Earlier I wrote that it was the old Coastside buildings, lucky to still be standing and dying to talk, that got my attention. The first one that tested my curiosity was the Miramar Beach Inn and that was because it was getting a new look.
The “Miramar” was a very funky place when I first saw it. A dark but cozy bar with Joe the bartender who sang opera while he poured bountiful pitchers of beer. Very picturesque. But soon a young guy with money and very high energy bought the place and moved upstairs with his cute blonde wife. Up there they enjoyed a fantastic view of the Pacific. And there were other little rooms on the same floor. These were rented out to people who worked in the restaurant.
It wasn’t long before I learned the Miramar had once been home to a red-haired madam called Maymie (a local hairdresser, the second wife of a county supervisor, told me she dyed the madam’s hair red). Maymie lived upstairs and the hookers she hired were girls just passing through looking for a little work.
Maymie was a long time resident, living at the Miramar between about 1918 and 1955.
Downstairs was where the party was… in the restaurant and bar. And if someone wanted to take the party upstairs there was a dumb waiter that could be activated from the rooms, bringing drinks and food.
The Miramar’s heyday was in the 1920s during Prohibition and its location overlooking the Pacific was perfect. Just imagine Maymie could look out the window and see the rumrunners sailing in fishing boats and the like withillegal liquor, booze that was unloaded along the secluded beaches, probably right in front of the Miramar and certainly to the north at Princeton Harbor where there were several piers. Maymie, herself, was probably working with the bootleggers and rumrunners.
It has been said that the Half Moon Bay Coastside was the biggest supplier of illegal booze in…well, at least in Northern California area, maybe all of California. All you have to do is look at the stretches of beaches and coves and remember how isolated they were in the 1920s and how difficult it was for officials to patrol an area difficult to get to…
But when poring over old newspapers there is evidence that Maymie’s Miramar was busted by prohibition agents. They probably didn’t recover every illegal bottle of booze though, because the resourceful madam ordered her contractor to design revolving cabinets and movable floorboards to confound the authorities.