Atherton is an incorporated town in San Mateo County, California. Its population was 6,914 at the 2010 census. In September 2010, Forbes magazine placed Atherton’s ZIP code 94027 at #2 on its annual list of America’s most expensive ZIP codes. In October 2013, 94027 was placed at #1 on the list.
In 1866, Atherton was known as Fair Oaks, and was a flag stop on the California Coast Line of the Southern Pacific Railroad between San Francisco and San Jose for the convenience of the owners of the large estates who lived north of Menlo Park. The entire area was called Menlo Park.
In 1923, Menlo Park wished to incorporate its lands to include the Fair Oaks lands. During a meeting of the representatives of the two communities, it became clear to the Fair Oaks property owners that in order to maintain their community as a strictly residential area, they would have to incorporate separately. Both groups rushed to Sacramento but the Fair Oaks committee arrived first. It was at that time they realized that they could not keep the name Fair Oaks, as it was already the name of a town near Sacramento. It was decided to honor Faxon Dean Atherton who had been one of the first property owners in the south peninsula and name the Town for him. Atherton was incorporated on September 12, 1923.
Atherton lies two miles (3 km) southeast of Redwood City, and 18 miles (29 km) northwest of San Jose. The town is considered to be part of the San Francisco metropolitan area. The town has a Caltrain station with service only on weekends.
Atherton’s current land use goal is “To preserve the Town’s character as a scenic, rural, thickly wooded residential area with abundant open space. There are a number of active community organizations; the Atherton Heritage Association, the Atherton Arts Committee, the Atherton Tree Committee, the Friends of the Atherton Community Library, the Holbrook-Palmer Park Foundation, the Atherton Dames, the Police Task force, and the Atherton Civic Interest League. There are also home owners’ associations. The Menlo Circus Club is a private club with stables and a riding ring located within the town.