A Little Corner of Moss Beach, Part Two: An Email Conversation With Elaine Martini Teixeira

I am delighted to present Part II of my email conversation with Mrs. Elaine M. Teixeira, a most gracious woman, who shows us Moss Beach, as it was. Thank you Mrs. Teixeira.

lorettaelaine.jpeg (Mrs. Elaine M. Teixeira, at right, with her sister, Loretta.)

Half Moon Bay Memories (HMBM): You have family connections to the Torre family of Moss Beach. Are they related to Frank Torres, the deceased owner of the Marine View Restaurant?

Elaine Martini Teixeira (ETM)

Frank Torres is not related to the Torre family, he was from Peru – There is no “s” on our family name. My grandfather’s brother, Giovannibattista (John), had a son named Frank, the family lived above Ottavio Torre’s family on Sunshine Valley Road. That home is still there but boarded up. I had forgotten but, Donald Torre, my first cousin, said the State purchased it for a future bypass, but because of the forthcoming tunnel, the new road will not go thru there.

Frank Torres owned the Torres Marine View Hotel/restaurant

and the Montara Beach Hotel, along Highway 1, on the way to Devil’s Slide. The one in Montara burned down

and Frank Torres rebuilt it. Later it was rebuilt and became for the Chart House, then the Outrigge. It is still there, but closed. The Marine View spot is now the Distillery.

Did you know Fanny Torres?

Yes, I knew Fanny Torres, my Mother worked as a salad lady for Frank and Fanny at the Montara restaurant, knew them even before. No, she was not related to the Lea’s in HMB. They are Italian, she was not.

Please tell my readers a little about yourself.

My full name is Elaine Martini Teixeira. My brother, Raymond Martini, he and his wife Cathy, live in HMB; he used to have Reliable Plumbing in HMB. My older sister, Gloria Bernardo lives four house up from me in Redwood City. My younger sister, Loretta, is married to Guido Santini; they live opn the coast hwy, near Frenchman’s Creek.

I graduated from Moss Beach Grammar School,

and Half Moon Bay High School, the location in 1948 was on Kelly Avenue, across from the present Catholic Church.

My husband,Tony Teixeira, & I married in 1949 in the original Catholic Church, which is now the site of their social hall, behind the current church building. We had two children, Kevin, married with two children and living in Sunnyvale, and a daughter, Stacy, living in Sunnyvale. Tony died about 2 1/2 yrs ago. It is his two sisters, Mary Schuttloffel and Hazel Dooley Cornett, and father, Antone, on the front cover of your Princeton book (“Princeton-by-the-Sea“.) His brother was John, had Captain John’s boats in Princeton.

Why did Italians settle in Moss Beach?

One reason some of them settled there, they had relations that proceeded them, and they came to join family, all immigrants like to join others who speak their language, and, also, some came to get work, on the farms, etc. My Mother’s father and brothers, along with their father, may have settled first up in the gold country, and my Dad and his brothers joined their older half-brother up in Nevada. They all eventually came to San Francisco. My Mom’s father and his brother came to Moss Beach after the earthquake. Had dairy cows and guess the coastside gave them the opportunity to move the dairy down to Moss Beach and get away from the ‘quake area of San Francisco.

Were there any special places in Moss Beach where Italians would go to have fun?

There is another building, down old Highway 1 (originally Etheldore), below the grocery store, owned by my grandfather. There was a bar in there and all the daughters of the Torre brothers would come to the dances, and that is where several found their future husbands. I was recently told they also had movies up stairs, over the saloon area in this building. Later, of course, there was the Moss Beach Club building and there was the structure down on the Moss Beach

below the cliffs believe it was called the Reefs. I am sure there were other places, Dan’s had a bar and restaurant, up the road from our grocery store. Alot of entertaining was done in the homes.

Several of the family members, especially the women, met their husbands, as I said, at the dances. Many of the men worked on the local farms.

Both of my Mom’s cousins from her Mom’s side of the family, Daisy and Angelina Baresoni were quite young when their parents died; they were raised in Ottavio Torre’s family on Sunshine Valley Road. When the two finished grade school, they went to SF to work in the garment industry and lived with their dad’s relations, but they returned to live in Sunshine Valley, after their marriages.

Did you go to Moss Beach Grammar School? What about churches?


Yes, I attended Moss Beach Grammar School, all of my family did – plus various cousins. I, at one time, had six cousins going to school with me – David and June Torre, Donald Torre, Albert Bertolucci, Roy Cardellini and Bob Prouse.

The school building burned down; after it was closed. My younger sister , Loretta graduated from the Moss Beach school, called Faralone View, it was located up on the property above the Light House, part of the former Navel Station from World War II..

While I was in grade school, Montara School was closed and combined with Moss Beach.. Therefore, Rosina Pecoraro – who you knew – my two cousins, Roy Cardellini, Bob Prowse (children of Daisy and Angelina) – Georgina Bettencourt, Gladine and Clifford Harp, and a few others, all came down to Moss Beach to continue their education.

There was a Catholic Church, just a street or so below the Post Office, near the ocean. It was part of the HMB parish and the priests came out to conduct mass at 9 am every Sunday. We had religious lessons and received first communion there. A woman, Mrs. Jordan, who lived in Moss Beach, taught the lessons, and I believe, Margaret Kyne gave them, later.

There were, also, two places, one in Moss Beach (they came down from SF) close to the beach, and another up in Marine View (different order) where there were homes used by the Nuns for vacation.

I saw more of the nuns from Moss Beach, they would come in and shop at our store. It might be that later, priests, also came there for that reason, but not when I was young or living on the coast.

I have heard that Italians, who weren’t citizens had to move from the West side of Highway 1 to the East side during WWII. Is that true?



Yes, all the Italian families and others who were not citizens had to move. We were lucky that we were on the “right side” of the highway. The Cima family had to move, as well as the Benedetti family, who lived down below us on Hwy One, near the current entrance to Seton Hospital.

You certainly come from a large family!


I hope I didn’t misspell any names. AND, if you get lost along the way, I understand. The women that put together my “family book” would get so confused; in the Torre family, three brothers (another brother, Filipo, lived in SF) named a daughter Rose, two name them Lena, two Eva. To distinguish who they wee talking about, it was Little Rosie, Rosie Filipo, Little Eva, Big Lena and Little Lena – guess you get my point! For some reason, the boys lucked out, had more original names, some after past generations, but no duplications within the same generation.