These pleasant places, some of which were in existence as far back as the early fifties, played their part in the development of the county. It was in their attractive environments that many of the most prominent business and professional men from San Francisco would foregather on Sundays and holidays to enjoy themselves and discuss their favorite political problems.
In the early days beds were at a premium, and many travelers carried their own blankets. A bench or even floor space or perhaps a hayrick out of doors was good enough for the hardy travelers who passed that way. The food was good, the beer was heady-and there was always a warm welcome,-so no one thought the lack of accommodations a hardship.
In 1849 a man by the name of Thorp built a little hut on the mission road from San Francisco to San Jose, at a spot fourteen miles south of San Francisco. Soon a more commodious structure was added to this and the former cabin-like building became the bar room of the new hostelry.
In 1871 a Mr. J. Gamble came into possession of “Thorp’s Place” and christened it the “Star and Garter.” Seven years later Thomas Rolls, a colored man became the proprietor and gave it the name of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” which is its present day name. The next proprietor was August Genevan who presided over Uncle Tom’s Cabin until succeeded by Andy Buerke, the present proprietor.
Another of these resorts was located on the south bank of the San Mateo Creek where the county road still crosses it.
This little inn was visited at one time or another by all the men who have left distinguished names in the civic life of California. The place was crowded by pleasure seekers on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. Among the celebrated characters, now dead and gone, who foregathered here at such times were judge Ogden Hoffman. Recorder Hackett, Joshua Haven, Peachy McDougall, Hall and Cutter McAllister, Louis and Charles McLain, Captain Irham, Mr. Forbes, Gen. Beale, Gen. Fremont, Gen. Sherman, Mailey Payton, Beverly Saunders, Myers Truett and Lafayette Maynard.
The Lake House, a little inn on the old Mission Road, was another of these famous resorts. Its old location is now the bed of one of the Spring Valley lakes. It was here that David C. Broderick rested the night previous to his fatal duel with David S. Terry, Chief Justice of the State of California, on September 13, 1859, receiving a fatal wound.
Broderick who was a staunch upholder of the policies of Abraham Lincoln, had put up a hard fight to retain California undivided and loyal to the Union. Judge Terry and Senator Gwin were among his bitterest opponents. The political strife between Terry and Broderick culminated in a challenge from Terry which Broderick accepted.
Duelling pistols of the Lafoucheux type, a well known Belgian make, were the weapons chosen. These were the property of Dr. Aylette of Stockton, a personal friend of Terry ; and had been used before in a duel. Although this affair did not result fatally, it demonstrated that one of the firearms was specially fitted with a hairtrigger, causing it to be discharged prematurely.
Broderick was not aware of this, and unfortunately drew the unreliable weapon on the morning of the duel. He fired a little in advance of his opponent, but his weapon went off before he had the opportunity to elevate it, and his bullet struck the ground a few paces in front of him; while that of his antagonist pierced his breast. Three clays later Broderick died.
Another famous hostelry in the county was the “Crystal Springs House,” a well known summer resort in the San Raymundo Valley, reached by a romantic drive up the canon of San Mateo Creek.