Joel Bratman: Travel Vicariously

Story from Joel Bratman


I’ve made some more updates to my PBase photo gallery.

Cape Kiwanda, Oregon (last week)

Busch Stadium, St. Louis (home of the St. Louis Cardinals)

Signs of the Fillmore, San Francisco, CA

Alameda County Fair

Virginia City, Nevada:

Astoria, Oregon

Willamette Valley, Oregon


– Joel

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John Vonderlin: 1860s: The Frustration of the Gazos

Story from John Vonderlin

Email John ([email protected])

Hi June,

Here’s a little more info on the beach traverse that was necessary at Waddell Beach for so long. This excerpt from the January 20th, 1865 issue of the Pajaro Times, a Santa Cruz newspaper, refers to the problems it caused:

great hardship and injustice to the

people living at Pescadero and its vicinity.

”… “one of the most abominable roads this side of Kamchatka (Siberia)—a road, a portion of the distance must be traveled

“along the beach which is encompassed by a high bluff upon one side and the foaming billows upon the other…”

For those not familiar with this area, the evergrowing website has some great photos of this area, compiled as a 360 degree panorama, that you can rotate as if you were standing there taking it all in. If you want to get a good idea of what this area is like and what explorers, and travelers faced until the 1900s go to the website, type Waddell in the Search box, and choose the 3rd option:

Virtual Reality of Waddell Beach by Highway 1 Overpass, a QuickTime panorama by erik goetze

I’ve attached  ScreenShots looking north and south from this panorama to illustrate its contents. While you’re at the website check out some of the others, of the thousands that they have of our area. They really give you a feel for what an area is like in the “picture is worth a thousand words,” tradition. Enjoy. John


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John Vonderlin: Whale Fall

Story from John Vonderlin

Email John ([email protected])


Hi June,   

   This is an odd and virtually unknown claim to fame for Ano Nuevo Island and the Coastside. Twenty years ago a fossilized whale was found, excavated and removed from Ano Nuevo Island. Not long ago, after being displayed at Long Marine Lab for years, it was donated to another organization. There it was recognized as a fossilized whale fall specimen. More research determined it was the youngest one found so far.

   Don’t know what a whale fall is? Me neither until a few years ago. They were only discovered about twenty years ago when a deep sea submersible ran into one. Randomly spread across the deep ocean floor every 25 kilometers or so, their study and subsequently our knowledge about them, remains rudimentary. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about them, and then there is a Press Release from Berkeley that describes Ano Nuevo’s newest contribution to the Coastside’s minor wonders.

   By the way, I saw a show on this and the photography of this “corpse community,” feeding off the marrow of the dead, is as weird as you would expect. Enjoy. John   

To learn about Whale Fall, please click on the link below

 Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia





BERKELEY – A fossilized whale skeleton excavated 20 years ago amid the stench and noise of a seabird and elephant seal rookery on California’s Año Nuevo Island turns out to be the youngest example on the Pacific coast of a fossil whale fall and the first in California, according to University of California, Berkeley, paleontologists.


Fossil mollusks found directly attached to the fossil baleen whale skeleton from Año Nuevo Island, Calif. (Nick Pyenson/UC Berkeley).


Whale falls, first recognized in the 1980s, are whale carcasses that fall to the deep-ocean floor where, like an oasis in the desert, they attract a specialized group of clams, crabs and worms that feed for up to decades on the oil-rich bones and tissues.

Some scientists think these random, deep-ocean oases are stepping stones for organisms moving from one ocean floor environment to another – whether a hot vent, a cold seep or a whale carcass – in search of sustenance from energy-rich chemicals.

“The fossil whale fall shows that these deep-sea communities didn’t need especially large whales as a source of nutrients – in fact, the fossil whale from Año Nuevo Island was no longer than a VW bug,” said Nick Pyenson, a graduate student in UC Berkeley’s Department of Integrative Biology.

Pyenson and museum scientist David M. Haasl, both of UC Berkeley’s Museum of Paleontology, published their findings in this week’s online edition of the journal Biology Letters.

The Año Nuevo skeleton, discovered in 1987 by then-UC Santa Cruz graduate student Brian Fadely and excavated by Graham Worthy and local fossil expert Frank Perry, was considered a rather small and unremarkable fossil whale – at 11 feet, it was less than half the size of today’s smallest baleen whales. The bones, including skull, spine and ribs, were displayed at Long Marine Laboratory in Santa Cruz until the lab donated the partially articulated skeleton to the Museum of Paleontology in 2005.

