebrated at Woodside's Independence Hall, at 2955 Woodside Road, on Sunday, Oct. 23, from 2 to 4 p.m. The book will be available for purchase and Ms. Lubin and Mr. Dougherty will sign books.

"Woodside" tells the history of the town in photos, from the time it was occupied only by the Ohlone natives, through the present day.

The authors actually missed three deadlines set by Arcadia, which gives its authors a template to follow for each book in the series.

"We wanted to be sure about the dates and facts," Mr. Dougherty said. Their research even found and corrected a few misconceptions that have been printed in other histories about the town.

The two used photos from the town's history files and photos donated by people who read about the project in the Almanac. They also interviewed a number of current or former Woodside residents, including both Jacques Audiffred and Harold Zweirlein, who have since died.

"That's why it took so long, because Bob's an engineer and I'm an architect and we're both detail-oriented," said Ms. Lubin. "We wanted to get it right."

While the project was hard work, they also had fun. "There were some stories that didn't make the book," Ms. Lubin says with a grin. "Some stories we couldn't tell," Mr. Dougherty echoes. Even some photos were considered a little too racy to go into a town-sponsored book.

The project also gained information and photos that will go into the town's permanent history archives.

A major challenge was following the publisher's rules about what could go in the book. They were limited to 128 pages, with two photos per page and 50-70 word captions for each photo.

"Telling the story of Grizzly Ryder and his ear ... I think we were 85 words on that," Ms. Lubin said.

Mr. Dougherty's Arcadia book on the history of La Honda will also be available for purchase at the Sunday, Oct. 23, event.

Those who can't make it on that day can find the book at Roberts Market, Roberts Hardware, the Skywood Trading Post, the San Mateo County Historical Museum, Bell's Book Store, Alice's Restaurant and Barnes & Noble, or on or directly from Arcadia publishing at The list price is $21.99.

Books are also available directly through the Woodside Community Museum, which will use any profits to support the museum.

Email or leave a message at 851-1294 to order. The museum, located at 2961 Woodside Road near the intersection with Sand Hill Road, is open Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m.

Barbara Wood is a freelance writer, photographer and gardener from Woodside and a former member of the Woodside History Committee.


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