Frances Hillier

Frances Hillier came from Utah to California to work for Pan American Airways on Treasure Island. It was here that she met her husband, Art, a Pan Am pilot. They married in 1946. After some years in Florida and Palo Alto, where their neighborhood had some twenty children, they bought a lot in Westridge in 1951 when there were fewer than twenty families in the subdivision.

Fran Hillier
Fran Hillier, August 5, 2009

Everyone knew everyone else. In those days, 2 ½ acre lots in Portola Valley cost less than properties in Palo Alto. Their friends said…”Way out there? Who will your children play with?” With his pilot’s schedule, Art hired and supervised the workers building their house, finishing in about five months. One of Frances’ memories of those early days is of a red-tailed hawk’s nest in one of their trees. It was perhaps three feet across. She remembers watching the nestlings, “little puffs of white with coal black eyes.” She also remembers the neighborhood’s golden retrievers, roaming around, tails wagging, without a leash law in effect.

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