San Mateo Arboretum Society

101 Ninth Avenue
San Mateo, CA 94401


...Share our passion for gardening.
...Propagate and Cultivate unique and diverse plant species.
...Provide horticultural education programs to the community.
...Maintain and enhance the gardens in Central Park.


The San Mateo Arboretum Society was founded in 1974 by Peninsula resident and garden enthusiast Marion Panaretos, not only because she loved gardens, but also because she recognized the importance of protecting the botanical aspects of San Mateo's Central park and the Kohl Pumphouse.
Central Park has its origins in the 1870's when William Kohl, a sea captain and founding partner of the Alaska Commercial Company, purchased the property form Charles Polhemus. John McLaren was commissioned to design the landscape of the grounds surrounding the home. Those designs included winding paths wide enough for the children's pony cart, and a stone and wrought iron fence that still borders El Camino Real. The design of the paths, lawns and flower beds remains today, along with many of the original pines, oaks, cedar, figs, redwoods, and the pony shed near the rose garden. A life size bronze dog also stands near the rose garden, according to legend; it was imported from Italy by Mrs. Kohl.

The most significant building remaining was the Kohl Pumphouse; constructed at the turn of the century to house the pump used to irrigate the estate.

Beginning in 1976 the San Mateo Arboretum Society restored and modernized the building and it now serves as the organization's headquarters and meeting place.

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