Victorian Days Walking Tours

Tours and Dates

San Mateo – Saturday, July 16 at 10 a.m.
The first Protestant house of worship in San Mateo County, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church (1 South El Camino Real) played a significant role in the life of the mid-Peninsula, both ecclesiastically and socially, as it became the church of high society. The ivy-covered sanctuary, which dates from 1910, was designed by noted architect Willis Polk in the Gothic style. Starting at the south door, this tour will cover exterior architectural features and interior decorative features, such as the notable stained glass windows and memorials. The tour will conclude with a demonstration on the organ with its 2,400 pipes. The tour will be led by Dr. Mark S. Still, professor emeritus of history at the College of San Mateo.

Pacifica: Milagra Ridge – Sunday, July 24 at 1 p.m.
Discover Milagra Ridge’s military history from World War II gun emplacements for coastal defense to the Nike missle launch site (1955-1974). The walk is led by Dave Bridgman, who was stationed at Milagra Ridge in the early 1970s. Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Milagra Ridge is one of the few remaining habitats for the mission blue butterfly. Walking shoes are recommended for this two-hour hike on level ground. To get to the walk, from Sharp Park Road turn north on College Drive and continue about 1/4 mile to roadside parking at the Milagra Ridge gate. Parking is limited, carpools are encouraged.

Pacifica – Saturday, July 30 from 7-8 p.m.
The Pacifica Historical Society will lead an evening tour that begins at the corner of Montecito and Beach Boulevard. During a tour of historic buildings of the central Sharp Park area, view the historic “castle,” walk past the Little Brown Church and stroll along the promenade. The tour will conclude at sunset with a view from the Pacifica Pier. Call 650.738.2332 for more information.

Menlo Park - Saturday, August 6 at 11 a.m.
Led by author Bo Crane and other members of the Menlo Park Historical Association, the walking tour begins at the train depot (1120 Merrill St., Menlo Park) built in 1867. The tour continues across El Camino Real and up 1/3 mile on Santa Cruz Ave to Fremont Park, honoring the World War I Army camp site, before turning around for sites including the Holy Virgin Russian Orthodox Church, formerly an Episcopal chapel built in 1886. Overall, the tour is 1½ miles long.

Folger Stable - Saturday, August 6 at 1 p.m.
Tour the Folger Estate Stable Historic District at Wunderlich Park (4040 Woodside Road). Take a trip back in time with an expert docent to tour the carriage museum and stables, a unique architectural gem. You will get a taste for the history of Woodside, the building of the Folger Coffee empire, and the importance of the horse in Western history. We will have activities on site too – meet a horse, leather stamping, scavenger hunt, and enjoy a cup of Folgers coffee too!

Pigeon Point Lighthouse - Sunday, August 7 at 11 a.m.
Celebrate National Lighthouse Day on a docent-led tour of the historic grounds of Pigeon Point Light Station. Meet at the flagpole. Hear tales of the many shipwrecks, the building of the lighthouse, the “Wickies” and their families, and the anticipated restoration of the tower (currently closed to the public). Visit the Fog Signal Building to view the magnificent First Order Fresnel lens and explore the exhibits. For directions, go to For more information, please email:

Burlingame - Sunday, August 7 at 1 p.m.
The tour of the Broadway area meets at the Wells Fargo bank (1145 Broadway in the parking lot at back) and explores the growth and origin of the Town of Easton, addressing why Burlingame has two main business streets, why Broadway has an arch and other interesting tidbits. For more information, call the Burlingame Historical Society: 650.340.9960.

Burlingame - Sunday, August 7 at 3 p.m.
The tour of the East Burlingame meets at the Burlingame Railroad Station (290 California Drive). After a brief overview of the Burlingame Country Club and Burlingame Square, the walking tour will explore Burlingame’s eastside, including polo fields, hot houses and a home of ill repute. For more information, call the Burlingame Historical Society: 650.340.9960.

San Bruno – Saturday, August 13 at 10 a.m.
Join San Mateo County Historical Association President Mitch Postel in an exploration of San Bruno’s historic business district. Starting at the intersection of San Mateo Avenue and El Camino, the walk down San Mateo Avenue includes the original EIMAC building where vacuum tubes were produced for broadcast and radar transmitters. The tour will feature a stop at the Welch Family’s private slot machine museum, a rare treat in itself.

Colma: Cypress Lawn – Saturday, August 13 at 1:30 p.m.
All are invited to come in their finest Victorian outfits to the annual Cypress Lawn Heritage Foundation Victorian Days Walking Tour. This year some of members the Bay Area Costumer’s Guild will attend dressed to the nines. Of course, everyone is welcome regardless of attire. Our special guest, who will accompany us on the tour, is Emperor Norton (aka Joseph Amster), who, as usual will have plenty to say about our cemetery’s famous permanent residents. This is the fun tour of the year! We meet at the Green Tent on the East Campus of Cypress Lawn, 1383 El Camino Real, Colma. Bring your camera. The Emperor will select the best costume and the winner will receive our pictorial photograph book, Cypress Lawn: Guardians of California’s Heritage. Refreshments to follow the tour.

Redwood City: Historic Union Cemetery — Saturday, August 20 at 10:00 a.m.
The Historic Union Cemetery Association will conduct a tour comparing and contrasting the ideas of how the Victorian Era influenced residents of San Mateo County buried in Union Cemetery. We will discuss how changes in technology (photography, trains, etc. ), entertainment (Mesmerism, Brass Bands in the park, etc.), and social behavior (the new highly moralistic behavior), played out in the “Wild West” that was San Mateo County. The tour will last approximately 1 hour over level ground, on gravel paths. Bring water and your imagination. Contact if you have any questions.

Colma: Christy Vault Co — Saturday, August 20 from11:00 a.m. - 1 p.m.
“It’s Great to be Alive in Colma!” Please join the Colma Historical Association for a tour of Christy Vault Co. (1000 Collins Ave., Colma). Christy Vault Co. is a third-generation family owned and managed business that has been serving the funeral and cemetery industry with quality vaults since 1948. Learn about the variety of vaults and niches available and how they are made. This is followed by a complimentary buffet lunch at Colma’s Historical Museum, 1500 Hillside Blvd. at F Street. RSVP and information: 650.757.1676.

Redwood City – Saturday, August 27 from 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Redwood City’s Historic Resources Advisory Committee will conduct a tour of historic sites in the downtown area. Participants will see where Wyatt Earp occasionally came for a drink, where a Wells Fargo Express Office operated in 1875, Redwood City’s first new car showroom salon and auto repair garage, the finest theater on the peninsula in 1896, the former homes of prominent pioneer citizens, and much more. The tour will begin in front of the Lathrop House (627 Hamilton Street).

San Carlos – Saturday, August 27 at 1 p.m.
Tour historic locations in downtown San Carlos with the San Carlos Heritage Association. Meet in City Hall Park at the corner of San Carlos Avenue and Elm Street. The tour will end at the San Carlos History Museum, where there will be refreshments and tours of the museum. For more information call 650.592.5822.

Pescadero – Sunday, August 28 from 1 - 3:30 p.m.
Our annual Pescadero history walking tour will begin at 1:00 at the south end of Stage Rd. in front of the IDES Hall. We will cover Pescadero’s history from the earliest times up through the present, featuring the period from 1850-1920. The historic 1863 Knapp home will be open for the tour, and we will visit the historic & still working churches during our tour. As usual, a few locals may join in for stories, and a few artifacts and old maps & documents will be on display at the Knapp home. It will be a fun, fast moving tour, so be sure to bring water, hats, and sensible shoes ..... and your sense of humor.