By June Morrall
(Yes, this story goes on and on and on…)
In Pescadero, Charles Swanton was the one-man chamber of commerce and how I would enjoy seeing photos of the Swanton family. What did they look like?
What Charles enjoyed most of all was showing off the nearby natural wonders, including Pigeon Point lighthouse and Pebble Beach. He also worked closed with Dr. Isaac Goodspeed, whose goal was to pull Pescadero out of Santa Cruz County and into San Mateo County.
Why brought the Swantons to this isolated village south of Pescadero? They had owned stock in the U.S. Central Railroad which turned them into great fans of travel by rail. When they heard rumors of an iron road connecting the city of San Francisco with tiny Pescadero, they didn’t want to be left out of the excitement, the day when the rails reached this place cut off from the rest of the world.
They arrived about 1858 and were impressed by the stakes that had been laid out for lots on North Street. But it took another long decade before Western Union established an office in town–a sign that progress wasn’t moving as fast as the Swantons might have hoped for. Yet, like everybody else who stayed, they believed prosperity was coming with the railroad and it would enrich them all.
In June 1871, H.A. Schofield, the editor of the San Mateo County Gazette, described his trip to the Swanton House. At Redwood City, he boarded the 8:50 a.m. train bound for San Mateo, where he took a seat in “on oef Wellington & Son’ssplendid six-horse Concord Coaches” headed for Pescadero.
“It was hard to find a more delightful and pleasant trip than it is at this season of the year to go from San Mateo to Pescadero,” wrote Schofield, the editor. “There is scarcely any dust to annoy the traveler, and the invigorating breeze constantly blowing from the broad Pacific renders it specially pleasant and comfortable after reaching the summit going to Halfmoon Bay…After eating a good dinner at the Dawson House in Half Moon Bay, the travelers in good condition to enjoy the ride of 18 miles down to the coast in Pescadero–passing on the route, the Purissima House and the San Gregorio House, and arriving at Pescadero at half past three o’clock p.m., where the smiling, good natured and accommodating Swanton is always on hand to give the guests of the Swanton House a cordial welcome. Everyone knows Swanton and all their relatives.”