Great Value for Menlo Park Landlords
The area of Menlo Park was inhabited by the Ohlone people. In 1795 the Rancho de las Pulgas land grant was made that include the area of the current city.
In 1851 two Irish immigrants, Dennis J. Oliver and his brother-in-law D. C. McGlynn, purchased a 1,700-acre (690 ha) tract of land on the former Rancho de las Pulgas. In 1854, they erected a gate with a wooden arch bearing the inscription "Menlo Park" and the date "August 1854" at the entrance to their property (now the intersection of Middle Ave and El Camino Real). The word "Menlo" derived from the owners' former home of Menlo in County Galway, Ireland, and is an Anglicized version of the original Irish name of the place, Mionloch, meaning "middle lake."
In 1863, the San Francisco and San Jose Rail Road had built the railroad from San Francisco to as far as Mayfield (now California Avenue station in Palo Alto) and started running trains to the area. They named a nearby station "Menlo Park" after the sign. The 1867 station building still stands on the platform of the current Caltrain station, used by the local Chamber of Commerce. The town of Menlo Park grew up around this station, becoming a popular home for San Francisco businessmen. A post office arrived in 1870, and the city was incorporated in 1874 (it would dissolve after two years but would later be permanently incorporated in 1927). The original arch which gave its name to the stations and ultimately, the city, survived until 1922, when the original arch was destroyed in an automobile accident. The origin of the name of Menlo Park, California (ca 1850) pre-dates any work done by Thomas Edison (ca 1876) in Menlo Park, New Jersey; Menlo Park, New Jersey was named after Menlo Park, California.
In 1917/1918 a large portion of Menlo Park was the site of Camp Fremont, a training camp for, at its height, 27,000 men being sent to fight in World War I. It didn't last long (the camp was dismantled after the war), but army engineers paved the first streets in Menlo Park and laid the first water and gas lines. The army did retain the camp hospital, and it is now the site of a Veterans Administration hospital off of Willow road in Menlo Park. In the autumn of 1918 a flu pandemic hit Camp Fremont and killed 147.
At the start of World War II, the US government bought the 260-acre (110 ha) estate of Timothy Hopkins from his widow and created the Palo Alto General Hospital later renamed the Dibble General Hospital (after Colonel John Dibble who was killed in 1943). After the war ended, some of the land was sold to the city and became the sites of the main library and city hall. More of the land was bought by Stanford University to house the increase in students due to the G.I. Bill; the area was known as the "Stanford Village," which existed as student housing until the mid-1960s. This land also was the site of the Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International) starting in 1947; between 1955 and 1968 SRI bought the rest of the Stanford Village.