When Ted Lamb and his Stanford classmates visited Rosottis’ in the early 1950s, he says it was “wild country” out here. There wasn’t even a road leading up the hills across the road. After a stint in his family’s business, he returned in 1960 to find big changes in the area. Alpine Road had been realigned a bit, with part of a hillside cut away to accommodate the changes. And Alpine Hills had a road. He and his wife Jean bought land a house near the “Stanford Triangle,” that steep, wooded land extending, even today, between Westridge and the northern arc of the Golden Oak semi-circle.
Eight or nine or ten neighborhood kids would hike through the wilderness to get there to play—building hideouts, having “shoot-outs” and all kinds of fun. Working for the real estate firm of Cornish and Carey, in the early 1960s he learned of an offer by Mills College in Oakland to buy land behind Rosottis’ to relocate their campus. The deal fell through amidst valley plans for incorporation. Because of so many various proposals for development, without incorporation, “It would have been a disaster,” he says.
Ellen and Bob Mosley met at Stanford where both were “hashers.”
Ellen was born in California, and Bob had come from Kansas in the late 1930s when his dad was in graduate school. In the 1940s Ellen would ride her bike out Alpine – past the Buck Estate, the Stanford convalescent hospital, Interdale, the Piers dairy, a house that became an antique store called Merryvale, Lazy Day, Rosotti’s, a chicken farm and Mangini’s Picnic Park, now almost all long gone. They bought their Westridge lot in 1953 – $5300 for two and a half treeless acres. In those post World War II days, most women didn’t work outside the home, and several families in Westridge were building their own homes. Ellen drew their plans and got a building permit in three days.
After his day job as an electrical engineer, Bob would prepare bricks for a day’s work, cutting them to shape. He’d mix a batch or mortar before he left the next morning, and during the day Ellen would lay the bricks in place. They and their four children all rode horses, especially loving going overland on long rides. The population was rising so rapidly that one year a trail might end in someone’s patio, where the previous year it had been an open field.
Documenting life and times in the Town of Portola Valley, California