The Los Altos Hills
Digital History Archives

Introduction (To skip this Introduction and go directly to the Index of Books click ♦here♦ )

The "Scrapbooks"

Over the years, the Town of Los Altos Hills has accumulated around 30 scrapbooks filled with newspaper clippings and sundry other documents dating back to immediately prior to the incorporation of the town. The scrapbooks are unfortunately not complete over time, but are the result of sporadic efforst by different people with some periods more richly represented than others.

The physical scrapbooks are not in good shape and are deteriorating rapidly. The newsprint (that represents the bulk of the material) has yellowed and become brittle over time, and the print quality has faded somewhat. The liberal use of "Scotch Tape" to mount the clippings on the pages of the scrapbooks has made matters worse - the sticky backing on the tape has darkened the paper where it was applied and the tape itself has also deteriorated and become brittle.

Besides the ravages of time, the scrapbooks themselves present a number of problems for digital archiving. On some pages, the cippings have been overlapped to save space on the page (taped in such a way that so that a reader of the original book could lift one clipping on a tape hinge to reveal the one below) or large clippings were just folded back on themselves to fit within the body of the closed book. With some inventiveness and care these problems have been overcome to a large extent.

More problematic however is that a number of books are of the type where the pages of the book are held together with two screws so that the original creator of the book could take an arbitrary number of loose pages and bolt them together into an album - rendering the inch or so closest to the spine of the book inaccessible to the subsequent reader, but where the clippings were originaly taped close to the edge of the page. These are not now accessible - short of dismantling the whole book and processing the pages individualy separated from the rest of the body of the book. We may opt to do this at some future point - but for right now the priority is to capture the pages digitally with minimum disturbance so that at least the bulk is preserved without undue risk of harm or loss of the original materials. Most of the time, only one edge of the clipping cannot be read, but the bulk of the text can be seen - usualy enough so that the reader can get the gist of the article.

Subsequent "Books" and "Collections"

Once we had created digital versions of the first few "scrapbooks", it became apparent that there were a number of other sets of materials which also needed to be preserved and made accessible. These ranged from early Photo Albums created by residents, as well as various booklets created to recognize special events or binders and files of historically significant documents, and even some 35 mm slides captured by a member of Town Staff in the course of his duties.

While not really "scrapbooks" in the srictest sense of the term, these other "Books" and "Collections" have been created along similar lines and added in such a way as to fit into the overall structure of the Digital Archives.

How to use the system

Each scrapbook exists as a separate set of linked web-pages, and a link to each of these discrete scrapbooks is provided below. Clicking on one of the links with take you to one scrapbook. Each scrapbook then consists of an "index" page containing a series of links to each "page" in that book - each link on this index page having some associated text reflecting the subject matter of the clippings on that page. Frequently this is just words taken from the headlines of each clipping, sometimes a paraphrase of the subject matter and/or some keywords (such as street names or names of people) to make it easy for the reader to decide whether they want to follow that particular link to access the image of the actual page.

Library Structure

Selecting a page to view
Once you have chosen a book and clicked on its link, you will arrive on the index page associated with that book. Here you will see a column of links on the left-hand edge of the page, each followed by a block of descriptive text designed to give you a feel for the subject matter covered on the page referenced by that link. By reading through these text blocks you can choose which actual "book page" you want to look at and click on its associated link to arrive at that page.

Search by keyword
Alternatively, you can do a rudimentary form of keyword search over all the text blocks on this index page by using the built-in "Find" capability of your browser. By typing Ctrl-F you will cause a small search box to appear on your screen which enables you to search for a given word or character-string within the page that is currently displayed on your screen. This "Find" capability can only be applied on the index page itself - it will not work on the text within the clippings on the pages of the scrapbook itself as the latter "text" is in fact only a photographic image of text, and not actual text that has been typed into a computer and therefore searchable by the built-in capabilities of your browser.

Zooming into a page to read the small text
When an image from the scrapbook first appears on the screen, it will be adjusted in size so that it fits completely on your screen. This means that you can probably read the headlines over the individual articles and clippings, but the body of the text will be too small to read. Depending on which browser you are using, you will now be able to click on the image or use the "wheel" on your mouse to expand the image to where the text can be read comfortably - the whole page will no longer fit on the screen and you will have to scroll up and down or sideways to navigate over the page.

