Before the redwoods were logged out and the Spaniards gave land grants to ranchers, and before the padres built the missions and the Spanish explorers claimed California for themselves, Native Americans thrived for centuries among the hills and gorges we now call Huddart Park.

Known by various names, depending on which tribe they belonged to, the Native Americans lived as hunters-gatherers of the abundant resources the land and water provided. They lived in concert with grizzly bears (now extinct locally), mountain lions, deer, coyotes plus many other species and carefully used them to their advantage along with the rich diversity of plant life. The last Native Americans known to be living in the local hills were spotted in 1857. Most had been converted by the Spanish missionaries some 75 years previously and were living near the Missions. Unfortunately, the Spanish brought not only European religion but also tuberculosis and small pox that many Native Americans could not withstand.

In August 1840, the Governor of Spanish California granted the land, later called Rancho Canada de Raymundo, to John Coppinger, an Irishman who had become a naturalized Mexican citizen. This 12,545-acre Rancho contained the 973 acres, which are now Huddart Park.

In 1850, the California Gold Rush was booming, and the demand for lumber to build San Francisco resulted in extensive logging operations in the rancho area. Near the present borders of the Park, five sawmills operated between 1853 and 1860. Richard's sawmill, built in 1853, operated just outside the present park boundary west of Skyline Boulevard. From this mill, Richard's Road led down the mountain. Wagons loaded with lumber and drawn by teams of oxen traveled down it towards Redwood City, where the lumber was barged to San Francisco. Today, Richard's Road Trail follows the route of this old road.

James Huddart was a wealthy San Francisco lumberman and long-time resident of Woodside. He was raised in an orphanage with his sister and apparently spent a rather miserable youth there. As a result, Huddart had a deep desire to use his holdings in San Mateo County do something beneficial for the youth in the area.

Before his death in 1935, Huddart deeded 900 acres of his property to the County of San Francisco with the provision that it would be accepted and developed into a public park. Due to water rights problems along Squealer Gulch Creek, San Francisco held it only two years. When the State of California also had problems with the water rights, the property was willed to the County of San Mateo, who has owned and operated the land as a public park since 1944.

In the hundred years since the Huddart Park area was logged, a new forest of redwoods and other trees have grown, covering much of the evidence of this early logging activity. However, still visible are large stumps of the virgin redwoods and "skid roads" over which the teams of oxen dragged logs to the sawmills.

Huddart Park Map