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S E C T I O N 2 Community S TO R I E S A B O U T P E O P L E A N D E V E N T S I N T H E C O M M U N I T Y A metal and stone horse sculpture, created by Bryon Tedrick and donated to the town by Susan Blake, was fittingly sited last year near the front of the Carriage House. Below, the space where carriages were housed. The stairwell on the left was added in recent times, and under the Dames’ plan will be removed. A new stairwell will be built near the building’s entrance. An appeal for preservation Atherton Dames launch fundraising effort to restore Carriage House to its former grandeur Story by Renee Batti Photos by Brandon Chew t’s Atherton’s only public park, and is often referred to as the town’s crown jewel. Well-tended gardens, tree-lined walking paths, playing fields and tennis courts lure an estimated 100 to 300 daily visitors to the 22-acre Holbrook-Palmer Park for gatherings, solitary reflection, community events and recreation. The tidiness of the grounds and the buildings — the result of continual efforts by the town and volunteer groups I — is undoubtedly part of HolbrookPalmer Park’s appeal to visitors, some of whom may be surprised to learn of the land’s history as a working farm. Bequeathed to the town in 1950 by Olive Holbrook Palmer, the land had been purchased by Olive’s parents, Charles and Sue Holbrook, as a summer estate in 1881, according to “Under the Oaks,” by Pamela Gullard and Nancy Lund. But of the buildings now located there, only two stood in the days that the Holbrooks and their four children traveled by carriage each spring from their San Francisco home to the estate they named Elmwood, in what is now called Atherton. Those buildings are the Water Tower, which is about 132 years old and whose exterior has been restored; and the Carriage House, built to replace a barn that was destroyed in an 1896 fire, according to the town. Now, the fundraising arm of the nonprofit Holbrook-Palmer Park Foundation — the Atherton Dames — has embarked on a ambitious plan to raise $2.5 million to restore and renovate the Carriage House, which over the years has become “run down and neglected,” according to the Dames. “While the Carriage House still retains its structural and historical bearings, it has lost most of its grandeur and stateliness,” the Dames assert in a written statement detailing their plans. The group has enlisted the help of Woodside architect Adolf Rosekrans, owner of the 120-acre Runnymede Farm and sculpture garden in Woodside. The architect, who helped in the restoration of the historic Folger Stable in Woodside and is a planning commissioner in that town, has drawn up plans to restore and renovate both floors of the Carriage House, which the town rents out for meetings, classes, dances and other events. “Mr. Rosekrans has a commitment to preserving historical buildings and the Dames are pleased that he is committed to the Carriage House Project,” the Dames said. Through the years, the building has undergone repairs and alterations that have diminished its historical authenticity as a structure that once housed the family’s carriages, stabled their horses and, upstairs, provided housing for farm- hands and served as storage for tons of baled hay grown on the farm. During a recent walk-through of the premises, Dames co-president Frauke Janseen said, “Mr. Rosekrans is trying to restore and preserve everything ... and make the entire building really beautiful.” Unexpected hitch In April, Atherton Dames co-president Susan Masetti officially presented the group’s plans to the City Council, asking for the council’s support and a commitment of a financial contribution from the town to make grant requests and other fundraising efforts more effective. Although council members Bill Widmer and Rick DeGolia had already endorsed the plan as individuals and at that meeting advocated that the council get behind it, Mayor Cary Wiest and Councilwoman Elizabeth Lewis resisted. Mr. Wiest said he wanted more information on the condition of the building and other factors that could affect construction costs. Continued on next page June 25, 2014 NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN25

Almanac June 25, 2014 section2

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