Atherton is located on the San Francisco Peninsula nestled between the San Francisco Bay and the coastal mountains. The town begins in the bayside flatlands then moves westward up into the hills until it reaches Highway 280.
Founded in 1923, Atherton began with summer residences for vacationing San Franciscans. One of the town’s first actions was to assure that lots would not be subdivided into parcels smaller than an acre – a rule that, with rare exception, is still in place today. This preserves the beautiful architecture that is found on the large estates throughout Atherton.
Retaining this sense of seclusion is a priority for the citizens of Atherton that extends to the Atherton General Plan. “The Town of Atherton desires, insofar as possible, to preserve its character as a scenic, rural, thickly-wooded, residential area, with abundant open space with streets designed primarily as scenic routes rather than for speed of travel.” (Atherton General Plan)
With its access to neighboring towns, Atherton needs no commercial area; residents gather at various parks and country clubs. Beautiful foliage, elegant gardens and mature trees dominate this small, quiet community which was ranked second of the 250 richest towns in America by Worth magazine in 2002, and in 2005 Forbes Magazine stated that Atherton’s zip code was the most affluent zip code in the nation..
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