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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.

New leadership at the Half Moon Bay History Association

At its December 4th meeting, the membership unanimously approved the election of Robin Kirby as its new president. Retiring president and Founder Dave Cresson expressed appreciation for Robin's willingness to step accept the position. Robin told the crowd that she would do her very best to lead the organization well.

Robin is currently an agent with Alain Pinel Realtors in Half Moon Bay, and is in the top 5% of Coastside agents in terms of home sales. Prior to real estate, Robin spent over 20 years working for two different international logistics companies, with her last position as Vice President of Global Services, heading up the company’s global technical support team.

Robin has her Bachelor’s Degree from Stanford University and her Masters from Denver University.

Robin has lived in Half Moon Bay with her husband Mark since 2014. Along with being on the Board of the HMBHA, she is on the Board of the Coastside Land Trust, the Senior Coastsiders organization, and the Stanford Coastside Club.
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HMBHA Honors David Cresson

At its December 4th meeting the Association approved a resolution unanimously honoring David Cresson for his many contributions:

A RESOLUTION TO COMMEND FOUNDER DAVID CRESSON
FOR HIS CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE COASTSIDE COMMUNITY
WHEREAS, David Cresson founded the Half Moon Bay History Association in 2006 to celebrate Coastside history;
WHEREAS, David Cresson has led the Association since its founding, guiding it and growing its membership to achieve successful nonprofit status, hosting its operations and providing significant support;
WHEREAS, David Cresson has brought significant community support to the organization, involving numerous volunteers with a myriad of skills, including many members of the longstanding families on the Coastside;
WHEREAS, David Cresson has shared his knowledge and enthusiasm for Coastside history through his books, including the Treasures of Half Moon Bay, an excellent walking tour of the town, and Half Moon Bay's Turning Points: Through the Windows of Zaballa House, a history inspired by his historic building;
WHEREAS, David Cresson has shared his knowledge and enthusiasm by writing a column for the Half Moon Bay Review, writing and circulating the Association newsletter, reviewing historic information and assisting other local organizations with the materials, and speaking to community groups,
WHEREAS, David Cresson has tirelessly worked toward the creation of a Coastside history museum, bringing enthusiasm and a team of community members to assist with the effort, resulting in an agreement with the city of Half Moon Bay that has given the History Association the opportunity to achieve the long-held dream of a local history museum;
NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved that David Cresson and his wife Sheila Cresson are hereby honored by the Board and membership of the Half Moon Bay History Association for all their contributions;
NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved that David Cresson is declared the Founder in perpetuity of the Half Moon Bay History Association;
NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved that the Half Moon Bay History Association hereby acknowledges and expresses its deepest appreciation and gratitude to David Cresson for all his service.
NOW THEREFORE, be it further resolved that the Board and members of the Half Moon Bay History Association extend their best wishes to David and Sheila Cresson for much success and happiness in all matters and activities that they shall undertake in the future.

This Resolution was duly and regularly adopted at a meeting of the Half Moon Bay History Association, held on the 4th day of December, 2018, by unanimous vote.
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1 week ago

Half Moon Bay History Association

HMBHA December Meeting

Members of the Half Moon Bay History Association heard Jim Clifford speak on December 4th about his years working for United Press International and Associated Press. He also shared stories of local history from his column for the San Mateo Daily Journal - The Rear View Mirror.

About 50 people gathered at the Portuguese Cultural Center on a rainy night to attend the meeting. They enjoyed sandwiches, snacks and beverages, and then heard an entertaining talk. Look for more information on the next quarterly meeting in March.
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Half Moon Bay History Association MEETING –
Tuesday, December 4

"History is my Beat"

A veteran of the AP and UPI talks about the fun and work of finding the smaller stories of local history
Presenter: Jim Clifford – History writer for the San Mateo Daily Journal
Place 724 Kelly Street, HMB, “Portuguese Cultural Center” (PCC)
Date: Tuesday, December 4
Time: 5:30 Doors open – finger snacks and refreshments
Public welcome – No charge
Meeting begins: Business at 6:00 p.m., Program about 6:20 p.m.

We do hope to see you all there – This will be ANOTHER educational and interesting history program – Come join us!
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HMB HISTORY ASSOCIATION - - Dave’s last President’s Message…

Dear Friends and Local History Pals,

After 12 years leading this wonderfully active Half Moon Bay History Association, I am stepping away in a matter of days. For some time, I have been sending you notes about the association and its activities because you or a friend of yours said you were interested in the association or in our local history. This is my one last, personal note of farewell and of thanks.

We began the history association so that we could celebrate the delightfully varied and often important history of our Coastside. So many fascinating things have happened through history in the space between Montara, Half Moon Bay and Año Nuevo—our Coastside! The story is worth telling, and it is such fun to tell it through newsletters, public programs, visiting local schools—and now the pieces are in place to open a serious, top-quality history museum.

My occasional letters have gone to quite a few folks, including you. Over one hundred people have become our “Dues Paying Annual Members,” and well over fifty have stepped forward to volunteer to give hands-on help in creating the museum. It has been my pleasure to bestow our special “Museum Founders” lapel pin to those who committed their valuable time to establish that museum.

Now we are able to develop a two-building museum (historic jail and barn) in the center of Half Moon Bay. That process involved making a lot of decisions about what to do, followed by more choices about how to do those things. Every decision was difficult, with different points of view to be considered. But the moves are being made, our course is set, and we are on our way! The best thing is—the association has attracted great people to help carry the effort forward.

Since I retired from business, my time has been well spent working with and for the history association. More recently, pesky health issues have pushed my energy down a bit. Thank heavens good luck brought splendid people with interest and vitality to support our community and to keep local history alive.

With some regrets, I move to the sidelines to wave my cheerleader pom-poms. This is a good time for all of us to strongly support our community-spirited neighbors.

Please join me in appreciating our friends who are leading the way in telling our history stories and in opening our new museum.

I’ll be around. I trust you will be, too.

Always looking forward to looking back,

Dave Cresson

HMB History Association

Celebrating the Legacies of the Coastside

11 9 2018
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1 month ago

Half Moon Bay History Association

SAVE THE DATE!

Half Moon Bay History Association MEETING – Tuesday, December 4th

"History is my Beat"
A veteran of the AP and UPI talks about the fun and work of finding the smaller stories of local history

Presenter: Jim Clifford – History writer for the San Mateo Daily Journal
Place 724 Kelly Street, HMB, “Portuguese Cultural Center” (PCC)
Date: Tuesday, December 4
Time: 5:30 Doors open – finger snacks and refreshments
Public welcome – No charge
Meeting begins: Business at 6:00 p.m., Program about 6:20 p.m.

We do hope to see you all there – This will be ANOTHER educational and interesting history program – Come join us !
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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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4 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.

>>>>> If you'd like to keep up with Buzz and help promote Buzz then....
1. LIKE Buzz, SHARE Buzz, 2. Subscribe to BUZZMAIL!
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5 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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6 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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