The Earthen Corral

Festive rodeos lasting several days were commonplace around Miramar in the 1840s. Accompanied by much merry-making and feasting, the round-ups included scores of “rancherosâ€?, or owners, and their cowboys or “vaqueros.â€?

These exciting occasions were highlighted with spirited competition among the vaqueros to excel in horsemanship and use of the lasso.

Cattle chosen for later slaughter were lassoed by the vaqueros; thrown down and burned with owner’s hot brand. Otherwise the wild animals were released and allowed the roam another year on the Corral de Tierra.

The Corral de Tierra [encompassing the present day communities of Montara, Moss Beach, Princeton, El Granada, Miramar, stretching to Pilarcitos Creek in Half Moon Bay] means earth corral. It was so named because the surrounding geographical features form a natural enclosure for cattle.

Up until 1840 Mission Dolores used the land for grazing. The Coastside was isolated territory, cut off from civilization by mountainous barriers, and the hills concealed a considerable population of mountain lions and grizzly bears.