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1162 and 1170 El Camino

From: domainremoved <Amy>
Date: Fri, 10 Jan 2020 21:48:39 +0000 (UTC)

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To the City Planning Commission --

    The Commission members are called on to be stewards of the community, charged with protecting what is valuable from the past, answering current needs, and acting to manifest a wished-for future. Choices made regarding 1162 and 1170 El Camino and the future of Feldman's Books are a chance to act successfully in all three areas.

    These are two historic irreplaceable buildings, unique in the community. According to the Menlo Park Historical Association, the building now housing Feldman's Books was once the French Laundry chosen by Mrs. Leland Stanford over services available to someone wealthy farther afield. As a City Historical Association tour tells the story: "With U.S. President William McKinley coming to dinner, Jane Stanford ordered that her finest table cloth be laundered in New York where she customarily shipped linens. But the servant erroneously sent the cloth to the Menlo Park French Laundry, whose work so pleased Mrs. Stanford that she thereafter had all her laundry done by the local establishment."

. [https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/wPojcc1Y9L27nxk0_x6MVnpT349hM2cfDyMSxDQ7sqjNJ-z13pd_hwCa_XtYaz0mlbc6TB46u_GxBJfjHaxx-ysKcLwDgk7CTdutr_jaoYs0T0W1dB_9L5uZRwOpG-Re8fPuPOLX] [https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/hiP5A_9FuB2CfO4FRrHsdztb3h9eZY-Rh1NFGLWeTGBzkWF-rvWSDCmSatTAX4P9L9pkfrQMOn5uZ2tVtoOGrsuXxsCqlsL24rDZQfPx3iN7M5x15MJWJ_HVMPnluUangmznSXYc]
This building encapsulates this early successful family business by pioneers of Menlo Park. See the Historical Association newsletter for more information on this California history The Gate Post Vol. XXVIII, No. 5 (Sep/Oct 2003)<https://drive.google.com/viewerng/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnx0aGVnYXRlcG9zdHR3b3xneDozODNjOTllOThlMWQxN2U2>

    A City's character (or lack thereof) is represented directly in its buildings. Older buildings enable us to see the distinctiveness of a place's past as well as aesthetic features no longer on display in contemporary designs. To lose all older buildings is like a book with its earlier chapters torn out, less for the loss of context, beauty, and meaning. CEQA stands to protect such important places. The proposed design for the site is utterly generic and a poor substitute for the current structures' histories and quality of design.

    Another way that 1170 is a valuable community resource is through its tenant Feldman's Books. For its long run in Menlo Park, the shop has contributed to the diversity of retail near downtown and the cultural conversation. Visitors writing with appreciation about the bookstore on-line harken from around the U.S. and abroad. People from places notable for bookshops (Cambridge, MA, NYC, L.A.) praise this shop. They recognize this as a precious resource, for the enchanting sense of place (book-lined rooms and serene courtyard, what someone calls "a meditation garden") and quality of the books for perusal. This has been a place multiple generations of my family have visited to find much-loved books. To lose it would be an immeasurable loss for readers/thinkers now and in the future as well as the community at large. I hope there will be a way that Feldman's can remain as a community resource. With the mind-boggling rate of change around us, places like this are all the more precious, they reflect who we've been, are, and wish we can be.

Thank you for your work considering how to combine valuables of the past with possibilities for the future.

Amy Wright
1571 Dana Avenue
Palo Alto
Received on Fri Jan 10 2020 - 13:55:20 PST

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