Half Moon Bay (CA) (Images of America)
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First dubbed San Benito and then "Spanishtown," Half Moon Bay is a coastside town with a long and intriguing story. Many know it for its lovely natural surroundings, quaint downtown architecture, and relaxed atmosphere, but not many people know that this town was the first to be established in San Mateo County as a result of 1840s land grants to early Spanish settlers. Isolated on the coast for a time, it became home to Mexican, Chilean, Italian, Portuguese, and other cultures after the 1850s, when roads finally reached over the mountains. During the 20th century, a wide variety of businesses thrived here, as people arrived by road, water, and even railroad. Farms, churches, schools, businesses, and homes sprang up, and the town modernized, though today's Half Moon Bay looks much like it did 100 years ago.
present-day Montara. Montara’s natural setting is one of beauty. Montara Beach is a pristine stretch between two high bluffs. As to how the community received its name, Gudde’s Place Names of California states that “Montoro” was used by the Whitney Survey in 1867. The current spelling was introduced in 1869 by the Coast Survey. Gudde believes that both are misspellings of Spanish words referring to forests, mountains (a “Canada Montosa”), and valleys full of woods and thickets. Today, the word
looks west toward the coast, Devil’s Slide, and the McNee Ranch. The prominent building on the right with the turrets is the old town hall, post office, and general store. It was designed by Will Sparks and built in 1908 by Lawrence J. Kent. This is a c. 1910 view of the lighthouse at Montara. Fog and wind can both create peril for the sailor. In 1873, Congress appropriated $15,000 for this steam-powered fog signal. The lighthouse itself was built in 1887. In foggy years it operated over 1,500
power gets launched out of the ocean like a volcano blowing its top . . . Mavericks, the wave that many believe to be the most challenging on the planet. Six YESTERDAY AND TODAY Half Moon Bay has an amazing number of old houses and buildings that are still in use today. That such a variety exists is tribute to the skill of the architects and builders that worked in the area even before regularly passable roads had been built and to the preservation skills of those who have kept the buildings
The Pastime Club was an old-style saloon with the beautiful mahogany woodwork common in pre–World War II days. The San Benito House staff believes the Pastime Club was located in the middle of the Debenedetti Block. This photograph hangs in the San Benito House. In 1922, 415–421 Main Street was built for Manuel Francis, the son of Portuguese settlers who became a San Mateo county supervisor. Living quarters were built over the shops. In the 1880s, 429–431 Main Street was built for Angelo
Vidal’s bakery for about 30 years before being converted to a dry goods store in 1892 and then to Mr. Snead’s drug store in 1894. Vidal was born in Lerida, Spain, about 15 miles from the birthplace of Gaspar de Portolá. The older building was razed to make room for the bank. The bank was soon absorbed by the Bank of Italy, which became the Bank of America. Today, 501 Main Street is the Half Moon Bay City Hall. The Half Moon Bakery was built in 1927 for Nat Castiglioni. It remains a bakery, and