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Town of Atherton Information

Community Information for Town of Atherton


Atherton is one of the country’s most affluent cities. This city is nestled between the City of Menlo Park, Woodside and Redwood City. Through the years the Town of Atherton has fought to preserve its charm as a scenic, wooded residential town with abundant open space. The city streets are designed to be scenic meandering means of travel rather than for speed.    Atherton is one of the few towns with no industry or business establishments with in the city limits. Atherton was ranked #2 out of the 250 richest towns in America by Worth magazine in 2002. In 2005 it was voted the most affluent zip code in the nation by Forbes Magazine


The city was first established in 1866 as a summer residence for vacationers from San Francisco.   The town’s name originates from one of its first property owners, Faxon Dean Atherton.   Atherton was incorporated in 1923. Faxon D. Atherton purchase 640 acres for ten dollars an acre in 1860, which he named “Valparaiso Park”. Other businessmen of the time purchased large acres of land for their family summer homes.   Mr. Thomas Selby purchased a 420 acre estate which he named “Almendral”, now a street in Atherton. James C. Flood purchased successive parcels of land and built and extravagant mansion which was named the “Linden Towers”, now this area is called Lindenwood.

        In 1928 a government was established with a residential vote to construct the Town Hall, which stands today. One of the town’s first actions was to declare that any estate within city limits could not be divided into parcels any smaller than an acre.   This rule, with a few exceptions, is still in place today.    The last large estates were subdivided during the 1920’s and 1930’s. Although the large estates of the past are no longer present, the town’s rules and building regulations insure the preservation and continuation of the sense of seclusion and open space that was prominent in the towns early years.

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