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Woodside (pop. 5,352) is a small incorporated town in San Mateo Countymarker, Californiamarker, United Statesmarker, on the San Francisco Peninsula. It uses a council-manager system of government.

Woodside is among the wealthiest communities in the world.

History and culture

The Woodside area was originally home to natives belonging to the Ohlone tribe. In 1769, led by Gaspar de Portolà, Spanish explorers searching for San Francisco Baymarker camped at a site near Woodside.

Woodside is located on the Rancho Cañada de Raymundomarker Mexican Land grant. Woodside is said to be the oldest English-speaking settlement in the southern part of the San Francisco Peninsula. The first English-speaking settlers arrived in the early 19th century to log the rich stands of redwoods. Charles Brown constructed the first sawmill in Woodside on his Mountain Home Ranch around 1838. His adobe house, built in 1839, still stands today. By mid-century, the Woodside area had a dozen mills producing building materials for a booming San Franciscomarker.

In 1849, during the California Gold Rush, 20-year-old Mathias Alfred Parkhurst purchased of timberland and named it “Woodside"; of course, this name was kept. By the late 19th century, Woodside was home to country estates.

In 1909, the Family, a private club, set up camp facilities and rustic buildings in Woodside at the Family Farm, a rural retreat used by club members for recreation. Gatherings at the Family Farm include an annual Farm Play, written and performed by members. In 1912, the Family pooled funds to build Our Lady of the Wayside Churchmarker in Portola Valley, designed by 19-year-old Timothy L. Pflueger, his first commission. The historic building was repaired at a cost of US$600,000 after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquakemarker.

Woodside was incorporated in 1956 to prevent urbanization, and it still retains a rural residential character, though it is a short commute to Silicon Valleymarker.

The downtown Woodside business district

Today, Woodside is among the wealthiest small towns in the United States. Vacant lots, were any to be found, would sell for over a million dollars. Several well-known people live here, including Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corporation; Gordon E. Moore, co-founder of Intelmarker and originator of Moore's Law; John Thompson, CEO of Symantec; Neil Young, rock singer, who owns a 1500 acre (6 km²) ranch there; Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computermarker and Pixar has a house here, but actually lives in Palo Alto; Shirley Temple Black, US ambassador and former child actress; Michelle Pfeiffer, actress, and her husband David E. Kelley, producer; Thomas Siebel, founder of Siebel Systems; Scott Cook, co-founder of Intuit, Inc.marker; John Doerr, venture capitalist; Dr. Carl Djerassi, novelist and member of team that developed the birth control pill; Kenneth Fisher, investor, Forbes columnist, author, and local historian; Susan Dawson, philanthropist; and Joan Baez, folk singer. Woodside is also home to Koko, the gorilla who was taught American Sign Language.

The very small business district includes a few restaurants (Buck's, Woodside Bakery & Cafe, John Bentley's, and The Village Pub), a grocery store (Roberts Market), a hardware store, an art gallery and picture framing store (Allegro Framing and Art), a home and garden store ( Emily Joubert), realtors (Carey Realty, Coldwell Banker, Alain Pinell, Remax), and an educational consulting and tutoring company ( Cardinal Education). The Village Pub recently was awarded the highest honor for restaurants: a Michelin star. The town is home to the famous Buck's of Woodside restaurant, which is well known among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs as the location where many VC investment deals have been signed. The inside of the restaurant is decorated with historic Silicon Valley artifacts. The corporate headquarters for Fisher Investments sits atop Kings Mountainmarker in Woodside.

Horses are part of the local culture. Many residents keep horses, and the town government maintains a network of horse trails. The town is also quite popular among local cyclists and draws them in large numbers on summer weekends. Most popular road cycling routes include Old La Honda Rd., King's Mountain Rd, Canada Rd., Southgate Dr., Skyline Rd. and Highway 84. Woodside is home to a number of open space preserves, including the Purisima Open Spacemarker (which is part of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space), where both horseback riding and bicycling is allowed.

The Woodside Fire District is a special district serving Woodside, Portola Valleymarker and unincorporated areas including Laderamarker, Los Trancos Woodsmarker, Vista Verde, Emerald Lake, Menlo Park (Unincorporated) and Skyline/State Route 35 area.

Dr. Carl Djerassi founded an artists colony in the community in memory of his late daughter. The Djerassi Resident Artists Program is one of several Bay Area programs which house artists in an environment where they can be creative without worrying about how to pay the rent. Others include Villa Montalvo in Saratogamarker and Marin Headlands Center for the Arts north of San Francisco.

It is adjacent to the campus of Stanford Universitymarker, which is east of the town.

