Having lived in Redwood City for more than 25 years, I have watched it change from “Deadwood City” to a lively destination that draws outsiders in for an evening’s entertainment. Great restaurants, live theater and movies, and numerous city-sponsored events are icing on top of a cake made of award-winning schools, superb medical facilities, and countless companies (both tech and non-tech) that call Redwood City home.
Over the past several years I have been out and about on foot, exploring Redwood City’s nooks and crannies. I’ve ranged from the Easter Cross to Pete’s Harbor, and from the Middlefield Rd./Woodside Rd. intersection to as far north as Hillsdale Mall. I’ve been up Pulgas Ridge and through Edgewood Park, and have wandered up and down countless residential streets. As I go, I am always watching for the new and unusual, both in buildings and homes as well as in geographic features. This blog is intended as a record of those wanderings, with particular emphasis on the details of the building boom that Redwood City is currently experiencing.
Greg Wilson greg@walkingRedwoodCity.com @walkingRWC (twitter) Mastodon
Great site! Happy to stumble across it 🙂
I thought you might be the right person to ask about the dates and images on the friezes on 601 Marshall St. Do you know their significance?
I do, and indeed I wrote about those friezes (pilasters, actually) back in 2017, in my post Something in Common (https://walkingredwoodcity.com/2017/06/16/something-in-common/). Be sure to read the follow-on comment from Mollie, who provided the correct answer to 1939 (my guess was not correct, as it turns out).
Hello, just discovered this, and would love to be alerted when new stories are published.
Welcome, Karin! Just look for the “Follow” link at the top or bottom of the post (depending on what you are using to read it) to get a notification (email or Twitter) whenever I post to the blog. You also have the option to follow the blog using an RSS reader if you prefer. FYI, I post once a week, on Friday at around 5 p.m.
G’day Greg, since my son moved to Redwood in 2017 I have been a frequent visitor to your beautiful city which I also enjoy exploring on foot. Your well-researched and written blogs have informed me about many things which have piqued my interest and will certainly add significant value to my future rambles. Your blog site is now firmly in my favourites.
I have been impressed with the Redwood community and the way the City Council is engaged with its residents. For an old guy who likes to feel involved in the places he visits, the community activities in summer staged outside the Court House Museum and the high quality of planning and maintenance (love the artwork on the utility boxes) always impress. A community that could have been overwhelmed by the growth of the IT industry seems to have been able to embrace and mould, mostly quite successfully, the opportunity to meet the needs not only of existing residents but newcomers like my son. And I always feel safe and welcome.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has prevented a visit so far this year but I do have many fond memories and photos to remind me of Redwood – breakfasts at Homeskillet on Middlefield and Veterans, Fourth of July parades (pancakes at the Firehouse are a ‘must’), early morning walks around Bair Island and so on. I can’t wait to get back! In the meantime, I will keep reading your enjoyable and informative posts. Kindest regards John Carroll, Darwin, Australia.
Hello Greg, I want’ed to say that I also noticed here in So. San Fran.little Christmas decorating as well, & I have to say we are so bummed out with whats happening to our country at this time, I think it’s really showing. Don’t feel so festive these days, hopefully things will change & we can be joyful again soon, love your columns. Carol
Thanks for all you do for the community. I will be moving to the Selby Lane unincorporated area next month and have so many questions! The comments section is also informative too. The Woodside Plaza is practically 100 ft from my house but I’m not in the same city! Thanks for letting us pick your brain!
Nice! Welcome to (almost) Redwood City!
Hi Greg, just found out that Ohana Express on Woodside is under new ownership and is scheduled to become a BBQ joint. They are just waiting for their liquor license.
Interesting. Thanks for letting me know!
Im working on an public art proposal for Redwood City facing critical environmental concerns. Ive been introduced to a developer and I want to create meaningful art that impacts the community and local schools.
If possible I would like to talk with you and and get advice and feedback.
I’m interested in receiving your emails. I’m new to Redwood City. Thank you.
