September 16th, 2016

by Jesse Arnold, Ginny Monteen and Jerry Praver

Cambria is a spot whose perfection is marred only by the mispronunciation of its name. Most locals believe it sounds a bit bizarre to say CAME-bria, as in came and went. Read the rest of this entry »

Cambria Schools by Dawn Dunlap

December 4th, 2015

The northerly bluff above Main Street in the East Village was an integral part of early Cambria. Between 1870 and 1906, a cemetery, a water cistern and delivery system, and two schools were established successively on the bluff and in the forest, on land owned by Cambria businessman J.D. Campbell and his son, James. Read the rest of this entry »

Images of America, Cambria

July 27th, 2015

This book is what is colloquially referred to as an “Arcadia Publication”, so called because it is part of the “Images of America” series of local history books published by Arcadia Publishing of Mount Pleasant, North Carolina. Each of the more than 7,000 books in this series follows an identical format and this one is no exception. It contains nearly 200 historical images of Cambria and the surrounding area and the local history is revealed in their captions. Read the rest of this entry »

Historic Cambria, Treasures of the Past

July 26th, 2015

This slim volume was written by Dawn Dunlap, noted local historian, who has lived in Cambria all of her life. It was published by Cambria Historical Society which created a historical walk of the town by placing informational plaques on twenty eight of Cambria’s most historical buildings. This book is intended as a companion guide to historical walk. Both the plaques and the book were funded by a grant from the Cambria Tourism Board. Read the rest of this entry »

Cambria Pines Lodge/Harry Jones

July 15th, 2014

Don Julian Estrada received the grant to the Rancho Santa Rosa on January 18, 1841. In the 1850s he got into financial difficulty due to the declining prices for beef, hides and tallow, bad weather, surveying costs, and increasing property taxes. Using the rancho as security, he borrowed $7,900 from Domingo Pujol, a merchant from San Francisco, but he was unable to repay the debt. On May 17, 1862, Pujol and Estrada struck a deal in which Pujol gave Estrada an additional $12,000 and took possession of the rancho. Read the rest of this entry »

The Great Drought

July 9th, 2014

As this article is being written, the Cambria area is in the fourth year of a devastating drought. The state of California has classified the drought in this area as “exceptional”, the most severe of its five categories. Cambrians have reduced their water consumption by nearly half and a dirty vehicle has become a badge of honor. Read the rest of this entry »

Greenspace…So Far

October 6th, 2013

This volume, written by Wayne Attoe and illustrated with cartoons by Arthur Van Rhyn, is subtitled, “Greenspace – The Cambria Land Trust at 25 Years” and that is an exact description of the contents. The many accomplishments of this organization are described in sufficient detail to grasp their significance but without including so much minutia that it becomes tedious. Read the rest of this entry »

We Watched the Sky

April 11th, 2013

by Stephen Overturf

Several planes fly over Cambria at two o’clock in the morning in early January of 1942. A man, sitting in his heavy overcoat outside of his home, puts binoculars to his eyes, but cannot make out much about the planes through the gray mist. Still, it is clear from the pitch of their engines that there is more than one, and that they are heading east. He immediately calls Frances Smith, up at the Cambria Pines Lodge, a local inn, and reports. She — somewhat alarmed but telling herself to remain calm — issues a “flash message” directly to the Army headquarters at Riverside. They will know what to do. Read the rest of this entry »

The Portola Expedition

March 15th, 2013

by Tayor Coffman

This article is copyright 2011, all rights reserved; renewed 2013

The year 1969 marked the two hundredth anniversary of a historic trek through the Cambria-San Simeon area, a journey often called (by English speakers) The Sacred Expedition. It was in 1769 that a Spaniard named Gaspar de Portola and a large group of men and livestock made their way up the rugged Baja California peninsula, northward from Loreto. The Franciscans in the group established a single mission along the way in a remote place called Velicata; it was the only trace left by that religious order in all of Baja. But the real aim of the Sacred Expedition was to find the harbor of Monterey, still hundreds of miles north, named and described by Sebastian Vizcaino on his voyage of more than 150 years earlier, in 1602-1603. In fact, the Portola group was speaking of the “Monterey Expedition,” a term rarely seen in later annals. Read the rest of this entry »

Sebastian’s Store

October 8th, 2012

By the time California was admitted to the union in 1850, San Simeon was the third largest settlement in San Luis Obispo County behind San Luis Obispo and San Miguel. It was shown as a settlement and anchorage on the Duflot de Mofras map of 1844. By 1869 San Simeon had grown to a population of 200 people. Read the rest of this entry »

Cambria Bypass

October 5th, 2012

When Highway One was first opened in 1937, the route went south from San Simeon, along Moonstone Beach Drive and then along Main Street through what is now West Village (called “the flats” at that time), through East Village and past the intersection with Santa Rosa Creek Road to the present intersection with Ardath and then south to Cayucos. As time went on, traffic along the highway increased and soon became too much for the narrow streets of Cambria to bear. Read the rest of this entry »

Bluebird Inn

October 24th, 2011

The Bluebird Inn, located on Main Street in Cambria’s East Village, was built by George W. Lull in 1880 for his second wife, Mary Inman Lull.

