Hooves-ray Folger Stable!

November 3, 2010

A big HOOVES-ray to the Folger Estate Stable COWmittee and all involved with the great work on the Folger Stable restoration project. A recent profile in the San Jose Mercury reminded us of the happy news that the project is drawing to completion, and that this magnificent piece of Woodside history has been saved from neglect and ruin. We want to offer our thanks and cow-ngratulations for their outstanding service to our COWmunity.

The stable, located on Woodside Road, was constructed in 1905 for James Folger II (of Folgers Coffee). The architect who designed it was Arthur Brown Jr., a noted San Francisco designer who went on to create many famous local landmarks.

The stable was part of Folger’s summer estate retreat in Woodside and stayed in the family until it was sold to Martin Wunderlich in 1956, who gave it and surrounding Wunderlich Park to San Mateo County in 1974. Unfortunately, no money and little effort was put aside to maintain the aging structure, and for thirty years neglect took its toll. According to the article, dead animals, broken beams and windows and an overall air of decay was the state of the Stable in recent years. Woodside resident and contractor Bill Stronck, who worked on the revival of the structure is quoted expressing surprise that it was still standing.

Luckily for our Town, civic-minded COWs and others stood up to save the Stable before time and official neglect had completely ruined it. The Folger Estate Stable COWmittee was founded in 2002 for that purpose of planning the restoration of the stable to preserve it for future generations in conjunction with the San Mateo County Department of Parks. An early victory of the group was the inclusion of the Stable on the National Register of Historical Places in 2004. The group then passed on the reins to the Folger Estate Stable Campaign Committee, which raised the money necessary for the renovations.

Over the past few years, more than $3 million was raised from donors large and small. Work began in December 2008 to halt the further decay of the building and stabilize and restore it. Many surprising features were discovered during the process such as old railroad tracks and hand-built stone walls. All the details of the original construction were noted by local architect Adolph Rosekrans, who serves on the Woodside Planning Commission. The main stable wasn’t the only focus of the effort – the Carriage House, Blacksmith Barn, and the Dairy House were all saved as part of the project.

The reconstruction effort was finished in April of this year, and the Stable is once again a beautiful historical jewel for our Town, but the facility is no show pony. The Stable operates as a horse-boarding facility, where members of the public have the opportunity to shelter their horses within the walls of history. For a taste of that history, the Carriage Room inside the stable is a museum that showcases the era the Stable was built.

COWs for years to come will benefit from the efforts of the hard-working Folger Estate Stable Committee and the Folger Estate Stable Campaign Committee for their labors, without which surely the Stable would have eventually been destroyed through the ravages of time!

If you missed the recent Open House in September, plans are a-hoof by the San Mateo County Historical Society to offer tours of the building starting later this year.

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