Questionable proposal to save Woodcutter's cottage
Original post made by Bernie Bayuk, Portola Valley: other, on May 3, 2007
However, the proposal to preserve it as a reminder of the 19th century's racism and prejudice toward Chileans is a bit of a stretch when you consider there were many positive relations with Chileans at the time.
Faxon Atherton of local fame went to Chile about 1840 to seek his fortune, which he did in a big way and married Senorita Domininga De Goni, a member of one of the patrician old families of Chile. They built homes in Menlo Park and San Francisco and had seven children.
Now we are setting out to build a notable, architecturally designed Town Center and some residents propose to designate this decrepit eyesore as a historic relic and move it or a copy of it, to a site adjacent to our gracious Old Schoolhouse. Consider that the cottage is not original and even has inside plumbing.
In my opinion the cottage should be demolished and memorialized with a bronze plaque as has been done with several more notable structures in town. Above all, if the cottage does become a "historic monument" please don't turn it into a toilet, as some have suggested.
(The above was published as a letter to the editor in the Almanac's May 2 print edition.)
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