As Pyenson prepared it for the museum’s collection, however, he noticed small clams in the nooks and crannies of the skull. He found 21 clams in all, each less than a centimeter in length, or two-fifths of an inch, plus one snail. Most of these organisms were on the skull, but some were nestled in the vertebrae. Haasl, a mollusk expert, thought the clams might be similar to those that cluster around whale falls today and that are able to extract energy from chemicals in bones with the help of specialized symbiotic bacteria. At whale fall depths of more than 1,000 meters, there is no light for photosynthesis.


A reconstruction of the fossil whale from Año Nuevo Island, with a scuba diver for scale. Below the silhouettes, the bones of the fossil whale skeleton are shown as they were found in 1987. Black arrows point to places where fossil deep-sea mollusks were discovered. (Nick Pyenson/UC Berkeley)


Based on the shape of the fossil clam shells attached to the whale skeleton, Pyenson and Haasl determined that they belong to the same group of mollusks whose living relatives are chemosynthetic, confirming their initial hypothesis that this was a whale fall. A visit by Pyenson and Haasl to Año Nuevo Island in January 2007 showed that the whale came from 15 million-year-old sediments, the Monterey Formation, making the Año Nuevo find much younger than most fossil whale falls discovered around the globe, the oldest of which date from 40 million years ago, Pyenson said.

Whale falls were unknown to science until 1989, when the first example of a deep-sea community living on recently deceased whale carcasses was reported from southern California.

“The ocean floor is pretty much a desert until you get a whole whale carcass sinking to the bottom,” Pyenson said. “We don’t know how these creatures know to colonize it. Are they ever-present on the sea floor waiting for an animal to fall? But when the whale carcass hits, it forms this island refuge of high nutrient levels that can sustain an undersea community, some scientists calculate, for decades.”

Over the past 18 years, more whale falls have been found around the world, and paleontologists have found examples in the fossil record as well. Most fossil examples, however, consist of isolated bones adjacent to deep-sea mollusks, Pyenson said. Little is known about the size or identity of the whale host.

In contrast, the Año Nuevo skeleton was unusually complete and hosted multiple mollusks. It also was small, which suggested to Pyenson that these specialized deep-sea communities didn’t need large whale carcasses to evolve. Previous researchers had hypothesized that whale-fall communities evolved with the origin of large baleen whales, such as blue whales, and oil-rich bones. Pyenson and Haasl proposed instead that the oil content of the whale’s bones was the more crucial factor.

“What we have are relatives of modern chemosynthetic clams associated directly with the skeleton of a tiny, tiny whale, smaller than any other known from modern whale falls,” Pyenson said. “That tells us that you don’t need very large whales to sustain a whale fall, but what you probably need is a really oily skeleton.”

Because they are more buoyant, oil-rich bones are likely one adaptation to allow deep diving, Pyenson said. The Año Nuevo whale fall find puts a lower limit of 11 million years on the origin of oily bones in whales, he added.

Pyenson and Haasl are currently working with scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute who routinely study recent whale falls in Monterey Bay. They hope to do “side-by-side comparisons of the fossil and modern whale-fall clam shells” to better characterize those from the fossil whale fall.

The work was supported by funds from the UC Museum of Paleontology and a fellowship to Pyenson from the National Science Foundation.

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John Vonderlin: 1863: Colorful Character Isaac Graham knew Daniel Boone

Story from John Vonderlin
Email John ([email protected])

1863 Daily Alta Obituary
Death or an Old Resident.— Captain Isaac Graham, an old mountaineer, trapper and Indian fighter, and one of the earliest pioneers of this State, died last evening in this city at half-past eight o’clock, aged sixty-four years. The details of this man’s life, if correctly told, would be of value to the historian, and of absorbing interest to the lovers of romantic and thrilling incident. He was born in Botetourt county, Va., from whence he removed, at an early age, to Kentucky, becoming schooled in the rough and dangerous scenes of border life in infancy for his subsequent years of activity and adventure among the savage tribes of New Mexico, the Kovky and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Capt. Graham was one of those links which connected the present generation with the past, he having been intimate with many of the veteran explorers of the West, among whom was the renowned Daniel Boone, at whose death he was present. He has been for over thirty years a resident of California, living for the most part in Santa Cruz county, whore he possessed valuable estates. He leaves several children and numerous friends; who will sincerely deplore his demise. Thus another of the great landmarks of the age has crumbled away. A hero and a warrior sleeps, unsung but not unwept. His friends can view his remains at the rooms of Nathaniel Gray until three o’clock P., when they will be conveyed to the steamer Salinas for removal to his home at Santa Cruz.