Yesterday I was walking to work and I thought they were trimming some trees, but when I walked home I saw these trees at Marshall and Main were completely cut down. Any idea why they cut these down? It seems like such a shame, especially in a part of Redwood City that is already quite lacking in trees!
I went by and took a look. I think I can safely say that the tree removal is part of the Kaiser MOB 2 project (see my post “Working for the MOB” at https://walkingredwoodcity.com/2018/02/16/working-for-the-mob/), and is necessary both because of the construction activities that will be taking place, and because the tree roots were pulling up the sidewalk. According to the plans they filed with the city, not only will the sidewalk be replaced as part of this project, but there will be new trees: a lot more than they removed, in fact. There will also be new trees along Maple and along Marshall Court and, when Kaiser gets to Phase II of this project, a veritable forest of trees between the new MOB 2 building and Veterans Boulevard. Construction of the MOB 2 building will take a while, though, so don’t expect to see new trees for perhaps two years. In the mean time, you can watch the demolition that is taking place right now and the construction that will follow.
Thanks for pointing this out; I’m not sure when I would have gotten over that way next…
Thanks! Really glad to hear there will be many more trees there eventually.
Hello, Can you please tell me if a Chick-Fil-A us coming to RWC in August? I really enjoy your blog
I’m traveling at the moment, but will see what I can find out. However, unless you are connected to reader Sarah, who asked me something along these very same lines just the other day, I’d say that the fact that two of you independently discovered evidence of a Chick-Fil-A coming to Redwood City is more than just a coincidence and is strong evidence that we are indeed getting one. Where did you hear about it?
Thanks to the Daily Journal, we no longer have to wonder: https://www.smdailyjournal.com/lifestyle/food/chick-fil-a-coming-to-redwood-city/article_fd8de7bc-8401-11e9-a5ef-7b2d4028e72a.html
As I walked the periphery of the Pacific Shores complex yesterday, I was surprised and delighted to see the Bay Trail extended into Westpoint Harbor:
Love your Redwood City visual diary. Well written and informative with a conscious. Thank you! Wish you could have these posted to the local schools to give the upcoming citizens a sense of place, community and pride.
Kathy Wright, resident since 1983.
Thanks for the kind words.
I own Roosevelt Plaza Shopping Center and tried to search archives for any info. Besides the fire some 30 years ago, cannot find anything. If you ever want to walk around that area, I would love to read what you have to say.
I’ve only mentioned Roosevelt Plaza twice, and both times it was in passing (once was because I was lamenting the loss of Redwood City Hardware, and once because I was writing about “Help Wanted” signs and there were a couple in businesses in Roosevelt Plaza. But I haven’t written anything about the center itself. But perhaps I should…
I have a question. There is a former Taco Bell at the corner of El Camino and James, it is now El Grullense. Do you have any info as to the history of this building? Anything at all about its age? Thank you, Maria
I don’t. I’d have to go into the County Center to find out how old that former Taco Bell is. You have me curious, though – why do you ask?
I just bought this building and would like to make a nice sit down restaurant. I do not see much beauty in the existing facade, but if it is historical, it must be preserved. Now, previous owner told me it was built in the 60’s. Cannot find anuly other info. I am curious, why do you say County Center? It is Redwood City…
> I just bought this building and would like to make a nice sit down restaurant.
> I do not see much beauty in the existing facade, but if it is historical, it must be preserved.
I can’t imagine that it is historical to the degree that the city or the county would care; Taco Bell used a cookie-cutter design for those buildings. They’re everywhere (and most are no longer Taco Bells, of course; as the company has grown so has their need for ever larger buildings).
> Cannot find anuly other info. I am curious, why do you say County Center? It is Redwood City…
Yes, it is in Redwood City, but it is also in San Mateo County (since the entire city is). The city’s HRAC (Historical Resources Advisory Committee) is the one to ask about historical status, but if you simply want to know when the building was built, the county has that info. I believe you can walk into 555 County Center and just ask about that.
