The Holbrook-Palmer Recreation Park Foundation is a non-profit organization formed in 1968 whose mission is to raise funds for the capital improvement of Holbrook-Palmer Park in Atherton. Their purpose is to fund and sponsor activities to enhance use of the park by Atherton residents, as well as to fund and sponsor other charitable and educational activities to promote awareness of the park. The Foundation is concentrating on increasing its membership to include a wider and more diverse group of residents and friends. They encourage new ideas and more participation from many talented and fun individuals to realize, at the Park, a truly friendly community center in the heart of Atherton.
In 1926, Olive Holbrook Palmer inherited the property, then named Elmwood, and continued to use the residence as a summer home with her husband, Silas Palmer. Upon her death in 1958, Olive Holbrook-Palmer willed the property to the town of Atherton to be used as a recreational park. Her husband had life tenancy and upon his death, it reverted to the Town of Atherton. The Holbrook-Palmer Park Foundation, a non-profit organization, was then established in 1968, to receive donations for developing the 22 acres into a viable and usable park.
The Atherton Dames was the fund-raising arm for the Foundation, and, through their numerous fund-raising efforts and events, had been instrumental in the building of the Jennings Pavilion, the Arts and Crafts Center, and the renovation of the Main House, the restoration of the Carriage House, the new foot-bridge, and on-going landscaping in keeping with the Park's Master Plan. The gates, North Meadow, roads, parking areas, tennis courts and one-mile jogging path were financed from funds raised by private donations through the Foundation. Two years ago, the Atherton Dames voted to change their name to Friends of the Holbrook-Palmer Park.
Today, two historic structures, built by the Holbrooks, still stand at the Park. The 140 year old Water Tower and the 130 year old "Gen Merrill" Carriage House. Both structures have solidly withstood numerous earthquakes, and remain sound and intact, thanks to the efforts of the Foundation/Dames (now Friends) in maintaining and restoring the structures.
Just recently, both historic structures were declared Heritage Sites by the California Historical Society thanks to the efforts of the Friends of the Holbrook-Palmer Park.
Park facilities are available for weddings and events. To book events, call Atherton Town Hall at 650/752-0500. They will direct you to the proper department.
Athertonians are proud of the unique, beautiful public park that is allegedly only one of two in the entire United States that has never received federal or local tax dollars for capital improvements.