1930s: Supervisors Hear Coastsiders During Depression Era

From The Times and Daily News Leader, October 1935

Mrs. Margaret T. Kyne , Moss Beach, requested that the County Roads leading from Balboa Boulevard to the terminus of Reliance Avenue in Marine View Addition Tract, be repaired. On motion of Supervisors Witt and Beer, the Engineering Department was instructed to inspect the roads referred to.


The Recreation Committee recommended: (1) That the National Park Service be requested to take jurisdiction over the work program of the SERA camp in Memorial Park in order to continue the work of this camp. (2) That the Planning Commission be requested to designate a representative to assist in coordinating functions of the Planners and the activities of the National Park Service in planning the work program under the foregoing proposal, and (3) that an auxiliary or additional work project under the National Park Service, be provided for development of Thornton Beach, now being acquired by the County.

Secretary Sophie W. Root of the Recreation Commission explained usefulness of the project.

On motion of Supervisors Witt and High, the Commissions recommendations were approved and the Executive authorized to carry out its requests.


Final report of Harry W. Arnold, Lobitos Creek Bridge Inspector, together with a statement signed by Arnold and entitled “Review of the wooden bridges constructed during this period—1934=35.”


Eva Montevaldo, San Gregorio, complained of the condition of the road leading to her place. On motion of Supervisors High and Beer, the matter was referred to the Engineering Department.


A petition of 28 property owners and taxpayers of the Half Moon Bay Sanitary District requesting action necessary to eliminate unsanitary conditions in connection with the septic tank at the end of the sewer system in said district, was read. On motion of Supervisors Witt and High, the matter was referred to the Health Director and Engineer for Action.

Does it feel like “The Day the Earth Stood Still?”


My partner, Burt,  says only science fiction can describe the horrific situation that is touching all of us. Nobody has experienced what we are going through now. It is an entirely new experience.

Burt says the sci  fi flick that most closely parallels what’s happening now is “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” originally released post WWII  in 1951. [There was a remake in 2008.]

But, Burt quickly adds, in  “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” somebody was in control. There was the ubiquitous “they.” He does not see the they 

In the present The Day the Earth Stood Still playing out 

1974 wasn’t a good year either

1974: Letter to my dad from the Irving Trust Company




Irving Trust Company
One Wall Street
New York, NY 10015

March 27, 1974

Dear Mr. Martin (that’s my dad)

We are in receipt of your letter of March 13, 1974 regarding shares of Central Public Service Corporation, common stock, registered in the name of Tarantino Investment Co. Please be advised that this company was reorganized in 1952, with no equity remaining from the old company. Therefore, any shares held before 1952 are valueless.

Also enclosed are letters dated September 3, 1952 from the company regarding this matter.

Very truly yours

E. Vargas

August 31, 1909: Who wants a used stagecoach?

September 1909, from the files of the  Half Moon Bay Review

Another of San Mateo county’s enterprises has passed into history. The old San Mateo and Pescadero stage line has discontinued.  Tuesday evening, August 31,  1909  was the last trip of the line which for 47 years has been the means of conveyance of the mail and express as well as passengers, first from San Francisco direct and later from San Francisco and San Mateo.

The line was first started and owned by R. Dougherty of Purissima, running from San Francisco to Purissima in 1862. In 1864 Mr. Dougherty extended the line to Pescadero.

In 1865 Doughterty retired leaving the field to his competitor, who operated the San Mateo and Pescadero line. In 1883 the company which owned and operated the line just discontinued, was formed and composed of Levy Bros., Jos. Debenedetti and J. Boitano, and which did a thriving business until the advent of the Ocean Shore Railroad.

The mail and express contracts which were carried by the company have been transferred to other parties. The contracts from San Mateo to Half Moon Bay are being carried out and conveyances run by the enterprising proprietors of the Pilarcitos Stables, while the contracts from Half Moon Bay to Pescadero are fulfilled by J. Davis…

While we chronicle the passing of the stage line let us not forget that veteran driver Robert Rawls, or Buckskin Bob of other days, who for nearly half a century has handled the ribbons in various parts of the state. In 1861 Mr. Rawls drove stage on what was called the Los Angeles run from San Luis Obispo to San Juan, in 1866 from  San Juan to San Jose, coming to the coast to drive on the San Mateo and Pescadero line in 1867…

Purissima Creek: Let’s go Fishing (Psst: First Pass the dynamite!)

