Palo Alto Centennial
Publication Date: Wednesday, April 13, 1994

Dean Clark

Background: Both his father, Birge Clark, and his grandfather, Arthur B. Clark, were architects who designed many historic Palo Alto buildings.

Memories: "One Halloween in the middle 1930s a group of us was out trick-or-treating--or rather, ringing doorbells. You rang the doorbell and ran. Two of my friends were picked up by the police for setting off firecrackers and taken down to the old police station and jail on Ramona (designed by Birge Clark, now the Palo Alto Senior Center). So the rest of us went down there to see if we could get them out.

"Now at that time there was a cathouse down on Charleston Avenue, and the police had raided it and brought in all the girls. So there we were, a bunch of 10- and 11-year-old boys and all these girls from the cathouse. None of us had ever heard of a cathouse before, so we immediately went home and tried to find out from our older brothers. We got different reports because some of the brothers weren't that much older, but we finally got it figured out. . . .

"The circus used to come to town, to the old Greer property where Town and Country Village is now. The circus would arrive on the railroad . . . and all the kids in town would be down there waiting at 3 or 4 a.m. to get jobs, because you got a pass to see the circus if you had a job. They needed people to help set up, boys to lug water for the elephants and horses."

Paul Cardoza

Background: Cardoza was born in 1927 in Palo Alto and was a graduate of Palo Alto High School. Started in the travel business in 1965 and now owns Stanford Sports Tours.

Memories: "I can remember I could walk from Middlefield Road all the way to the bay with almost no houses. There were some dairies and a couple of farms. Palo Alto didn't really start until north of Oregon for sure and that was sparse.

"I remember how friendly the police used to be. You knew them by name. There were two brothers named Hickey, and a big policeman that did the downtown named Tex. I lived near a creek that had willows growing in it. We built a raft one time and went floating down and the police came and got us.

"I sold papers on the streets of Palo Alto--the Call-Bulletin and the San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle. I sold papers in the morning at the California Avenue train station. I made a lot of money for the times. I made about $1.50 a morning and it went to $2.50 a day and that was a lot of money then. Milkshakes were a dime, movies were 15 cents.

"I remember in the heart of the Depression going to the store with a dime and getting a soup bone plus all the vegetables to make soup--stalks of celery, four carrots."

Ellen Bergren Werry

Background: Daughter of Al Werry, Palo Alto's oldest living resident, she was born at the Werry home, 419 Waverley Ave. She worked at several downtown Palo Alto stores after graduating from Palo Alto High School in 1934.

Memories: "My first job was at Walster's, a kind of clothing store, a general store on University. That was during the Depression--maybe 1936 or '37--and I was trying to help out my father. I made $13 a week and worked six days a week. I remember having to work on Saturdays when the football games were on (at Stanford) and feeling that it wasn't fair that I had to work when everyone else was at the game. They would drive by, honking their horns. But mostly I didn't mind working. I did what I had to do."

Arthur Gleim

Background: His family moved to Palo Alto in 1929, when he was 11. He graduated from Paly in 1934. His father founded Gleim's Jeweler's on April Fools' Day, 1931, "because he couldn't get another job" during the Depression. The store is still in business.

Memories: "When we first started living in Palo Alto I lived right across from the clinic (at Bryant Street and Homer Avenue). My earliest days here were spent playing in what is now the clinic. It was a vacant lot then. As a matter of fact, we also used to play in the yard where the hospital (now the Hoover Pavilion) was built.

"I think there were 130 vacant lots at that time. There was a vacant lot on every block--always someplace to play. After my father founded the store, I worked there after school and at night. His rule was, if we had something to do, if there was a reason to stay out, we did. Otherwise, we worked. It was at 205 University Ave., where Alfrey's Jewelers is now, but it was a different building. We've had six different locations since then."