Trivia: In the 1830s Isaac Graham established one of the first American communities west of the Rocky Mountains, Roaring Camp in the Santa Cruz mountains. He was a fur trapper and nephew to Daniel Boone. He was said to have created the first highway in the west; it is now known as Graham Hill Road!

November 14, 1863, Santa Cruz Sentinel
Capt. Graham: This old resident who for thirty years has been identified with the history of this vicinity, and especially with its earlier traditions, died in San Francisco the 8th inst.[sic] His remains were brought to Santa Cruz and buried in the cemetery[Evergreen]on Tuesday.
Although only 64 years of age, at his death, his entire system both mental and physical, had been breaking up for a number of years. This early decay may be partly attributable to the vicissitudes of a frontier life full of adventure and excesses.
He was born in Boutetourt county Virginia, but removed early in life to Kentucky, then the “dark and bloody ground” where he was conversant with the explorers and heroes of the border, among them Daniel Boone at whose death he was present. He afterwards went to Texas where he married, and Mexico; subsequently he roamed for years beyond the limits of civilization, through the immense Territory bounded by the Mississippi and Gila Rivers, the Pacific and British Possessions, and figured in many thrilling incidents, with the mountainers and trappers. About thirty years ago he came to Santa Cruz where he has since lived.
Before his decay by age he was engaged as a lumberman, distiller and ranchero, and was at one time very wealthy, but through litigation and excesses, very little of his property remained to him at his death.
He had a powerful frame, a persuasive address, an unerring eye with the rifle, and that daring which is always a concomitant of strength and power.
He was of litigious spirit and in his prime had both friends and enemies, but his last years of child-like age had pacified all enmities and he left none but friends behind him.
Late 1818 – 1820
Travels to Marthysville, Missouri, where he spends time with the famous trapper, explorer, and politician Daniel Boone. Daniel Boone died on Sept. 26, 1820, with Isaac Graham and others at his bedside. His wife buried him on a hilltop overlooking the Missouri River. Years later his body was taken back to Kentucky.

Isaac Graham, a frontiersman, came from Hardin County, Kentucky, in 1833. Three years after his arrival he assisted Juan B. Alvarado in expelling Governor Guiterres with the understanding that the country should be free from Mexican domination. However, shortly after Alvarado came to power, Graham and his associates were arrested as dangerous foreigners and placed in confinement on a boat in Monterey Harbor. A few of the group were released before Dan Jose Castro sailed with the prisoners for Mexico and all were released by Mexican authorities after their arrival. It was reported Isaac Graham received $36,000 as indemnity for the outrage done to him. With this money Graham cast his eyes on the Zayante Tract. Graham, along with his friend Henry Neale, induced Joseph Majors who was a Mexican citizen, to apply for the grant. Majors was named as grantee of Zayante and the adjoining San Augustine Rancho of 4,436 acres.Majors actually procured the land for a syndicate of “foreigners” who declined to become Mexican citizens.

Named after an Ohlone tribe
, this canyon was the first settlement in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Isaac Graham, a colorful and somewhat infamous rogue, ran a huge and notorious logging and moonshine camp. Graham may be most famous for assisting the empire of Mexico to overthrow Monterey land barons in the ‘Alta California’ revolution.Graham and his ‘riflemen’ as they were known helped create one united state of California under Mexican rule in 1839. By 1850, with tremendous land grants, he was one of the county’s richest men.


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John Vonderlin: Loma Mar—“Say What?”

