Chapter Two: “The Coburn Mystery” Original Draft [1988]

Next door to Loren Coburn’s house stood a couple of old, weathered stables. In earlier times, they had been part of Coburn’s “empire.”

Before the automobile handily became “king”, horses were the way of travel, stagecoaches akin to a small bus. When the horse was “king,” Coburn waged a bitter price-war against a popular competitor named Levy, the same family that would opened general merchandise stores in Pescadero and Half Moon Bay–and in San Mateo.

Loren didn’t care what people thought; he didn’t engage in popularity contests. It was always about the bottom line and his mind could easily calculate costs, losses and profits.

During business dealings, one local said he couldn’t call Coburn “a gentleman.”

Revealing his stubbornness, his inflexibility, Coburn didn’t move into sizzling hot automobile era. Instead, unable to grasp the modern era before him, he sold the stables which were converted into garages, where mechanics repaired the new “machines.”


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