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Trails, roads and street names
June 24, 2013, 05:00 AM By Darold Fredricks

Photo courtesy of the San Mateo County History Museum Mission Road (Colma) looking north in 1915 from the South Pacific Railroad overpass.

Howard Avenue, Burlingame: In 1846, the last Mexican governor of Alta, California — Pio Pico — granted the land of San Mateo Rancho to his clerk, Cayetano Arenas, because (even then), California was cash-strapped and the only way they could pay Arenas what he was owed was to give him a land grant. Arenas, in turn, sold the land for $25,000 (or about $4 an acre) to merchants W.D.M. Howard and Henry Mellus, who had become wealthy selling supplies to Gold Rushers. Howard then bought Mellus’ share of the land and created one of the first great estates on the Peninsula. He found it necessary to evict the last remaining Indians from the Rancho. On Sept. 18, 1855, the claim for Rancho San Mateo was confirmed.

Ludeman Lane in Millbrae was named for the first flower growers to live and grow flowers/vegetables on the land in this area. Johann and his wife moved to the Millbrae area in 1880 and bought 72 acres from the Maria Sanchez (related to Jose Antonio Sanchez, grantee of Rancho Buri Buri) on what is now the Green Hills Country Club. The children walked to Chadbourne Avenue and El Camino Real to the first one-room schoolhouse in the area. This land was sold in 1915 and the family moved to San Mateo. The Green Hills Country Club was later formed from the Union Golf Club that was developed in the 1920s.

Lux Avenue, South San Francisco: Charles Lux, a tall, distinguished-looking gentleman of Germanic origin, was born in Alsace, France, in 1823, and immigrated to the United States at the age of 16. He worked as a butcher’s helper for $6 per month on the East Coast before succumbing to the lure of a better life in San Francisco in 1849. Hungry for success, a year after his arrival he went into business for himself buying and selling wholesale meat and operating a butcher shop on Kearny Street near Sacramento Street. Charles Lux offered Miller a partnership to purchase and sell cattle and meat for the San Francisco market. Lux had just purchased 1,500 acres of land south of San Bruno Mountain (in South San Francisco) to be used to fatten his cattle up after the long drive from ranches to the south. Lux felt that Miller’s expertise at purchasing cattle would be a good match for Lux’s skill in the marketing and butchering part of the business. The two struck a deal that was to make them both rich.

Mills Avenue, San Bruno: Born in New York state, Darius Ogden Mills recognized opportunity when he saw it, and he saw it in the California Gold Rush. In 1849, all of the newspapers on the East Coast were shouting about the Gold Rush in California and he wanted to be a part of it.

Mills first purchased most of José de la Cruz’s original inheritance of the Rancho Buri Buri. Later, he and his brother-in-law Ansel Ives Easton acquired almost all the land north of the present day Millwood Drive (by Capuchino High School) in Millbrae to Sneath Lane in San Bruno, west from El Camino Real to Skyline Boulevard. He also obtained much of the marshland east of El Camino Real, including the land on which San Francisco International Airport (originally Mills’ Field) presently stands. Mills’ acreage did not lie fallow; he and San Bruno partner Alfred Green developed a dairy on part of this land, across from the present Mills-Peninsula Medical Center. Green built his home in the area and ran the dairy operation for Mills.

Following his move to Millbrae, Mills continued his financial career. He was president of the Bank of California until 1867, returning in 1878 following his successor’s nearly disastrous tenure. In 1868, Mills became a regent and treasurer of the University of California, positions he maintained until 1880. He moved back to New York in 1890, but returned to his “Happy House” in Millbrae in the winter. He died in residence in Millbrae Jan. 3, 1910.

Rediscovering the Peninsula by Darold Fredricks appears in the Monday edition of the Daily Journal.




Tags: mills, california, millbrae, rancho, francisco, avenue,

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