While the cement curbs and sidewalks remained [many of them leading nowhere], no one built homes near them. The most ambitious project–the Coney Island West–did not materialize and Granada now had the curious feeling of a ghost town.
The Ocean Shore Railroad declared bankruptcy and the rails were torn up about 1922–but four years later prominent leaders in Half Moon Bay looked for mass transit alternatives, among them a 4,000 foot long tunnel cut through the Santa Cruz Mountains.
About the same time Lewis W. Martin purchased 640 acres for $150,000 in what was now known as El Granada. Martin announced that he had elaborate plans for a development called the El Granada Country Club, accessed via Isabella and Columbus Avenues–close to San Francisco, he said, where he planned to direct an agressive membership campaign.
The landowner sliced the tract into 7500 cabin sites and talked of planting colorful flowers everywhere.
But Lewis Martin’s plans collapsed when the Great Depression put a choke-hold on many investments and there was no great rush to buy property which was declining in value. Also, the strangely constructed Pedro Mountain Road–a road supposedly built for automobiles–with its remarkable collection of twists and turns and its uneven, unexpected drops in the pavement, did not win the hearts and minds of drivers.
On the other hand, as I have written many times, with the loss of the railroad, the Coastside’s isolation remained, turning Granada and its neighboring communities into a perfect haven for rumrunners, bootleggers and roadhouses during Prohibition.
Burt and I went to lunch at Mezza Luna [located in the old Princeton Hotel] in Princeton-by-the-Sea today and were delighted to learn that Guest Chef Gabriele was preparing the “specials”, including a spectacular Veal Scallapino. Gabriele owns the Trattoria Tre Fonti near Venice [Italy] and while enjoying a week’s vacation on the Coastside he decided he wanted to cook.
DEAR JUNE;I WAS TALKING TO ONE OF MY FRIENDS HERE IN MISSOURI(FROM SAN BRUNO) AND TOLD HIM THAT WHEN I WON THE LOTTERY,I WAS MOVING BACK TO THE COAST,BUYING THE GIFT SHOP IN PRINCENTON HARBOR AND RECREATING “GENE’S BEER AND PIZZA”.
I GUESS WHAT TRIGGERED THIS WAS READING THE HMB REVIEW YESTERDAY AND SEEING THE NEW DEVELOPMENT IN PRINCETON.
MY NAME IS GRAY GARDNER; I MOVED TO EL GRANADA IN OCT. 1967, SPENT MY FIRST NIGHT IN GENE’S, WOKE UP WITH A TREMENDOUS HANGOVER, HEARD THE SOUND OF THE WAVES, AND KNEW I WAS HOME.
TWO OF MY FRIENDS FROM MISSOURI WERE LIVING IN THE STUDIOS BEHIND THE HARDWARE STORE–I MOVED IN–AND LATER LIVED ON TOP OF THE HARDWARE STORE WHEN REX BUILT THE APARTMENTS..
MY LAST FIVE YEARS I LIVED IN THE BEACH HOUSE BELOW THE “DISTILLERY” IN MOSS BEACH.
JOE DOSHER (“MIRAMAR JOE”). IS STILL A CLOSE FRIEND OF MINE AS WELL AS DAVID AND PAT ANDREWS,WHO OWNED THE DISTILLERY.
I STILL GET BACK TO THE COAST AT LEAST ONCE A YEAR,BUT MISS THE “MINIATURE CANNERY ROW”. I WISH TODAY THAT I HAD TAKEN MORE PICTURES OF PEOPLE AND PLACES AND FEWER SUNSETS.
I’VE TOLD PEOPLE FOR YEARS THAT A LITTLE BIT OF “CANNERY ROW” WAS STILL ALIVE ON THE COAST WHEN I MOVED THERE,AND LASTED A LITTLE WHILE. I WONDER NOW WHERE THE POOR COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN AND COWBOYS GO TO DRINK AND FIGHT.
SOMETIMES, WHEN YOU’RE LIVING HISTORY,YOU ARE TOO MUCH IN THE MIDDLE OF IT TO KNOW.
I HAVE THE RAILROAD BOOK AND “HALF MOON BAY MEMORIES’ AND PLAN TO ADD YOUR “PRINCETON-BY-THE SEA ‘ BOOK.J UST WANTED TO SAY HI.
(Remember, I wrote this piece in 1977, and, yes, I admit to doing a “little” editing. I had arrived on the Coastside a few years earlier and it was love at first sight. I’m still in love.)
Even though the writing was on the wall, the cat was on the roof–the automobile was more reliable and faster than the old-fashioned Ocean Shore Railroad–employees of the Ocean Shore Land Co. continued trimming trees and planting fresh flowers in their showplace called Granada.
But soon the beds of flowers would wilt because the predictions were wrong. The San Francisco 1906 Earthquake & Fire did send people in search of safety but they gravitated to the Peninsula–and not Granada.
Even worse, from the Ocean Shore’s point of view, San Francisco quickly rebuilt itself–leading to rumors that the Coastside had been prematurely cut up.
Very few vacation homes or permanent residences were actually built in Granada leaving acres of open land that had been subdivided into small, narrow lots. Some lot owners defaulted on payments and the lots reverted to the Ocean Shore’s real estate subsidiary. [By then the land company had overextended itself and was forced to also default].
the passengers were greeted by Mr. Dannman, “the saloon man” at Shelter Cove (?).
Here E.H. Dannman (the cute little man in the center) poses with Rudy Brandt (at far left) and Lorin Silleman (at far right). Photo courtesy of railroad historian John Schmale.
I actually met Rudy Brandt, whose father had invested in Ocean Shore Railroad stock and did not take the eventual bankruptcy well.
Rudy Brandt was a real character; in the 1970s he lived in a spartan room or apartment in the Tenderloin in San Francisco and always carried a handgun with him. His life was centered on the Ocean Shore Railroad and he had a great collection of vintage photographs.
Rudolph Brandt is featured in my documentary “The Mystery of Half Moon Bay.” To view the show, click here
(Photo: The railroad’s freight yard at Granada–which I consider a kind of 3rd station because I’m sure passengers did get off there.)
Two years later in 1918 the Ocean Shore Railroad had turned into a dinosaur.
Many reasons: Devil’s Slide could not be conquered. The engineering work that had been done there by the Ocean Shore Company, the dynamiting through the “rock” barriers, had not solved the problem of the Coastside’s classic isolation.
More and more often– as the train passed through– boulders rolled onto the tracks–and if the rocks were too big to clear quickly– the train was forced to back up all the way to Pacifica.
But that wasn’t so bad because the friendly saloon owner was ready to serve the stranded passengers rounds of stiff drinks, sometimes keeping them there all night long.