Old downtown San Mateo: “Big fireballs! “| Chroniclers


The City of San Mateo is undertaking a further review of its general plan. It is a regular exercise designed to meet municipal needs and anticipated changes with a view to the future.

For some of us of a certain age and temperament, the late 1950s and early 1960s, a simpler time to be sure, were about as good as they get in this regard. which concerns the suburban atmosphere and the general way of life.

The peninsula, at least during those happy days and nights, was a place where everything a child could ask for was right in front of him. San Mateo lived up to the best of them.

The downtown shopping district was Room A in this regard. In a narrow, well-defined area of ​​15 blocks just east of El Camino Real to B Street and Fifth Avenue north to Baldwin Avenue, a youngster might find roughly whatever is needed to satisfy the mind, taste buds and even the soul.

It was a self-contained village atmosphere that welcomed children with open arms. There was a lot to do and see. Many of these options are long gone, victims of progress and other factors.

For the openings, there were two large single-screen theaters (the Baywood and the San Mateo), both of which could accommodate over 1,000 customers. The children’s Saturday mornings were huge.

For a quarter, you could watch a few feature films, premieres, a newsreel, an adventure series or two, and cartoons. It was an afternoon affair. Parents were also delighted with the mornings.

Hunger? FW Woolworth’s had a lunch counter where you could buy an egg salad sandwich and a vanilla milkshake for the grand total of 55 cents. Other options included Blum’s, Carter’s Creamery, and the House of Blimp (memorable hot dogs).

Do you have a yen for music? Fancy the latest news from Fats Domino and Elvis Presley? Ross Radio was your Mecca. This tidy establishment had individual listening booths where you could enjoy all the hits of the day in complete privacy. Hello, Jerry Lee Lewis and “Great Balls of Fire”.

There were toy stores, sporting goods outfit, a Catholic church (if you were that inclined in the papal way), a bicycle shop, and even the town hall itself. An episcopal church is still there.

If you wanted to get a head start on local news with a first edition, the San Mateo Times headquarters building was right across from the main public library.

And, of course, Central Park and, if necessary, Mills Memorial Hospital were (are) easily accessible as well.

But things do change, sometimes not necessarily for the better.

FOOTBALL PREPARATION INTEREST TIME: Last week’s astonishing announcement that South San Francisco High School cannot field a college football team this fall follows an appalling pattern in North County.

For decades, neither Oceana High School in Pacifica nor Westmoor High School in Daly City offered students a football program. The main reason was the lack of interested participants.

Mills High School in Millbrae have not been able to find enough players for a viable college during last spring’s pandemic shortened football season (the Vikings are now fielding teams). This is a trend of local public schools that shows little sign of slowing down.

Some of the obvious causes of the decline of local public football schools are:

• A lack of full-time teachers / coaches who can devote the time and energy required by football;

• Significant demographic changes within communities and student bodies;

• A lack of priority on the administrative agenda;

• Concerns about injuries (concussions) in parents;

• The competitive impact of private and parish schools;

• Recently a pandemic that kept students off campus for months; and

• Increase options, sports and others, for adolescents.

The opening matches are scheduled for Friday.

A BRAIN GEL WEDNESDAY: The relentless drivel in that space on Wednesday contained a ridiculous brain freeze last week.

The new Maserati MC20 is expected to cost over $ 210,000, not $ 210 million as printed. This should allay the tax concerns of potential buyers of the super-fast machine. Or not.

Oh, what’s three little zeros among friends anyway?


About Monty S. Maynard

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