Effort to create new history tour makes inroads

A four-panel kiosk that details the history of the city with maps and photos will receive a much-needed upgrade now that the Historic Resources Advisory Committee has received a funding boost.

The kiosk will also be a linchpin of “The Path of History,” a planned walking tour to guide visitors to historic sites throughout the Peninsula city.

Located in front of a branch of Wells Fargo at Broadway and Main Street, the kiosk was built in the 1970s. According to city officials, it has not been taken care of since then.

But with funding from the city and local foundations, improvements are slated to begin by the end of this year.

“It’s really become an eyesore,” Historic Resources Advisory Committee member Dee Eva said of the kiosk. “It was put up for a place for the community to put announcements, but so many staples have been put in it and no one’s cleaned up.”

With roughly $7,000, four new panels will be added and a trees surrounding it will be trimmed, said Charles Jany, associate planner for Redwood City. One of the panels will include a map of historic sites in the city and another will be dedicated to Wells Fargo Bank and its history, since the kiosk is located on company property. The remaining two will be adorned with historic photos of Redwood City.

Wells Fargo has historical significance in the city, Jany said.

“Thanks to historical photos, we can see that there was once a stagecoach stop across the street from the bank,” he said.

The bank chain was founded in 1852. In order to deliver important items to customers, the company would contract with private stagecoaches for delivery. Wells Fargo still uses a stagecoach in its company logo.

Redwood City has a lot of history that many people, even local residents, may not know about, Eva said.

President Herbert Hoover stayed at one of the city’s hotels and Wyatt Earp drank at a Redwood City bar, she said.

As part of “The Path of History,” signs that Eva hopes will be installed by the end of 2010 will describe the history of each site and will be supplemented by photos. The Historic Resources Advisory Committee is leading the project.

There are about 13 historically significant sites throughout the downtown area that are contenders for inclusion on the walking tour.

The committee would also like to have a blue line painted throughout Redwood City to indicate where Redwood City Creek once flowed, Eva said. The creek is now below city streets.

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