Astride the San Andreas fault, with views extending from across the Bay to San Francisco, Portola Valley began its existence as the logging town of Searsville. Its most famous 19th-century settler was Andrew Hallidie, inventor of the cable car, who purchased property in 1883 and 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 of 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 town's goal is to maintain a balance between the rural, quiet neighborhoods and the need for modern development.
2016-17 TOWN OPERATING BUDGET: $4.4 million
POPULATION (2014 estimate): 4,594
MEDIAN AGE: 55 years
HOUSEHOLDS (2014): 1,940
HOMEOWNERS: 85 percent
2016 MEDIAN HOME VALUE: $3.68 million
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Portola Valley Neighborhoods: