Sarah Upton witnessed the group of men storming the gate at Pebble Beach on September 12, 1891. She sat atop her horse when she recognized the owner of the local general store, the roadmaster and county supervisor. Her brother-in-law, Loren Coburn, said he owned Pebble Beach. This was the place where he planned to build a hotel overlooking the beach, a stable, too, all controversial projects.
In the meantime, to keep people out, Coburn’s men had barricaded the gate with wood and chains and padlocks.
Roadmaster Pinkham and his assistants had their orders. They went to work removing the wood, the chains and padlocks. This was a task Pinkham would face again and again and again.
J.C. Williamson, who managed the Levy Brothers store in town, studied the materials used in the process of obstruction.
Sarah watched the whole thing, shaking her head. She saw Loren’s enemies carry heavy boards and ram their way through the gate. They ran down to the beach where they celebrated their success among the famous pebbles.
One observer wrote: A more orderly, quiet or harmonious assemblage never met on the beach. This case of a united people without a dissenting voice pitted against a grasping, miserly, avaricious money-bags, stands without parallel.
No one on either side knew who actually opened the gate. Not Sarah. Not J.C. Williamson.
Sarah described it as a quiet gate-bursting party. “…They hollered and swore,” she said. She heard them say unkind things about Loren, swinging the effigy about at the same time. Some people said the effigy was burned but others said it remained “in prime condition.”