From D.O. Mills’ thousand acres to James Flood’s lace palace, a chain of estates lay like a necklace along the foothills.
Furnishings were sumptious. Horses and carriages in the English pattern were everywhere. Tallyhos, silver mounted harness, coachmen, graced the estates or met the trains at Burlingame.
The estates, often a thousand acres, vied in exotic landscaping. Some had a crew of twenty or more gardeners. Each estate featured an avenue, a sunken garden or pool. Sometimes a show of annuals blooming in a gorgeous quilt.
Newhall was reached by way of a thousand-foot, four column avenue of hawthorn.
William Crocker’s garden was perfumed by a grove of white datura, the trumpet flower of Mexico. St. Cyr moved a Japanese garden intact onto the premises.
The long line of parks extended ot the Bournes at Spring Valley, and to a cluster–Jacklin, Jocelyn, Fleischackeer, Folger and Schilling–in the Portola Valley.
Changing ways and heavily increased taxes began the doom of this exuberant country life about twenty years ago.
Miss Clara Dills, County Librarian at that time, well aware of what was happening, had an extensive set of pictures made of these buildings and their gardens. This group of pictures will be an increasing treasure as most of them could never be made again. In a few case, the very houses were being torn down or the grounds bulldozed as they were being rapidly sketched.
…to be continued…