Links to the individual Scrapbooks and Collections

Book 1 1/1955 - 6/1957
This book includes the year 1956, the year marked by the birth pangs leading to incorporation of the town. Major topics are the fight for incorporation and the role of Neary Quarry opponents.
Book 2 1961 - 1969
The book spans eight years 1961 to 1969. Major topics topics include Sewer District Issues, failed attempt to recall Mary Davey, Byrne Preserve acquisition, pivotal role played by Central Drive, soil instability in the Hills, and acquisition of Little League Fields.
Book 3 9/1972 - 6/1973
This book covers a turbulent period when our zoning came under attack from La Raza Unida, the Citizens United for a Rural Environment (C.U.R.E) organization became active, Council Member Mary Davey faced another recall election and City Manager Fritschle was fired.
Book 4 5/1969 - 12/1970
The biggest issues in this book include Adobe Creek Lodge with Dave Bellucci and La Raza Unida, the Central Drive wars, Mary Davey controversies, and consternation over potential development of Coyote Hill by Palo Alto with associated impact on Arastradero Road.
Book 5 1/1957 - 12/1960
Covering the town's second year of existence, major topics include ongoing battle with Neary Quarry about heavy trucks, a movement to disincorporate the town, formation of Los Altos Hills Association, argument about and selection of/between three major North/South traffic routes through local cities (eventualy to become Foothill Boulevard and Hiway 280), Duveneck property (Hidden Villa) is greenbelted, LAH Fire District formed by separating from County Fire District, annexation disputes with both Palo Alto and Los Altos.
Book 6 1971 - 1972
This book covers the 15th anniversary of the town. Ongoing subjects include lawsuits about sewer assessments and the Adobe Creek Lodge permit. Zoning is under attack by a lawsuit from La Raza Unida, and the town is going to go forward with the Matadero Creek subdivision. After much debate, LAH is in favor of the formation of the Mid-Peninsula Open Space District.
Book 7 6/1973 - 8/1974
Councilmembers Davey and Kubby targets for recall, the saga of El Retiro and Adobe Creek Lodge annexation and use permits continues, Uncashed checks at Town Hall lead to major problem, Elections - intereviews with all the candidates, CURE sponsored candidates triumph in election, Town Hall to be remodelled, Palo Alto School District sells 10 acres in LAH, Formation of Mid-Pen Regional Space District ongoing topic.
Book 8 12/1971 - 2/1988
This book is fairly short and appears to be a work-in-progress that was never "finished" because it contains a number of loose clippings that were never mounted on pages, also the clippings cover a wide span of nearly two decades. Rather than a particular time-span, it looks as if the book was intended to feature well-known or notable local personalities, primarily the Duvenecks of Hidden Villa although articles on some other notables are included.
Collection - Town Newsletters 1967 - 2003
A collection of Town Newsletters - collection still in process of being built, as more old newsletters are acquired, re-formatted digitally, and keyword indexed.
Folder - Pathways 1957 - 2002
A folder containing a number of loose newspaper clippings mainly focused on the pathways and trails of Los Altos Hills.
Rex Gardiner Collection 1955
A collection of original documents prepared and assembled by Rex Gardiner in 1955, in preparation for, and support of, the idea of incorporating a town to be called Los Altos Hills.
Photo Album - History of Los Altos Hills 1900 - 1975
Images of pages copied from a photo album. Subsequent research has identified the original album from which these pages were copied, it is part of the Florence Fava Collection, now archived at the Los Altos History Museum.

There are references within the text to "current residence of" and similar - from the context of other captions this would appear to refer to 1973 or thereabouts - one caption mentions the Bicentennial celebrations of 1975 which is the latest date referred to in the album thus giving some idea about when it was compiled, although clearly a lot of the photos are much older.

Photo Album - Penfold Collection of Slides 1970's
Some images scanned from a collection of 35mm slides taken by Gordon Penfold who was the Town's Public Safety Officer for about seven years during the 1970's.

Images include Byrne Preserve covered in a layer of snow, a few aerial images of spots within the town, the Fire Stations serving Los Altos Hills and surrounding environs, and further miscellaneous shots.

