John Vonderlin: What Happened to the Power House?

From: John Vonderlin

Email John ([email protected])


Hi June,
This ad from the January 3, 1906 issue of “The Call,” would seem to indicate that Shore Acres, the first subdivision in Balboa City, was sold out in 28 days. The ad announces the next two subdivisions of Miramar Terrace and Miramar Beach, were for sale at this time.
I believe the Great Quake killed Balboa City. I don’t think the power-house was ever completed, as the April 18th S.F. Quake put a serious hurt on the Ocean Shore Development plans. I’ll keep checking. Enjoy. John

John Vonderlin: Old Real Estate Ads…..and More

Shore Acres was also a play, produced in the 1892s. Here’s John Vonderlin’s summary of “Shore Acres.”

a play in three acts by James A. Herne
First performed in 1892
This analysis of Shore Acres was originally published in The British and American Drama of Today. Barrett H. Clark. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1915. pp. 231-2.
This play was, according to all accounts, an intensely “human,” amusing, and, in places, exciting drama. The following quotations are illuminating; the first is from Montrose J. Moses’s The American Dramatist, the second from a letter by Henry George:
“Even in Shore Acres, during the scene in which Uncle Nat struggles with Martin in his effort to light the signal lamp, the sensational is very much in evidence; but the unerring art of Mr. Herne saved him from the accusation of intense, glaring melodrama. He understood thoroughly the balance between tension and quietude, and there is no bit of stage writing more natural, more cheerful, and more real than the act which succeeded this violent one in Shore Acres, Uncle Nat preparing the Christmas stockings. Those who are fortunate enough to recollect the wonderful naturalness of Mr. Herne’s acting will always point to the final curtain of this play, where Uncle Nat, left alone on the stage, by the very flexibility of his facial expression, depicted the full beauty of his character, as he closed up the room for the night, put out the lamps, and lighted only by the glow from the fire in the stove, slowly left the room as the cuckoo clock struck twelve.


Says John: 


Hi June,
  This ad in the ScreenShot I’ve attached seems to indicate Shore Acres was the first tract for sale in the new OSR “town.” of Balboa.  This was from the Jan. 29th, 1906 issue of “The Call.” Bad timing with the Great Quake coming soon thereafter..
   A very popular play of that name, “Shore Acres,” 
visited San Francisco in 1902. Perhaps, that’s what they were trying to evoke. I’ll keep looking. Enjoy. John


CALL and arrange to go with us to see Shore Acres, first addition to Ocean Shore R.R.; new city of Balboa on Halfmoon Bay: lots $150 up. P.H. JORDAN CO. 688 Market St.

Where was “Lipton-by-the-Sea” going to be located. Here’s the ad:

In the 1970s a Giant Redwood Log Landed on the Shores of Miramar Beach

(Image: The Michael Powers homestead in Miramar Beach, with the huge redwood log in front. Photo by Michael Powers.)

In the late 1970s, Princeton shipbuilder Manuel Senteio, arrived at Miramar Beach, driving his crane to move a 20-foot-long, 3000 pound redwood log to photographer/sculptor Michael Power’s healing center, then in development.

The log had washed up on the nearby beach, and when Senteio saw how huge it was, and what his crane would have to lift, he exclaimed: “It’s big!”

Yes, it was VERY BIG AND VERY HEAVY–heavier still, from the sea water that had soaked into its pores.

Could Senteio’s crane lift the thing? To fulfill Powers’ plan, which was to carve the log, it had to stand upright. Could this be accomplished? Nobody knew for certain.

If all else failed, a crowd of Powers’ artist friends were on hand to help “psychically” raise the mammoth totem pole; its destination the peaceful inner garden. Half Moon Bay City Manager Fred Mortensen, a neighbor of Michael Powers, was there to lend more practical expertise.

There were many oohs and ahhs and oh no’s. This was the most dramatic event to occur in Miramar Beach for many moons.

But the crane lifter, Manuel Senteio was a professional: Can you hear the great burst of applause and laughter when the redwood log found its final resting place?

“Within this tremendous mass of redwood brought here to Miramar Beach by the sea,” said Michael Powers, “I intend to carve the forms of a man, a woman, and a child, a trilogy. It will probably take a year to complete but hopefully it will become a source of beauty and inspiration for everyone who comes to see it.”197

Coastside WWII: Camp Miramar

When I first landed on the Coastside, and became intrigued with local history, I met with Louie Miguel, whose father, Joseph, was one of the masterminds behind the spectacular Palace Miramar Hotel. Louie offered good background info and also talked about the US military taking over his father’s buildings during WWII.

[The military moved into many of the Coastside’s public buildings, and most certainly, those located on the beach side of the highway, as the Palace was.]

Below: To visit the “California State Military�? website, click here

Camp Miramar

Story by Command Sergeant Major (CA) Dan Sebby

The former Camp Miramar was established on 21 April 1943 when the U.S. Army entered into leases with several land owners in order to provide for a camp to house infantry units assigned to the Western Defense Command. The 1 June 1943 edition of the Station List of the Army of the United States, issued by the Adjutant General of the U.S. Army, stated that a single rifle company, Company G of the 125th Infantry Regiment, was present at Camp Miramar.

At the time of acquisition, there were two major buildings that the U.S. Army took control of. The first was the Miramar School, a small elementary school that served the local faming community and located on the eastern parcel, between State Highway 1 and Valencia Street. The other major building was the Palace Miramar Hotel and Resort, a large redwood-shingled building located on the beach in the western parcel of the Site.

To these substantial buildings, the U.S. Army added several temporary barracks, mess halls and support buildings. These were of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) design developed by the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps in the late 1930’s. These prefabricated, wood framed buildings could be assembled in as little as three hours by joining components with lag screws. Creosote soaked posts served as the foundation for these buildings. With the CCC buildings included, the post had a capacity to house 495 soldiers.
Palace Miramar Hotel and Beach Resort in the 1920’s (

In a letter to the Adjutant General, U.S. Army; dated 23 January 1944, the Western Defense Command identified the Site as vacant and excess to its needs. On 11 May 1944, Office of the Chief of Engineers at the War Department approved a request from the Bureau of Yards and Docks of the Navy Department for the six of the barracks and one on the latrine buildings. This transfer of the buildings to the Point Montera Anti-Aircraft Training Center was made without the U.S. Navy becoming responsible for restoration the land on which the buildings were situated.

From September until December 1944, the U.S. Army terminated its leases for the Site. A 1946 aerial photograph does not show any of the CCC buildings remaining. On 6 May 1952, the U.S. Army terminated its permits for water and sewer lines that ran along State Highway 1.

Building Schedule
Facility Name or Function Quantity Building Type Size
Mess Hall 2 CCC design 20′x130′
Barracks 3 CCC design 20′x130′
Barracks 2 CCC design 20′x120′
Barracks 3 CCC design 20′x100′
Officers Quarters 1 CCC design 20′x70′
Storage 1 CCC design 20′x40′
Storage 1 CCC design 20′x30′
Latrine 1 CCC design 20′x45′
Latrine 1 CCC design 20′x55′
Miramar School 1 Unlnown 3,500 square feet
Palace Miramar 1 Wood Frame

Sources: NARA Records, College Park, Maryland

Tsunami Rangers Party On in Miramar

Burt and I arrived at the party feeling a little blue but we left feeling great. Watch the video below; you’ll see why.

Music was provided by the South City Blues Band & Miramar vocalist Susan Pate.

Click on mikepowersparty below


Below, Miramar Beach photographer and “Tsunami Ranger” Michael Powers and wife Nani show us their high energy. They also had to dance because it was a freezing cold day!

1960s Moss Beach: County Purchased Property Near Reef Point

County to Purchase Beach Property Near Reef Point in Moss Beach; To Preserve Area for Science Studies

From Half Moon Bay Review, 1960s

A mile-long stretch of beach front along the reef dotted coastline is being acquired by San Mateo County for a marine reserve.

The reason, explained the County Board of Supervisors, in authorizing the acquisition, is to provide a protected area where the marine resources can grow.

Support for the project has been given by Supervisor Jean Fassler. The original plan for the project was presented by the technical staff of the San Mateo County Planning Commission some time ago. The commission then presented it to the board of supervisors.

One point they cited was the fact that abalone, a choice gourmet seafood, is rapidly disappearing because of lack of protection.

The area involved covers the frontal surf areas of both Montara and Moss Beach and is actually an expansion of the initial county proposal to provide public access to Nye’s beach.

But with 175 petitions urging more public access and greater protection of Reef Point and Nye’s Beach, the supervisors decided to acquire additional lands along the beachfront. Most of the property is between the southern end of the Montara Sanitary District land and Cypress Avenue in Moss Beach.

County Acquisition Agent Robert Friday said little land will be taken away from the beach other than to provide access.

The idea is to leave the area in virtually its natural state while still providing a beach area for the county’s burgeoning population.

Financing of the plan will be aided by funds from the federal open-space program.

Development calls for only a marine reserve rather than a park. Plans call for parking, sanitary facilities and perhaps a marine walkway on the bluff.