The town of Hillsborough, formed in 1910, and named by William Davis Merry Howard because he originally came from Hillsboro New Hampshire. The town sits on land that was part of Rancho San Mateo, Howard’s vast property purchased from the Mexican Governor, Pio Pico in 1846. The Rancho was so large that after Howard’s death, the land was parceled into plots large enough to serve as estates for wealthy San Francisco businessmen who wanted to live “in the country” and commute to the city. Members of the Burlingame Country Club decided that the Village of Burlingame and San Mateo were becoming too commercial and they didn’t want to pay for the necessary infrastructure needed for growing towns so they formed the town of Hillsborough.
Four of the original mansions still stand today. Harriet Pullman Carolan, the heiress to the Pullman Railway Car fortune, built Carolands and it as one of the largest private residences in the United States today. It’s often opened for fundraising events. William Randolph Hearst built the “Western White House” within the town. It’s a mansion of similar structure to his Heart Castle, and is currently privately owned.
William Crocker, grandson of Charles Crocker, built Skyfarm in 1930. Today it houses Nueva Day School. Crystal Springs Uplands School, originally the Uplands mansion, was a gift of Templeton Crocker to his fiancée Helene Irwine , heiress to the C&H Sugar fortune in 1912.
Today, Hillsborough is still renowned for its wealth and diversity. It’s currently number 25 in Forbes most expensive zip codes ranking. The trees and wooded hillsides add to the towns beauty. The three elementary schools and one intermediate school score among the highest scoring in the state. The town sits just above El Camino Real and below Highway 280. Most homes are in the hills and many have beautiful views of the bay, San Francisco and the canyons.
Hillsborough has no downtown, no industry, and only one park. When the town incorporated in 1910, they passed zoning laws forbidding any business and practically none exist there even today. There is one golf course west of Highway 280 abutting the Crystal Springs Reservoir, a racquet club and the two private schools. Residents are orientated to Burlingame or San Mateo for most of their shopping and recreational activities. Hillsborough is truly the bedroom community of the Peninsula. Close the the bio-tech capital of the world, South San Francisco, major financial corporations in San Francisco and Silicon Valley residents tend to commute to their offices or travel for business through SFO.