Geography and climate

Woodside is located at (37.420704, -122.259777) .

Woodside is located on the San Francisco Peninsula, midway between San Josemarker and San Franciscomarker, just north of Silicon Valleymarker, in San Mateo County. The infamous San Andreas Faultmarker runs through town. This fault is a major source of earthquake activity in California, including the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

Much of Woodside is wooded, with redwoods dominating in the western hills and more oaks and eucalyptus in the lower areas. San Francisco Bay lies to the east, while Pacific Ocean beaches lie to the west. The Santa Cruz mountains separate Woodside from the ocean and extend down to Monterey Bay about forty miles south.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 11.8 square miles (30.5 km²), all land.

The nearest cities and towns are Redwood Citymarker, Menlo Parkmarker, Portola Valleymarker, Athertonmarker, San Carlosmarker, Belmontmarker, East Palo Altomarker and Palo Altomarker.


As is true of most of the California coastal areas, weather in Woodside is usually mild during most of the year. Summers are dry and can be hot; winter temperatures rarely dip much below freezing. Average January temperatures are a maximum of and a minimum of . Average July temperatures are a maximum of and a minimum of 51 °F. Snowfall is extremely rare except in the nearby Santa Cruz Mountainsmarker, where several inches falls every several years. Annual precipitation averages 30.9 inches (785.4 milimeters) and falls on an average of 61 days annually.

The record maximum temperature was on July 22, 2006, and the record minimum temperature was on February 6, 1989. Temperatures reach 90 °F (32 °C) or higher on an average of 48.4 days annually. Temperatures drop to freezing on an average of 10.0 days annually. The most rainfall in one year was in 1983. The most rainfall in one month was in December 2002 and the most in 24 hours was on December 1, 2002. On February 5, 1976, 3.0 inches of snow fell at the fire station.

Hills and mountains between Woodside and the Pacific coast make fog much less prevalent than in nearby San Francisco.

Parks and Environmental Features

Woodside has a variety of habitat types including California oak woodland and riparian zones. There is considerable biodiversity present, Woodside being within the California Floristic Province. Notable species present include the rare and endangered species Acanthomintha duttonii, the San Mateo Thornmint. It is also home to Huddart County Park, which is accessible by authorized motor vehicles, horses, pedestrians, and horses on Greer Road, a road intersecting Kings Mountain Road just over 100 feet west of the intersection of Tripp Road and Kings Mountain Road, an intersection home to the Woodside Store, or "The Old Store" as called by local residents. The other vehicle accessible entrance is off of Kings Mountain Road, approximately half way up the road from the point at which it starts to climb a narrow hill in the Coastal Range of California. This is accessible to the public, which can drive down Tonyon road until further driving of unauthorized vehicles is unlawful, which is just after Sequoia Campground. Also, other than the main entrance, several entrances are accessible to pedestrians and horses only and are located along Kings Mountain Road.


As of the census of 2000, there were 5,352 people, 1,949 households, and 1,516 families residing in the town. The population density was 455.1 people per square mile (175.7/km²). There were 2,030 housing units at an average density of 172.6/sq mi (66.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 90.21% White, 0.37% African American, 0.15% Native American, 4.99% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 1.31% from other races, and 2.86% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.33% of the population.

There are 1,949 households, of which 31.6% have children under the age of 18. 68.8% were married couples living together, 5.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.2% were non-families. 15.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.74 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the town the population was spread out with 23.4% under the age of 18, 3.6% from 18 to 24, 24.1% from 25 to 44, 32.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 98.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.1 males.

The median household income in the town is $171,126, and the median family income is $196,505. The per capita income for the town was $104,667. About 1.6% of families and 2.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.4% of those under age 18 and 4.8% of those age 65 or over.


In the state legislature Woodside is located in the 8th Senate District, represented by Democrat Leland Yee, and in the 21st Assembly District, represented by Democrat Ira Ruskin. Federally, Woodside is located in California's 14th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +18 and is represented by Democrat Anna Eshoo.

Film and television

The house in the Robin Williams movie Bicentennial Man is in Woodside. Dynasty was filmed at the Filoli Estatemarker (not the interior of the mansion, but the exterior), as were the films The Wedding Planner, The Game, Lolita, George of the Jungle, Heaven Can Wait, and Harold and Maude. The musical Rent also has a scene filmed inside the Filoli Estate. Singer Tennessee Ernie Ford lived in Woodside for many years until his death.

Notable residents


Image:Woodside Library.jpg|The community library.Image:Woodside California Hardware.jpg|Local park includes a preserved historic hardware store.

See also


External links

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