Neva Reece: The Coastside Song That Should Be Mandatory in Half Moon Bay Schools

I always come back to the 1981 “Mystery of Half Moon Bay” documentary I wrote/produced for KCSM. Click on the link to watch it; I think you’ll enjoy the program.
While I was working on the project, I asked local songwriter/singing sensation Neva Reece


to come up with a song for the hour long show. Neva has since moved away but I remember her as a sweet, very talented young woman, who, after I asked her to write a song, got to work right away.

[Thanks to Peter Adams for the photo above.]

Neva’s music never made it into the show [just like some of the interviews ended up on the “cutting room floor.”] I want to share with you the lyrics for “On the Coastside,” an original song by Neva Reece:

On The Coastside (by Neva Reece, copyright 1980)

Stick me in a pocket down by the sea

If you can’t find me, that’s where I’ll be

On the Coastside, diggin in on the Coastside


We’re proud to say we’re not L.A.

San Francisco nor San Jose

We’re just a string of little towns

Down on the Coastside


The City and Marin are flashy and fun

They’re as crazy as anyone might want to be

That’s why you’ll find me on the Coastside

When I’ve been away for over a day

When I drive down the Slide

You can hear me say

I’m back home again, back home on the Coastside


Sandy beach, blue horizons

Meeting me everyday

Is it really surprising

This is where I’ve come to stay?


A few weeks ago I heard from Neva. Here’s her message:

JUNE!! – Long time no see….You might be interested to know that I was visiting with some other former coastside folks over the holidays – Liz Lindstrom and Mickey McKinney, who are still living in Port Townsend, Washington. A wonderful and beautiful and poignant place as well.
Thank you for all the memories and updates in the site. I will come back and visit again when I have more time. Presently setting up for the start of school after the holidays. I have returned to work as a school librarian after many adventures in music, magazine publishing, concert production, and radio news.
Hope to hear from you!!!



Photo: In 1980 KCSM Camerman Jim Threlkeld sets up a shot of Pillar Point for “The Mystery of Half Moon Bay.”. Almost out of the picture is Director Rick Zanardi.


1981″Mystery of Half Moon Bay” Documentary is Online

click here to see the show


Above: Gordon’s Chute at Tunitas Creek. What made landowner and Assemblyman Alexander Gordon go to such extreme lengths (circa 1870) to build this homemade engineering wonder?

Gordon’s Chute is not there anymore–it blew away in a wild, windy storm not long after it appeared on one of the most mesmerizing cliffs on the entire Coastside.

During its short life, locally grown potatoes rolled down the chute and onto little steamers waiting to sail with the produce to market in San Francisco.

Marion & Bill Miramontes Interview (1980) Part I

Miramontesfamily.jpg The Miramontes-Gonzales Family celebrating a family anniversary on Main Street, Half Moon Bay, mid-19th century*

In 1980 I interviewed Marion and Bill Miramontes for the documentary “The Mystery of Half Moon Bay.â€?

Marion had been the town’s first telephone operator as well as a respected local historian. She penned occasional articles for the “Half Moon Bay Reviewâ€?. Bill worked for Standard Oil during the time that the company had a large presence on the Coastside.

The history of the Miramontes family reaches back to the adobes of Half Moon Bay, originally known as San Benito. The Miramontes’ were major rancho owners, their property including the present town of Half Moon Bay. In their honor, the southern point of Half Moon Bay was named Miramontes Point

Here are some excerpts from the interview, which, unfortunately—and sadly, did not appear in the final show that aired.

I met Marion and Bill Miramontes at their home on the west side of Highway 1 in Half Moon Bay, located on the original land grant.

Marion: We purchased this property on December 8, 1943. It was originally sold December 8, 1861– and it was owned by John Miramontes, Bill’s uncle… we are living on the original Miramontes land grant now.

My grandfather, P.P. Quinlan came from England in 1868 and had a blacksmith shop here [Half Moon Bay]. In 1870 he sent to Ireland for my grandmother. They were married in St. Patrick’s Church in San Francisco in December of that year. The original Quinlan house still remains on San Benito Street in Half Moon Bay.

Bill: In those days, there weren’t tractors like there are now. All the roads [around here] were made by mules with Fresno Scrapers [earth movers].


Bill: I helped with the section from Pedro Mountain to Montara. They had mostly Hindus that went ahead and cut all the brush by hand. Then, they’d come up with plows and mules.

The first trip they made from Pedro Mountain to Pedro Valley, up to the top of the mountain and back, it took them one whole day to make that round trip with the mules blazing the first trail.

[It was] sure a windy road by car to San Francisco from Half Moon Bay…If you really wanted to go fast—you’d skid ‘round those turns. You could make it in an hour, an hour and five minutes.

Marion: Two hours to San Francisco by Pedro Mountain.

…to be continued…

*Photo, courtesy San Mateo County History Museum. Visit the museum located in the historic Redwood City Courthouse, Redwood City.