On account of the natural barrier of mountains and hills separating the Coastside from the other districts, this particular part of the county was somewhat retarded in its growth until the coming of the Ocean Shore Railroad. This portion of the peninsula possesses a romantic interest, in that it was the first place in the county to be discovered by the Spanish people when taking possession of the seacoast of Central California.
In the beginning there were only a few settlements and large ranches for dairying, grain and farming purposes.
All this is being changed, as there has been a great development in this section during the last few years, marked by the growth of a number of promising communities which have taken the place of much of the territory formerly devoted to farming and grazing.
The soil in this district has always been known for its splendid fertility. All the lowlands and many of the side hills along the coast, clear to Pescadero, having been given over entirely to the. raising of vegetables. Here, that dainty aristocrat among vegetables, the artichoke, planted in great fields develops a flavor that it attains nowhere else.
The winters are so mild that the plant is at its best during the Christmas holidays and early spring, just when it is needed and appreciated the most, on account of the lack of other fresh vegetables. Early peas, lettuce, cauliflowers, potatoes, sweet corn, string beans, brussels sprouts, horse beans and many other vegetables do equally well.
Among the county’s most important products are cabbages. Cabbage gardeners in the vicinity of Colma and Baden make large shipments,-one of these sending eight carloads to the city ‘ in his busy week. Cauliflowers are also shipped out in carload consignments.
Grain is another important crop, particularly red oats, which is raised quite extensively.
The coast climate is well adapted to the perfect ripening and fine flavor of such fruit as apples and pears. Strawberries and huckleberries grow in abundance farther back upon the hills. Poultry raising is also assuming an important rank as a paying industry.
Nevertheless it is general truck gardening that pays best in this region, having proved so successful, that lands suitable for this purpose will now rent for as much each year, as they were considered to be worth per acre ten years ago. The best of this land averages $500 per acre although three times this figure is not an unusual price to pay for the most productive f a r m s. Figures taken from the United States Census of 1910 show the total value of all farm property in San Mateo County to have been over twenty million dollars. Most of this is located on the coastside.
One phase of the coast climate deserves special mention at this point: it is what might be called a “second spring.” This phenomenon takes place in the autumn, and somewhat resembles the Indian Summer of the eastern states. At this time many crops may be planted again, as they were in the original Spring of the year. The weather at this time is particularly balmy and pleasant.
Another interesting and important industry that has been located upon the coastside of the county since its earliest days, and still maintains noteworthy proportions, is the lumber business. It is an interesting and little known-fact that a large body of untouched redwood lumber-the largest south of Mendocino County, lies along Pescadero Creek ; while upon the shores of Butano and Gazos Creeks to the south, are also millions of feet of untouched redwood lumber. Lumbering operations are still in progress in this latter section where the timber is being turned into shingles and railroad ties. Pescadero is the nearest town to the scene of these activities.
The entire coast as far down as Tunitas Glen, the present terminal of the Ocean Shore Railroad, is rapidly attaining prominence, not only as a satisfactory suburban home community, but as a holiday resort that is easily accessible from San Francisco.
New towns have sprung tip along the coast from San Francisco, where home-seekers from all parts of the country are selecting sites.
It is to such districts as these that people l migrate each summer from the enervating climate of the interior.
The greatest thing next to the coming of the Ocean Shore Railroad, that has yet taken place to open up this coastal section and advertise it to the world, was the building of the Coastside Boulevard. This high class road not only branches out to all
other parts of the county, but makes direct connections with San Francisco. It is one of the most popular and beautiful trips for pleasure seekers, as well as a quick and direct commercial route to the metropolis.
The beaches along this fifty-five mile strip of seashore are ideal recreation grounds for holiday or week-end trips, when business cares arc forgotten in the pleasures of the seashore. Here is a variety of sport to meet the whims of everyone-strolling or resting in the clean white sands, or bathing in the surf. There are shell fish to be gathered, or fishing can be indulged in from beach or rocks. The redwoods which are only a short distance back of the beach, invite the picnic party.
The beaches at nearly every station along the line of the Ocean Shore Railroad, are sheltered from sweeping winds by high bluffs and protected from treacherous undertow, so characteristic of many ocean bathing places, by the natural formation of the coast line into rocky reefs and inland curves. The temperature of the water is modified by the warm Japan currents which skirt the coast of central California and make bathing delightful.