Lull was a partner in the San Francisco firm of Grant and Lull. While George Grant remained in San Francisco, Lull first came to the Cambria area in 1858 at the age of 27. He built a small store near the mouth of San Simeon Creek. In 1865 he leased a small plot of land from Philip Kaitzel and erected a two-story building which later became the Music House and today is part of Fog’s End Bed and Breakfast. In the lower floor of this building Lull established the first store in the Cambria area called the Grant and Lull Store. By 1867 the store had been moved to the southeast corner of Bridge and Main Street and the first Cambria Post Office was established within it. Winfield S. Whitaker was the first postmaster but Lull was postmaster from 1872 to 1881. Read the rest of this entry »

The Cambria Forest by Taylor Coffman

August 24th, 2011

The towering pine trees among which we live in Cambria are, and always have been, very important to the existence and the character of our little village. Evidence of their significance abounds in the names of hotels, restaurants and real estate agencies and, in the past, developers have called the town Cambria Pines or Cambria Pines by the Sea. Read the rest of this entry »

Joaquin Soto

June 9th, 2011

Joaquin Modesto Soto, better known as “Jack” was born in Adelaida in 1886. His father, Yrculano Soto, was born in Monterey and later settled near Adelaida where he raised cattle and goats butchering them right there on the ranch. Jack’s mother was Delores Grijalva. Read the rest of this entry »

Coast Guard Beach Patrol

May 29th, 2011

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States was suddenly plunged into a war for which it was poorly prepared. Before the month was over, 11 merchant marine ships were attacked off the Pacific coast including one, the Montebello, which was sunk off the coast of Cambria. Read the rest of this entry »

Life of a Beach Pounder by Don Gillogly

May 29th, 2011

I graduated from High School in Longview, Washington, in 1940 and the following year hostilities broke out. I was engaged to Doreen Kisch, who I had known since we were small kids, and the draft board was breathing down my neck. I wanted no part of the Army so, in 1942, I enlisted in the Coast Guard at Portland, Oregon, about 50 miles away. After basic training at Alameda, California, I was assigned to the beach patrol at Cambria. The Coast Guard first arrived in Cambria in December 1942, and I spent my first Christmas in the military there at the age of 20. Read the rest of this entry »

Piedras Blancas Light Station and WWII

May 23rd, 2011

World War II must have had a profound effect on Piedras Blancas Light Station. Not only was it a Coast Guard facility but its geographic location on an isolated point on the central coast of California made it especially vulnerable to enemy attack. However, little information about the war time effort at the Station has been uncovered. Read the rest of this entry »

WW II Rationing at Piedras Blancas Light Station by Beverly Praver

May 3rd, 2011

World War II brought rationing to the American public including members of the U.S. Coast Guard serving at Piedras Blancas and all other light stations. Ration books were obtained from the local O.P.A. Board [Office of Price Administration] by one person who collected them for all the personnel at one time. An entry in the Piedras Blancas Log dated Tuesday March 2, 1943, stated “To O.P.A. Board about food rationing for C.G. personnel” indicating that someone had to physically go to the O.P.A. office to obtain the ration books. Read the rest of this entry »

Guthrie-Bianchini House

March 19th, 2011

As soon as he acquired the Rancho Santa Rosa from Don Julian Estrada, Domingo Pujol divided the rancho into smaller parcels and he sold them to many of the first settlers in the Cambria area. One of Pujol’s first customers was George E. Long who purchased three parcels from Pujol totaling 2094.6 acres on October 12, 1866. One of these parcels was 1010 acres and included virtually all of what would become Cambria. About three months later, on January 14, 1867, Long sold two of the three parcels, including the 1010 acre plot, to Samuel Pollard for $1250. Read the rest of this entry »

Coast Highway in the Cambria Area

March 6th, 2011

The distribution of the Mexican Land Grants in the early 1840s gave rise to the coast road from San Luis Obispo north, more or less along its current path, to San Carpoforo Creek. It went wherever necessary to connect the residences of the rancho owners. To call it a road is a bit of an exaggeration. In actual fact, it was more of a trail suitable for people on horseback, pack animals and cattle. Carretas (two-wheeled carts drawn by oxen) were mainly used on the rancho where they were first made but could be taken along the road. The continuous passage, especially of cattle, eventually widened the trail until it was passable by wagons. Read the rest of this entry »