Easter Cross Stands as Shining Beacon for Peninsula

The 94 foot tall cross remains a landmark inspiring curiosity and awe in many neighborhoods in the Bay Area.

The big white cross up in Emerald Hills is a familiar sight to most Redwood City residents who have ever looked up at the horizon of lush green foliage just past Interstate 280. You can see "The Cross" (as it has been dubbed by the curious locals down below) from the field at , from on Upton Street, from as far away as Palo Alto...heck, you can see The Cross from my kitchen window. But what is "The Cross" exactly?

The answer dates back almost one hundred years, in the decade of the Roaring 20's of Redwood City life. The Emerald Lake Hills area had been developed several years earlier as a getaway for San Francisco residents tired of the strenuous and dispiriting World War I lifestyle of the time. In 1929, at the crest of California Way in Emerald Hills, an outdoor amphitheater christened the "Easter Bowl" was built, with an 82 foot tall cross denoting the highest point of the developed area. Thus, the creation of the first Easter Cross.

That's right, the cross that stands tall over the hills of Redwood City today is actually the second Easter Cross at that location, on the same land where the Easter Bowl (which no longer exists) used to stand.

Why? Because years later the original cross would be horribly vandalized and subsequently rebuilt at an impressive height of 94 feet. This is the cross that we see today.

Although the Easter cross stands as a solitary tribute to the Lord, beckoning from down below in the flatlands, in actuality the Easter cross is surrounded by barbed wire fences and water towers, making it impossible for pedestrians to actually reach the base of the cross. 

The Easter Cross stands, still and tranquil, peaceful and serene, among the flowered hills and twisting, narrow roads of Emerald Hills, a landmark at nearly the very border of the Emerald Hills area.

Although climbing the hill and walking around near the cross is prohibited, there are many vantage points along the nearby roads that afford visitors a beautiful view of the majestic cross and the panoramic views surrounding it.

Eggbert April 28, 2011 at 04:33 PM
"To the Lord"? Which Lord? Is this a news item or an evangelist's screed? Again, the failure to distinguish between opinion pieces and reportage, paid journalists and puffery or promotion, weakens the credibility of the entire venue.
Reality Check April 28, 2011 at 04:41 PM
Since it would obviously be a ridiculous eyesore to be fair to everyone and have equally-sized icons representing all faiths and belief systems alongside the Easter cross, it would be much better to not have any such huge religious icons looming over all the believers and atheists that make up our fine community.
donna April 28, 2011 at 06:37 PM
I can see the cross from my living room, amidst the green trees and I LOVE and take comfort in it. To each his own, but I for one think it is a unique part of the redwood city landscape and find great pleasure in it. I walk my girls to school via the Buddhist temple and enjoy the peaceful landscape there as well. You do not have to be faithful to appreciate beauty and tradition.
commuter April 28, 2011 at 06:49 PM
The cross was privately built on privately-owned land and continues to be privately maintained, right? Other religions are free to build their own monuments on their own property.
Reality Check April 29, 2011 at 07:16 PM
Privately built or not -- I think most like-minded people would join me in being unhappy with a 94-foot tall red pentagram in place of the Easter cross. Since I completely get this, I would never dream of supporting a 94-foot tall symbol of my -- or any other -- faith there either. So, for argument's sake, let's stipulate a private entity manages to buy the Easter cross and replaces it with another religious icon -- a 94-foot red "satanic" pentagram inscribed with "666." (Or whatever -- I think you get the idea.) Those who feel the Easter cross is acceptable and/or have no issue with it are welcome to explain why they would similarly support a privately-built pentagram in its place. And if -- like me -- they wouldn't support it, then they are bolstering the point of my original posting.
Clinton Miller May 22, 2011 at 03:25 AM
The cross and the surrounding "water tank" property (as it is officially designated) is today on Redwood City-owned municipal land. Mostly the property is leased out to the various telecommunications companies that operate cellular base stations surrounding the base of the cross. The cross has electrical service and a night illumination system, although it no longer seems to be lighted at night.
austin May 22, 2012 at 06:48 PM
This article's language is laughable. The majestic cross is a shining beacon for the peninsula? Get over yourself. Would you use that kind of language if it were a symbol for any other belief you didn't happen to be born into?
Reality Check May 22, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Indeed. Try "the majestic pentagram is a shining beacon for ..."
jensen roldan May 31, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Those that do not believe are not being forced to look in it's beautiful direction. I, personally am drawn to it's Truth and beauty. Be careful denial is a dangerous thing.
Reality Check May 31, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Faith means not wanting to know what is true. What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof. Where knowledge ends, religion begins.
Bianca Wang September 11, 2012 at 11:15 PM
ok non believers and those who do not yet know the love of God....you want us to be tolerant of you..then be tolerant of Christians... where is the love?
Enquiring Mind September 12, 2012 at 03:36 AM
I am surprised to learn it is on city-owned land.The seems to be against the separation of church and state. Curious that no one has filed a suit or called the ACLU.
West Bay January 08, 2013 at 11:46 AM
Know your history! California is a state founded by Christians. The first buildings ever built in California were in the name of God. The first building in the Bay Area was Mission Dolores, a Catholic Church. All the names of our cities, parks and streets are named after the saints and the holy things in heaven(San Francisco, San Carlos, Santa Clara and so on). We even have a 103 foot cross on Mt Davidson in The City thats even bigger then this one. California IS and has always been a Christian state, why should that change now? If your an Atheist why dont you take your ass to a state where Atheism is the state moto. Godless places like China and North Korea and Cuba. Have fun there. If your a Muslim or a Jew go back to your countries where you they dont have giant monuments to Jesus. If you want to live in California thats fine too but respect our religion and dont expect US to change who we are and our history because it dosnt conform to your cultural norms. I respect religious tolerance and everything but you mutha fuckers are getting way to pushy. Its almost as religious tolerance means anti-jesus these days. Fuck that! San Francisco Peninsula born and bread and still here. California raised baby!!! Love our Catholic heritage and religion here in the Bay Area and would never trade if for anything!!
Colin Kaplan January 13, 2013 at 08:24 AM
Where are the haters now? So quiet when someone stands up for their beliefs.


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