Story from John Vonderlin
Email John ([email protected])

Hi June,
After the discovery that the “Leathers and Rags” secret society was formed in Loma Mar; it only seems right that Pescadero should have had its own cabal. Now admittedly, a secret society that has an article about its formation and installation of officers in the newspaper, is obviously employing the risky, “hiding in plain sight” technique. But, it seems to have worked. I say that because I’ve never heard of them, and I’ll bet you never have either. The “Order of Chosen Friends,” might still be out there, underground, planning something, somewhere, maybe soon.
I think this subject needs a hard-hitting expo-“Say What?,” that will reveal just what the heck was going on out there in the deep redwood forest of the isolated Coastside so long ago and what it means to our Homeland’s security today. I’m on it.
But for now, this is what I got: (From the February 24th, 1896 issue of the “San Francisco Call.” Note the stage of their operations is indicated by the fact their officer positions include a warden, a guard and a sentry, but not a munitions expert. I only recognize C.J. Coburn amongst the plotters, but will start dossiers on the others. I do however, like the name “Ocean Gem,” for their chapter, as it ties in nicely with the still-glorious-at-that-time Pebble Beach, as well as their proximity to the ocean. Enjoy. John

Order of Chosen Friends.
Grand Recorder F. C. Wallis, assisted by Grand
Assistant Councilor M. Boehm and Organizer S. C.
Hargreaves, instituted Ocean Gem Council No. 12
at Pescadero last Wednesday evening, with thirty
charter members. The following officers were
elected and installed : Past councilor, C. F Wil
son; councilor, K. Hoskins; vice-councilor, Julia
D. Wilson; instructor, D. E. Briggs: secretary. C.
J. Conurn; treasurer. M. L. Wilson : prelate, Mrs.
I>. K. Brlggs; marshal, Minnie Hoskms; warden,
William Stewart; guard, F. L. Annas; sentry,
Mr-. Annie F. Maxey.

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Pigeon Point: When Whaling Was “King”

[Image below from Colonel Albert Evan’s book, “A La California.”


New-old story by June Morrall

“Shore Whaling at Pigeon Point”

A spectacular red-orange glow accompanied the sunrise just as a school of humpback whales revealed their gleaming black backs on the horizon. Since heading north from their winter breeding grounds in warmer southern waters, the whales had covered a great distance.

From time to time they leaped through the waves. And as they neared the whaling station at Pigeon Point in the summer of 1871, the humpbacks disappeared beneath the sea to feed on sardines. When the whales surfaced again to blow, two lookouts posted on the cliffs above Pigeon Point instantly recognized the humpback’s short, thick body.

The Portuguese whalers, who barely concealed their heavy accents, didn’t hesitate to describe this season as the worst yet. Now, as they peered excitedly through their “sea glasses” at the humpbacks, the men blamed a steady and constant barrage of heavy winds for the less than ideal whaling conditions. Not only that, they confided, but over the years, the number of whales that traveled up and down the California coast actually had declined.

Obviously, they had known better times.

So far the men had captured a single whale this season, and that one taken a couple of weeks earlier, barely produced 25 barrels of oil. While a very large bull (or male) could yield up to 100 barrels, the average whale processed at Pigeon Point produced about 35.

One of the whalers (who had recently arrived from his home in the Azores where he learned the art of whaling as a kid) now bragged to a reporter about a captured whale that gave up more than 90 barrels of oil. (Whale oil was used in place of the electric light which had not yet arrived on the Coastside. In fact, electricity did not come to Pescadero until the mid-1920s, much later than on the east side of the redwood covered mountains, near Stanford University.)

The newcomer whaler quickly pointed out that size did not determine the amount of oil extracted. It was fat, he said, that made the big difference.

As the whales traveled north from their tropical “vacation,” the cows (or females), were skinny because they had recently given birth to calves Back home in the cooler Artic waters of the North Pole, they fattened up, and when they headed back south to the warmer seas, the whalers at Pigeon Point anxiously awaited their prey–for it was now that the fatty whales would yield the highest percentage of oil, and the reward was in the profits.

Meanwhile, the humpbacks played in the waves several miles offshore, obviously unaware of what fate may have in store for them. In the background, two experienced Portuguese whalers crouched low on the cliffs and studied the movement of the humpbacks. They were the lookouts. Behind them stood a dozen neat cottages, home to 17 men and their families.

At Pigeon Point, many of these whalers, who had earlier worked some 14 years at the Monterey Whaling Station, maybe two hours to the south, worked out a business relationship based on the rules of an equal partnership.

On the sandy beach below, two crews consisting of six men each, suddenly shoved off from shore in two very long single masted boats, whaling boats. They hunted in pairs for safety reasons, an important habit learned through years of trial and error. An occupational habit always included the possibility of an enraged whale swamping a boat, drowning all those on board.

