Words by Dylan Lanier
At first glance, Woodside’s Independence Hall appears quaint yet unremarkable. With simple white panels and a rustic blue door, the building reveals little indication of its rich history. Built in 1884, the structure emerged as the Woodside community began to rapidly grow. Where sawmills once flourished, small cattle ranches, farms and vineyards took their place—as did wealthy families from San Francisco who constructed country estates in the area. Independence Hall was originally erected a ways down from its current Woodside Avenue location. It also spent nearly eight decades at Albion Avenue. During its Prohibition days as a dance hall, the building was closed for “rowdiness.” Luckily, 23 years later, it regained respectability and reopened as Scout Hall. In 1972, the land beneath the property sold and the building moved back to its original location. Finally, in 1991, it moved next to Town Hall, where it currently stands after a complete restoration. Today, the site is used for town meetings and events, providing room for lectures and serving as the starting point for Woodside’s annual Fun Run and May Day Parade. Providing Woodside residents with an enduring public space to gather and connect, Independence Hall remains a shining example of the Peninsula’s many hidden historical gems.