The Coburn Mystery: Chapter 58

By June Morrall

When the Pebble Beach bill passed the California legislature in 1893, the overjoyed citizens of Pescadero celebrated with a “Mammoth Picnic,” at the beach piled high with shiny, colorful stones. Pebble Beach was “Pescadero’s inheritance,” they said.

Guests of honor were State Senator Bart Burke and Assemblyman James O’Keefe.

After Pescadero’s Dr. McCracken, a future county supervisor, called the “seashore banquet” to order, he said to the gathered crowd:

Ladies and Gentlemen, today in Chicago the greatest fair and exhibit in the history of the world has been dedicated to the people…we are here to celebrate an important event to the people of this country, the dedication to the people of beautiful Pebble Beach. For over a year the people have been battling for their rights, and it has come to the time when they were to be protected in them. We have with us two gentlemen to whom, for this, we owe much, and will now take pleasure in presenting each with a charm made from a pebble from the beach as a slight token of the regard the people of Pescadero hold of their friends. As we love Pebble Beach so we hold in remembrance those who so valiantly assisted in the passage of Asembly Bill 103.

Both politicians graciously received the “charms” fashioned from very special white agates found at Pebble Beach. In size, the agates measured 1/8 x 5/8 inches. They were mounted in a gold setting with this inscription:

Presented to Senator Bart Burke/Jas. O’Keefe by the People of Pescadero, 1893.

I have no record of Assemblyman O’Keefe’s comments but Senator Burke had an upbeat message for the folks:

“…looking into the faces of the good people present,” said Senator Burke,  “and feeling as I now do the motives which have actuated you to battle for the freedom of these grounds, and, above all, beingeye witness to the happiness and pleasure it gives the entire community to feel secure in its possession, more than compensate me for any effort I put to that end.”

The official ceremony and “Mammoth Picnic” closed with a poem read by local pioneer John Goulson. As soon as it grew dark the Pescaderans squeezed into the standing room only social hall where they danced to the music of a San Francisco orchestra.

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