The boats were equipped with one or more of Greener’s harpoon guns, which when mounted moved 360 degrees and resembled a small swivel gun. They also had a bomb lance gun which fired an exploding projectile. On this day, with the reporter present, the whalers were sure they would return to the little bay at Pigeon Point with a whale in tow.

But the truth was that whaling was on its way out. It had seen its day. Observers up and down the California coast didn’t hide the fact that the number of whales were decreasing, less every year, they said.

There were estimates that 20 years earlier, in the 1850s, thousands of whales headed south daily between Christmas and the first of February, the time they were easily caught. The success of “shore whaling,” and the accompanying equipment, was said to have helped decimate the numbers of whales which would ultimately put the whalers out of business as well.

A whale that escaped, and survived, seemed to learn from the bad experience, and avoided the shoreline, remaining ten miles or more from the long boats. That made capture trickier. The whalers complained about the difficulty; the only piece of equipment that made the work worthwhile was Greener’s harpoon gun which could travel a great distance. But the writing was on the wall.

The whalers also noticed the decline in the numbers of the California Gray whale. Humpbacks accounted for the largest number captured, and some believed the Gray whale was actually nearing extinction.

History says that those whalers who discovered the California Gray’s breeding grounds in the southern lagoons near Baja California rapidly exploited their find. Here in the delicious waters where the cows nursed their calves, hunters trapped them. Without their mothers, the calves rarely survived, and that is probably why they decreased in number.

Meanwhile at Pigeon Point the intrepid whalers scanned the surrounding sea for a spout. Without warning, one of the hunters called out: “There she blows.”

That was the signal for the long boats to sail off in the direction of the whale. Carefully approaching the target, the whalers peaked their oars, propelling their boats with paddles to refrain from arousing the anger of an unsuspecting male.

They worried about an injured whale turning on them. At the San Simeon Whaling Station, hunters were reputed to have shot 25 bomb lances and several harpoons in to a “right whale” (worth $4000 in oil and whale bone.) But this huge whale survived the multiple hits, smashing one of the boats to pieces, forcing the men to give up the chase.

Often, even if a whale was killed, it sank and could not be retrieved.

One year when the men at Pigeon Point cut up a dozen whales, 10 others slipped away from them. On this day, with the reporter present, the whalers swore success. To show their serious, four men waited on the shore at their station to extract oil from the heaps of blubber.

On the opposite side of Pigeon Point, the “try pots” heated by crude furnaces, formed of rocks and clay, stood ready to boil the blubber into oil. Visitors found it difficult to believe that the foul smelling fluid, which very often dripped down the cliffs to the water’s edge, actually produced soap and oil for lanterns.

The whalers also cleaned and dried the whale bone which they said sold for $.07 per pound in San Francisco. They added that this barely paid for the labor and trouble of saving the bone.

The Pigeon Point whalers said that low prices for oil barely covered their rising marketing and storage costs. In San Francisco whale oil was at that time selling for $.30 per gallon—while the “oil casks” alone cost $.06 per gallon. In more “normal” times, the price of whale oil varied between $.35 and $.50 per gallon, and when the price fell ten cents, the business wasn’t even worth it. Profits at Pigeon Point were marginal.

Worse yet, the Pigeon Point whalers claimed they had been swindled by a New York-based company. According to their story, they shipped 600 barrels of oil back East, after being promised the highest prices, which, in the end they did not get. They had been too trusting and the market turned on them. Now they were falling in debt.

Meanwhile out at sea, the whalers were tracking the spot where the spout had been sighted. It was a humpback. When they were 40 years from their prey, one of the whalers aimed the harpoon gun, shooting him in a vulnerable spot. Down went the large whale, with the cord of the harpoon still attached, and while trying to avoid capture, smashed the waves about but the struggle for life was about to be lost. When the injured whale rose to breathe, a $4.00 bomb lance was fired into the mammal’s head, ending its life.

Fatally wounded, the whale rolled over to one side.

Upon towing the dead whale to the shore station, the whalers congratulated themselves on a job well done—especially because this particular whale exhibited many scars from other attempts to capture him with a harpoon.

Although most folks were still burning whale oil, since 1850 petroleum had been gaining prominence for illumination and lubrication. Obviously, the discovery of petroleum eventually led to the end of the whalers and the shore station at Pigeon Point.