Surf bathing is indulged in to a great extent at Salada Beach, Brighton Beach, Moss Beach, Marine V Princeton, Granada, the town of Halfmoon Bay and Tunitas Glen. Beautiful bath houses have been erected at Salada, Moss Beach, Princeton and Granada, where crowds go daily, in summer, to enjoy the snow-white sands, the invigorating salt air and a clip in the surf.
These towns and resorts are strung out along the coast in a line similar to the formation of the bayside cities. The entire population, although growing rapidly, is yet small as compared to that of the sister community across the mountains.
There are two good sized towns, Halfmoon Bay and Pescadero. The remainder of the settlements arc in the nature of summer resorts, around each of which cluster the summer homes of many San Franciscans as well as the year ’round residences of commuters.
The towns located on the coastside along the line of the Ocean Shore Railroad between San Francisco and Pescadero are Edgemar, Salada, Brighton Beach, Rockaway, Pedro Valley, Farallone, Moss Beach, Montara, Princeton, Granada, Miramar, Halfmoon Bay, Lobitas, Tunitas, Purissima, San Gregorio, and the world-famous Pebble Beach.
Halfmoon Bay, originally called Spanishtown, is the largest and oldest town upon the coastside of San Mateo County. It is located in a very fertile valley which flares out upon the shores of the Bay of Halfmoon.
Here indeed is a bit of Old Spain a little village that might have been transported from the land of the Dons, when the Spanish nation was at the height of its colonizing era in the new world.
The situation of the town is one of the most picturesque on the coast, where the wild beauty of bay, mountain and plain arc at their best. At this point, the mountains have fallen back from the sea, leaving a highly fertile plain of several thousand acres stretching along the shores of the bay. Here the waters seem particularly blue, and the sand of an extraordinary whiteness.
Upon this plain grow the artichoke and brussels sprout. Halfmoon Bay artichokes are known from San Francisco to New York and have made the name of Halfmoon Bay famous.
Here also is located the largest mushroom farm west of Chicago, the output of which is shipped to the markets of San Francisco and other bay cities.
There is a high school, grammar school, two churches, and, several fraternal orders, clubs and organizations.
Halfmoon Bay is served by the Ocean Shore Railroad. The Coastside Boulevard from San Francisco passes through Halfmoon Bay, with branches to Redwood City and San Mateo. A line of automobile busses over these roads connect Halfmoon Bay with these cities.
The estimated population is 1,100.
Hidden away in a nook of the mountains and surrounded by one of the richest farming regions of the entire state, is the town of Pescadcro,-second in size among the coast towns of the county.
In the old Spanish days, Pescadcro was one of the most important stopping places upon the Camino Real. As far back as the early seventies it was a famous resort for honeymoons and parties, and rendezvous for sportsmen from San Francisco. Before this, it was the center of a great cattle district from which hides were shipped to Monterey. An old adobe or two yet remains to remind the historically inclined of the pioneer days of Alta California.
When San Francisco was being expanded into a city, the level land around Pescadero became one vast potato patch, the product being shipped from Pigeon Point, six miles below.
The romantic charm of this little town with its famous pebble beach, bracing climate, scenic beauties and lagoon three miles to the south, where there is unexcelled fishing for striped bass, steelhead and salmon, exerts a magical attraction upon the modern day motorists.
The Ocean Shore Railroad extends only to Tunitas Glen, although its right-of-way has been graded to Pescadero. An automobile stage is operated from here through Pescadero to Santa Cruz and intermediate points, affording train connection to people along the route.
In the town there are two churches, a grammar school, fraternal organizations and clubs.
Pescadero gives the impression of contentment and industry, and above all of cleanliness. Many writers describe the place as a sort of “Spotless Town,” because of its well kept streets and predominance of white-painted cottages.
Few people who have not actually enjoyed the stimulating climate on the ocean shore can realize its attractions. Foggy clays are in the extreme minority. Here the hot summer clays are tempered by ocean breezes, and winter days are at their best and are surprisingly warm. In fact the coastside is warmer in winter than the bayside, and cooler in summer, maintaining a more equable temperature the year around.