Palo Alto's history is not a story about buildings or streetcars. It's about people. It's the story of a host of individuals who have contributed to the evolution of a city that, after 100 years, is widely respected for its sense of community.
This is also a story about children. Beginning with the construction of Palo Alto's first schoolhouse--a two-room shack built quickly on Bryant Street in 1893--the city has maintained a keen interest in its youth and their future. This continued over the years with the creation of Palo Alto's playgrounds, libraries, and such community institutions as the Children's Theatre, the Junior Museum and, of course, the May Fete celebration, with its humble beginnings as a pet parade in 1921.
The tree is California Historical Landmark No. 2. It is recognized by the National Arborist Association and International Society of Arboriculture for its historical significance as "a campsite for the Portola Expedition Party of 1769"; being frequented by the Costanoan/Ohlone Indians; and for its use as a sighting tree by surveyors plotting out El Camino Real. The tree is depicted on the city of Palo Alto's official seal and on the seal of Stanford University. It is presumably the origin of the city's name. (more...)