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John Vonderlin: Coast Survey Map/Ano Nuevo Harbor


Story by John Vonderlin

Email John ([email protected])

Hi June,

With your just having posted all those links to the Ano Nuevo General plan, this might be a good time to look at the Coast Survey map of the area from 1854. The Coast Survey, originally the “Survey of the Coast,” started in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson, to map the coast of the United States, and eventually folded into the present day National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  (N.O.A.A.),  has online Archives of their historic maps going back to the 1700’s at this website:
Coast Survey Partners. Chart Carriage Requirements. Report a Charting Discrepancy The Office of Coast Survey’s Historical Map & Chart Collection contains over abstract.htm

   The map of the Ano Nuevo area I’ve attached ScreenShots from is one of the more then 20,000 at this website.  I wanted to share my examinations of this map, which is entitled the “Preliminary Surveys of Harbors on the Western Coast of the United States,”  and its collection number is “352-00-184.” You can can access it by typing either of these in the Seach boxes..
    It was when I started looking at this map fully magnified, that I started to notice some interesting details. First, here’s the progression of screenviews you’ll see as you zero in on this wonderful hundred and fifty year old document.
[Images above: Full map, Map legend, Ano Nuevo Harbor section]
    These first two close-ups show San Mateo’s southern coastal gateway, or perhaps gate would have the more accurate connotations given the part they played in Coastside development. This is the famous stretch of steep, unstable bluffs that forced buggies, stages and eventually even automobiles to dash along the beach at low tides to enter or leave the isolated southern Coastside. “The History Dude” of Santa Cruz gives a talk about the Waddell Bluffs, which span this magnified view, that is entitled:
Waddell’s Bluff: How a Big Lump of Santa Cruz Mudstone Changed the History of Our World
[Images above:  Waddell to Alligator Captioned and Uncaptioned]
   On a more mundane level, if you look carefully, you can see the two parallel dotted lines on the beach that the artist/scientist uses to denote the “Coast Road.”  While this dramatic part of the route has been referred to in many books and newspaper articles, they never mention at what point travelers would get on and off the beach from it. I think I now know where, and as usual I was wrong in my initial theorizing.
   The 1864 map doesn’t show exactly where the sand to solid ground point was on the southern end of this often wild and wooly traverse, but it’s easy to figure out. Although it only shows the dotted lines crossing Waddell Creek close to the ocean and then disappearing because of the edge of the map, by looking at the modern coast on California Coastal Records project
(Pictures #6403, 6404) you can see there is a convenient slope to get off the beach about a hundred yards south of the creek. If that route isn’t taken, the slope off the beach gets progressively steeper and higher and much less likely to have been the way. 
  Of course exactly where they would transition from the sand to solid ground must have varied with the stream’s course. Picture #7219057 (1972 picture accessed by clicking Time Comparison Box for CCRP Picture #6404) shows what they might have faced when the stream hugged the hill to the south before flowing into the ocean.
   The ScreenShot of the magnified map also shows that Alligator Rock, the curving sweep of rock jutting offshore, up the coast from Waddell Creek, hasn’t changed much in 150 years. The more expansive sand beach then, as compared to now, explains the viability of this route way back then. The Alligator Rock area was known as “Cape Horn,” by the locals at that time because of its similarities to the difficulty in passage as the same-named tip of South America. It was also the site of the experimental grading by the Ocean Shore Railroad that John Schmale shared pictures of.
   The black bar to the north of Alligator Rock marks the San Mateo / Santa Cruz boundary, as designated in 1868, five years after the map was made.
   The next ScreenShot, reaching further up the beach to the north, answers several questions I’ve had. There is an old road on the Coastways property that I had thought might have been the ingress and egress point to and from the clifftop and the beach.  At least at the time of the map, the road passed the Coastways road site, and went along the beach all the way to Ano Nuevo Creek, where it started up the hill. Given today’s conditions along this northerly stretch of the beach, this would have been a terrifying ride, with its sheer, unclimbable cliffs that are regularly pounded by waves during any sort of high tide or storm. Even though the map shows a much wider beach one hundred fifty years ago, this must have given travelers a thrill even in the best of conditions. It must have still been that way fifty years later, because during the automobile run to Santa Cruz, I sent you an article about, it mentioned a mile-and-a-half beach traverse was necessary. That fits the Ano Nuevo Creek to just south of Waddell Creek route shown on the map just perfectly.
[Images above: Captioned and uncaptioned north of Waddell]
  The next ScreenShot shows just up the hill and a bit north.from where the coast road comes off the beach. That black mark is the only building shown anywhere on the Ano Nuevo portion of the map.  What this building is remains a mystery. It is not mentioned  in any of the old accounts that I’ve seen.  Yet, sitting right beside the coast road and being the only building for many miles, it should be well known. I’ll keep looking.
   House marker greatly magnified
  The next ScreenShot is of Ano Nuevo Point and Ano Nuevo Island. Note the sand spits that almost connects them. I’ve read about this so many times it is kind of cool to finally see a repreentation of it. The intro photo of the General Plan shows what it looks like now, a huge change. But, the island itself has hardly changed at all. 
[Images above: Sand Spit / Modern shot]
   Lastly, I’ve attached a view of Santa Cruz harbor and environs, the other half of the map. In the magnified views it is possible to see a thriving community was already established, unlike in the empty Ano Nuevo area. Enjoy. John
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John Vonderlin: “Coastsiders” Fight Back