Photo Album - Bicentennial Commemorative Postcards 1976
On the occasion of the United States Bicentennial, a set of eight postcards showing historic scenes from Los Altos Hills was created.

This set was reproduced and made available for sale to the public. Also included in this album are images of a commemorative tie-tack and lapel button created for the same occasion.

Early History of Police Protection in Los Altos Hills 1956 - 1972
This volume is in a different format - it consists of a total about 100 images of newspaper clippings (spread over three pages) about the way Police Protection was handled in the early years after incorporation of the town. These clippings were collected from a number of different scrapbooks and assembled here as a subject-specific collection.

As such, the images presented here are redundant in that they also exist (but scattered widely) in other parts of the digital library.

15th Anniversary Booklet 1971
"Formation of th Town of Los Altos Hills" - A booklet created by Florence Fava on the occasion of the Town's 15th Anniversary. A copy of the original typescript pages were captured photographically and preserved in a long-forgotten PDF file. Unfortunately, the combination of the font used by the original typewriter, and the loss of sharpness caused by the "duplicating" rendered the original PDF hard to read on a computer screen.

So the orignal text was re-typed directly into a computer to create an approximate facsimile of the text, this was combined with the photographs and illustrations which were lifted from the original pdf files to create a new more readable edition of the original typescript.

Commemorative Plaques Various
This is an inventory of the various commemorative plaques located in town or could once be seen in Los Altos Hills
Historical Sites Booklet Unknown
This is a xeroxed copy of a document which appears to be a draft of a booklet intended to describe the designated "Historical Sites" within Los Altos Hills
Ginzton Archives 1948 - 2000
A collection of newspaper clipping covering Ed and Artemas Ginzton (residents of Los Altos Hills) as well as two comemmorative booklets summarizing the history of Varian Associates at different points in its growth.

Ed was a founding employee of Varian Associates and rose to become its CEO. Artemas was a motive force in the establishment of pathways through the Town as well as at the County and State level..

Fremont Hills Country Club - In the beginning 1956-1957
Soon after the Town was founded, the Planning Commission realised that active encouragement by the private sector would be needed to provide the new town with recreational amenities - so they made known to subdividers of property that land should be set aside for this purpose.

Accordingly the five partners in the organization that was developing the Fremont Hills property, formed a non-profit and became its five-member Board of Directors. From this grew the Fremont Hills Country Club.

Some years later (date not determined) a 12-page book was published for the club's membership in which a few of the early documents that surrounded the formation of the club were reproduced. That document was scanned and is shown here.

Early Aerial Images from before the town existed. Approx 1947
Six aerial images are presented which show the Los Altos Hills landscape before the town's incorporation. Each image is annotated with a few colored dots to orient the viewer to the geographic area shown in each image.
Los Altos Hills Aerial Survey Approx 2001
The exact date is unknown, but believed to be around 2001, an aerial survey was performed covering the Town of Los Altos Hills. The original black-and-white images were in a computer file format that could not be read by widely available consumer software at that time, so they were converted to "JPEG" format and made available on a CD together with a web-page formatted as an index into the collection of images, thus making the imagery accessible to people who had a home computer equiped with an HTML "browser" on their computer. There were two such browsers in common use at that time, one called "Netscape" and another called "Explorer". The contents of this CD are reproduced here.
The Evolution of Los Altos Hills Town Hall 1956 - 2020
A Picture Album of photographs (and a few newspaper clippings) spread across three web "pages" - the Original Town Hall (1956-2004), The "New" Town Hall (Built 2005), and The Heritage Park (The Orchard area with the Heritage House and collection of Old Farm Equipment)
Grab Bag Various
A number of miscellaneous images and text files with historic value that are worth archiving, but for which we do not have a physical "hard copy" counterpart.. They have been collected here in this "Grab Bag" to assure there is a copy in the archives - rather than loose track of them.
Book n.....n+1
Further books, folders, collections, etc. will appear here as digital versions get created.


This "Digital History Archives" project is an ongoing effort performed by volunteers. If you think you would like to find out more and maybe get involved yourself, please contact us through the History Committee. (Details about the History Committee may be found on the Town's Website).

Potential volunteers who might want to help with this project, but who want to first find out more about what is involved and the "how" of creating a digital scrappbook, may click ♦here♦