Attention Nature Geeks! Mike Merritt here…


Hi, Mike Merritt here.

I thought, with all the talk about tunnels and such, I would throw in a few things I’ve come across in my history “digging”.

Last summer I talked with Gregg Timms of the Pescadero Historical Society, and he asked me if I had found any caves up near Butano State Park where I work. I replied no. Up till then I had never heard of any rumors of caves in the mountains, certainly not ones that you could climb into. I have read about the renegade Native American, Pomponio, hiding out in a “cave” in what is now called Pomponio creek.

Then, yesterday at the Redwood City Library, I came across this in the 1887 issue of the San Mateo Times & Gazette:

“Perhaps there are only a few inhabitants of this place who know of the existence of a cave on the upper Butano Creek. Such is the fact, however. It has been explored to the depth of a hundred feet or more, and stalactite formation of various odd shapes, makes it worth a while to pay a visit…”

Wow, how cool is it that there’s a deep cave right in our backyard?

I know of caves up at Castle Rock but not this close to the coast. Obviously we don’t want to be combing the forest for the cave, as the upper Butano is private property, not to mention very large. However, if anyone has information about this geologic gem us nature geeks would love to know hear about it. Most likely it has been forgotten and is safely hidden deep within the redwood forest.

And the fun doesn’t stop there. Another article brings us to Bean Hollow.

On May 23, 1891, the reporter for the San Mateo Times and Gazette wrote this:

“J. C. Williamson, on Monday last shipped for C. Sweet the first installment of gold from the Bean Hollow Mine. The amount was five and a half ounces worth sexteen dollers per ounce, obtained from amalgram by retort [not sure what this means?]. Mr. Sweet has constructed a windmill by which he is enabled to use this limited supply of water continually, pumping it thereby back to the reservoir. The mine is black sand and the supply abundant.”

Could it be true we had our own gold mine here in Pescadero?

I do not know much about C. Sweet, and this is the first I have heard of a mine of any sorts in the area. Who knows more?

Well that’s all for now. I am getting ready to post some profiles of the early homesteaders of the Little Butano Canyon. They date back to the early 1860’s with each family bringing a wealth of colorful local history.

May the Forest Be With You
Mike Merritt
Butano State Park Seasonal Interpreter

Email Mike ([email protected])

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