Story from John Vonderlin

Email John ([email protected])

“Coastsiders Fight Back” 


Hi June,

  The excerpt below, from Ano Nuevo’s General Plan, tells an interesting story of the Coastsiders’ first efforts to stop the encroachment of outside developers. Well sort of, actually, it is the story of the Quiroste Indian uprising against the Santa Cruz Mission and the religious and actual enslavement it meant for many Native Americans.

  This General Plan, easily accessed online by a websearch of “Ano Nuevo General Plan,” is a very thorough, bordering on treasure trove, compilation of facts about this gateway area of the Coastside, from pre-history to the future. Here’s the homepage below. The excerpted story is on Page 60, but is preceeded by ten pages of the most detailed account of pre-European Coastside life I’ve read. And there is so much more. Great reading. Enjoy. John


 The Preliminary General Plan  and Final EIR/Response to Comments are available for download below. The final general plan will be posted when it is compiled. The general plan has been divided into four plan sections and individual figures for downloading. All files are in PDF format.


Front Cover through Chapter 1:Introduction (1.1 MB)



  (Includes table of contents and executive summary)

Chapter 2:Existing Conditions through Chapter 3:Issues (2.4 MB)

Chapter 4:Park Plan (PDF, 1.5 MB)

Chapter 5:Environmental Analysis through Plan Contributors (2.9 MB)



General Plan Maps (Document Figures): 

Figure 1: Regional (1.3 MB)

Figure 2: Location (1.3 MB)

Figure 3: Existing Facilities (1.0 MB)

Figure 4: Existing Roads and Trails (1.8 MB)

   Roads and Trails Key (127 KB)

Figure 5: Alquist-Priolo Fault Zones

Figure 6: Watersheds(2.0 MB)

Figure 7: Coastal Zone (656 KB)

Figure 8: Vegetation Communities (2.3 MB)

Figure 9: Wildlife Habitat (5.5 MB)

Figure 10: Natural Resource Sensitivity (3.5 MB)

Figure 11: Cultural Resources (484 KB)

Figure 12: Planning Zones (1.1 MB)

Figure 13: Año Nuevo SR Key Draft Proposals (735 KB)

Figure 14: Año Nuevo SP Key Draft Proposals (477 KB)

Figure 15: Proposed Preserves (1.1 MB)


Quiroste Attack on Mission Santa Cruz

A little more than twenty years after greeting the Portola Expedition, the Quiroste again enter into the historical account. This time it is due to their aggressive behavior towards Mission Santa Cruz.

By 1791 members of the Quiroste were entering into the missions for conversion, either voluntarily or not. One man, an elder tribal leader named Charquin, fled Mission San Francisco de Asis’s outpost of San Pedro, near present day Pacifica just days after his reported baptism. He led a small band of renegade Quiroste in the Santa Cruz Mountains. He was eventually captured and sent to the Presidio of Santa Barbara. Despite his capture, the Quiroste continued their resistance. Spanish soldiers, sent out by the missionaries, raided the Indians camp and returned the ones they have

caught to the missions. The Quiroste quietly gathered their remaining forces and attacked Mission Santa Cruz on the evening of the 14th of December 1793. Padre Fermín Lasuén, Serra’s successor as president of the missions in Alta California, wrote of the assault: “I have found out for certain that on the night of the fourteenth of last December the pagan, Indian, and some Christian Indians, from rancherías to the northwest of that mission made an assault on the guard, wounded the corporal in the hand, and another soldier in the shoulder, and set fire to the roof of the corral for the lambs, and the old guard house. The corporal fired a few shots, and with that they withdrew without serious injury to either side.” (Lasuén [1785-1803] 1965: 299).

