Remembering Black pioneers of the Peninsula and Santa Clara County with historian Jan Batiste Adkins

“The most important thing we can do is to document our history.” A Stanford staff photo of Sam McDonald on campus (date unknown). McDonald worked a variety of jobs on the Stanford campus, eventually becoming the superintendent of the school’s athletic grounds, effectively making him the first African-American administrator at an American university. McDonald would later be known for his preservation of the land in La Honda that is now Sam ...

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Redwood City was dethroned as a world flower capital; now one mural pays tribute

Peruvian-born artist Claudio Talavera-Ballón talks Redwood City’s history of Japanese internment, farmworking and his addiction to oil painting “This is what I like so much about muralism — it’s that opportunity to reach the most humble, who are the greatest appreciators of art. The least able to afford a framed painting are the most likely to appreciate one.” — Claudio Talavera-Ballón. (Images courtesy of Claudio Talavera-Ballón) It took just over two months ...

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6–5–0 Etymology: (re-)considering the place names on the San Mateo coast

How one resident is exploring the stories behind Coastside locations (and reevaluating the naming process moving forward) By Kara Glenwright and Sarah Wright // Photos by Adam Pardee Street signs at the intersection of Miramontes Avenue and Ocean Avenue in Half Moon Bay, on Aug. 20, 2020. (Photo by Adam Pardee/Half Moon Bay Review) El Granada resident Pamm Higgins doesn’t know why the Burnham Strip still carries the name Burnham. “We’ve already got these ...

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Un-forgetting the segregationist history of Palo Alto (and Daly City, and San Francisco, and…)

Richard Rothstein’s book The Color of Law documents how American communities—including much of the Bay Area—were purposefully segregated along racial lines. In 1954, one Peninsula real estate agent seized upon the sale of a single home on the east side of Palo Alto. (Book cover image via Liveright/W.W. Norton Publishing) Floyd Lowe, President of the California Real Estate Association at the time, quickly began amplifying racial tensions by warning residents that the one black family ...

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15 Bay Area-focused documentaries to watch during the shutdown

Meet the locals who would die for Mavericks, kidnap for revolution and rob banks for Batkid via these stranger-than-fiction docs. (Image via Getty) We get it. These days you want to escape reality. When your routine takes on the repetition of Groundhog Day and you feel trapped in the same day over and over, it’s tempting to check out. Why settle for the banality of reality, when fiction offers 31 flavors of larger-than-life? Whether it’s ...

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“We’re up against it.” Images of the 1906 quake — the Peninsula’s most famous forgotten catastrophe

Front of Stanford Quad — Louis Agassiz statue fallen in front of Zoology Building; 1906. (Image via the Stanford Historical Photograph Collection) “We’re up against it.” Images of the 1906 earthquake — the Peninsula’s most famous forgotten catastrophe On the anniversary of the Bay Area’s worst disaster, take a visual tour as a reminder of what we’ve overcome in the past. It is widely remembered as “the San Francisco Earthquake.” And rightfully so, since the 7.9 magnitude quake ...

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[email protected]: Stanford explores the futurism of a centuries-old novel

From artificial intelligence to biomedical technology, the Mary Shelley classic exhibits a remarkable relevance (Illustration by Andrew Strawder) Somewhere amid the news of Facebook’s very dystopian sci-fi-sounding artificial intelligence incident this past July, it was easy enough to think of the simple but critical line delivered by Jeff Goldblum’s character in the original Jurassic Park film — “your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if ...

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“An island of sobriety”: getting to the bottom of Palo Alto’s non-alcoholic history

On Leland Stanford’s orders, PA was dry for a really, really long time. Oh man…if Leland knew: Stanford students drinking up (presumably on a remote section of campus) in 1938. (Courtesy of the Stanford Photo Archive) A few months back I was chatting with my father-in-law, who grew up in Palo Alto back in the 1950s. It’s funny talking with him about the area back then, because he doesn’t so much tell me stories ...

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Meet the man who flew the SR-71 Blackbird—the world’s fastest jet

Meet the man who flew the SR-71 Blackbird —the world’s fastest jet Pilot Brian Shul discusses his unique trajectory—in life and in flight—ahead of his Hiller Aviation Museum event By Kali Shiloh Speed demons: pilots of the Blackbird SR-71 looking as top secret as the plane itself. (Image courtesy of Lockheed Martin) The ups and downs of Brian Shul’s life have been both literal and extreme. Shot down over Vietnam, the fighter pilot suffered extensive burns and broken ...

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Plastic droids and evil Care Bears: the (less nostalgic) story of Kenner’s Star Wars toys.

Stanford Design Professor Bill Burnett recounts his time at Kenner (and how Star Wars ruined the toy industry) By Charles Russo Partial disintegration: a couple bounty hunters short of a collection. (Photo by Charles Russo) I still have my childhood Star Wars lunchbox. It’s the same one I took to my first day of pre-school…a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away (which is to say — about 40 years ago in northern New Jersey). My lunchbox ...

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