Big Sur Saturday Tidbits, 5/18/19

26 Jun 1958 MPH – Fabulous Big Sur Country Lies South of Carmel

“Oh the south coast’ a wild coast ane lonely…” So goes the opening line of the “South Coast Ballad”, written a number of years ago by Mrs. Harrydick (Lillian Bos) Ross of Partington Ridge in the Big Sur country.

Big Sur, about 30 miles south of Carmel on the Coast Highway, is a good stop-over on the way to the Hearst Castle at San Simeon, another 64 miles to the south.

The loneliness and inaccessibility of the region is described where “the lions still rule the barrancas and a man there is always alone.”

Things have happened in the Big Sur country, however, and more and more people have been attracted to this area above Pacific waters.

As early as 1948, residents there worried about a “building boom” and feared such additions as hot dog stands, cocktail bars and subdivisions.  True, there are camp sites, store, motels and restaurants as well as Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, and thousands visit there each summer.  A master plan for the area, however, restricts building and in such sections as Coastland, only large parcels are available.

First Settlers – The first settlers, the Pfeiffer family arrived there in 1869 and others, such as the Posts, came in not long after.

Electricity was carried to Grimes Canyon below Big Sur in 1952, daily mail service began in 1951 and in June of last year dial telephone service was installed.  This latter innovation eliminated the old crank-type phone and enabled residents to dial their neighbors instead of having to meet face-to-face to exchange the time of day.  Prior to that toll stations only were available.

More recently, residents there were faced with a garbage disposal problem and a temporary solution, at least has been found.  Plans to establish a dump area on the ridge above Sycamore Canyon brought loud protest from home owners.  At the present time resort owners have made an agreement with the Carmel Valley Disposal Service to handle their garbage.  Residents will continue to dispose of their own until a satisfactory plan is developed.

Despite such modern additions Big Sur, away from the highway, is still wild and remote.  People living there seek solitude away from the hurly-burly of modern urban existence.  Artists and writers have migrated there to live and work and many of them can boast of outstanding achievements in the creative fields.

Among them are Louisa Jenkins, noted for her mosaic tiles; author Henry Miller; Nicholas Roosevelt, writer, diplomat and gourmet; Brad and Helen Fuller who are, respectively, writer, photographer and actress; Dr. Dryden Phelps, religious philosopher who spends part of his time there and his son, Lyon Phelps, a visitor, who is a New York play producer.

David and Bettina [Betty] Tolerton are long-time residents of Partington Ridge.  He is known for his iron sculpture and ceramics.  Harrydick and Lillian Bos {Shanigolden) Ross are also pioneers of that section.  Harrydick is a sculpture and Shanigolden a writer.

Other Residents – There is Maud Oakes, author of such volumes as “The Two Crosses of Todo Santos”, who does her research in Guatemala under a Bollingen Foundation Grant.  Emile Norman and Brook Clement are famed for their laminating process in plastics and are busy working on new commissions.

There are others, of course.  Some who come to work, some who wish to retire among the majestic stands of redwoods and others who, liking the country, come to seek a means of livelihood.

Residents there, however, are jealously guarding their privacy.  They don’t want the Big Sur country to expand.  They don’t want thousands of people to live there.  The still want I to remain “a wild coast and lonely.”

6 thoughts on “Big Sur Saturday Tidbits, 5/18/19

  1. Nobel Peace Prize (1954) chemist, Linus Pauling, had a nice home with wife Helen on the west side of Hwy1, South Coast.

  2. Yes those were the days, and they still could be if we could continue to hold off and prohibit Vacation Rentals in Big Sur. Remember, we already have a short supply of housing due to the 3 Fires we’ve had in the last 10 years. Vacation Rentals (Homestays, Limited STRs and Commercial STRs eliminate and remove valuable housing options in our small community. You also need to figure in how these same Vacation Rentals are adding to the already unsafe carrying capacity of Hwy 1. Because now these Vacation Rentals are forcing Big Sur’s employees to move out of Big Sur and onto the peninsula to seek housing, and they now must travel greater distances, you’ll then also need to factor in all the hwy trips these Vacation Rentals customers are adding to this over stressed hwy.

  3. Nice little ranch, too. I have visited that place, after Pauling died. It was still in the family, then, don’t know about now.

  4. Yes, Deer Flat Ranch! And thank you Sylvia for digging through all your family archives and bringing back such wonderful memories!

  5. That’s what brought us to Cambria, back in 1980 small, quaint and few people. Too bad it’s turned into such a tourist destination. Guard your precious Big Sur as long as you can. It’s a special place.

    Sent from my iPhone

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