Well, there is fun for all of us. We are trying to do lots of exciting things (meetings and newsletters and dioramas and all). But the best fun of all is the main reason that I think the history association exists: We want to try to answer people’s questions about local history.
One of the best questions was the most recent. We got a nice note from a woman who had been visiting the Coastside and saw something that looked old, yet didn’t seem to make sense. It was about Half Moon Bay’s Prohibition-era saloon — the old “Moon Dream Café.” It was really a nice experience looking for the answer to her question. (See our newsletter for complete answer.)
The history association has attracted a number of questions over the years — all of them interesting. Some are easy to answer, and some more challenging.
“How did the part of the California State Park in the Miramar area that is called ‘Roosevelt Beach’ get its name?”
This was asked by a local author of Eleanor Roosevelt books. It turns out the park is named after the street that leads up to it. And Roosevelt Boulevard was named when that subdivision was originally planned — in 1907. It was named after Teddy Roosevelt.
“Why did Cunha Intermediate School get that name?”
That was asked by the Cunha staffer who had volunteered to help celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary. In trying to answer, we found some of the prettiest old school buildings around the Coastside that you can imagine. And we found a lot of fascinating history.
We learned that the exact same basic floor plan was used for both the El Granada Elementary and the Hatch Elementary schools. They started out as identical twins. Manuel F. Cunha was a school board member, a prominent businessman, and an important community leader.
The hunt to answer the Moon Dream Café question took me to archives, some old books, local history buff Marina Frasier, and some of the most charming Coastside old-timers I’ve ever met. (Who knew that City Councilwoman Frasier has a license plate that reads, “MOONDRM,” as homage to the old café?)
So please come and join the party! Ask a history question. Help answer some. Be curious and have some history fun.
Dave Cresson is the president of the Half Moon Bay History Association.