Was The Shingle King Murdered? Part III

Hatchmen.jpgHatch’s Mill, circa 1910. Photo: Ken Fisher

“The Purisima” (pardon me for spelling two different ways: Purissima, now Purisima) is located south of Half Moon Bay and west of present day tree-lined Skyline Blvd near somewhat remote Kings Mountain.

Purdy Pharis’s mill stood in the middle of nowhere and the frustration of moving large bundles of shingles to market quickly led to experimentation. After a while Purdy sought the services of an outside engineer who built a mile-long tramway and cable, with a lift of 1,000 feet, which transported hundreds of shingles from the depths of the beautiful canyon to the breathtaking mountaintop. But serious accidents put an abrupt end to the experiment.

Purdy wasn’t working alone in the Purisima. Besides his tough crew, in the immediate vicinity stood the famous George Borden and Rufus Hatch lumber mill. South of the top of Kings Mountain stood “Grabtown”–a temporary “village” and resting place for tired loggers moving wood from the dark green canyons to the busy port of Redwood City. To the west in the direction of the Pacific Ocean, where the forest abruptly ended, farmer Henry Dobbel was busy planting rows of potatoes that would be shipped to San Francisco.

After handling hundreds of thousands of shingles, Purdy Pharis was crowned the “Shingle King.”

But apparently the notoriety didn’t spoil him. When Purdy’s employees tried to demonstrate their esteem for him by shining his dirty boots, according to “Sawmills in the Redwoods,” Pharis seemed embarassed and looked for the nearest dust piles to dirty them once again.

…To Be Continued….