National Historic Preservation Month, an annual celebration of America’s rich architectural and cultural history, is a tradition that was first sponsored in 1971 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation — although until 2005 it was only a week-long celebration. Redwood City has taken part in the celebration for many years, and 2017 will be a special one as it also marks the 150th Anniversary of the City’s incorporation!
Historic Downtown Tour Planned For Students
Another long-standing Redwood City tradition is the historic downtown tour for all seventh-grade students in the Redwood City School District. This highly regarded tour — now in its 21st year — is sponsored by the Historic Resources Advisory Committee. The students tour the restored 1863 Lathrop House, the historic Fox Theater, and the Old County Courthouse, all three of which are not only designated local historic landmarks, but also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Union Cemetery Historic Tour Returns This Year
Another tradition is a free tour of the Union Cemetery Historic Site sponsored by the Historic Union Cemetery Association. Union Cemetery dates back to 1859 and serves as a permanent archive of San Mateo County’s history. Gravestones record the names of the rich and colorful lives of many pioneer families — including more than 40 Civil War veterans who are buried in the old soldiers’ plot established by the Grand Army of the Republic. This year’s Union Cemetery tour will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 6.
Redwood City’s 150th Anniversary Festival
Join us on May 20th for the 150th Anniversary Festival and Flower Extravaganza and bring the whole family! Offering arts and crafts, an interactive truck event that will include trucks of all sizes for kids to discover, 1850’s Pioneer Camp, a chicken wings contest (learn more about entering here), historic fashion show, food, music and more, there will be something for everyone to enjoy and to celebrate Redwood City’s 150th Anniversary! Learn more here.
Historic Downtown Tour
Residents and visitors are also encouraged to learn more about Redwood City’s past by taking part in a free historic downtown walking tour sponsored by the Historic Resources Advisory Committee (HRAC), a five-member advisory body to the Planning Commission. The tour includes most of Redwood City’s historic commercial buildings as well as some historic residential properties. Participants will see where Wyatt Earp occasionally came for a drink, where a Wells Fargo Express Office operated in 1875, Redwood City’s first new car showroom salon and auto repair garage, the finest theater on the Peninsula in 1896, the former homes of prominent pioneer citizens, and much more. The 90-minute tour will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 27 in front of the Lathrop House at 627 Hamilton Street.
Historic Resources for the Community To Enjoy This May and Beyond
With an official City history now dating back 150 years, these events highlight but a fraction of Redwood City’s fascinating past and its prominent role in the shaping of the San Francisco Peninsula. As part of celebrating National Historic Preservation Month this May, we encourage the community to take some time and explore Redwood City. Visit the San Mateo County History Museum at the Old County Courthouse, spend an hour perusing the amazing collection of documents in the Local History Collection at the main Redwood City Public Library, or take a self-guided Path of History tour around downtown.