Josiah “JP” Ames had his finger in every sector of Half Moon Bay’s miniscule economy. He owned a flour mill where the grain was ground and cracked. In 1873, when 700 citizens lived in Half Moon Bay, the mill turned out 50 barrels of flour per day. He supplied the town with water. He was the proprietor of the Half Moon Bay Livery Stable at Main and Kelly.
“J.P. Ames has selected and stocked one of the best equine establishments on the coast,” bragged the Times & Gazette. Perhaps he rented horses for the Fourth of July races at the Half Moon Bay Trotting Track. But there were hard times, too: in 1869 his friend James Denniston died at age 45 of Bright’s Disease (related to the kidneys).
Ames’ wife died in 1871 and he remarried later. In 1874 JP was the last survivor of Stevenson’s Regiment in San Mateo County.
A significant contribution by JP Ames was the building of a wharf and warehouse at the mouth of the Arroyo de en Medio in 1868 in present day Miramar. Called Amesport Landing, the new wharf opened up a vital economic link with the outside world. From here the Coastside’s fresh local produce was shipped to market in San Francisco. A small, colorful village with seafaring characters sprang up around Amesport and the wharf prospered in the 1870s.
San Franciscans couldn’t buy enough Half Moon Bay potatoes, lettuce, cucumbers–and strawberries. In 1874 the steamer Monterey sailed off with 6000 sacks full. “This is almost like shipping coals to Newcastle,” remarked an amused reporter in the Times & Gazette.
…To be continued…