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2007 History Makers - The Borel Family

Every year, the San Mateo County Historical Association hosts a History Makers Dinner that highlights an individual and/or family of San Mateo County who has made significant contributions to California history and beyond.

The Borel Family’s connection with California began in 1855 when Alfred Borel arrived in San Francisco from Switzerland. His younger brother Antoine joined him in 1861. While Alfred returned to Europe in 1866, Antoine remained a pioneer and dynamic western businessman for the rest of his life.
His interests ranged from borax mines in Death Valley to the Spring Valley Water Company, which developed the original water supply for San Francisco and the Peninsula. Antoine purchased 100 acres south of the sleepy village of San Mateo for 22,500 gold dollars in 1874 in order to create a country estate (only 10 years after the railroad came through).

After Antoine’s passing, the family remained influential leaders in the community. Today the family is known for their establishment of important local business institutions such as Borel Place Associates, The Borel Estate Company and Borel Private Bank & Trust Company. Aylett R. Cotton, who married into the family, became a legendary Superior Court Judge in San Mateo County. His son Aylett B. Cotton, and his first cousin Eric Bovet, started Borel Place Associates. Miller and Chonita Bovet Ream, together with then partners William Wilson, III and Rea Smith and members of the Bovet family, formed The Borel Estate Company. Miller Ream, along with Harold A. Fick and Ronald G. Fick, founded Borel Bank & Trust Company. The family’s long list of philanthropic interests cover every aspect of Peninsula life, including tremendous and abiding support for the San Mateo County Historical Association.
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