1957: Historical Museum-Resort at Pescadero?


Frank Latta, a historian and self-published author, who said he had interviewed 17,000 pioneers and collected 800 tons of memorabilia, including books, photos and other stuff, purchased the 725-acre Gazos Ranch, south of Pescadero in the 1950s. It was a beautiful ranch, formerly owned by the locally famous Steele family, the land stretching from the Pacific eastward toward the mountains.

Frank and wife Jean intended to retire there. They were in their 60s, and to make their dream possible, the Lattas intended to turn the ranch into a historical museum, adding a few touches of the more commercially-oriented Knotts Berry Farm in southern California.

In the late 1950s, after going through the official county procedures, Latta thought he was on his way, and even made a public announcement saying so—but then was stopped cold in his tracks.

…to be continued…

Ayn Rand-influenced “Romantic Realism” at Quent Cordair Gallery

herculest.jpg ( The 13th Labor of Hercules by Perham Wilhelm Nahl, the poster that celebrated the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, held in San Francisco)

Last week I walked into the spacious Quent Cordair Gallery in Burlingame and had a great time enjoying the paintings and posters, all of them fine examples of “romantic realism”–influenced by the brilliant Ayn Rand, the “Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” best-selling philosopher-author, the strong-willed, writer who in her work lifted man and woman to the skies of their abilities–her powerful characters becoming the builders of beautiful, strong bridges, of amazing architecture, never afraid, never daunted. And also becoming models for current day society.

Every painting, every sculpture and poster exemplify Ayn Rand’s philosophy–people at their very best.

Of local historical interest, there was a small painting of Pigeon Point Lighthouse and a lovely morning scene at Kings Mountain. There were many pieces I would love to own, but I was excited to learn that Quent Cordair has reproduction right to the 1915 poster, the “13th Labor of Hercules,” by San Francisco artist Perham Wilhelm Nahl.

Click here to visit the Quent Codair Gallery.

1957: Historical Museum at Pescadero


Photo: Frank Latta

From the Half Moon Bay Review, 1957

“Adding to the ever expanding future of the South Coastside, Frank F. Latta’s plans for an expansive history museum at Pescadero have cleared a major hurdle. They have been approved by the county planning commission.

“The plans for the tourist attraction would rival that of say Knott’s Berry Farm in Southern California, according to Latta.

“Latta, a retired school teacher, author, history expert and collector is developing a vast recreation area on the old Steele ranch south of Pescadero near Gazos Creek. It will have many of the features of Knotts, according to Latta, ‘but without the commercial atmosphere’.

“The development of the 740-acre area will be a family project, Latta declared, with he, his wife, and their four children all working together on it.

“It would include: A 80-acre picnic and camping area stretching for a mile along the coast between Ano Nuevo Island and the famous Pigeon Point.

“Eleven miles of roads and trails for riding, driving and hiking.

“A realistic pioneer California village and Indian village.

“Deluxe accommodations for fishermen and tourists.

“The Latta collection of early California objects is one of the most complete in the state, among them dozens of transportation pieces, including a stage coach, surreys and five old cars, one electric.

“Latta, who has been collecting the items for 35 years, has been transporting them here from Bakersfield during the past year.

“The only thing holding up actual construction of the project is the realignment of the Ocean Shore Highway that will run through the ranch. Latta expects to have this clearance within a few weeks with the assistance of Supervisor A.S. Hatch, highway director. Latta will be required to build an underpass from the ranch to the ocean frontage.

“The property where the project will go is the old Steele Gulch ranch where a number of old buildings, constructed in 1865 are still standing. Latta says they will be restored in early California style to be developed as a pioneer village with livery stable, blacksmith shop, harness shop and a country store.

“Trails and roads will be developed from the sea to a mountain area where the early California transportation methods will be used, complete with horses.

“The history museum will be open on a limited basis to the general public within a matter of weeks.

“Long range plans, Latta declared, call for an airplane landing strip, to run parallel to the Coast highway.”