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

Sunday, October 7, 2012

San Mateo County Places

Cath Madden Trindle

Pescadero is located on the Rancho Pescadero, a Mexican land grant given to Juan José Gonzalez in 1833. Among the early American settlers in the valley were Alexander Moore and Bartlett, Braddock and Robinson Weeks.  Moore built the first frame home in the area in the early 1850s. 
Another early family was the Steeles. They established a dairy farm in the Cloverdale Valley near Pescadero. The rich, fertile soil of the valley attracted other settlers, and by the 1860s Pescadero was a prosperous town surrounded by farms and lumber mills. 

Trout fishing and Pebble Beach drew visitors and by the 1890s Pescadero was a thriving seaside resort. Visitors could take the train to Redwood City or San Mateo and then then travel by mountain stage to Pescadero.  There they found Sarah Swanton's hotel

Another well known establishment is Duarte's Tavern first established in 1894 by Frank Duarte. The original building, along with the Swanton House was destroyed by fire in the 1920s, although the original bar remains.You can read the history of the tavern on their own website, or better yet visit for a cup of artichoke or green chile soup and a slice of pie and see the history on the walls. 

The demise of the Ocean Shore Railway and the fact that Highway 1 bypassed Pescadero eventually meant a shrinking population.  Today  Pescadero is smaller than it was.  It is a quaint little town with some cute little art shops that you should visit on your trip to Duartes and the nearby beaches.

Among the landmarks still standing are St. Anthony's Catholic Church  and the Pescadero Community Church  both were completed in 1867.  The community church with its classical revival style beat out the catholic church and today is the oldest surviving Protestant church on the Peninsula.  It was declared a state historical landmark in 1984.

For much more on the history of Pescadero read though  Pescadero Memories  by June Morrell.  She brings the days of old alive.

Check the Online Archive of California - Pescadero for records, maps and pictures of Pescadero that are sitting in repositories in California including the Steele Ranch Records.  The Library of Congress has some records for the area including LOC-Built in America - Steele Bros. Dairies  and LOC-Built in America - San Gregorio Street in Pescadero.  

Other helpful links include
Wikipedia-Rancho Pescadero
Wikipedia - Pescadero
Pescadero, California 
Coastside History
Pescadero State Beach 
Pescadero Creek Park

Watch for further information on Mt. Hope and St. Anthony's Cemetery, Pillar Point Lighthouse and on specific families that might be posted to the SMCGS First Families Blog.

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