History of Montara, California
From: The Story of San Mateo County, California
By: Roy W. Cloud
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company.
Chicago, Ill 1928


Montara and Moss Beach sections are from six to seven miles north of Half Moon Bay and are situated in a delightful section of the county. As in Half Moon Bay, the artichoke industry is one of the principal means of livelihood for most of the people. Moss Beach was largely laid out upon the property of the late J. F. Winkle, father of County Clerk Mrs. Elizabeth Kneese. On this property was located for years the old Winkie Hotel, which was a very popular resort and just below it are the reefs, a favorite place for country outings and just beyond the reefs beds of sea moss supply picnickers with specimens which have been carefully pressed and preserved for years. This property was opened for public use by Smith and Rich, Mr. C. B. Smith finally taking over the management of the section. Moss Beach was until the discontinuance of the Ocean Shore Railroad one of the active stations along the line. The post office is under the direction of Mr. R. Guy Smith who has for a number of years been secretary of the Postmasters' Association of California. At Montara, Harr Wagner, the San Francisco publisher, has the largest realty holdings. Mr. Wagner with his son in law, M. B. Johnson, early saw the possibilities of the coast side and purchased large tracts of land and put it upon the market, and immediately many homes were erected in the section. A Presbyterian Church was started which for a time was a flourishing institution. One of the boys who grew to manhood in Montara and never attended any school but the little country school conducted there on the hillside by Miss Rose H. Meehan was Peter B. Kyne, son of John Kyne, who for twenty five years was a trustee of the Montara School District. Peter Kyne grew up as all farm boys do and on graduation from grammar school in 1894 went to work for Levy Bros. in Half Moon Bay, where he worked for them in every capacity and later clerked in their branch at Pescadero. He, in 1898, heard the call of Uncle Sam for soldiers to go to the Philippines and fight. He joined the first California volunteers and spent a year in the islands, returning as he had gone a buck private. Mr. Kyne engaged in various kinds of newspaper work and was also a clerk for a big lumber firm in San Francisco. He started a paper in San Francisco called the Sun which had a very short life, and then went back into the reporting game. He then branched out into short story writing and became one of the best short story writers and novelists in the United States. When the World war began he formed a company and became a captain of one of the batteries in California's own regiment known as the "Grizzlies." He went with his company to France where they saw service and he has since written a number of very fine short stories and novels.

The pioneer club of Montara is still in existence and is responsible for most of the entertainment furnished the people there. Mr. J. L. Kent has the store of the section at the present time. Hon. M. B. Johnson, who for the past fourteen years has represented San Mateo County in the State Senate, should be given credit for the fine system of roads which is to be found in San Mateo County, for it was in San Mateo County that the first movement for good roads originated, and Mr. Johnson was largely responsible for the inauguration of this improvement. He with several others asked for the formation of a road district through the Fourth Township of San Mateo County wherein a system of concrete and asphaltum roads might be placed. The board of supervisors suggested to Mr. Johnson that it might be well for him to include the whole county in the proposition. He took up the work and a bond issue of one million and a quarter dollars was raised wherewith to construct roads of that class throughout the county. Mr. Johnson being a member of the State Legislature continued his work in the state and the state bond issues for the state highways came as a result. Mr. Johnson is still a resident of this section and is recognized as one of the most energetic workers in the upper house of the State Legislature.

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