Atherton is named for Faxon Dean Atherton, a wealthy trader from Chile, who purchased 640 acres and established the first large estate in the area. The completion of the railroad in 1863 attracted other prosperous citizens of San Francisco, hoping to escape the summer fog. The Town was incorporated in 1923, and adopted stringent zoning regulations.
As a result, Atherton retains the pastoral atmosphere enjoyed by those nineteenth century residents, with majority of properties in this exclusive zip code exceeding an acre. No sidewalks, an abundance of heritage oaks, and a ban on commerce, plus equal access to San Francisco and San Jose have made Atherton one of the most expensive addresses in the country. Atherton has been consistently ranked by a national magazine as one of the top five most affluent cities in the country.