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.
Baker covers several topics usually omitted in other publications including the Pinedorado celebration, the Guthrie-Bianchini House” the threat of commercial developments and water issues. On some topics there is a surprising amount of detail considering the diminutive size of the book. Also, names of people are printed in bold type making them easy to find and they are listed in the index.
It is notable that this book is one of the very few, if any, to correctly describe the Hearst’s purchase of the Rancho Piedra Blanca which occurred over decades instead of incorrectly repeating the common belief that the entire rancho was acquired in a single purchase in 1865.
The first edition, printed in 2003, contained a number of errors in small details (e.g. dates). In the 2014 edition most of these have been corrected and, where necessary, the text has been corrected to reflect changes that have occurred in the interim.
This book is highly recommended to readers wishing to gain an understanding of Cambria history and the many threads which are interwoven to create it. In some areas it does not have the depth of Where the Highway Ends by Geneva Hamilton but it has much more breadth and nowhere near as many errors.
Cambria, A Harbor Town History is available at many Cambria stores. It can also be purchased either in paperback or electronic form at her website where all six of Gayle Baker’s books about California coastal towns are described.