Charlie Ballard, “The Spirit of Farallone City,” Wrote for the “Farallone City Times”

Farallone City Times Story by Charlie Ballard, year unknown

Charlie Ballard once owned a hardware-notions store in Montara, also home to Farallone City.

A Few Words, Reminiscent and Prophetic

Things have changed since we first addressed you through the columns of the Farallone City TIMES, and it seems but fit that we should change our form and dress to keep abreast with the progress of our townsite. A year ago Farallone City was isolated. Its values were prospective. To-day it is connected with a great city with the great steel links of commerce. Its values are real. A year ago our friends consumed an hour and fifteen minutes riding down the peninsula to San Mateo on Pat. Calhoun’s electric road before starting across the country to our place. To-day it requires only a few minutes more to ride the same distance into Farallone City over a new road only half completed, without ballast, and where tracks are only temporary and grades and curves are still to be reduced. The present age is annihilating distance with modern transportation. We count distance with minutes and hours now, not blocks and miles. A year ago Farallone City was a four hour journey from the center of San Francisco, to-day it is but little more than an hour.

One year from to-day will find you and your friends stepping on Ocean Shore electric cars at at Farallone depot to be whisked over this wonderful new scenic road into the city to your business or your occupation in less than forty minutes time. And at eventide you will be whisked back from the grime and smoke and dirt of the city to the pure, free air by the seaside to forget the toil and grind of the day’s occupation until another day brings you back to it with clear mind and rested body. Such are the benefits of modern transportaton.

It is better to have a seaside suburban home for daily recuperation than to have your savings laid away for the doctor.


FARALLONE CITY is on the peninsula down which San Francisco must expand and on the popular side of it–the beach side. It will soon have less than a 40-minute electric service into the center of San Francisco. The Ocean Shore Railroad runs through it for a mile. It is designated as one of the principal division points on this new line of railroad. Both passenger and freight depots, with freight siding combine to give it commercial significance. Three additions to Farallone City have been platted and are already largely sold to home-builders. Besides these a separate subdivision lies directly back of this new town-site, and in fact constitutes a continuation of it. In this plat alone more than a thousand homesites are already sold, and many of them built upon. Here, then, are four enterprising companies joined in the development of one place instead of spreading out and attempting to develop so many separate and distinct townsites. More than two thousand home plots in this one locality now depend on Farallone City for railroad, depot, stations, beach and waterfront. What does this mean to you, Mr Home Seeker?

It means enough bona fide home builders and enough capital interested to insure you the comfort and conveniences of a modern city. What does it mean to you, Mr. Investor? It means that values at Farallone City are no longer prospective, but real. That an investment in the heart of this new suburban center is certain not only to increase in value, but to increase rapidly and permanently.

It is better to have a few dollars safely invested in your own little place than to have many dollars invested in the bank manager’s private mansion at some noted summer resort.


FARALLONE CITY has a mile of beach front. Its long stretch of sandy beach is the widest, cleanest and most beautiful south of San Francisco. Its rocky and mossy beaches will fascinate you for hours at a time. Its waters abound in fish, eel and abalone. Its homesites rise gradually from the ocean front, giving every plot of ground a magnificent view. The grandeur of the Pacific spreads out in front of you, studded in its midst with those grey sentinels–the Farallone Islands. To the north, Mount Tamalpais towers above scenic point San Pedro, and eastward, in the near distance, rises the peaks of Mount Montara, full of beauty and grandeur. Read Harr Wagner’s “Sunset Picture.”

“I stood on Nature’s balcony around the picturesque amphitheater of Montara, with the sea and sky like a great curtain fronting me. The sun was going down. The sky was alive with a riot of rose-red color. Some passing clouds were aflame, and flung their golden-afterglow to the triple peaks that notch Montara’s highest rim. The sun was large. It was near. The illusion was so great that if you stood at the shore you could reach your arms across the rippling green waves and burn your hand in its fire. The sky-edge trembled in response to the waves, and made the color rest uneven on the water. A real ship in this painted ocean sent skyward its spiral column of smoke, and rested anchorless between the sun and the shore. The dark, ascending column was fringed with gold. Then the sun slipped into the water, a half-moon of sun only rose above the dark-green sea. Then there was only a bit of crescent fire–the sun was down. I have seen the sun run an avenue of gold around the top of Popocatepetl; I have watched the gold on white as the sun companied with the peaks of Ranier; I have seen the icicles on the pines that crown the half-way summit of San Jacinto painted gold, like afterglow of the sun on the top of Shasta, that glittered like the porch to heaven; I have watched the great red, red sun, a huge bird of fire, sink to rest in the desert sands–but God never touched with a brush a finer painting than the large green and gold curtains that hung in front of the peaks of Montara that evening that I saw the sun go down.”

We will not steal very deeply into your purse but God’s own grandeur from mountain and hillside, from rock and beach, and crested wave will steal into your soul and bring you in touch with the great throbbing heart of nature if you make your home in Farallone.


It has been our purpose from the first to make Farallone City a home city, and it has not been a difficult purpose to pursue. Two out of every three purchasers have bought there to build. That it is an ideal location every one asserts. Its climate is mild, yet invigorating, and its health-giving ozone appeals to all. We know that many are buying there now and will continue to do so for the mere investment, knowing that they will soon realize handsome returns therefrom. But on the other hand, the large majority have bought for their own use. Every stockholder of the California Suburban Home Company has bought (not reserved) home plots the same as you, and has paid for them the same as you. They intend to build homes there, too. Our Mr. Fink and Mr. Johnson are now living on the tracts. Mr. Jakobs is improving the patch of ground he owns, and everyone will build homes there. They believe in Farallone City as a home=place as well as a selling proposition and are saying to purchasers, “Come, live with us at Farallone City.” We are spending thousands of dollars in improvements without a cent of expense to purchasers to make the townsite a convenient and desirable place to live. We are building homes too, for those who desire it, on the most reasonable terms. If you want a home and have not money enough to build it, come to us. Buy a lot on easy terms. Put in your application for the building of a home at the same time, and for a small first payment, and monthly payments like rent, we will build it. You will not be the first either. Many have taken advantage of the same opportunity. Own a house. It is cheaper than paying rent.


WITH all its advantages, its natural beauty, its accessibility to San Francisco, its many improvements now being made, including the grading of streets, main sewers, concrete sidewalks and water pipes free to purchasers, the remaining lots in Farallone City are still to be offered to the public for a short time at prices so low that anyone can buy. Good large resident lots are still being offered for $200, and business lots for a little more.

[more coming]