Atherton is a relatively small community found in the central western portion of the Golden State of California. Atherton has a population of approximately seven thousand two hundred residents, and is considered one of the most affluent communities in the state of California. Atherton is situated in San Mateo County, and is technically considered an incorporated town. Atherton covers a total area of just under five square miles, including about three hundredths of a square mile of standing surface water. Atherton is currently governed by Mayor Jerry Carlson as well as a City Council. Atherton has a relatively low population density for a city in the Bay Area, with approximately one thousand five hundred residents per square mile. Atherton is slightly higher elevated than the rest of greater San Francisco, although relative to the rest of the Golden State, it is almost exactly at sea level.
Atherton was originally inhabited by Native Americans, but was eventually overtaken by Western settlers in the middle portion of the nineteenth century. Atherton had its beginnings as a modern town in the year eighteen sixty six, when the community was known as Fair Oaks and was a stop on the Southern Pacific Railroad. Atherton is about midway between San Francisco and San Jose, and was also known early-on as Menlo Park. The residents of the region attempted unsuccessfully to incorporate as a town twice, in eighteen seventy four and nineteen eleven, before the community was officially incorporated in the year nineteen twenty three. Atherton is named after Faxon D. Atherton, a resident of Chile, Hawaii, and Massachusetts, who worked as a trader, businessperson, and landowner.
Atherton has a number of notable civic organizations, including the Holbrook-Palmer Park Foundation, the Atherton Civic Interest League, the Menlo Circus Club, and the Atherton Tree Committee. Atherton has a very high average median income on both the household and the per capita levels, which are approximately two hundred thousand and one hundred thousand dollars, respectively. The educational needs of Atherton are met by a number of institutions, including Menlo School, Sacred Heart Preparatory School, Menlo College, Las Lomitas Elementary School, and Menlo-Atherton High School.