This was the only time one of the Franciscan missions was attacked in Northern California. The attackers are eventually caught and imprisoned. The Spanish exert their power and control of Alta California and its peoples. The Quiroste resistance was soundly defeated. Charquin died in the stockade of the Presidio in San Diego, and what was left of the once prominent Quiroste tribe was forced to work and die in the Mission system (Milliken, Randall

Time of Little Choice: The Disintegration of Tribal Culture in the San Francisco Bay Area 1769-1810. Ch. 6; Ballena Press, Menlo Park;1995)

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John Vonderlin: El Pescadero Maps


From John Vonderlin

Email John ([email protected])




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1945: Charles F. Humphrey Passes


From the Half Moon Bay Review, 1945


1945 Well known Citizen of Coastside Passes


“Charles Franklin Humphrey, well known attorney of San Francisco, on Friday, the 17th of August 1945. With his death ends a vibrant and colorful personality of old San Francisco.


“Life began for him when his pioneer mother held him in her arms above a Kansas river while Indians marauded the neighboring villages. His father, James C. Humphrey, established the first newspapers in Republic and Decatur Counties, Kansas.


“As a boy he worked as a printer’s devil on the widely quoted “Belleville Telescope” one of the first nine newspapers established, owned and edited in the state of Kansas by his father. He worked his way through college as a reporter on the “Kansas City Star,” and then the “Topeka Capitol,” and was graduated by the University of Kansas with the degree of L.L.B.


“After leaving college he practiced law for about a year in Portland, Oregon, under the late W.W. Cotton, brother of Judge Aylet R. Cotton of San Mateo County.


“In 1895 Mr. Humphrey moved to San Francisco, where, with thirty-five cents in his pocket after furnishing his office, he began his long and able career in the law. Never acknowledging defeat, all his cases were interesting to him and all the clients “innocent victims” for which he was a fiery partisan.


“In 1899 he married Miss Elizabeth Warren, a native of England. They lived on Washington Street where their two sons, James W. Humphrey and Jack C. Humphrey were born.


“About the time of the San Francisco fire, his interests took him to Europe where he was instrumental in consolidating many of the California oil properties of the Shell Oil Company.


“In 1919 he became interested in agricultural possibilities of San Mateo County and purchased a  large ranch which was a part of the Old Spanish Grant Punta del Ano Nuevo, near Pescadero. Here he had a beautiful home and being hospitably inclined, and a jovial host, entertained a constant stream of friends.


“For over fifty years Mr. Humphrey was a member of the Bohemian Club. He was a Life Member of the B.P.O.E. (?) , also a member of the Commonwealth Club, the California State Chamber of Commerce and a director of the Associated Farm-California.


“He was a member of the American Bar Association, State Bar of California, San Francisco State Bar Association, Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity, Trustee of the Kansas Pioneer Memorial Society, San Mateo County Historical Association and of E. Clampus Vitus.


“A 32 Mason, and a member of Knights Templar, Shrine and Past Patron of Golden Gate Chapter of Eastern Star, he was signally honored in 1944 when he was presented with the Masonic Gold Button by Excelsior Lodge No. 166, F & A M, and in the same year by Islam Temple, in recognition of his half century of membership in the Masonic Order, dating back to April 17, 1893, at Laurence Lodge F & AM No. 6….”


From John Vonderlin

Email John ([email protected])

Hi June,

  Mr. Humphrey bought the Cascade Ranch from Mr. Renssalear Steele after the Torquay fiasco. He’d mortgaged it for $60K to somebody and only sold a few lots before the 06 Quake  Mr. Humphrey  allowed him to live there until his death with a small annuity. He also bought the Green Oaks Ranch and let Renssalear’s widowed sister live there until she died in 1919. Let me reread Tess Black’s book and get this straight in my head. Enjoy. John

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