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

Also closeby was the Swanton House, 1890 illustrations of which show a storybook inn, with charming vine and red-red rose covered whiter than white cottages where it wouldn’t be surprising to meet a character from a fairytale.

Everybody knew the secret of its success was the incomparable Swantons, Sarah, famous for her cooking and husband Charles, a one-man-chamber-of-commerce.

The Swanton House was so important that for decades it figured in geographical calculations–as in how many miles from the flagpole in front of Swantons to San Gregorio.

Talk about the 1870s, 1880s, 1890s, the Swanton House was on the tip of the tongue of anyone traveling to Pescadero because that was the choice place to stay. Why? because it was so close to famous, intimate Pebble Beach, and every morning a wagon took elaborately attired guests [bonnets with ribbons, long, bulky dresses, men in suits and hats] to the seashore for a day of serious pebble collecting.

Some of these travelers had come from the East Coast to rummage through the thick hills of shiny, colorful pebbles. And they were colorful. Pretty enough for jewelry, rings and pendants.

It was inevitable that the special pebbles would lead to fanciful rumors…that among ordinary gray stones, there were rubies, garnets and emeralds.

The Swanton House and even more so, Pebble Beach, was the heart and soul of Pescadero.

But by 1919 with both Sarah and Charles Swanton gone, the glory days were gone changing the image to a rundown hotel. Perhaps even seedy.


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