The 1868 Boundary Bill: Pescadero Joins San Mateo County…

[Note: I wrote this in 1977]

As spokesman for a circle of prominent South Coast residents, Dr. Isaac Goodspeed faced the press in 1868 and flatly denied accusations that local citizens planned to resist efforts to sever Pescadero from Santa Cruz County.

He had the petition to prove it–including an impressive list of taxpayers ready to unite Pescadero with San Mateo County.

All the signers said the same thing: The only road leading to the county seat in Santa Cruz, 40 miles south, was impassable most of the year. That meant the Pescaderans had to travel and extra 90 miles, via San Mateo and San Jose to reach Santa Cruz.

Hopes were not raised by talk of improving the closer route. Even a master engineer, the Pescaderans said, could not build a road through the Waddell bluffs at the ocean’s edge. The bluffs formed a natural, impenetrable barrier between Pescadero and Santa Cruz.

Pulling out of Santa Cruz and joining San Mateo County appealed to everyone. Redwood City was a mere 20 miles away and stages headed over the mountains daily.

The so-called “Boundary Bill” sailed through the state legislature with little opposition in 1868. The County of San Mateo welcome its new taxpaying citizens and surveyors added 90,000 acres to official maps.

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