A member of a noted family of engineers, well known in Scotland, Duncan P. McLachlan has for the past eight years been connected with the municipal public utilities of Palo Alto as mechanical engineer, and for four years he has been superintendent at the city's electric light plant, water works, pumping plant, incinerator and swimming pool, all the power machinery being housed in the fine water works plant on Newell Road. All are municipally owned, Palo Alto having made an outstanding success in the ownership of its public utilities.

Mr. McLachlan was born in Dumbartonshire, Scotland, October 25, 1886, the son of George and Marian (Lockhard) McLachlan, both natives of the land of the heather, but residents of Palo Alto for a number of years. The father is a stone cutter, and superintended the stone cutting and erection of nearly all the work in the Stanford University quadrangle. He preceded the family here, being joined by them in 1900. The McLachlan family is well known in Scotland, practically all its members being machinists and engineers of note, with the exception of George McLachlan, who took up the work of stone cutting and is an expert in this line. His brother, Admiral McLachlan, was prominent in the transportation service between France and England in the late war.

Mr. and Mrs. George McLachlan were the parents of six children, five of whom are living, Duncan P. being the third child. He was only two years old when his parents came from Scotland to Toronto, Ontario, where they lived for several years, going from there to Virden, Manitoba, and then to Cincinnati, Ohio, where they lived for two years. When Duncan was eleven years old, they removed to Detroit, Mich., and there he worked in various machine shops, among them the power house of the American Car & Foundry Company. He became interested in the automobile business in its infancy, being associated with the Oldsmobile plant, and worked for the pioneer automobile manufacturer, Mr. Olds, helping turn out the first thirty of forty engines for the first Oldsmobile runabouts ever built.

In 1902 Mr. McLachlan came to Palo Alto and attended the preparatory school in Manzanita Hall for three years, and in 1905 he started the first garage in Palo Alto, located on High Street, and here he handled the Pope-Hartford automobiles, this being one of the earliest companies to manufacture cars. This building was wrecked in the earthquake of 1906, and Mr. Lachlan suffered a severe financial loss. He then went to Redwood, Cal., and for two years ran an automobile repair shop there, then took charge of three launches and three automobiles for the late W. H. Hanson at his planing mill at Tacoma, Wash., and remaining there for five years. Returning to Palo Alto in 1913, he entered the employ of the city under John F. Bixby Jr., who is still chief city engineer and head of the Board of Public Works of Palo Alto. Mr. McLachlan has helped install every engine in the city's power house, and with his usual capability, he stands high as one of the city's most efficient and trusted employees. In 1907, at Palo Alto, Mr. McLachlan was married to Miss Cornelia Ann Buckhout, a native daughter, born at Chico, Cal., and they are the parents of three children, Donald, Elizabeth and Margaret. The family home is at 1148 Bryant Street.

From Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 1153 


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight