A Little Old Moss Beach-Montara Story For You

I wrote this in 1977. The story was researched at the San Mateo County History Museum.

While Jurgen F. Wienke lay awake, staring at the ceiling, wife Meta dozed peacefully beside him. Instead of sleeping, Wienke, who built the fashionable Moss Beach Hotel overlooking the gray-blue Pacific, reflected on recent happenings at his resort.

It was the 1890s, and famous scientists often arrived to study the remarkable marine plant life there.

Why only last weekend, Jurgen was thinking, David Starr Jordan, the first president of Senator Leland Stanford’s university in Palo Alto, signed the hotel register.

Jurgen, who enjoyed the title of “Mayor of Moss Beach,” glowed with pride. He knew he had reached the pinnacle of local success when his most prominent guests braved a twisting mountain road to reach his resort near the cliffs of beautiful Moss Beach.

As the Mayor contemplated the long hours of dedicated work, he thought he heard gunfire above the sound of the crashing waves. In a split second his mind returned from reverie to the present. What was that?

A ship’s horn blared in the distance. Curiosity fully aroused, Wienke bounced out of bed, and without disturbing his still-sleeping wife, changed into outdoor apparel. He tip-toed past daughter Lizzie’s bedroom and slipped out the front door.

It was dawn.

Once outside, Mayor Wienke listened for more clues. As he walked briskly among the rows of cypress trees he had planted, he remembered nourishing them through several periods of drought. Again, the sound of a ship’s horn jarred Wienke’s thoughts back into the present.

He glanced out to sea but the fog concealed anything that might have been there. Then, that sound again, the sound of a ship’s horn. This time he went back to the hotel, mounted his horse, and rode right toward the sound.

He rode as far north as the Point Montara Fog Station where several people were running toward the sandy beach. The mayor recognized David Splain and his daughter among them. He called out to David, the fog station’s caretaker, and rode fast to catch up with them.

David Splain told Mayor Wienke that a ship struck the jagged reefs (it was the third to do so at the same place.) Wienke wasn’t surprised. He said that most sailors called Point Montara a dangerous part of this stretch of coast.

And then the thick fog lifted, like a stage curtain, revealing the hazy outline of a schooner stranded on the rocks.

Continue reading “A Little Old Moss Beach-Montara Story For You”

Desperately Seeking Frank & Fanny Torres Update

A while ago I received this email from Millie Muller, who lives on the East Coast:

This is Millie:

Good morning June,

I’ve been doing some family research and I’ve just discovered that my Aunt was married to a Frank Torres of Moss Beach, CA. Her name was Fanny Lea Torres. Two days ago I was given a copy of her obituary; she died in 1976. It states that her husband Frank Torres was the owner of the Frank Torres Beach Hotel on the Coastside.

When I did a search for the hotel it brought up a page that has the Moss Beach Distillary, and there was a mention of a Frank Torres.

Here’s the Distillery

Millie is a genealogist, an intrepid one, who has been doing her sleuthing on the Internet. She’s come up with all kinds of new information about Frank & Fanny Torres, who, in 1927, built the restaurant we know as The Distillery in Moss Beach. That was during prohibition on the isolated Coastside, and, believe me, there are many colorful stories from that era waiting to be found and revealed. To read her original story, click here

Here is the latest from Millie, and I applaud and admire her tenaciousness.

Good Morning, June

I have found someone that has a picture of Frank and Fanny Torres!

Seems that Fanny and her mother Martha weren’t the only relatives of mine to live in San Mateo. The younger sister Maude lived there too. I had found information that the younger sister Maude had died in Santa Cruz back in 1947. I sent away for a copy of her death certificate and come to find out she had only been in Santa Cruz for 3 weeks before her death. She had been placed in a nursing home for those 3 weeks. Her cause of death was a brain tumor. She had been treated for that for 3 years. Her death certificate states that her usual residence was Moss Beach.

There are several typographical errors on her death certificate. It says the informant was Fawney Torres, which should have been spelled Fanny. And it states that her late husband’s name was Loewis Forde, which could be Louis or Lewis Forde or Ford.

Then come to find out the older sister Alice, her daughter Bernice lived in Moss Beach too. Bernice had an older son from a first marriage named Gordon Hickman; he married Violet Cima.. Bernice was married twice, the second husband was Gottlieb Huber. Now the two of them had several children: Theodor (Teddy), Gertrude (Trudy), Steven and Martha all with the last name Huber. I think that’s all.

Steven (1947) and Martha (1948) were both born in San Mateo.

Right now I’m in contact with a daughter of Gordon and Violet’s. She scanned the picture of Frank and Fanny but it is very tiny. The great thing is that I use this web site for archived newspapers and I’ve found the same picture used in an article about Frank and Fanny at Christmas. I’m hoping I can get a better scan or even a copy of this picture. I think the picture you spoke of, that you had seen, when you interviewed Frank, that had that Devils Slide as the background, is in the background of the picture of Frank and Fanny.

{This is Frank Torre’s 2nd Hotel near Montara Mtn:

In the email that Celest sent me that had the scan she says “LAST PIC IS FANNIE AND FRANK TORRES TAKEN AT FRANK TORRES BEACH HOTEL SEE THE PORTRAIT OF FRANK BEHIND THEM.” Quoted from her email to me. I’ve posted the article here for you to see. Along with the tiny scanned picture I was sent in email.

To see the photos, click here

Millie Muller

Email Millie ([email protected])

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.

A Coastside Fairy Tale: Memories of Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

A Coastside Fairy Tale

The other day I stumbled across a “storybook” I had forgotten about. The cover said:

Memories of the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, Moss Beach

Written by a friend* of the Wienkes.

When I was a little girl, in the 1890s, my family visited famous Pebble Beach near Pescadero. We stayed at the Swanton House in town, and in the morning a horse-drawn wagon took us to Pebble Beach where we had a great time sorting through the piles of colorful stones. One was pretty enough to wear as a pendant. I will always treasure the gem.

But there was another very special beach north of Half Moon Bay. We called it Moss Beach for the variety of mosses found there. I learned about the mosses from Dr. David Starr Jordan–the first president of Stanford University. He was a marine biologist who loved studying the living things at Moss Beach.

(Photo: David Starr Jordan and his dog, Jock.)

There was so much to discover, graceful sea urchins and rainbow colored shells–abalone. This was a new world for me.

That wasn’t all. Moss Beach was like a rock garden, with unusual formations and patterns everywhere. Some of the rocks had names. I remember Spray Rock and Arch Rock. Where did the rocks come from?

(Photo: This looks like “Rock-Hedge.”)

We would spend a week at the Wienke Hotel, run by Mr. and Mrs. Wienke, and their ambitious daughter, Lizzie, who wanted to be a teacher. That’s where we met Dr Jordan-who came to study the reefs, which at low tide, revealed fantastic sea life, unbelievable marine curiosities. The Wienkes were wonderful hosts and the remarkable beach only steps away.

(Photo: The Wienke’s Hotel in Moss Beach.)

I wish I had paid more attention to the guests who stayed at the Wienke’s hotel. They did sign a big book, a register of historic names.

Mr. Wienke had a plan to make Moss Beach, the town, as beautiful as the unique beach. He spent hours planting hundreds of cypress trees and one of the lanes was called Wienke Way.

My family lived in San Francisco, and we took the exciting Ocean Shore Railroad tour to Moss Beach. There was the prettiest train station there. And if you wanted to return to the City, the Red Star Auto driver fares weren’t high. He kept his car parked at the train station so he wasn’t hard to find!

Of course, the highlight of the train ride, was traveling over Devil’s Slide, enjoying ocean views I’d never seen before–and wondering if we’d make it to Moss Beach on time. More than once some big boulders tumbled onto the tracks and the train had to back up to Pacifica. That’s what I heard–it never happened to us.

Not far from the Wienke’s charming retreat, on the sandy beach, Charlie Nye built a cafe and dance platform. Right there by the reefs teeming with sea life. Charlie was the blind man who told stories about famous writers like Jack London renting his rowboats.On hot days the beach was crowded with picnickers.

(Photo: Nye’s on Moss Beach on a hot Coastside day.)

Everybody wanted to investigate the reefs at low tide, and the children played hide-and-seek games around the rocks, some of which were enormous enough to sit on.

My uncle took some of the pictures you see here.

* If you wonder who the writer of the Coastside Fairy Tale is, the “friend” of the Wienke’s is me, June.

Moss Beach: Listening in on Sharon Bertolucci & Elaine M. Teixeira

And Elaine M. Teixeira and Rosina Banks

lorettaelaine.jpgElaine M. Teixeira: I received an email from Sharon Bertolucci; not sure if you know her; her dad was my cousin, Albert Bertolucci, Mom was Patricia Ball; Albert’s mother was named Rose (Little Rosie), from Giovannibattista Torre family, further up Sunshine Valley,

Sharon’s family lived on Vermont Street across from the [Social] Club.


Sharon mentioned the Jehovah Witness church people being in the [Social] Club. She may be right, my sister, and, I have since discussed it, and recall they may have rented it. Sharon says they conducted services there and had pews installed, guess in the dance hall area. She also mentioned another family that lived there.

My Dad did rent the Club out to a few people, I think, after or during WWII, as he had moved the bar, and business, by that time, up to the grocery store bldg. I can remember all the sailors from the naval station


coming into the place for drinks, in the section next to the grocery store. Several of the sailors and officers became special family friends, and my Mom would have them for dinner with the family. I will forward her email to you, for more on the Club. I know that two Filipino brothers, married to two American women, lived there with their families. Sharon mentioned the Bebee’s ,and that sounded familiar. My sister, Loretta, thought the Bebee’s lived up on Sunshine Valley, I really do not remember.

June, This is the email from Sharon Bertolucci whom I mention in the first paragraph. It has a bit of information that might fill in the blank spaces in our emails.

sharonb.jpg Sharon Bertolucci: I now know where Loretta is talking about: I went to school up at the old naval base across the highway from the Montara lighthouse


up on the hill. That’s where Daddy worked and Mom worked. Just the foundations are still left and lots of weeds.

The other school across from the Catholic Church in Half Moon Bay is Cunha Intermediate School now, and, they are fixing it up, and adding more buildings, so it will continue to be a school. [It used to be the high school until the new one was built up on the hill.]

I have an old brochure that I got from Guy Smith, the Moss Beach postmaster.

po.jpg (Photos: At right, Moss Beach Post Office where Guy Smith, below, was the Postmaster, and everything else in town.)

I wish I had picked up more. I went and got this when I was a little girl. I loved going into the mail and collecting all the stuff he had lying around.

The nun’s houses you [Elaine] spoke of down by the Moss Beach Distillery; they had three, and now they own, I think, two. The Catholic Church sold one about 8 years ago, it had beautiful mahogany railing on the staircase, and, of course, very dark walls, with the high wainscoting, and a shelf. They sold it to a private party which kept the outside looking similar to it natural state but they did work on the inside because there were several little rooms for all nuns/priests to have their own rooms. It was quite chopped up. I love those houses. Talk to you later.


Sharon Bertolucci, Cypress Ridge Appraisal Services, Inc.

Elaine M. Teixeira says: I worked when we first married, for about five years or more, until I started a family, lost first child, so returned to work, then was off for about 15 yrs raising the two children. In the early part of marriage, I worked in HMB for a couple of different government, farm organizations, PMA, Soil Conservation and Farm Advisors. I also worked for the County of San Mateo in Recorder’s office and School Dept. When I returned to work after raising family, worked for a laundry rental company and then the County of SM for 22 yrs.
Elaine asks her longtime friend Rosina Banks:
Do you remember the deliveries from HMB when we were young? I know (maybe cause of the store) we received milk from Alves and Salamone’s Bakery, also the butcher shops. Since my mother did not sell meat, I wondered if they stopped at your place or other houses. One was from Nunes, at a later date, at first, from Fred Marsh, Centoni was the delivery man, Yola’ Dad.

Rosina Banks says:
Alves delivered the milk, remember the cream would always be @ the top of the neck in the bottle, Centoni delivered the meat wagon & Beans would deliver the bread, Beans would always take his break @ our house even if no one was home, my mother always left the coffee pot on the stove & he would always come in & heat the coffee & take his break, the doors were never locked @ that time, oh for the good old days.

Doris Wallace says:

This sure brings back a lot of memories.  One of the Beebee boys was in your sister Loretta’s and my class.  My aunt taught at the Purissima school before she taught in Moss Beach.  I know she had Delores and Leo Mudrich and Herbie Canadas I mainly remembered them because I knew them.  I think all of the kids liked to go to see Guy Smith at the post office;  he was a nice man.


A Little Corner of Moss Beach, Part Two: An Email Conversation With Elaine Martini Teixeira

I am delighted to present Part II of my email conversation with Mrs. Elaine M. Teixeira, a most gracious woman, who shows us Moss Beach, as it was. Thank you Mrs. Teixeira.

lorettaelaine.jpeg (Mrs. Elaine M. Teixeira, at right, with her sister, Loretta.)

Half Moon Bay Memories (HMBM): You have family connections to the Torre family of Moss Beach. Are they related to Frank Torres, the deceased owner of the Marine View Restaurant?

Elaine Martini Teixeira (ETM)

Frank Torres is not related to the Torre family, he was from Peru – There is no “s” on our family name. My grandfather’s brother, Giovannibattista (John), had a son named Frank, the family lived above Ottavio Torre’s family on Sunshine Valley Road. That home is still there but boarded up. I had forgotten but, Donald Torre, my first cousin, said the State purchased it for a future bypass, but because of the forthcoming tunnel, the new road will not go thru there.

Frank Torres owned the Torres Marine View Hotel/restaurant

and the Montara Beach Hotel, along Highway 1, on the way to Devil’s Slide. The one in Montara burned down

and Frank Torres rebuilt it. Later it was rebuilt and became for the Chart House, then the Outrigge. It is still there, but closed. The Marine View spot is now the Distillery.

Did you know Fanny Torres?

Yes, I knew Fanny Torres, my Mother worked as a salad lady for Frank and Fanny at the Montara restaurant, knew them even before. No, she was not related to the Lea’s in HMB. They are Italian, she was not.

Please tell my readers a little about yourself.

My full name is Elaine Martini Teixeira. My brother, Raymond Martini, he and his wife Cathy, live in HMB; he used to have Reliable Plumbing in HMB. My older sister, Gloria Bernardo lives four house up from me in Redwood City. My younger sister, Loretta, is married to Guido Santini; they live opn the coast hwy, near Frenchman’s Creek.

I graduated from Moss Beach Grammar School,

and Half Moon Bay High School, the location in 1948 was on Kelly Avenue, across from the present Catholic Church.

My husband,Tony Teixeira, & I married in 1949 in the original Catholic Church, which is now the site of their social hall, behind the current church building. We had two children, Kevin, married with two children and living in Sunnyvale, and a daughter, Stacy, living in Sunnyvale. Tony died about 2 1/2 yrs ago. It is his two sisters, Mary Schuttloffel and Hazel Dooley Cornett, and father, Antone, on the front cover of your Princeton book (“Princeton-by-the-Sea“.) His brother was John, had Captain John’s boats in Princeton.

Why did Italians settle in Moss Beach?

One reason some of them settled there, they had relations that proceeded them, and they came to join family, all immigrants like to join others who speak their language, and, also, some came to get work, on the farms, etc. My Mother’s father and brothers, along with their father, may have settled first up in the gold country, and my Dad and his brothers joined their older half-brother up in Nevada. They all eventually came to San Francisco. My Mom’s father and his brother came to Moss Beach after the earthquake. Had dairy cows and guess the coastside gave them the opportunity to move the dairy down to Moss Beach and get away from the ‘quake area of San Francisco.

Were there any special places in Moss Beach where Italians would go to have fun?

There is another building, down old Highway 1 (originally Etheldore), below the grocery store, owned by my grandfather. There was a bar in there and all the daughters of the Torre brothers would come to the dances, and that is where several found their future husbands. I was recently told they also had movies up stairs, over the saloon area in this building. Later, of course, there was the Moss Beach Club building and there was the structure down on the Moss Beach

below the cliffs believe it was called the Reefs. I am sure there were other places, Dan’s had a bar and restaurant, up the road from our grocery store. Alot of entertaining was done in the homes.

Several of the family members, especially the women, met their husbands, as I said, at the dances. Many of the men worked on the local farms.

Both of my Mom’s cousins from her Mom’s side of the family, Daisy and Angelina Baresoni were quite young when their parents died; they were raised in Ottavio Torre’s family on Sunshine Valley Road. When the two finished grade school, they went to SF to work in the garment industry and lived with their dad’s relations, but they returned to live in Sunshine Valley, after their marriages.

Did you go to Moss Beach Grammar School? What about churches?


Yes, I attended Moss Beach Grammar School, all of my family did – plus various cousins. I, at one time, had six cousins going to school with me – David and June Torre, Donald Torre, Albert Bertolucci, Roy Cardellini and Bob Prouse.

The school building burned down; after it was closed. My younger sister , Loretta graduated from the Moss Beach school, called Faralone View, it was located up on the property above the Light House, part of the former Navel Station from World War II..

