Tag Archives: Portola Valley Ranch

Marilyn Walter

In1968, Marilyn Walter came to Portola Valley with her husband and children. After having lived in seven countries, the last one being eastern Canada, she especially welcomed the mild climate.

Marilyn Walter at the starting line for Zotts to Tots.  June 2013
Marilyn Walter at the starting line for Zotts to Tots. June 2013

She says she was so overcome with the pleasure of going walking in January that she came home and wrote a poem about roses blooming in January.  They liked the view from the house the realtor showed them so much that. they had just one question: were there enough bedrooms for their boys?

There were enough, and Marilyn has been here ever since although she moved to PV Ranch in its earliest days.

Joe Whelan

Joe Whelan is best known as the developer of Portola Valley Ranch in the 1970s.

Joe Whelan
Joe Whelan

Although the subdivision was controversial at first because of the significant change clustering homes made in the town’s usual one-acre zoning, the brilliant design and emphasis on living with nature has resulted in many awards and happy residents within and without the neighborhood. The clustering of homes has resulted in 365 of the 453 acres being  preserved as open space in perpetuity.

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Joe and Mike Whelan

 Joe grew up in Atherton and became interested in building in high school when he and a pal build a cabin on Kings Mountain. He had several successful projects in the area before undertaking the PVR development. He and his wife Betty lived in four different houses in the subdivision and also spent several years at Clear Lake.

Their son, Mike, one of five children, has worked with his dad from the earliest days of PVR.