Today (photo by bigsurkate)
Circa early 1900’s (photo from the MCHS)
Local historian Valance Heinsen has chronicled the growth of Jolon, noting that it had its beginnings as a home remodeled to an inn as early as 1850, then further remodeled to the two-story Dutton Hotel in 1876. A Chinese population attracted to mining ventures in the area operated a laundry in Jolon in the 1850s. The village experienced a growth spurt with Dutton’s remodeling of the inn, and a dance hall and community church were added between 1876 and 1879. A community hall, school, granary, and several new houses were constructed by 1888. Several large horse barns and a smithy were added in the early 1890s, along with a detached post office and a telephone office. Several farmers moved into town in the 1890s, further expanding the population and offsetting losses brought about by the closing of the Los Burros mines.
The coastal regions of southern Monterey County were isolated from settled regions to the north (Big Sur) and south (Cambria) because of the precipitous terrain, and were more closely tied to commercial and social affairs of the San Antonio Valley-Jolon-Lockwood area than to other coastal communities. A mail road, actually a horse trail, led from Jolon through present day Fort Hunter Liggett lands to the Santa Lucia divide, where several trails led down to the coast or to the mining camps in the mountains. Settlers from the Lucia area and south to Pacific Valley followed trails over the mountains that rendezvoused at Wagon Cave (CA-MNT-307) on the San Antonio River, where horseback travelers switched to wagons stored there for the purpose of hauling provisions from King City and Jolon.