Almanac

News - November 2, 2011

Menlo Park history group marks 40th anniversary

by Jane Knoerle

It's a trip down memory lane when the Menlo Park Historical Association celebrates its 40th anniversary Sunday, Nov. 13, from 2 to 4 p.m., in the downstairs conference room at the Menlo Park Library.

Michael Svanevik, co-author of "Menlo Park, Beyond the Gate" with his wife, Shirley Burgett, will be guest speaker. His topic will be: "Pillars of the Past — A Retrospective," recreating the "Saga of Menlo Park."

The book "Beyond the Gate" is a portrait of Menlo Park spanning 150 years — from silver kings and struggling immigrants, through two world wars, to Silicon Valley. The book was commissioned by the Menlo Park Historical Association and published in 2000.

While the Menlo Park Historical Association is intent on preserving and promoting local history back to the city's earliest days, its own beginning dates to 1971.

In the early 1970s, Larry Johnston Sr., manager of the Menlo Park branch of Bank of America, was appointed official historian of the city for the purpose of recording local history, according to the Menlo Park Historical Association newsletter.

He and Dr. Joseph Weeden set out to interview old-timers about Menlo Park in the early 1900s "before the few old-timers leave us." At that time, he proposed forming a Menlo Park Historical Society, with the Friends of the Library as a steering group for the new organization.

Early board members included. Kelly Ogle, Frank Merrill, Jean Bone, John Kiefer and Maggi Scaroni.

Today, the historical association has 280 members, with Dick Angus as president. Some, like Frank Helfrich, grew up in Menlo Park. Others are more recent residents, interested in learning more about their city.

Its board of directors meets monthly at the Menlo Park Library. Throughout the year, there are social gatherings, such as an ice cream social every June and a Chinese New Year dinner at Ten Fu restaurant.

For more information, enter "Menlo Park Historical Association" in Google or call 330-2522.

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