Dear Mr. Wilson,
Thank you so much for your “walking” writeups. I love your approach! I grew up in San Carlos and moved to Redwood City in 1971. I’ve seen a lot of change, but I’m moved by the chronicling of landscape change. It helps me reflect the past in the past’s context, and then see how today’s Redwood City is unfolding. I especially like your recent comments and excursions: 1/ your writeup about The Canyon area/Cordilleras area. I live near Upper Emerald Lake, so I would love to see you walk through my area and then write about it; 2/ I loved your writeup about the Bayfront. I enjoy towns/cities that are adjacent to water areas. I would like to see Redwood City integrate walking and park spaces so that we could all enjoy the Bay, Redwood Creek, etc. When I was a little girl, my brothers and I used to catch polliwogs down at Cordilleras Creek on the border of Redwood City and San Carlos. Once mosquito abatement set in the creeks were closed off, then roads hid them, etc. I’ve always wished for the idea of letting Redwood Creek be part of the beauty of Redwood City once again. I look at the Creek behind the shopping center where. Kohls is – what a chance to do something to enjoy and beautify that area! This brings me to you comments in the ‘Daily News” about letting Redwood Creek see the light of day in a park setting on the Main Street Parking Lot property! Now that would be a gem! I would love to see the public advocate for that idea!
Again, Thank you! Linda Chiochios
Congratulations on being recognized for Overall Excellence and winning a Greater Bay Area Journalism Award, Greg!
Greg — I am a 50 year member of Dennis Nelson — now Crunch — what is the lastest news regarding Tesla moving in an taking over the location? I want the gym to stay . All these rumors from members — management isn’t telling us what is going to happen?
There has been no visible movement on this project since it first appeared in the city’s projects list (http://www.redwoodcity.org/city-hall/current-projects/development-projects?id=87). It is currently marked as “Application incomplete” which means that whomever is actually responsible for the building remodel is still in the process of coming up with a plan that is acceptable to the city. When the application is complete it will then go before the appropriate body (probably the Zoning Administrator) for approval. THEN, the working plans will be drawn up, the relevant permits will be obtained, and, finally, work will begin. But all of this takes time, and until the project is approved (assuming it is) I expect that you will not hear anything from Crunch (“management” may not even know anything, given how up-in-the-air the project is at the moment). But if and when it is approved the clock will start ticking and you will likely be told when Crunch expects to close or move. I have been keeping an eye on this project and if its status changes I will certainly write about it. You can also monitor it at the link I provided earlier.
For what it’s worth, ownership of the property hasn’t changed hands. I don’t know if Tesla has a handshake agreement to buy the property once the project is approved, or whether they will simply lease it from the current owners. Thus, the fact that the property ownership hasn’t changed doesn’t mean much.
So, in sum, there isn’t much to tell, and you aren’t likely to hear anything definite from anyone at Crunch for a while. There is a chance that Tesla will change their mind and withdraw the project proposal, but I wouldn’t bet on that.
Love your blog. I am a religious weekly reader. Could you share the link to the parking meeting video? Thanks again for walking around and blogging about Redwood City!
@Phil, all council meeting agendas, minutes and videos are posted on their MEETINGS, AGENDAS, AND MINUTES web page. The Sept 12 meeting’s neighborhood parking issues study session was agenda item 9A.
As you’ll see, the meeting video is link is HERE (may not play unless you’re on a computer … skip to item 9A).
The staff report is linked here:
Item 9A: Study Session on Options for Addressing Neighborhood Parking Issues
I assume that Adrian’s response had what you needed, but let me know if not. Thanks for reading!
Not sure if you are aware, but Ampex Data Systems Corporation has now moved its facility to Hayward, California after more than a half century in Redwood City to make way for Stanford’s major redevelopment project on Broadway. The AMPEX sign still remains as a memory, but nobody knows for how long.
I hadn’t heard that. Thanks so much for letting me know! My understanding is that the fate of the sign is in Stanford’s hands.
