Atherton is comprised of a plain of oaks. Native live oaks, white oaks, bays, redwoods, cedars, pines, and other ornamental trees cover the six square miles of town. There are approximately 50 miles of roads. The population is around 6,995 with approximately 2,500 households.

In 1866, Atherton was known as Fair Oaks, and was a flag stop on the California Coast for the Southern Pacific Railroad between San Francisco and San Jose for the convenience of the owners of large estates living north of Menlo Park. The entire area was called Menlo Park. It was part of the Rancho de las Pulgas, which is now southern San Mateo County.

In 1923, Menlo Park wanted to incorporate its lands to include Fair Oaks. During a meeting of the representatives of the two communities, the Fair Oaks property owners maintained their community as a strictly residential area and they would incorporate independently. Both groups rushed to Sacramento but the Fair Oaks committee arrived first. It was at that time they realized that they could not keep the name Fair Oaks, as it was already the name of a town near Sacramento. It was decided to honor Faxon Dean Atherton who had been one of the first property owners in the south peninsula and name the town for him. Atherton was incorporated on September 12, 1923.

Public Service Providers

Police Services
Atherton Police Department
Non-emergency: 650-688-6500

Fire Protection
Menlo Park Fire District
Non-emergency: (650) 688-8400

Garbage, Recyclables and Green Waste
Recology San Mateo
(650) 595-3900

Library Services
Atherton Library

California Water Services
(650) 854-5454