Story from John Vonderlin

Email John ([email protected])

Hi June,
This story, eight years after the whistful looking-back-at-the-Good-Old-Days La Purisima” story about the degraded circumstances in Purisima Creek, might explain one aspect of the problem of the fish disappearing from local streams at that time. Enjoy. John
The San Francisco Morning Call
August 24, 1900
Rod and Line

Streams Which Will Be Stocked   To-Day
With Ranbow Trout.
Superintendent   of   Fish-hatcheries   Wood –
berry   and   his   attendant,  Richardson,   will
arrive   from   Bissons   this   morning   with   40,000
young   fry   of   the   rainbow   trout,   which   will
be   distributed   in   the   La   Honda,   San
Gregorio   and   Pescadero   creeks   in   San
Mateo   County.
These   streams   have   numerous   tributaries,
which   will   benefit   by   the   stocking   of   the
main   waters.   The   Pescadero   is   a   magnifi –
cent   stream,   and   carries   a   large   body   of
water   in   the   summer,   as   well   as   in   the
winter   months.   It   is   hoped   that   the   farm –
ers   who   reside   in   the   vicinity   of   the   glens
will   take   an   interest   in   the   labors   of   the
gentlemen   who   are   connected   with   the
Fish   Commission,   and   use   their   utmost   en –
deavors   to   bring   to   justice   those   who   are   in
the   habit   of   destroying  fish   by   giant-powder
explosives   during   the   winter   season   when
the   salmon   run   up   the   river   to   spawn.   In
a   few   years   hence,   if   the   vandalism   which
has   been   going   on   without   interruption   for
years   be   checked,   the   fraternity   who   enjoy
good   trout   fishing   will   be   delighted   with
the   sport   these   streams   will   afford   when   the
youngsters   arrive   sit   their   majority.
The   average   freight   of   a   lull   grown   rain –
bow   trout   is   lrcm   2 1/2   to   3   pounds,   and   a
greater   trout   is   hard   to   find.
‘The   Dolly   Varden   is   a   more   stubborn
customer   to   land,   but   his   rushes   are   not   as
desperate   as   the   rainbow,   who   tires   himself
completely   out   in   the   early   part   of   the   fight
for   liberty.   The   “Dolly,”   when   hooked,
generally   goes   to   the   bottom   of   the   river
where   it   lodges   and   remains   so   doggedly
steadfast   that   one   not   acquainted
with   the   fishes’   ways   of   battle,   would   im –
agine   that   his   hook   bad   become   fastened   in
a   tree-root   or   some   hidden   substance.
A   steady   pressure   on   the.   line   will   soon
convince   the   man   on   the   shore   end   of   the
rod   “that   he   is   still   in   it,”   and   presently
the   reel   sings   as   the   silk   runs   through   the
loops   of   the   rod.   Then   it   is   that   care
must   betaken   to   prevent   the   fish   from   mak –
ing   some   place   of   its  vantage   which,   if   once
gained,   is   almost   sure   to   give   it   its   freedom.
The   hooking,   play   and   landing   of   a   four –
pound   Dolly   varden   trout   is   sport   which   is
thoroughly   appreciated   by   the   angler   who
understands   the   art   of   fly-casting.
Of   the   two   species   of   trout   the   rainbow
is   preferred   by   anglers,   principally   on   ac –
count   of   its   system   of   feeding.   In   the
months   of   June,   July   and   August   it   rises
freely   “to   the   fly”   and   as   a   matter   of   con –
sequence   the   angler   with   artificial   devices
can   rely   upon   having   some   good sport.
The   Dolly   Varden   feeds   principally   on
grubs   and   larva   which   are   swept   by   the
current and lodge  generally   on   the   bottom
of   the   deep   holes   and   whirlpools.   Occa –
sionally   a   dolly   is   tempted   to   the   surface
ol   the   water,   but   as   a   general   rule   this
species   of   trout   are   what   is   termed   by
anglers   “bottom-feeders.”
It   is   quite   probable   that   the   Fish   Com –
missioners   will   honor   some   of   the   residents
of   San   Mateo   County   with   badges   entitling
them   to   the   office   of   deputy   commissioners.
It   is   certain   that   unless   a   custom   which
has   prevailed   among   classes   of   men   who
have   been   destroying   thousands   of   fish   by
explosives   is   stopped   the   efforts   of-   the
Fish   Commissioners   to   restock   the   streams
with   a   magnificent   fish   will   be   a   worthless

1890s: The Coastside’s Poetic Editor Visits La Purisima

Story by June Morrall Email June ([email protected])

1890s: The Coastside Advocate’s Poetic Editor Visits “The Purisima”

Known for his passionate prose, Half Moon Bay newspaper editor Roma T. Jackson complained bitterly that the locals did not appreciate the natural beauty of the Coastside. When the subject came up, Roma got very angry and wagged his finger in warning. If folks didn’t wake up, he said, and capitalize on the potential of their richly endowed surroundings, then, outsiders would do it for them.

What did that mean? “Outsiders would do it for them?” Jackson knew exactly what he was saying: “it” meant humiliation for the locals on a grand scale. 

Roma T. Jackson strongly believed that fame and fortune awaited beautiful Half Moon Bay if she chose to follow the business plan of “popular pleasure resorts.” In the 1890s there were many success stories to point to including the resorts at Santa Cruz and Monterey/Carmel.

