Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society (BDDS): Pete’s PICK ….MOIRA SMILEY & VOCO…SUNDAY NOV 8

DSCN0780(BDDS) Pete Douglas says: Come see Moira Smiley & VOCO on Sunday, November 8. They’re folk singers.


(BDDS) Linda Goetz says: Next Sunday, Nov. 8th, Pete booked some really interesting folk vocalists – part of our World Music variety. It’s not Jazz or Classical. Thought you might be interested. Would be nice to see some of my friends here. You can check out their music on the links below.

Halloween: Frank & Fanny


Fanny & Frank Torres, once the  owners of restaurants in Moss Beach and Montara, including the Distillery, loved to dress up for the holidays. Here they are in Halloween attire—and behind them is the painting I have written about–the one of Frank Torres, wearing suit and tie, with Devil’s Slide behind him.

Thanks to the Millicent Muller for the image.

RIP Frank Sylvestri: The Half Moon Bay Airport Was All About Frank

Frank Sylvestri WAS the Half Moon Bay Airport; his hangar was called “West Coast Aviation,” with a giant cartoon of Snoopy on the roof. You know the one. You’ve seen it a million times driving south toward Half Moon Bay.

The former WWII pilot passed away on Wednesday, his son, Paul told me today.

The road parallel to Highway 1, leading to the Three-Zero Restaurant at the Half Moon Bay Airport is called “Frank Sylvestri Way.” Isn’t it nice when the County names something after a real local person?

In 1950 Frank became the manager of the airport, holding that position for nearly three decades when he decided to start up business in his famous hangar called “West Coast Aviation.” Oh, and you know in that classic 1957 movie “The Spirit of St. Louis”, starring James Stewart–it isn’t Stewart piloting the plane with the same name as the film—it’s our own Frank Sylvestri, a very good reason to rent the movie. Some of the scenes were filmed in Princeton-by-the-Sea.

If you want to know more about Frank, please visit the restaurant, enjoy a meal, and read the plaque on the wall. It’s all about Frank.


John Vonderlin: The DEVIL’S SLIDE (1950-51)

Story by John Vonderlin
Email John: [email protected]


Hi June,
During the winter rains of 1950-51, the Devil’s Slide area had its third major closing. That time for 93 days, following closings of 47 days in both 1938 and 1942. While there wasn’t an article in the “Highways and Public Works” magazine describing the technical difficulties of its repairs, there was a cover page aerial photograph of it, post repairs, in the July-August 1951 issue. A short caption explained:
Sign Route 1 on Pedro Mountain in San Mateo County restored after last winter’s spectacular slide which required clearing of 900,000 cubic yards of slide material. (Aerial photo by M.R. Nickerson, Chief, Photographic Section, Department of Public Works.



And enjoy “Crossing Devil’s Slide, 1970s,” a little movie made by June

1970s Silent Moovie: Crossing Devil’s Slide from June Morrall on Vimeo.

June Morrall: Let’s Meet at the El Granada Post Office

Story by June Morrall

On the Coastside, we who live in El Granada are lucky to have post office boxes. You can choose home delivery via the Half Moon Bay Route, but hardly anybody does, especially down here in the flatlands where I live. That’s because you can walk to the post office.

When folks move to El Granada, one of the first things they do is visit the post office to get a mailbox. It’s a “rite of passage,” an initiation, if you will. It’s got to be a unique experience for newcomers used to big city ways.

I can’t remember ever dreading the idea of going to the El Granada Post Office. Like: “OH NO! I have to go to the post office today.” Although the post office has moved from the north part of “town” to the south part of town, and in between, I’ve mostly walked there for nearly 40 years. Roundtrip, unless I go to the beach, it’s a 14- minute walk. Sure, sometimes I drive.

In El Granada (and, I bet it’s similar in Moss Beach and Montara, where the old Ocean Shore Railroad beach towns still retain their individuality), the post office is the center of our community. We don’t have a main street but we do have the post office. That’s where, even if you are a hardened hermit, you will run into friends you haven’t seen for years, who bring a smile to your face— as well as folks you may not now know, but I predict you will know in the future.

It’s the place where politicians [gently] hustle for votes, where local activists ask for signatures on petitions and organizations want you to buy their raffle tickets. It’s the place where the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society’s Pete Douglas will hand you a music program and tell you,  you’ve got to come to the next live show. I’ve never witnessed a “hard sell” in this soft-hearted town. But on many days, these kinds of things may not be your cup of tea (and, we’re all grateful that we have the option of slinking in and out of the post office, and there’s an “art” to that)— but remember the politicians, the activists, the raffle people— the friends or neighbors you haven’t seen in years—are all local. The faces are familiar. And isn’t that reassuring in a broader world that isn’t?