1912: The Coastside’s Building Boom (Part V) Conclusion

pi.jpg (Photo: Princeton Inn)


(Photo: Marine View Tavern, Moss Beach)

In 1912 the new townsite of Montara was also gearing up for growth. Located some 22 miles south of San Francisco, Montara was situated “in a great amphitheater with a picturesque marine view.”

“…A great amphitheater with a picturesque marine view.” What a lovely description!

San Francisco publisher Harr Wagner, who headed the Montara Realty Co., was building for himself a ten-room villa with “large court, granite pillars and other amenities.”

Frank Brophy insisted that his “Princeton-by-the-Sea” was the grandest beach resort on the entire Pacific Coast. Under his auspices, the charming Hotel Princeton was constructed. A posted sign advertised that the new restaurant speciallized in fresh fish and Italian dinners available “at all times”–which was very convenient a few years later during the colorful, rowdy Prohibiton era.

Nearby “Princeton Park” became famous for its large dancing pavilion, measuring 60′ x 125′–and even more for its carnival atmosphere with challenging games and silly amusements.

But inevitably the flurry of building activity that energized the Coastside in 1912 subsided. Simultaneously, the pace of Ocean Shore Railroad service slowed down and eventually ceased. The reason: Real estate interest was now focussed on the busy San Francisco Peninsula.

In the meantime, the profitable Stine and Kendrick partnership broke-up, and Charles Kendrick went on to fufill his destiny in the upper echelons of business, commerce and politics. The other developers of the 1912 Coastside boom faded from the pictyure. Most of their buildings are gone as well.

1912: The Coastside’s Building Boom (Part IV)


Most astonishing were the statistics from June 1912: 30,000 passengers, commuters and picnickers had boarded the famous “Reaches the Beaches” Ocean Shore Railroad in San Francisco for the refreshing “voyage by rail” to Half Moon Bay.

The numbers showed a 100 per cent increase over the previous year!

And everybody raved about the Ocean Shore. Tourists declared the roller coaster train ride “the most magnificent combination of mountains and marine view that can be seen from a car window anywhere in the world.” The buzz was that it would become a “must see” side trip for every tourist visiting the Pacific Coast.

There were other plans to perk up the isolated, peaceful Coastside. One of the most ambitious was a “fine boulevard” that would link San Francisco with Half Moon Bay. At a crowded public meeting in Redwood City, a decision was made to hold a bond election to raise funds for the construction of “a great ocean boulevard from Golden Gate Park to all the shore towns of San Mateo County.”

Public school education shared the spotlight in the development explosion:Blueprints showed that Half Moon Bay High School and Farallon School in Montara were to be built in a style that tried to match the Spanish architecture see in the train stations built by the Ocean Shore.

Overlooking a lovely sheltered cove at Marine View in Moss Beach, a three-story, $25,000 Mission-style hotel was under construction. Summer cottages, a “pleasure pier”, bathhouses and concessions were to be built nearby.

The developer of the Marine View Hotel was very proud of the location near upscale Moss Beach, already touted as a place of “high character,” distinguished by its “artistic up-building” and what was called “protective restrictions” (I don’t know what “protective restrictions” means….)

…To Be Continued…

1912: The Coastside’s Building Boom (Part III)


During the first phase of Charles Kendrick’s assignment, he purchased land around Half Moon Bay for the proposed new city of “Balboa”–originally slated to be a principle townsite on the new Ocean Shore Railroad line.

(Balboa apparently incorporated today’s Miramar and El Granada. From what I know the name “Balboa” was used for a short period, referring mainly to Miramar. For example, at one time there were towels & other memorabilia marked “Balboa” at the roadhouse now known as the Miramar Beach Inn).

Kendrick’s good friend Daniel “Clark” Burnham (the noted city planner from Chicago who had been commissioned to develop a beautiful street design for post-1906 earthquake San Francisco that never materialized) was hired to design the new city of Balboa.

A 1912 full-page newspaper ad reveals that Kendrick and his partner Oliver C. Stine were selling land in “Granada, gem of all beach suburbs.”

But it’s not clear if Kendrick was promoting Coastside sales for the railroad or for himself. Stine and Kendrick operated out of their “sumptuously furnished” San Francisco headquarters at 23 Montgomery Street. They specialized in country land but kept an active hand in city real estate as well.

Kendrick’s entrance into the Coastside real estate market seemed to be a case of good timing. In 1912 the Ocean Shore Railroad was running four trains each way daily from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay. On Sundays six trains made round trips. Traffic manager I.N. Randall announced that excursion travel attracted as many as 2,000-3,000 visitors on Sundays alone. Many were picnickers who brought their families to the new beaches called Venice, Napels, Princeton, Granada and Marine View.

…To Be Continued….

1912: The Coastside’s Building Boom (Part II)

Kendrick.jpgCharles Kendrick

A photo taken at the exclusive Bohemian Grove at Russian River in Northern California reveals Charles Kendrick as a tall, slender young man wearing a smart jacket. He was on the brink of becoming the chairman of the Schlage Lock Co., and already a force in San Francisco’s public affairs.

In his memoirs, we get some insight into Kendrick’s philosophy regarding California real estate.

“It was apparent,” he wrote, “that such large land ownership concentrated in the hands of a few persons was holding up the development in California; hence it would be a public service, as well as profitable to me to get at least some of them split up and subdivided into small farms.”

He soon put his philosophy into action.

While recovering from a serious illness in the early 1900s, Charles Kendrick was approached and asked to acquire the right-of-way property for the Ocean Shore Railroad and its land company, the Shore Line Co. Kendrick was well qualified for the position–he had already obtained the right-of-way for the Petaluma/Sebastopol/Santa Rosa Railroad.

….To Be Continued…

1912: The Coastside’s Building Boom (Part I)


When Coastside construction exploded in 1912, some locals claimed that it was a fortuitous marriage between land developers and much improved railroad service. That, they said, accounted for the fresh burst of activity.

After a long, dry spell, new schools and hotels (with a nod toward Spanish-style architecture) began to dot the landscape. Publicists declared the Coastside of the future “as a desirable place for outings and residence”, a beautiful place to live and play.

San Francisco real estate companies glanced hungrily in the Coastside’s direction. Frank Brophy’s Princeton-by-the-Sea resort, Harr Wagner’s Montara Realty Development Co., the Marine View Beach Hotel and Amusement Co., and the partnership of Stine and Kendrick–all were created during the boom.

Charles Kendrick was a developer with a successful track record. Although he had also earned a law degree, he never practiced. Instead, in 1903, at the start of what would be a long, distinguished business career, he opened a real estate office in Petaluma, specializing in subdivisions.

…To Be Continued…