While I was in grade school, Montara School was closed and combined with Moss Beach.. Therefore, Rosina Pecoraro – who you knew – my two cousins, Roy Cardellini, Bob Prowse (children of Daisy and Angelina) – Georgina Bettencourt, Gladine and Clifford Harp, and a few others, all came down to Moss Beach to continue their education.

There was a Catholic Church, just a street or so below the Post Office, near the ocean. It was part of the HMB parish and the priests came out to conduct mass at 9 am every Sunday. We had religious lessons and received first communion there. A woman, Mrs. Jordan, who lived in Moss Beach, taught the lessons, and I believe, Margaret Kyne gave them, later.

There were, also, two places, one in Moss Beach (they came down from SF) close to the beach, and another up in Marine View (different order) where there were homes used by the Nuns for vacation.

I saw more of the nuns from Moss Beach, they would come in and shop at our store. It might be that later, priests, also came there for that reason, but not when I was young or living on the coast.

I have heard that Italians, who weren’t citizens had to move from the West side of Highway 1 to the East side during WWII. Is that true?



Yes, all the Italian families and others who were not citizens had to move. We were lucky that we were on the “right side” of the highway. The Cima family had to move, as well as the Benedetti family, who lived down below us on Hwy One, near the current entrance to Seton Hospital.

You certainly come from a large family!


I hope I didn’t misspell any names. AND, if you get lost along the way, I understand. The women that put together my “family book” would get so confused; in the Torre family, three brothers (another brother, Filipo, lived in SF) named a daughter Rose, two name them Lena, two Eva. To distinguish who they wee talking about, it was Little Rosie, Rosie Filipo, Little Eva, Big Lena and Little Lena – guess you get my point! For some reason, the boys lucked out, had more original names, some after past generations, but no duplications within the same generation.

A Little Corner of Moss Beach: An Email Conversation With Elaine Martini Teixeira

lorettaelaine.jpeg(Photo: Elaine Martini Teixeira at right, with her sister Loretta.)

I asked Elaine Martini Teixeira (whose family lived in Moss Beach as early as the mid-1920s) to tell me what she could recall about the photo below, the building once called the Moss Beach Social Club. To acclimate you, today the building is home to St. Seraphims Hermitage.


Half Moon Bay Memories (HMBM): Hi Elaine. I have a photo of the Moss Beach Hall–is this the same place as the Moss Beach Social Club?

Elaine Martini Teixeira (EMT) : Yes, I believe it is, surely looks like it. There was a storeroom on either side of the front entrance doors and that door on the side probably led out from the store room on that side. I sent it on to my Aunt to see if she recognizes anyone. I also spoke to my brother; Raymond Martini, he is going to try and think back, as to who owned it before my Dad bought it. Just called my older sister, Gloria Bernardo, and she told me that Pete and Lillian Francesconi lived there before and may have sold it to my Dad. Lillian was a Bracciotti, family lived on property which is now the HMB airport, she was sister to Lena Matteucci (Dina Meyer’s Mom) in Half Moon Bay and Gino Bracciotti, of El Granada. In the back area, was a bar room and a separate room for cooking area, with a counter. There was a small hallway, which lead into the dance hall area, which had a stage and restrooms on each side of the building. Along each side of the dance hall, a bench lined the walls. I believe I recognaize two of my Mom’s sisters, sitting on a bench, and possibly some of the younger fellows, appear to resemble her cousins, from the Torre family who lived on Sunshine Valley Road, above my Mother’s family home. The gentleman in overalls, back to camera, may be my grandfather, Ottavio Torre.

HMBM: Do the Russian Nuns live there today?

(EMT): I do not know if they live there, today, but the building that was the Moss Beach Club, owned by my Dad, Angelo, is the place the Russian Nuns purchased. I believe they made some changes to it, and of course, it’s a bit hidden from view, now, because of trees, etc. growing on the property.

HMBM: What was it originally called?

EMT: I’m not sure, it might have had a different name, before my Dad had it. He called it the Moss Beach Club. I have forgotten names of some of the streets; the building my Dad had is alongside of the creek, where there are cypress trees, bordering the property and the building (since destroyed in a fire) that was the Moss Beach Grammar School.

We used to live in the grocery store, on Etheldore and Sunshine Valley Road.


Then, after WWII, my parents built a home on Etheldore and Vermont, on property across from the store, he also built two other homes to rent out, on the property. The side of the family home is across the street from the entrance to the Club property. The grocery store was sold to a family, Berg’s, who ran the grocery store for several years until they sold it to someone who lived in the building, but did not have the grocery store, anymore.

