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 Wunderlich 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.

Woodside Valley entered current recorded history on November 6, 1769, when the first Portola expedition camped in the valley.

One of the first prominent settlers was John Copinger, an Irishman and one of the first non-Hispanic Europeans to live on the peninsula, who was granted the Canada de Raymundo Rancho on August 4, 1840 by Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado. This rancho consisted of most of the eastern slopes and valleys in the Woodside area, including Wunderlich Park. In 1846 Charles Brown received from Copinger a formal deed to 2,880 acres of timbered slopes and valley range, which contained Wunderlich Park.

In 1872 Simon Jones purchased 1,500 acres of the western portion of the property and named it "Hazelwood Farm." He went on to prove that it had value beyond its lumber. Under his guiding hand the mountainside bloomed. Utilizing Chinese labor, he cleared the matted natural growth, built rock retaining walls, planted grapes and fruit trees and developed the property into a working ranch. Some of what Jones built still remain and some of his planting is still evident.

Jones died in 1890 and his son Everett sold the property to James A Folger II on October 12, 1902. Folger came to California in 1850 and had gone into the coffee business in San Francisco. Under Folger's ownership, the land changed roles, becoming a recreation area, which suited the family's taste. Wagon trails and old skid roads became riding and carriage trails. Weekend campouts were quite common in the area of Alambique Creek. In 1904 Folger commissioned Arthur Brown Jr., in partnership with Henry Schulze, to design his estate and stables in Woodside. At the same time, Folger developed the first hydro-electrical power system in this part of California. Waters from Alambique Creek were used to develop this power.

The next owner of the property was contractor Martin Wunderlich, who purchased the property from the Folgers in November 1956. In 1974 he graciously tendered it for public recreation by deeding 942 acres to San Mateo County for use as park and open space.

Wunderlich Park Map