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San Carlos Information

Community Information for  San Carlos  

San Carlos, markets itself as the “city of good feeling”, aiming to sustain its slower pace of living and small town charm. The town is an affluent suburban neighborhood which is bordered by Belmont and Redwood City.  It is the first city in California to open a charter school and its schools consistently rank well in statewide`e testing. The city is home to the San Carlos Airport and two museums. During the summer months San Carlos features weekly farmers markets and festivals.


San Carlos was first populated by the Ohlone tribe which was followed years later by Spanish settle. The city of San Carlos was included in the 69,000-acres of land granted by the Spanish government to Don Jose Dario Arguello.   Through the transfer of government to the United States the Arguello family was able to retain deed to their ranch, which they eventually begun selling off parcels of in the 1850’s.   The major portions of the parcels (which are currently San Carlos) were purchased by the Brittan family, Hull family, Ralston family, and Timothy Phelps. Timothy Phelps, a wealthy politician, was the first person to attempt to develop this area. He had made numerous personal investments for significant improvements in the area, such as the instillation of sewer lines and street grading.  Phelps was unsuccessful in bringing his dreams to reality and eventually sold his land to the San Carlos Land Development Company. The land was soon renamed San Carlos, a historical name derived from the first ship to sail into the San Francisco Bay.    The area saw a boost in construction in 1863 with the addition of the Peninsula Railroad corridor and the addition of a fire station in 1888. Growth remained slow through the coming years, until after the 20th century additional streets and new buildings were constructed. By 1918 the town had grown large enough for its first school, which was followed with the addition of a fire station. In 1925 the town was incorporated but still remained a very rural community, with a high percent of the residence having their own farms. In 1942, the US Army and “Dogs for Defense” came to San Carlos to train for WWII. The 178 acre “Dogs for Defense” base site stayed open from 1942-1944 and trained over 4,500 dogs to be used as scouts, bomb detectors, messengers, and attack dogs.   In 1944 Dalmo Victor established the city’s first large electronics plant which brought with it more businesses and quadrupled the city’s population. City officials in San Carlos have continued to focus on modernizing the city while preserving its charm and rural neighborhoods.   In recent years there has been a focus on revitalizing the downtown of San Carlos, which has involved into the counties most popular boutiques, restaurants and stores.

Distinctive Properties  |   648 Santa Cruz Avenue, Menlo Park, CA 94025  |   650.328.8881  |   BRE #: 01023392  |

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