Nancy Maule: Notable Coastside Environmentalist




In 1980-81 I interviewed Montara environmentalist Nancy Maule at her Montara home for “The Mystery of Half Moon Bayâ€?. I don’t know what I expected but she looked like a stern schoolteacher. As soon as she began talking it was obvious that she was not only passionate about her beliefs but she knew the history of environmentalism on the Coastside.

A proposed freeway helped fuel Nancy’s activism (she didn’t drive a car when I met her). She recalled hosting a meeting in her living room organized to fight the freeway, with the preservation of open space the objective.

Nancy’s group considered the possibilities of a federal reserve stretching from Milagra Ridge to the north all the way south to Highway 92, encompassing some 40,000 acres.

“When we first arrived in the 1950s,â€? she told me, “there were no development plans. It was quiet until the early ‘60s. Then we heard [Henry] Doelger had huge plans to develop.â€?

[Doelger was eyeing Princeton-by-the-Sea for what he envisioned as a “Polynesian Villageâ€?, with all the “tropicalâ€? trappings you can imagine].

There’s a local legend, Nancy said. “Doelger brought the president of the Bank of America to one of the hilltops, waved his hand, and said: ‘Eureka! We’ve found it! Here’s my new city’. The Bank of America president thought it was a great idea.

“….The only plans effectively carried out can be seen in Half Moon Bay—which delineates the philosophical attitude between Half Moon Bay and the rest of the Coastside,â€? Nancy said, adding that “All growth comes to pass in Half Moon Bay.â€?

Note: Nancy Maule’s group of activists successfully picketed Henry Doelger’s project at Princeton. The big developer’s plans for a “Polynesian Fishing Village” fell through but he did construct a housing subdivision across the way, on the east side of Highway 1.