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Welcome to the Half Moon Bay History Association Website

Our group was established in 2006 with the goal of preserving and celebrating the history of the Coastside. We hold quarterly speaker events on a variety of historic topics, provide an education program to local third-grade schools, and serve as a resource for those with questions about or an interest in the history of this unique region. Thanks to a partnership with the City of Half Moon Bay, we have opened a museum in the historic jail in downtown Half Moon Bay. We are also working on a project to establish a larger Coastside History Museum in the Johnston Barn building behind the jail. Volunteers and donations to help with our projects are more than welcome!

Yes, I’d like to support efforts to preserve and share Coastside history!

Zaballa House. Built c. 1855

Spanish immigrant and prominent businessman, Estanislao Zaballa, built this impressive house in Half Moon Bay.  During the 1906 earthquake the house was twisted on its foundation, but unlike surrounding adobe and brick buildings the home remained standing.

Pablo Vasquez House. Built 1869

Pablo Vasquez built this house in 1869 next to his father’s five-room adobe. Known for his horsemanship Pablo often sponsored races that sent horses thundering down Main Street.

America Kelsey Wyman

As a young pioneer girl America Kelsey Wyman tended her parents when they became deathly ill with smallpox.  America met her husband, George Wyman, a trapper and cattle rancher when he braved quarantine rules to help her with the task.  She later lived in Half Moon Bay.

Index Saloon/Cunha’s Market. Built c. 1900; Rebuilt 2003

This building was constructed by Joseph Debenedetti as a tavern called the Index Saloon. The upstairs was a meeting and dance hall while the downstairs housed a general store.

Community United Methodist Church

Built 1872 this church was designed by renowned San Francisco architect Charles Geddes. The Victorian belfry allows the replica 1907 bell to be seen from all angles.

Our Mission

The mission of the Half Moon Bay History Association is to educate all as we preserve, honor and celebrate Coastside history.

News

Find us on Facebook at @HMBHistory.

Dr. Damian Bacich, professor at San Jose State University, discussed how the lives of women can teach us much about the reality of time periods, highlighting the lives of powerful Californiana landowners: sisters Juana Briones and Guadalupe Miramontes (who owned the rancho that became Half Moon Bay) and mother/daughter Juana Sánchez de Pacheco and Sylveria Pacheco de Coles. Join us for our speaker series next quarter! ... See MoreSee Less

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3 months ago

Half Moon Bay History Association

Walking tours share local history!
The Half Moon Bay History Association has partnered with the Chamber of Commerce and the Granada Community Services District to provide walking tours of the area. Participants heard tales of the exciting history of the Coastside and enjoyed a walk in the fresh air. Thanks to Michelle Dragony of Coastside Buzz for the first three photos.

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3 months ago

Half Moon Bay History Association

There was more celebration of the opening of the Jail Museum. Chamber of Commerce President Charise McHugh, Mayor Deborah Penrose, City Council member Debby Ruddock, and HMBHA President Dave Cresson were there to cut the red ribbon. ... See MoreSee Less

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4 months ago

Half Moon Bay History Association

Visitors to the historic jail will be welcomed by trained docents from 11-5 on Saturdays and Sundays.

Many thanks to the team that led the effort: Lau Hodges, Mary Ruddy, Katy Baker, Ellen Chiri, Andrea Reede, and Martie Sautter!
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4 months ago

Half Moon Bay History Association

DOCENTS FOR JAIL MUSEUM GRADUATE FROM TRAINING PROGRAM
More than two dozen docents completed a six-week training program that covered the history of the Coastside. They are ready to welcome visitors to the Jail Museum, on Saturdays and Sundays from 11-5, beginning on June 16th. Come learn more about local history!
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4 months ago

Half Moon Bay History Association

HMBHA President David Cresson was honored by Pacific Coast Television for his years of leadership in the Half Moon Bay community. Members of the HMBHA Board and friends were there to celebrate Dave's win. ... See MoreSee Less

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Another history mystery! Clyde Beffa with a large photograph that was found in the attic of th e Ormonde house in Purissima. Who are these men, and what are they doing? Does anyone recognize the window on the right? Clyde has some theories but we aren't sure. ... See MoreSee Less

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4 months ago

Half Moon Bay History Association

Volunteers are working hard to get the Jail ready to open for visitors on June 16th. Many thanks to the Beffa family and Jim Sutro, among others, for all the hard work. It's great to see the weeds removed and the artifacts cleaned up. Next step will be to see which of the donated items that have stood abandoned in the jail yard are worth keeping. The HMBHA will also be developing procedures for caring for these items and future donations. Your treasures will be safe with HMBHA. These are works in progress. Watch for more news as changes are made! ... See MoreSee Less

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5 months ago

Half Moon Bay History Association

A good crowd heard local historian Mary Bettencourt tell stories of the Johnston House and the Johnston family. ... See MoreSee Less

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