Astride the San Andreas fault, with views extending from across the Bay to San Francisco, Portola Valley’s history begins with the logging town of Searsville. Its most famous 19th-century settler was Andrew Hallidie, inventor of the cable car, who purchased property in 1883, then donated land for a school and post office.
Farming and stock ranching were major enterprises between 1860 and 1920, but as with much of the Peninsula, the real surge for development came after World War II. The town of Portola Valley was incorporated in 1964 with the goals of preserving the beauty of the valley, fostering low-density housing, and limiting services to those necessary for local residents.
To this day, the goal is to maintain a balance between the rural, quiet neighborhoods and the need for modern development.