Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

Images of America, Cambria

Monday, 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. (more…)

Historic Cambria, Treasures of the Past

Sunday, 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. (more…)

Greenspace…So Far

Sunday, 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. (more…)

The Portola Expedition

Friday, 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. (more…)

The Cambria Forest by Taylor Coffman

Wednesday, 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. (more…)

Where The Highway Ends – Another View

Monday, February 14th, 2011

by Taylor Coffman

Geneva Hamilton’s Where the Highway Ends was first produced in Cambria in 1974, a local effort by the short-lived Williams Printing Company. The book had no explanatory subtitle. It was simply called Where the Highway Ends. However, the front panel of the white dust jacket contained these further words, displayed above an illustration by the Cambria artist Tom Rawlings: “An interesting and colorful history of the Ranchos that include San Simeon, Cambria and Harmony.” (more…)

Pioneers of San Luis Obispo County & Environs

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

This tome, compiled by Annie L. Morrison and John H. Haydon, was originally entitled History of San Luis Obispo County and Environs and was published by the Historic Record Company of Los Angeles in 1917. It consisted of a 182 page History of San Luis Obispo County written by Morrison, a short, 22 page History of Santa Maria Valley by Haydon and several hundred brief biographies of important people who were living or had lived in San Luis Obispo County. (more…)

Cambria, A Harbor Town History

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Gayle Baker, in her 2003 book Cambria, A Harbor Town History, presents a brief (less than 100 pages) history of Cambria and the surrounding area. It’s a “quick read” but it will give you an excellent picture of how Cambria came to be the way it is today. The book includes about a dozen and a half black-and-white photographs gleaned from the Wilfred Lyons  Collection, most of which are commonly seen and some of which appear on this web site. (more…)

Point Piedras Blancas

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Point Piedras Blancas was put together by Carole Adams and John Bogacki. Carole Adams is a volunteer who has spearheaded the native plant restoration project at the light station and has coordinated the volunteer effort since 2001. When the Bureau of Land Management acquired the site in that year, John Bogacki became the first Site Manager and it was John who created the management plan for restoring Piedras Blancas Light Station to its former glory. Both Carole and John have been major contributors to the ongoing effort to develop a complete and accurate history of the lighthouse, its associated buildings and the surrounding landscape. (more…)

Dinner at the Lighthouse

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Captain Lorin V. Thorndyke served as head keeper of Piedras Blancas Light Station from 1879 to 1906, longer than anyone else. Shortly after arriving, he married Elizabeth Jarmon, a 27 year old lady from Wisconsin. Lizzie, as she was commonly known, had come to California to visit her sister, Mary, who was married to Tom Evans, owner of a ranch in close proximity to the light station. While she was at the station, Lizzie collected recipes recording them in a handwritten notebook. After seven years of marriage and two sons, Lizzie died at the age of 34. (more…)

Where The Highway Ends

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Where The Highway Ends, written by Geneva Hamilton in 1974 is, without a doubt, the best single volume ever written about the history of Cambria and the surrounding area. It is described on the cover as being, “The colorful history of Spanish explorers, Indians, Whaling, Life on the Ranchos, Chinese, Quicksilver mines, Fires, Floods, Swiss dairies, Hearst ranches, and Early California pioneers.” If you read the entire 200-plus page book from cover to cover you will come away with an accurate impression of how Cambria got started and how it came to be the way it is today. This book also contains nearly a hundred historic photographs each with an informative caption, some of which appear nowhere else. (more…)

History of San Luis Obispo County

Monday, October 26th, 2009

The complete title of this book, written by Myron Angel, is History of San Luis Obispo County, California with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Prominent Men and Pioneers. It was originally published by Thompson and West in 1883 and is often referred to as “Thompson and West “. It has been republished most recently by Word Dancer Press in association with Friends of the Adobes in 1994 and is currently available from the Rios-Caledonia Adobe in San Miguel here.

Myron Angel was the premier historian of San Luis Obispo County. He was hired to come here in 1881 to write this book which he completed in two years. Perhaps the biggest drawback to this 400-page volume is the lack of a detailed index. The index included was written by Paul T. Adalian for the 1979 edition but it omits many names and places. This defect is partly compensated by an extensive and detailed table of contents. (more…)