As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve been corresponding with Nancy Tonkin, who grew up at 286 Chestnut. In addition to sharing information about her mom & dad and their years in San Carlos, she was also kind enough to share these old photos.

My, how San Carlos has changed!

Nancy’s parents first lived at 300 Cedar Street, which, if Google Maps is correct, is the house on the southwest corner of Cedar and Manzanita. This first picture is of 300 Cedar (March, 1940), I believe looking towards the west. Today, this vista is jam-packed with houses.

Update: the original house at 300 Cedar is still standing! The view in this picture is towards the southeast, with the empty lot being the location of a large church today.

This next picture shows how empty Cedar Street was in March, 1940. In this picture we’re looking towards the northwest, with Cedar Street in the foreground and Manzanita running perpendicular to it through the background:

Here’s another angle on the view to the west of Cedar, from 1944. Today’s house is almost identical to this image. But the surrounding area is much more built up:

Here’s Nancy, her brother, and their maternal uncle in the front yard of 300 Cedar during the Fall of 1943. I think this view is looking east or northeast, which would make that hill the one where 286 Chestnut is located.The view is towards the west or northwest, so you’re looking up towards Sycamore Street and Hillcrest Road.

The family moved to 286 Chestnut in 1944. This is how the house originally looked. Notice the garage in front, and the lack of brickwork along the front facade. Those were all projects that Nancy’s dad did, with help from Nancy’s grandfather and friends, during the late 40s:

This next shot is of Nancy, her brother and her mom in the front yard of 286 Chestnut during 1944. The view is towards the north along Chestnut…which ends right around the right hand edge of the picture (it was a dead end at the time). You can also see that the house we’re currently renting, 282 Chestnut, was only one story tall back then:

Nancy isn’t sure when this next picture was taken. It looks like the prep work for building the old driveway and detached garage is underway:

I find this next picture really amazing. It’s looking east, towards the bay, from 286 Chestnut sometime during the 1940s. There’s nothing there! Today, that whole side of the street is lined with houses:

Sometime in the late 1940s Nancy’s dad finished turning the original garage at 286 Chestnut into a room and a bathroom. You can also see in this next photo part of the brickwork he installed along the front facade of the house:

The last picture in this set shows what the front of 286 Chestnut looked like in 1986 after Nancy’s dad had planted a new lawn. Notice that all the brickwork is completed, and the western hills in the background are pretty built up:

It is truly amazing what the passage of just over 40 years meant to San Carlos — from empty fields to a built-up community.

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