San Mateo County Genealogical Society's Blog featuring society events, projects, meeting notes and other items of relevance to genealogists.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

SMC Newspapers: San Bruno Herald and the Peninsula News

Herald Building Circa 1940
Courtesy of San Bruno Library
The Peninsula News, a weekly, was published by Glen Byers starting in 1914.  Only two known issues exist today, one from December 1914 on microfilm at the San Bruno Public Library and one original from Sept. 1915 at the San Mateo County Historical Association Archives.  The length of the run is unknown. At some point between 1914 and 1921 the paper was acquired by Horace W Amphlet.

"The Peninsula News, a weekly paper has been purchased by G. A. Helmore from Horace W. Amphlet, editor and proprietor of the San Mateo Times, Helmore but recently returned from England where he served with the British forces during the late war. "  

Coast Side Comet, Volume 12, Number 46, 14 January 1921

Helmore established the San Bruno Herald  in November of 1920. After his purchase of the Peninsula news he changed the title to include "and Peninsula News"  A change in the numbering of volumes suggests that the Peninsula News was being published continuously before the purchase.  Volume 1 issue 10 was issued on 8 Jan 1921 and Volume 8 issue 3 was issued on 15 Jan 1921.  1921 would have been it's eighth year of production. 

In 1931 the publisher of record was Harry Elston.  He continued using the title San Bruno Herald and Peninsula News until 1934 and added it back in 1937. It appears that he continued as publisher until 1955, when the Amphlett Printing Company was again listed as owner. During this period A I Cloud was publisher for many years.

The San Bruno Public Library has a nearly complete run of all the issues on microfilm.  UCR has many of the issues on microfilm masters. A few other libraries have individual issues, but none have significant holdings.

Statues of California V1. P387
  • Peninsula news. : (San Bruno, San Mateo County, Calif.) 1914-19??  
  • San Bruno herald. :W (San Bruno, Calif) 1920-1920  Vol. 1, no. 1 (Nov. 6, 1920)-v. 1, no. 8 (Dec. 25, 1920) 
  • San Bruno herald and Peninsula news. : (San Bruno, Calif.) 1921-1931 
  • San Bruno herald. : (San Bruno, San Mateo County, Calif.) 1931-1937 
  • San Bruno herald and Peninsula news. : (San Bruno, Calif.) 1937-1955  
  • San Bruno herald, Peninsula news and the San Bruno progress. : (San Bruno, Calif.) 1955-1980 
  • San Bruno enterprise journal, San Bruno herald. : (San Bruno, Ca.) 1980-1980 
  • San Bruno herald. : (South San Francisco, Calif.) 1980- 2004

San Bruno Public Library
San Bruno Herald - Wikipedia

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Half Moon Bay History Association Museum

In June of 2018 the Half Moon Bay History Association opened a refurbished museum in the old Jail on Johnston Street.  Formerly in the hands of the Spanishtown Historical Society it had been closed for quite some time.  The city gave them a lease and a three month window to get it opened and docents trained.

Dave Olsen gave me a tour the other day, as they prepared for a weekend anniversary celebration.  I was very impressed with the quality of the displays, both the collection and the signage which is currently in both English and Spanish.  In the works are translations to Portuguese and Chinese and maybe Italian.

It is a small space, but nicely put together offering a wide assortment of items without feeling cluttered.  There is more to see though, so fundraising is underway to convert the "Johnson" Barn that sits on the property behind the Jail into a larger museum.   

Among the collections that they inherited from the Spanishtown Historical Society is a collection of oral histories that is over fifty years old.  They are working to preserve and transcribe that collection. 

The museum is open on weekends from 10-4 and it is possible to make arrangements for group tours.

The HMB History Association holds quarterly meetings featuring speakers on local history, which are open to the public, at the Portuguese Community Center. 

I first heard about the Association and the Jail Museum, because they were looking for information on the jail during its years of operation (1919-1967).  If you have any information on the jail, or on any aspect of Half Moon Bay history they would love to hear from you.