On the pages of his newspaper, the Coastside Advocate, Mr. Jackson revealed that visitors had wondered aloud (and within his earshot)…”why the people here do not avail themselves of the varied attractions which nature has so lavishly bestowed upon them. Here, they say, is one of the finest and safest beaches for surf bathing that can be found on the whole coast, and yet there is not a single bathhouse, public or private.”

[As a historic footnote: In the early 1900s, a two-story public bathhouse was built overlooking El Granada Beach, also known as “Surfer’s Beach.” In the 1920s, during Prohibition, the bathhouse was converting into a home, with family members, both adults and teenagers farming chokes and sprouts, and doing some bootlegging on the side.]

Roma Jackson hadn’t finished his editorial extolling the Coastside’s natural wealth. But did he go overboard? Did he heap too much praise on Half Moon Bay?

Here is also the most wonderful moss beach,” Jackson wrote,”on the continent and yet it is hardly known outside the neighborhood, and not even appreciated there. Here are some of the most attractive redwood forests and pleasant mountain retreats in the state, besides hunting and fishing grounds innumerable, and yet they are frequented by but a comparatively small number of pleasure seekers each season.”

Jackson’s love of the Coastside led up to his well known warning: “We who live adjacent and right in the midst of these wonderful attractions under-appreciate their importance, and when the time soon comes that outside enterprise and capital will open them up to the public, advertise them and reap a rich reward, then we will repent not having improved the opportunities so long open to us.”

When it came to the Coastside’s future, Roma displayed a missionary zeal. His emotions ran deep about her vast potential. One good example was a story he wrote describing a heavenly carriage ride into the Purisima Canyon, sometimes also spelled Purissima. With its constantly changing scenery, a visit to pretty Purisima topped the list of many.

It was early spring,  a sun-shiny Sunday morning when the Roma T. Jackson entourage set out for a picnic in the nearby woods. The gentle ocean breeze fluttered over the green fields, and Roma said he felt like a new man driving one of William Nelson’s “family chariots, with the requisite amount of equine power to locomote it.” Jackson wrote:” …the drive to Purissima from Half Moon Bay soothes a tired brain with dreamy fancies, causing the mind to dwell only on the happiest phases of rural existence….”

As he “sallied forth” in the chariot, the curious Jackson tried to sort out the highlights of the passing bucolic  scenery. This was hard because sightseeing was limited for a horse and carriage on a bad road. If he had been a passenger on the Ocean Shore Railroad, he might have enjoyed the rolling landscape as it unfolded before him like a moving panorama. To the east he admired the fields of grain that rose on the gently sloping hills, “whose sheen of emerald is bespangled with grazing herds and white farm houses.” To the west the fields spread “…to the very bank beneath which the restless waves break on a sandy beach…”

The only blot on this pastoral scene was the curl of black smoke emanating from the occasional passing steamer at sea. When the Jackson party reached their destination, Purissima Creek, famous for trout fishing, the editor suggested they crack open a bottle of wine. (This is what he actually wrote: we were “overcome with an intense longing to … imbibe some of the famous Purissima water diluted with — with — a stick in it, but out of both fear and respect for the feminine portion of the party, the desire was suppressed…”

[This emotional reference to water with a stick in it must have made sense to Coastsiders in 1891, but I have no clue to its present day meaning.]        

The carriage rolled through the miniscule hamlet of Purissima, and onto the road that wound back into the Borden & Hatch Redwoods. For several miles a broad vista of farms, gardens, dairies, and orchards fanned out before Jackson and his friends. These were the ranches belonging to Jorden, Taylor, Cowell, Shoults, Banghart, Campbell, Nelson, McGovern and Higgins.

Three miles later the scenery abruptly changed. The valley narrowed until it was called a canyon.

Precipitous hills thickly studded with stately redwoods” replaced the green slopes where cattle had grazed “knee deep” in the grass. “Up through the semi-darkness of the shadowy canyons,” Jackson penned that in the distance he could see “somber ghosts of once stately trees that long since fell victims to the woodsman’s ax…

“…In the bottom of this picturesque canyon, the Purissima Creek babbles along through miniature waterfalls, shallows and eddies, where the speckled trout ….darts hither and thither…in the azure depths overhung by feather ferns…”

When Roma and his friends entered the heart of the redwood forest, they saw the famous 
Borden & Hatch lumber mill. Nearby stood a cluster of houses occupied in the summer when the “engines were put in motion and the huge saws sung through the logs.” The shingle mill stood half a mile above the lumber mill. 

After inspecting Borden & Hatch’s, Roma Jackson put on his “photographer’s hat,” snapping beautiful images of the scenery. [And how I wish I knew what happened to those photos!]

A wool blanket was spread beneath a grove of towering redwoods, and at noon the friends enjoyed a delicious lunch accompanied by a bottle or two of fine champagne. 

In the 1890s the carriage ride into Purissima Canyon became a popular day trip.