Romanticized or forgotten, many cities lack direct ties to the story of their creation. Either lost to history or drowned out in modern discourse, few can relish in the first-hand accounts of founding. But in Los Altos Hills, one of the original founders can still tell his tale.
In its earliest days, Los Alto Hills didn’t much resemble the affluent town it is now. Instead, it was rural and sparsely populated. But as its neighboring towns grew, Rex Gardiner, a sales engineer for PG&E, was recruited to protect the openness of the town. Its minimum parcel size of 1-acre was double neighboring Los Altos, that many expected to eventually absorb the community. So a group gathered together to begin the quest of creating a new town.
Pacific Gas and Electric actually gave Gardiner about a year off from his normal duties so he could focus entirely on the incorporation. For the Utility, a city independent of Palo Alto meant another market, but for Los Altos Hills, it gave them a full-time staffer to help incorporate. Gardiner mapped all of the infrastructure in the soon-to-be-incorporated town, including roads.
After the 1,169 voters cast ballots (and a few challenges overcome) Los Altos Hills was ready to be incorporated. Gardiner, for reasons he kept secret for nearly 60 years, declined to be one of the founding City Councilmembers. Instead, he became road commissioner.
Read the full story at the Los Altos Town Crier.