Check out their website  Half Moon Bay History Association for more information on the Association, it's history, HMB history, the oral history project, the museum project and contact information.

And be sure to stop in the next time you find yourself in Half Moon Bay on a weekend.

505 Johnston Street, Half Moon Bay, CA
(near the corner of Kelly Avenue and Johnston Street)
Mailing Address:
Half Moon Bay History Association
625 Miramontes Street, Ste 203
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Barry's Bits and Upcoming Events

                       Upcoming Events                         

Sat, Jun 22, 2019 – Sharing Stories: Readings and Potluck Lunch
10:30 am–12:30 pm, Free. Grace Lutheran Church, 2825 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo, entrance in back.

Host: Cath Madden Trindle

Join us for the SMCGS June meeting where we celebrate family history and San Mateo County stories written by our genealogy community. Story readings, a drawing for prizes for stories submitted, a special small gift for each person who submitted stories and is present at the meeting, plus a social hour at the end with a potluck lunch.

Sat, Jul 27, 2019 – Round Table Discussions
10:30 am–12:00 pm, Free. Grace Lutheran Church, 2825 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo, entrance in back.
The SMCGS Round Table meeting is an opportunity for genealogists to come together to share with others what research or projects they have done on a particular topic. Everyone is encouraged to share as well as ask questions. Attendees can “hop” from table to table in order to participate in more than one Round Table. Topics to be announced in May!

Barry Hinman and Mary Lou Grunigen volunteer at the San Mateo County Genealogical Society library located at Canada College in Redwood City. They welcome members of the Society and visitors who would like a tour of the library and an introduction to its holdings. They are also available, of course, to consult about genealogical problems or research strategies. They are there from 1:00-4:00 on the second Tuesday of every month if the Canada library is open to the public on that day.  

Wednesday, June 5, 2019


Sunday, November 1, 1857  

Paper: Daily Globe (San Francisco, CA)   v3 issue 121 pg 3

The earliest stagecoaches in San Mateo County were mudwagons.  They were able to travel more easily on rough muddy roads than heavier coaches. 

Hanson Wheel and Wagon Shop
Mudwagon reproduction 

Until January 1864, when the Peninsular Line was completed between San Francisco and San Jose, stages ran along the El Camino Real.  At that time, stages were still the means of transportation from the train stations to outlying areas, including to the coast.  

In the 1860's and 70's, stage roads were built to connect Redwood City and San Mateo with the coastal communities at Half Moon Bay, Purisima, San Gregorio and Pescadero.  Besides providing transportation, communication and freight service for residents, the stage roads brought tourists to the South Coast to fish, camp, and enjoy the beach and forests.

As the roads in the county improved Concord coaches were introduced to the routes.

Concord Coach
Concord Historical Society

Eventually other modes of transportation developed within the county.  By 1893 a street car from San Francisco had reached Baden (South San Francisco), allowing easier movement by the middle class. In 1900 the San Francisco and San Mateo Electric Railway Company was granted the first franchise within the City of San Mateo with the caveat they would pay 2% of the gross to the city and pave the street between the tracks.  The line was sold within a year, extended further down the peninsula and eventually started running about 1906.  With streetcars and shortly after cars, the days of the stagecoach ended.

If you would like to know more about stagecoaches, see a sample, and take a simulated ride, visit the Wells Fargo Museum in San Francisco.  A short walk from the Montgomery Bart Station, it is well worth the effort.  There are two additional museums in Sacramento if you are up that direction.

Stagecoaches and Mudwagons - Smithsonian Postal Museum
Stage Styles: Not All Were Coaches - CA Parks Dept
National Stagecoach and Freight Wagon Association
Stagecoach Terms and Slang - Legends of America
Mudwagon - You Tube
Transportation in San Mateo County - La Peninsula Summer 2007 SMCHA