HMBM: When do you think your Dad sold the building to the Russian Nuns? What did folks do at the Social Club?

EMT: Sorry, just noticed you had more questions on a previous email. I missed them. I believe, and my younger sister, Loretta Santini confirmed it, was my Mom who sold it to the Russian Nun, after the death of my Dad.. Loretta said she recalls, in-between, my Mom rented it out to someone who lived in the building.

HMBM: When did Dad die?

My Dad died in a truck accident in 1949 and I was married that year, lived on the Coastside for several years, in to of the homes my dad had built for rental, before moving to Redwood City. So, not being at home, Loretta remembers some things I do not remember too well. Loretta believes the Russians either sold some of the property or had a house built and sold it; the house is across the street from the family home on Vermont, which was originally, the entrance to the Club property..

The original Club had lots of empty space around it and a shed or garage off to the side by the creek. When my Dad died, it was difficult for my Mom (had closed store) to keep up the taxes on all the lots, etc. that my Dad had bought over the years. So she sold off the lots very cheap (had to buy some down by the Lighthouse bldg., below hospital, so that she could sell the lots that my Dad bought). She bought the one’s in-between those he bought at tax auctions; the lots were small and could not be used to build homes.

My Dad had a bar in the Club and on a couple of occasions, his brother, Fiorino Martini and family, lived in the building. This brother tended bar for him, during the 1930s, as my Dad was farming, raising sprouts on rental property, in a canyon across from the present airport. My Dad also owned property across from the store, and raised string beans and potatoes there, I remember rather well, having to PICK the beans and dig potatoes! Later, think about when WWII started, he closed the Club and the bar was moved up into the grocery store my Mom was running, where the family lived.

The store was moved into an adjacent, vacant room. Recently, a woman ran an antique store in the building. My Dad, also, held dances, boxing & wrestling matches, and roller skating evenings in the dance hall area.

I have seen photos of wedding parties being held in the dance hall area, probably while owned by Pete Francesconi, he and his wife were known to be good cooks! My Mother’s youngest sister, Lillian Torre’s wedding reception was held at the club while owed by my Dad. My sister, Gloria’s was held at Nerli’s, in Princeton, in 1942, mine at Dan’s Place, Moss Beach, in 1949.

HMBM: Thank you.

(Note to readers: We will have more conversations with Elaine soon.)

When Moss Beach Ruled: R. Guy Smith: The Man Who Said He Could Do Anything…

and he did…. do everything. Where are men like Raymond G. Smith today?

Photographer/Electrician/Postmaster/Coastside Leader/Realtor…and so on.

Here’s a brief visual history of R. Guy Smith’s life.

There’s R. Guy Smith posing beside his Moss Beach home, still standing and still looking like the original gem that it was. That’s Smith’s automobile; he kept it in pristine shape as you can see in the other pictures below. He arrived in Moss Beach in the 1900s–his uncle was already there, selling real estate during the Ocean Shore Railroad era. R. Guy set up his electrical business in the building along Highway 1, recognizable today. Later it housed the Moss Beach Post Office, where R. Guy was the postmaster, famous for balancing accounts to the nearest penny.

At one time, the Moss Beach Post Office was also the place where you’d take out a book to read, a local lending library.

In the lower photo, I am sure the pile of bags contain photographic postcards, most scenic pictures of the Coastside, all shot by R. Guy Smith. Note the glass window: “Kodaks,” it says, I assume, referring to the film.

R. Guy set up the Moss Beach Coastside Chamber of Commerce which makes me think that the “Moss-Backs,” as the locals call themselves, intended to run the entire Coastside, that Moss Beach was the center of power, where major decisions were made. R. Guy championed an alternative route over Devil’s Slide, a tunnel, even. He intended that Moss Beach control the HMB Airport.

Today the “Moss-Backs” wonder why the Marine Reserve was not named the “R. Guy Smith Marine Reserve.”





The Wonders of Moss Beach………


“Where Nature, unadorned, her handiwork reveals
“In lofty span, in jutting rock
“which raggedly conceals
“The bounding, breathing, living swell
“of the unfathomed deep,
“Where he who plows no furrow leaves
“nor ever stays to reap.
“Not that I love man’s work the less,
“thus do I seek thy shore,
“But that I love the handiwork
“of untouched Nature more.”

From Moss Beach Realty brochure, circa early 1900s