Explore the Evolution of Downtown Los Altos at Museum Program

LOS ALTOS, CA (May 28, 2024) Los Altos History Museum announces an evening of history and community with a “Neighborhood Block Party: The Downtown Triangle,” taking place on Thursday, June 20, from 5:30 – 7:00 pm. This event celebrates the heritage and vibrant community of downtown Los Altos.

In 1888, Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune, purchased the land that would become the downtown triangle and Old Los Altos. In 1904, she and her sister Isabelle Merriman opposed a new railroad through their property, removing survey stakes at night. A year later, Sarah agreed to sell the land to the Southern Pacific Railroad only if it bought the entire ranch, ensuring its integrity. This sale led to the creation of town lots on the northeast side and Old Los Altos on the southwest side of the railroad, facilitated by Paul Shoup and the Los Altos Land Company.

The six-block downtown triangle, bordered by Foothill Expressway, Edith Avenue, and the southern portion of San Antonio Road, now hosts over 150 businesses. These range from grocery stores and art galleries to a skateboard shop, salons, restaurants, boutiques, and more.

“We chose this area for a block party to highlight the variety of businesses past and present,” said Sophia Abarca, the Museum’s Curator of Collections. “We also chose the downtown triangle because it was, and still is, the local gathering space for people to get groceries, meet over coffee, enjoy a sweet treat at a bakery, and go window shopping.”

Photos from the Museum’s Collection of the downtown area will be displayed on the video walls of the Permanent Exhibition during the event. “Attendees will be able to view images of businesses from the 1940s and onward, including Mac’s Tea Room, Kahn’s Corner Pharmacy, and Eschenbruecher’s Hardware. We’ll also have photos of the old train station and Foothill Expressway back when it was train tracks,” Abarca added.

Guests are encouraged to share their own memories and hear stories about the triangle’s history. There will also be opportunities to meet local business owners.

Refreshments will be served. Admission is $15 per person and free for Museum members. Registration is required at losaltoshistory.org/downtowntriangle.

Los Altos History Museum began in 1977 with the opening of the historic J. Gilbert Smith House, built in 1905 on 14+ acres of apricot orchards planted by Mr. Smith. In 2001, Los Altos History Museum opened the modern building next door, which houses the Museum’s collections, permanent and changing exhibits, store and administrative offices. The Museum and its grounds are available for rent during evenings and weekends. Its collections are owned by the City of Los Altos and are managed by an independent nonprofit organization, whose staff and volunteers are responsible for all programs and operations.

The Museum is open Thursday through Sunday, from noon-4pm. Admission is free. Tours of the J. Gilbert Smith House are available during open hours. The outdoor agricultural exhibit, gardens and picnic area are accessible beyond Museum hours. For more information, visit: losaltoshistory.org, email hello@losaltoshistory.org, or phone 650.948.9427 x14.

Media Contact: Marketing@losaltoshistory.org
Los Altos History Museum: Diane Holcomb, 650.948.9427 x14, dholcomb@losaltoshistory.org

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