Known as the City of Blue Lagoons, Foster City’s lagoons were built to resolve an engineering problem when the city was first being developed. Foster City is located on land originally known as Brewer’s Island, which was originally marshland that had dried out after dikes and levees were constructed near the turn of the 19th Century. It was then primarily as a diary farm for many decades.
In 1958, developer T. Jack Foster purchased the land with the idea of creating a planned community, a popular idea at the time. But there was one major problem; the silty clay mud sat at sea level which wasn’t good. The Army Corps of Engineers estimated it would take 45 million cubic yards of fill to raise the land to bring it up to eight to twelve feet needed to build on. But a local engineering firm came up with a novel solution – raise the land four or five feet and create a central drainage basin to impound the water before it was pumped back into the bay. The concept worked and Foster City now has, as its centerpiece, a 218 acre lagoon that winds its way through the city. The drainage basin still works perfectly even with severe storms battering the area some winters.
Foster City, named for T. Jack Foster, was incorporated in 1971 and is now is home to about 30,000 residents. It’s the home of several major bio-tech corporations and has high-tech companies as well. It was the first planned community in the western United States. There are single family houses, townhouses, condominiums, and apartments running in various areas of the city and many of them sit along side the water with beautiful views.
The city is half way between San Francisco and San Jose making it a great place to live, if one commutes. The San Mateo Bridge is at the eastern part of the city and when the bridge first opened the 12-miles span was the longest bridge in the world. Foster City is is only 20 minutes away from Half Moon Bay making its location central to everything on the Peninsula.
The elementary schools belong to the San Mateo-Foster City Elementary District and with three elementary and one middle school they all test high. There is no high school in the city so students have their choice of two of the San Mateo Union High School schools nearby in San Mateo.
There are parks everywhere in Foster City, and several of them have beaches allowing for water play. Boating on the lagoons is only done with electric power, sail boats or paddle boats. The Bay Trail wanders along the shoreline of the bay and is well used all year long.
Foster City is a great place for families with much to do outdoors. There is a wonderful Library and Recreation Department in the center of the city. A new teen building offers teens activities just for them including a skateboard park. Many of the tennis courts around town have lights enabling night play.
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