Redwood City’s Lathrop House

Posted on: November 7th, 2013 | By Cliff Keith | Blog, Thursday Historical Information | No Comments

National Register
Redwood City’s Lathrop House Historical Plaque

Redwood City’s Lathrop House

Redwood City’s Lathrop House is the home to Redwood City Heritage Association who have their meeting and tea’s throughout the year. They let the Redwood City Historical Resource Committee to use the house for their monthly meetings  This committee is an arm of the Redwood City Planning Commission and support them in their efforts to keep the historical integrity of Redwood City. On the docket for the future is the moving of the Redwood City Lathrop House to a new site. San Mateo has plans for alterations to the San Mateo County Government Center campus and Redwood City Lathrop House is in the path of future development. The good aspect of this is Redwood City’s Lathrop House is preserved for generations to come.

January 6, 1858, the wife of Benjamin G. Lathrop, Mary C. Lathrop, brought all the vacant lots on the block, which the present Fox Theatre building now stands.  Mary Lathrop purchased these vacant lots from the Arguello and Mezes families, the area’s earliest landowners.

The Lathrops’ residence was ready for occupancy in 1863.  The home had 11 rooms plus kitchen and servants quarters. Benjamin and Mary Lathrop named their home “Lora Mundi”, roughly translated means “beauty spot of the world”.

General Patrick Edward Conner purchased the house and its grounds for his family in 1870 some 7 years later.

The General owned the Redwood City’s Lathrop House until 1894.  The Conner’s did use the house as a rental for some time until the trustees of Redwood City public schools purchased the home and land from them. Redwood City public schools moved the home to the rear of the block, next to the creek.  By doing so they had room for Central Grammar School, which opened in 1895.

In 1905, Mrs. Joel Mansfield brought the Conner residence and moved into it. Later in the year in

Lathrop House
Redwood City’s Lathrop House Side view home to the Redwood City Heritage Association

November of 1905 Sheriff Mansfield moved the house to its present 627 Hamilton Street site.

This historically important building is now more than 154 years old. It evokes a sense of history in the making, for in its walls lie imbedded the stories of many lives connected with Redwood City’s past.

Redwood City Heritage Association restored the Lathrop House during the decade of the 1970’s. They have various annual events including 4th of July and Victorian Days at Christmas.  Their hours are 11-3pm Tuesday through Friday.

Redwood City’s Lathrop House

As a side note my friend and past client told me this about the three homeowners of the Lathrop house, all who were of historical consequences: First of all B.G. Lathrop established the first government in San Mateo County in 1865 when there was a controversy over if the first election legal and resolved in State courts in favor of Mr. Lathrop.  He has personally brought suit, at his own expense, and the bogus elected officials were removed.  A new election was held and he was elected the new Recorder, Assessor and Supervisor.  He subdivided Menlo Park; brought the Railroad to Redwood City and on to San José; was a charter member of the New York Stock Exchange, Southern Pacific Railroad, and a life member of the California Pioneers.

Secondly, General Patrick E. Conner was no less famous.  A Civil War general, his troops kept the route to the West open for the pioneers and protected them from the hostile Indians.  He was a friend of the Mormon settlers in Utah, and brought about good relations between them and the government.  He established Fort Douglas, Utah and was known as the father of Utah Mining. His wife was a Redwood City native.

And last, Joel Mansfield, was Sheriff of San Mateo County for three terms.  He purchased the house in 1905 and moved it to its present site with one horse and a capstan. Redwood City’s Lathrop House is still in active use today.

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