Allied Arts Guild in Menlo
Owned and operated by the Allied Arts Guild Auxiliary, Allied Arts Guild is a beautiful and historic garden oasis, home to unique shops, artists’ studios, and Blue Garden Café. Since 1929, Allied Arts Guild has provided an inspiring environment for working artists, beautiful gardens and shops for visitors, and support for critically ill children at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.
Allied Arts Guild is available for shopping, lunching, relaxing, and hosting special events such as weddings, receptions, seminars, meetings and luncheons. Allied Arts also hosts special events year round, such as Mother’s Day Tea, and festive Holiday events.
Come visit us and enjoy the refreshing peace and beauty unique in our fast-paced world. See, feel, and become part of the ongoing history of the Allied Arts Guild. We’re open Monday through Saturday, 10am-5pm.
Wedding ceremonies and receptions may be conducted from 10am-9pm with a maximum guest count of 140 people. Pricing for property rental only starts at $4,000 depending on the season and the location of the wedding on the property. Ceremony only weddings may take place between 10am-2pm with pricing starting at $3,000 again varying with the season and location on the property. Catering is additional.
Allied Arts Guild stands on part of what was once a vast 35,250-acre land grant dating back to the late 1700s. A king of Spain, probably Charles IV, ceded the property to Don Jose Arguello, commander of the Presidio of San Francisco. It was called Rancho de las Pulgas, literally “Ranch of the Fleas”!
In 1929, wealthy art lovers Delight and Garfield Merner bought 3.5 acres of the land located at the edge of Menlo Park, part of the Jeff Murray farm. Working closely with architect Gardner Dailey and artist Pedro de Lemos, they began to realize their dream of creating an arts guild in California. The Merners’ goals were to provide a serene, beautiful workplace for artists; to encourage the crafting of handsome objects for everyday use; and to support all peasant or folk art, especially that of early California.
The Guild’s iron and wood shops were the first in operation because they were needed in the construction of the rest of the complex. The original Murray barn and sheds on the grounds were preserved, and the main building was constructed on the framework of the old Murray farmhouse. New buildings of Spanish Colonial design were added. Ansel Adams was the Guild’s photographer of record and took the first interior and exterior photographs shortly after the buildings were completed.
San Francisco built Pulgas Water Temple as a monument to the engineering marvel that brought Hetch Hetchy water more than 160 miles across California from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the Bay Area. The Hetch Hetchy Project took 24 years to build through the Great Depression at a cost of $102 million.
On October 28, 1934, the roar of Hetch Hetchy mountain water greeted everyone gathered at Pulgas Water Temple to celebrate its arrival. With vivid memories of the fire that had raged unchecked after the Great Earthquake of 1906, the city rejoiced in its new secure, plentiful supply of high quality drinking water. The frieze above the columns expresses the city’s joyful relief: “I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people.”
Pulgas Water Temple was designed in the Beaux Arts style by William Merchant, a San Francisco architect trained by Bernard Maybeck. Merchant’s design featured fluted columns and Corinthian capitals to reflect the architecture of ancient Greeks and Romans, whose engineering methods were used to build the new water system. Artist and master stone carver Albert Bernasconi brought Merchant’s drawings to life.
Enjoying the Site
Pulgas Water Temple is located about one-half mile south of the Cañada Road trailhead. To get there, take Interstate 280 to the Edgewood Road exit. Proceed west on Edgewood Road to Cañada Road, then north on Cañada Road approximately two miles to the temple.
The Pulgas Water Temple is a stone structure west of I-280 at 80 Cañada Road, Redwood City, California, USA, designed by architect William G. Merchant. It was erected by the San Francisco Water Department to commemorate the 1934 completion of the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct and is located at the aqueduct’s terminus. In 1938, the original water temple was replaced with the current design.
San Francisco and surrounding communities get water from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir approximately 160 miles away via the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct. Water once made the journey to the Pulgas Water Temple and flowed over a small C-shaped waterfall within the water temple itself where it continued approximately 800 feet down a canal to the west into Upper Crystal Springs Reservoir. Starting in 2004, water no longer flows through the temple, but instead is diverted to a nearby treatment plant where chloramine added at the Sunol treatment plant is removed. The retreated water then either enters the drinking water system after being chloraminated yet again at another plant or is stored as surplus inUpper Crystal Springs Reservoir.
Pulgas Water Temple and its parking lot are open to the public on weekdays, Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
The parking lot is closed on weekends, except for permitted events. To obtain a permit for your wedding or group event, call us at 650-872-5900.