St. Matthew’s Land by Coastside artist Galen Wolf (Part I)


“St. Matthew’s Land” by Coastside artist Galen Wolfe written to accompany a series of paintings of Peninsula landmarks on display at the San Mateo Library in 1961.

Part I

St. Matthew’s land is San Mateo County.

A county is more than a political subdivision, more than its acres and population and improvements.

It is always, and foremost, a great human story. The eventful lives of its people, the legends and traditions, make the tale, make the rich personality of this land.

Unlike the Sierra, San Mateo County had no gold and little traffic in six guns. [I have never heard of this term, “six guns.” Anyone know?] But to offset the brash and rowdy thrill of this hectic and short-lived world, our county has a history more than twice as long. And far more varied.

It roughly divides into two parts, each looking over a century. The first was passed in the tranquil sleep of the Spaniard. The second awoke to the accelerating pace of an American state.

Years before the shots at Lexington were fired, the tiny hooves of mules were trudging ankle deep in the alluvial dust of the peninsula. They tinkled in the stony dry creek beds.

El Camino Real was being etched by these patient hooves, a road that was to be the ribbon of life in California for a hundred years. And in the county which became, for another hundred years. Amid changes inconceivable to the humble cavalcade of its beginning.

…to be continued…