I’ve lived in Emerald Hills since 1982, and have certainly seen and felt the changes over the years. Now one big change involves me personally: I’m a Stanford University librarian transferred to 425 Broadway back in December, 2013, and we’re being moved across the street to 500 Broadway later this year, to make way for demo and construction on the Mid-Point site. Here’s a link you might be interested in: https://redwoodcity.stanford.edu/. I take a health walk everyday around the site (Bay, Charter, Broadway, 5th Ave back to Bay), and it’s interesting to see the subtle (and not so subtle changes) taking place.
Keep up the good work!
What a great blog. I’ve been in and around rwc since the early 80s so I appreciate your perspective. Very interesting.
Thank you very much!
So glad to have found your blog…..
So informative and interesting…
Thank you! Thanks for reading!
I stumbled on your blog a while back and have been subscribed ever since. I like getting all the updates from you about RWC that I don’t seem to find anywhere else.
Since you walk around RWC so much, I was wondering if you have any ideas for spots that might make a good community garden.
Thanks so much.
That’s a good question but not one that has many good answers, I suspect. As I’m sure you know there just isn’t much in the way of empty land in Redwood City (or in any of the surrounding communities, for that matter. I’m assuming our only hope for a community garden would have to be in one of the parks–Stulsaft Park is probably the only one with enough land to be able to dedicate to a garden. And it isn’t that convenient to a large part of the city. I’ll check with the Parks and Recs folks and see if something like that would even be possible. And I’ll also check the list of land that the City owns–although I’m not holding my breath on that. Private land is so expensive that we’d need a wealthy benefactor to go in that direction…
Thank you for stopping by our place, Kemuri Japanese Baru and posted the other day. I was told that there was a blog spot mentioning our place and wanted to let you know that we are already open and come back again anytime and check it around.
Thanks for your comment! I didn’t realize that you were already open. I will definitely be by to check Kemuri out! Oh–welcome to Redwood City!
How about walk down the creek through Docktown and the Inner Harbor? I’ll be happy to hook up with you and provide some context. And a boat ride.
Hey, Lee – did you get my reply to your email? I sent it last Sunday, but haven’t heard anything. In the event that it got put into your Junk folder or something, indeed I’d love to get together and see the Inner Harbor area through your eyes. Let me know (via email) what your general availability is, and hopefully we can find a time where we are both free.
Thanks for the follow up. Yes, I did but got sidetracked. I apologise for not responding. I have a meeting the morning of Feb 4 but think I am pretty flexible the rest of the week. Or the following week. Any days or times better for you? Lee
Mon-Wed are pretty clear. Thursday the 5th I have something in the early evening, but I’m OK otherwise. Friday I’m good after about 12:00. Next week, I’m clear Mon-Wed, busy Thu-Fri (and through the Valentine’s Day weekend).
Why don’t we shoot for Wed Feb 4 about 1 pm, which looks favorable for tides and sunshine. If you are actually walking down here we can pick a spot, maybe by the “bridge to nowhere”? Or if you drive to Docktown you can call me when you get here at xxx.xxx.xxxx. Lee
Works for me. I’ll be walking, so let’s meet by the bridge.
This is a wonderful blog about your city, and I hope you will be willing to help a desperate girl from Louisiana. I am trying to find contact info for the NEW Sodoi Coffee where Bob from Main Street Coffee Roasting has moved. The email Mona provided before they closed is not working, and I can’t find a website or facebook page. If you can provide any help, I would greatly appreciate it! I NEED MY COFFEE BEANS!!! haha
All I know is what was in that letter taped to Main Street Coffee Roasting Company’s door. If the email address at the bottom of that letter doesn’t work, I’m not sure what to tell you… Internet searches don’t seem to bring up anything of use. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. Here’s hoping you find a new roaster…
Thanks much for the reply. I think I have found a new roaster since none of the information I can find leads me to Bob from MainStreet – he evidently did not go into the new venture as planned. I appreciate your help, and have enjoyed reading about your city while searching!
Hi, I’ve linked to this blog post in an article about the city seeking input into community benefits to support the new downtown. Is it ok if I use the first photo with credit? If not I’ll come by and take another one.
Absolutely! Glad you found me.