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The news from 1900

You just never know what's about to walk in the door at the Half Moon Bay Review. Today it was bits of newsprint from 113 years ago.

As you may or may not know, the Review used to own the building just to the east of us on Kelly Avenue. Now we're neighbors with our good friends at Weller-O'Brien Insurance. Today, Kevin O'Brien brought over some photocopies of decaying pieces of newspaper he found in the attic, figuring they were put there by someone from the Review years and years ago. They appear to be from the Sept. 26, 1900, edition of the Coast Advocate and San Francisco Daily Call, which eventually was merged into the San Francisco Examiner.

Anyway, the photocopies include snippets of news from Pescadero. Such as, "Jim McCormick shipped a steamer full of beans and grain from here to San Francisco last Sunday" and "Mr. and Mrs. E. Hagermann are back here again after their honeymoon trip abroad. They returned Sunday."

In case you are wondering, it was hot that day. One line reads: "The thermometer last Friday registered 95 degrees in the shade."


Climate change!

Interesting! Are you going to publish a weekly "News From 1900” column as time goes on? That could be a nice break from the real news these days!

The Coast Advocate and San Francisco Daily Call were well before my time. I remember the Call- Bulletin, however. A little lighter, but it covered the ground. I used to read or at least scan 3 papers a day. Now, there are days when I read none. I have friends that never read a newspaper, counting on TV and websites for their news.

A shame.

So true that many of us get our information from newspaper web sites rather than in the paper format. We also don't purchase books but get them electronically.

We also do not purchase buggy whips.

A shame.

^^^ We also do not purchase buggy whips. ^^^

Sure we do. They still have horses, they still have buggies and they still have buggy whips. They're also quite handy around the house.

But for sheer contentment and losing yourself in content (accidental phrasing, haha), nothing beats cozying up to a real book.

I can't ever see wanting to read a book on a Kindle.

I've got to disagree with you, "just sayin'" the Kindle is the greatest thing since night baseball. Since I got my first one three years ago I have gone from reading about 20 books per year to now over a hundred a year. I can get a new book in just moments whenever the urge strikes and avoid a trip to the book store.

To each their own, of course, but you really should try one.

News doesn't even have to be that old to be interesting.

I ran into a cache of copies of the San Mateo Times from the mid 1970s that I was going to use to get the fire started in my woodstove.

Unfortunately there's usually an article I want to read on the page I'm in in the process of crumpling up. It's really Interesting to see how things have NOT changed.

I don't want this topic to turn inflammatory so I won't point out what HAS changed in news reporting. But it's very telling...!

OK, I'll try it sometime. Just might get hooked, lol. BB, you mention trips to the bookstore. Do you use the library too?

Boney Bills i agree with you my Kindle is great for me as an old guy with a rolling walker who can't get around much i download free library books & read 4 or more a month. I like it that you can increase the size of the print for my old eyes used to get large print books @ the library now go there to read the magazines.

But have been a newspaper reader with my coffee in the mornings all my life even when i was a teenager ["going to get the papers"]. Had a problem with my 1st Kindle sent it back & the new one seems to be working well. It was a problem with the plug in charging port being to sloppy.

Yes, Just Sayin, I do use the SMCL, but their supply is pretty limited

My wife's father was a cattleman/farmer. At one point, after closing the HMB dairy, he ran cattle over 4,000 acres. One of the ranches he leased was in San Gregorio; 2300 acres. I worked it with him (as well as the rest).

On that ranch were many structures. It was actually multiple ranches that were consolidated through purchase, so one can understand the structures (other than the barns). Some of those structures were well over 100 years old. They were neat, for lack of a better word.

What I didn't know, but learned, was that back in the day folks used newspapers for insulation. I have to say that I spent many a time reading that insulation. Aside from it being history that was captured in print at the time, it was really interesting to see how that history was represented in print. I did enjoy it.

I hadn't thought of the insulation quality of newsprint, but you may be right George.

"At one point, after closing the HMB dairy -----"

Boy, do I miss the HMB dairy. At least I think it was the HMB dairy. It was some dairy. When I moved to Montara in the distant past, it was still possible to have milk delivered to my front steps. In addition to milk, other dairy products could be requested. What a wonderful, wonderful convenience.

Barnus--I don't think George was referring to THE HMB dairy but to the family dairy. There were many dairies in the area at one time. But what a fun memory--like cream top milk.

In the old days (and even not so long ago) a visit to Pescadero from someone from over the hill would generate a mention in the Pescadero news column of the HMB Review: "Mr. And Mrs. Ollie Splits and Jimmy were in town visiting friends on Sunday."

The dairy that I referred to was the Cunha Brothers Dairy. They had 200 cows they milked twice a day and were forced out by taxes. They sold the bulk of the ground they ran the cows on to what is now known as Ocean Colony. The sale was in 1971.

So Barnus, not sure if it's the dairy you have the fond memories of or not.

Now what Finley Lewis describes regarding 'news' is really amazing. That's what I call small town news; 3 visitors - wow. Inquiring minds want to know if they stayed the night, or was the visit simply a long day's journey?

Newspapers used as insulation was fairly prominent around these parts. Back then, it appears as though the news was a gift that just kept giving. I have to say that most of the stories I read from those oh so many papers were very interesting in several ways, but I particularly enjoyed reading the national stories, assessing the paper's perspective then juxtaposing that against my understanding of that particular event through history books. They were not always in sync.


As a carpenter who has remodeled many of these old buildings on the coast, I share the same fascination of reading the old newsprint that was used for insulation and wall paper.

I have to one up you though. One day I found a bulletin of the Stage Coach Schedule from Montara down to Pescadero. Better yet, on the same day as that piece of coast history was found, 2 stud bays over I found a silver baby spoon from 1896..... The house is located in El Granada. I cannot be more specific because the contractor I was working for is still alive and he may want to claim them because I found them on his dime!

On another day, I found some ride tokens for the Oceanshore Railroad on a Moss Beach homesite. I donated one of them to the HMB Museum (the old jailhouse).

And on a non-carpenter related note, if you are ever down my way, I'll show you my bottle collection exclusive to coastside locations (dated from the late 1700's through the late 1800's. Learned quite a bit about coast history researching those bottles and the locations where I found them.

Yours in Liberty,

JD the Federalist


A follow up. Prize possession - HMB Soda Water Co. bottle with a blob top.

Yours again in Liberty,

JD the Federalist

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