Lizzie Wienke’s Story (3)

I wrote this in 1999.

Lizzie Wienke, the most popular teacher in San Mateo County, meets Joe Nash, the well-liked County Clerk.

Like Lizzie, Joe Nash was a “true Coastsider.” Although born in San Rafael, Joe and his family moved to Half Moon Bay, where he attended the local schools. His father served on the board of education, and before turning to politics, Joe taught school. He met a wide variety of people, helping build his political base, while working for Levy Bros. at their string of general stores in Pescadero, San Gregorio, Half Moon Bay and San Mateo.

Elected County Clerk in 1906, Joe Nash quickly became highly regarded as a public servant. On one occasion, a couple anxious to “tie the knot” woke him up at midnight seeking his signature on their marriage license. Nash graciously complied and even served as the best man for the spontaneous ceremony.

A year later, Lizzie Wienke and Joe Nash themselves were wed at the Moss Beach Hotel, with only relatives present.

After the nuptials, the newlyweds departed for San Francisco’s St. Francis Hotel aboard the Ocean Shore Railroad, reportedly the first bridal couple to travel over the breathtaking scenic route.

A six-week honeymoon took the Nashs to the East Coast and Toronto, Canada, where Joe represented California at the Independent Order of Foresters’ convention. Upon their return to San Mateo County, Lizzie and Joe settled down in a Redwood City home constructed on the lot Lizzie won two years earlier in the popularity contest.

The honeymoon was barely over when Joe Nash became a central figure in the worst political scandal in San Mateo County’s history.

(Part 4 coming next)