Big Sur Saturday Tidbits, 4/6/19

Sylvia Trotter Anderson has sent me a number of historical articles she has run across in various early newspaper reports, so I am starting this new Saturday tidbits column for a few weeks. Here is the first one.

You think your town trips are challenging? I don’t want to hear it. Listen to this account:

Sep 4th 1958 MPH – Peninsula Parade by Prof. Toro

Shopping Day.  This month’s issue of the Big Sur Roundup is, as usual, full of fascinating items, including one by M. W. {Marge Welch, I think} about how the Big Sur folk used to get their shopping done in the days when Big Sur was really wild.

“During the homesteading days of the Harlans, Danis, Lopezes, Smith, Wheatons, Bedales and others of the Lucia area, supplies which were needed were brought in by boat.” Reports M. W.

“This ‘boat landing’ was preceded by a trip to San Francisco by Mr. Wilbur Harlan the elected buyer for the community.  With a list from each family of supplies to be purchased, Mr. Harlan would set out on horseback for King City, which was the nearest railroad town.  From there he took the train to San Francisco and then began the lengthy process of filling the many and varied orders.  After the purchasing was completed, Mr. Harlan would make the necessary arrangements in chartering a freight boat to take the supplies from San Francisco to Lucia.”

Aaron and the Mule.  “In a few days, the ‘Santa Cruz’ or the ‘Bonita’ would be nearing its destination, blowing its whistle along the line to let all know that the unloading was soon to begin. After reaching Harlan Rock, the freighter would lay out about one fourth of a mile from shore and the supplies would then be brought in by small boast to a platform which was suspended over the water by a cable, the cable running from the steep, rocky shoreline out to the Harlan Rock.  This mode of transportation from the small boat to a ‘high and dry’ spot on shore was constructed and installed by Mr. Harlan and Mr. Gabriel Dani.”

“After the platform was loaded from the small boat underneath, Mr. Harlan (who named the platform and supervised the loading) would give out with a mighty “Ho!” which was a signal to his son Aaron and mule who were waiting on the nearby beach.”

Bringing Home the Bacon. “The mule, attached to the platform by a heavy rope, was then directed by Aaron to proceed steadily and cautiously up the beach so as ‘not to upset’ the precious cargo which it was slowly pulling to shore.  This was a delicate operation and Aaron prided himself on the fact that he was able to handle the mule in such a manner that never by jerks or sudden stops did any of the supplies (or Mr. Harlan) go careening into the water.  As the cargo was unloaded from the platform, it would be placed in family stacks or piles and most always covered and left for the night. “

“The next day the families would come with their wagons or pack horses for the last sate in ‘bringing home the bacon’.”

Oh, yeah…all day every week or two is so tough. We are wusses compared to earlier times. Next week? Litterbugs. Sound familiar?