1974: Remembering “Mr. Ed” & His $3 Million Plan To Help Develop The Coastside

Mr. Ed called a “Community Meeting” on February 26, 1974—was it held in the offices of a colorful dentist, now long gone?

Ed was a husky fellow with long hair hanging like a crown of feathers from his head. In the center of the crown was a neat, clean bald spot. He was always good natured.

In the early 1970s there were different layers of Coastsiders– the locals who had lived here all their lives and the newcomers who could be broken down into sub-groups of environmentalists, seclusion-lovers and hippies.

The Coastside was a temporary haven for the hippies.They had their eye on a place that was most often simply identified as “up north”–was it Said Valley? Some of them had already left Half Moon Bay and made a new home there.

It was the “growth” that was was pushing the Coastside hippies away– the appearance of the Alpha Beta supermarket for starters–they knew the very first traffic lights couldn’t be far behind.

The Coastsider hippies I encountered were mostly family-oriented, working hippies–woodworking and cutting down trees and selling slabs of pretty redwood burls for tables.

Within the hippie group, Mr. Ed held a special position not only because he was very smart– but he also said he had “visions”. One time, for example, he was watching the sun set when before his eyes it changed from a big orange ball of fire into a pyramid–for some folks a powerful and magical shape.

In 1974 Mr. Ed sensed hard times coming–President Nixon was facing certain impeachment–and Ed feared a financial depression. He said the Coastside hippies needed to be organized work-wise, moving their logs and wood products efficiently to the point of sale– and he was the one to do it.

Thus the “Community Meeting” was called in the dentist’s office.

Mr. Ed brought together the creme de la creme of Coastside hippies. His main goal, he said, should times get tough, was to ensure that the communal- loving hippies had plenty of work. He proposed a $3 million project–a new trucking enterprise that would involve driving “up north” to pick up shingles from the former Coastsiders who had relocated and bringing the wood products back to Half Moon Bay for sale.

At the time there was no construction going on “up north” and the hippies who had moved there from Half Moon Bay were in dire straits. There was some building on the Coastside, but on the sidelines, just waiting for the green light,were plenty of heavy-hitters, pocket books open, ready to fill in the beautiful open space with houses and subdivisions. And that was what Mr. Ed believed would make his project turn into gold at the end of the rainbow.

Communal as they might have aspired to be, the Coastside hippies resisted organization. They admired Mr. Ed’s plan and considered it–but the timing was all wrong. The hippies and the small builders and the heavy hitters were all thwarted by a big, successful “Save the Coastside” campaign–which ultimately resulted in no building at all.

And then the first signal light was put in–by then the Coastside hippies had moved to the mysterious “up north”…”Mr. Ed” vanished and there were no more flyers on the front door announcing “Community Meetings”.

Dino.jpg Photo: Dino, (left), seen here with his friend Elizabeth, was one of the “hippies” who attended Mr. Ed’s Community Meeting in 1974.