Local Post Offices

Cambria’s first post office was established in 1867 in the Grant and Lull store located at the southeast corner of Main and Bridge Streets and the first postmaster was Winfield Scott Whitaker, part owner of the Guthrie-Bianchini House from 1871 until 1873. On the application, dated May 29, 1867, the proposed name of the post office was “San Simeon” but this was crossed out and changed to “Cambria”. According to this application, the post office would serve 500 people living with two miles of it.

Here’s a list of early postmasters at the Cambria post office together with their confirmation dates: W. S. Whitaker (1867), William E. Stewart (1869), George W. Lull (1872), Benjamin Franklin (1881), Max Fischer (1887), Benjamin Franklin (1889), Edgar Lynn (1893), Bradford Whitney (1897), Gilbert Van Gordon (1900), Josephine Waterman (1915), Earl Van Gordon (1929), Bertha W. Gillespie (1934), Gay E. Shamel (1935), Hazel Gamboni (1944), Eula M. Cook (1945), and Elizabeth Waite (1959).

In 1870, an application was made for a post office to be located in Leopold Frankle’s store at the tip of San Simeon Point adjacent to the whaling station. The proposed name of this office was “Piedra Blanca” and the proposed postmaster was John Castro a.k.a. Juan Castro, son-in-law of John Wilson and ultimate owner of the northern portion of the Rancho Piedra Blanca. It is not known whether this application was actually granted but, if it was, the office did not last long because, in 1873, a second application was made for a post office in the same location. This time the proposed name of the station was “San Simeon”and the proposed postmaster was Benigno Pico, oldest son of Juan de Jesus Pico the original grantee of  the Rancho Piedra Blanca. This application stated that the office would serve 250 nearby residents including 45 at the whaling station.

In 1898, the San Simeon post office responded to an inquiry from the Post Office Department giving its location as being on San Simeon Bay where the current post office is located within Sebastian’s Store. Leopold Frankle built this store in 1852 and the building was moved to it’s present location in 1878.

Here’s a list of the early postmasters at the San Simeon post office together with their confirmation dates: Beningo Pico (1873), W. S. Whitaker (1875), Leopold Frankle (1878), Nina Hitchcock (1895), Adolf Frankel (1899), Edward Asebez (1900), Annie A. Russel (1902), Loren V. Thorndyke, Jr. (1905) Anne Sebastian (1914), Tony Sebastian (1916), Mary Sebastian (1918), Roy J. Summers (1920), Joseph Sebastian (1951) and Robert H. Buddell (1971).

For a very short time there was a post office near Piedras Blancas Light Station. It was established by Peter Gillis on April 5, 1875 and discontinued three months later on July 6, 1875. Although the exact location of this office is not known, it is believed to have been on the Gillis ranch which consisted of 1414 acres adjacent to the light station property. Gillis purchased this ranch from Juan Castro in 1867 and lived there until he died in 1892 or early 1893.

The information contained in this article was derived from the National Archives and Records Administration microfilm publications M1126, “Post Office Department Reports of Site Locations 1837-1950″ and M841, “Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832 – September 30, 1971″.

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