Words by Dylan Lanier
Today, the Lindenwood gates mark the entrance to an upscale Atherton neighborhood filled with lush greenery and elegant homes. The gates also tell a story of the past, reaching back to the California Gold Rush. James C. Flood, born in 1826 in New York City, traveled to San Francisco in 1849 and eventually carved out a name for himself in the mining world, amassing a fortune rumored to have once been the largest in California. He purchased a 600-acre tract of land in Atherton and set to work constructing a sprawling network of houses and gardens, including a crowning 44-room mansion named Linden Towers. James C. Flood initially built a white picket fence to enclose the property, but his son, James L. Flood, replaced the fence with brick walls and the now iconic iron gates in 1908 after gaining control of the estate. Until his death in 1926, James L. Flood always kept the gateway to Linden Towers open so that all members of the community could admire its architectural grandeur and stunning grounds. After Flood’s death, his second wife, Maud Flood, deemed the property a bygone relic, auctioning off its furniture and ordering its demolition in 1936. The estate was subdivided in stages into 488 current homes, most of which sit on one-acre parcels. However, the gates remain standing—a symbol of the Peninsula’s vibrant history, emblazoned with the initials “JCF” to commemorate the Flood family’s legacy.