The city is named for Darius Ogden Mills, a rich financier who founded the Bank of California and bought land from the Sanchez family to build his country estate. The Scott’s refer to a “brea” as rolling hills, and Mills turned into Millbrae at some time in the late 1800’s. The Mills estate went from Skyline Boulevard down to Bayshore Highway, now 101 and 280, east and west and from Millbrae Avenue south to Trousdale Drive There were multiple lakes at one time, with the largest where the football field for Mills High School now sits. The mansion burned down in the early 1950’s.
Mills also owned the land where Mills Field stood, the first airport. It had been a dairy farm and was converted to an airport. San Francisco International Airport still sits on part of the original land.
The city has about 30,000 residents today. Some of the areas of the city were developed after WWI, and in 1927 the Highlands, homes built for the upper market above the downtown area between Chadbourne Avenue and Taylor Boulevard, Magnolia Avenue and Ashton, was developed. The area is known today for its beautiful tree lined streets and Spanish style homes.
After WWII, the town began to grow and more houses were built in the northern part of the city. The
Mills Estate was developed in the mid-1950’s through 1970’s for the upper market.
The downtown is a bustling street with many restaurants and shops. Millbrae’s schools are considered
excellent. Mills High School is a top ranking school. Weather is moderate, and the hills do a good job of keeping the fog away from the main part of town.