The site of the Central Park is possibly the sole surviving example of the late nineteenth century estates once so numerous on the Peninsula.
Charles B. Polhemus, Director of the San Francisco & San Jose Railroad and founder of Central San Mateo, purchased this land in 1852.
William Kohl, founding partner of the Alaska Commercial Company, acquired the property in 1880.
In 1922, the City purchased these 16 acres for $80,000. The Central Park boundaries are unchanged from the former Kohn Estate with the exception of the narrow Ninth Avenue frontage added in 1926.
Remaining from the days of Captain Kohl are the 900-foot artistic iron fence along the El Camino Real and the cast iron dog statue from Italy standing along the pathway that meanders between Kohl's plantings of Oak, Redwood, and other specimen trees.
Kohl Mansion, located on the corner of Fifth and Laurel, housed the first campus of San Mateo Junior College and was demolished in 1928.
The pumphouse, constructed between 1890-1910, is the only surviving building that predates the City's acquisition of the property. The pump mechanism for the 240-foot deep well is still housed inside and continues to provide water for the extensive park landscaping. Two redwood storage tanks stood 35 feet in elevation to the west.
The San Mateo Arboretum Society began restoration of surrounding gardens, greenhouses, and pumphouse - now its headquarters - in 1976.