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"We are losing not only identity in place, but in time.  The buildings that have gone and the ones that are threatened constitute a valuable historic and artistic testimonial, recorded in brick and mortar rather than in ink, of what America has been and what it is becoming.  We need our old buildings as a point of reference, not just to tell us about the past, but to help place the present and future in perspective."

--Constance M. Greiff, Lost America

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223 S. Humboldt

The former home of Dorothy Chow, a person of significance of Chinese American heritage, and a community leader in San Mateo.  Built in 1946, the home is a fine example of residential Art Moderne style.

Important to the Asian American Community because of the significance of the owner, the type of post-war architecture, and the Asian history of San Mateo.  


There were exclusionary rules and red-lining in San Mateo where the Asian Americans could only live in a specific area of San Mateo between 5th Avenue to Poplar Avenue, El Camino Real to 101.  This house falls within this specific boundary. 

The home is proposed for demolition and replacement with a large 'late Texas Penitentiary' style apartment.

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913 - 915 Palm Ave.

Retaining only its stripped down front facade, this charming duplex with a delightful street presence was 99% demolished in November 2023. Built in the 1920's, it was a contributor to the Glazenwood Residential Historic District. Despite the involvement of a historic consultant,most of the recognizable historic fabric was destroyed.



415 Fairfax

Demolished April 28, 2023.  Built in 1933, the venerable 90 year old home was a contributor to the National Register eligible Baywood Historic District due to its high level of architectural integrity.  Disregarding its contribution to a potential historic district, City Planning allowed demolition on the grounds that the home was not 'individually' significant.



564 Edinburgh

Demolished in 2023.  Like 415 Fairfax, the architectural integrity of this home qualified it as a 'contributor' to a National Register eligible historic district.  CEQA requires it to be evaluated in the context of its contribution to a historic resource.  Despite CEQA requirements, the City limited its review to 'individual' significance.



House on Hobart

A modest bungalow for a first time homebuyer.  A fixer-upper for a family of modest means who doesn't mind a little hard work. This opportunity was lost forever when the house was demolished in December 2023.

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236 W. Third Avenue

Built in 1937, this distinctive home was determined to be individually eligible for the California Register under Criterion C. According to the 2012 Historic Resource Evaluation, the home exemplified the Moderne style comprising elements of both the Art Moderne and Hollywood Regency substyles. 


For most of a decade the property owner created a center of neighborhood blight by systematically dismantling and finally destroying the uninhabited and historically significant home from within - all with permission and permits from the City. 


Despite its individual historical significance, the City never directed the homeowner to repair the home, but actively aided and abetted its deterioration, finally ordering the home demolished in 2018.



Japanese American Cultural Center

Circa 1865, the Japanese-American Cultural Center is one of the oldest continually occupied structures in San Mateo.  Individually eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, the simple Gothic Revival building is free of alterations and retains its original form, detailing and integrity. It continues to be used to serve the Japanese-American community.  It is proposed for demolition and replacement by a mixed-use office building known as Block 20.



615 Hurlingham Ave.

This beautiful Arts and Crafts home, built circa 1910 in San Mateo Park, is proposed for demolition and replacement (PA-2023-052).


Last sold in June 2023, the real estate listing described it as having the "allure of a bygone time perfectly blended with modern luxury, thoughtfully updated to preserve its early heritage while incorporating contemporary amenities."


The existing home retains the integrity of its original design and is a likely contributor to a potential National register eligible historic district.  In spite of its excellent condition and potential historic significance, city planning has approved demolition.

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At Risk

San Mateo Masonic Lodge

San Mateo Masonic Lodge, built circa 1910, has a rich history as a meeting hall for the San Mateo Freemasons.  Built in the Greek Revival style, this monumental building is individually eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Recently listed for sale, the property is zoned for a variety of uses including high density multi-family housing development.


314 West 39th Ave.

This longtime residence of beloved Children's School teacher Carla Marotta, was put up for sale in 2020 following her passing at 100 years of age.


Built in 1910 on a rise with a really nice view, and looking much like a Spanish casitas on a grassy hilltop, this unpretentious Mediterranean Revival home was being marketed as a "development opportunity."  It was demolished in 2023.


At Risk

Downtown Historic District

The new General Plan 2040 allows development that, according to the City's own evaluation, will likely have negative impacts on the Downtown Historic District.  But it doesn't need to be an either-or tradeoff.  By enacting strong preservation policies, the City can protect historic resources and encourage appropriate new infill development while avoiding adverse impacts to the Downtown Historic District.


At Risk

City-wide Historic Resources

Historic resources in every neighborhood will continue to be lost and at risk unless strong and supportive historic resource protections are included as part of the new 2040 General Plan and Zoning Code. The only way the City will know what historic resources we have is by conducting a comprehensive city-wide historic resources survey sooner rather than later.



"So much of our future lies in preserving our past."   

  - Peter Westbrook, Olympic Fencing Champion and Author

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