Levy Brothers Built a Small Empire of General Stores (8)

All work for this story was done at the San Mateo County History Museum in Redwood City.

Levy Brothers Built a Small Empire of General Stores: Part 8, Finis

Adrien’s leanings toward real estate probably prompted the brothers to accumulate 3,000 acres near Pomponio Creek in the early 1900s. In the meantime, they also attempted to revive whaling south of Pescadero at Pigeon Point–plus a crew of two dozen men worked at their sawmill on Butano Creek.

As a mechanical cream separator revolutionized the dairy industry, the Levys invested in creameries and cheese factories. One factory, with 600 cows, stood at Pigeon Point [this sounds like it was part of the ranch that belonged to Loren Coburn]; another was located north of the old Peterson and Alsford Store in San Gregorio [which now belongs to the Cattermoles.] The third stood on the site once used by a water-powered grist mill on Pilarcitos Creek in Half Moon Bay.

About the same time, the Levys signed the lease for a much larger store–as big as three buildings– on Purissima Street in Half Moon Bay.

Although the Levys loved the small town atmosphere of the Coastside, they actively explored outside investments. By the early 1900s, most businessmen looked to the peninsula. Plans for the extension of an electric trolley car service from San Francisco to San Mateo tantalized potential investors.

As homes filled newly subdivided land, the population rapidly increased. The Levy brothers concluded that a move to the bay side held greater promise for their future.

By 1902, when the brothers had already opened their mercantile in San Mateo, newspapers continued to run ads for their chains of stores at Half Moon Bay, San Gregorio and Pescadero.


AfterNote: The Levy brothers opened stores on the peninsula and moved there as well. All the stores on the Coastside were closed; the land at Pomponio Creek sold. After decades of success on the peninsula, the store’s owners looked to fresh opportunites in Half Moon Bay, returning there in 1972. But things didn’t work out as expected; the store was closed in the 1980s or 90s.

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