Story by John Vonderlin
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As good as any place to start presenting the new stuff I’ve found on Purissima is the falls. This drawing of the Falls with the sailing ships in the background, was in the April 8th, 1894, issue of “The San Francisco Call.” While lack of money has apparently stalled the construction of the Cowell to Purissima blufftop trail, I suspect this year we might be able to stand in the same spot and enjoy the view the artist did as they sketched.
This second attachment, a ScreenShot of an engraving that appeared in the April 8th, 1893, issue of the “Pacific Rural Press,” was captioned Purissima Falls. It was accompanying an article titled, “Industrial Usage of Waterfalls,” The related text, however, predicted that:
“The smaller engraving on this page is quite in contrast in character and in future with the foregoing (Snoqualmie Falls). It is one of the most retired, unambitious and lonely of the lesser waterfalls of California. It is Purissima fall in San Mateo county, in the region of Halfmoon bay, and is the resort of the quieter race of tourists. It is destined to plunge and gurgle in solitude, unvexed by inventors and “utilizers” for all time to come.”
There is just one problem, it doesn’t look like it is right on the coast, Purissima Falls’, greatest claim to fame. I know of only three waterfalls that drop into the surf on the California coast, the Julia Pfeiffer Falls in Big Sur, Finney Falls at Ano Nuevo, and Purissima Falls.
My thought is that the pictured waterfall might be Benton Falls. But, that is solely based on this short mention in the June 15th, 1901 issue of “The San Francisco Call,” in an article titled “Anglers On All State Streams.” It reads: R. Issenbruck and Dr. George Gunn will leave to-day for Benton Falls in Purisima Creek.”
I haven’t found anything on a Benton Falls locally yet, but will keep looking. There is a small possibility that the Purisima Creek they mention is in Southern California, where the mission of the same name was. The name on the photo, “Dewey Engiclose (?) is another possible thread. More soon. Enjoy. John