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


San Gregorio, the next settlement and the last before Pescadero is reached, is at the opening of the fertile valley, which is now productive because of the large artichoke crops grown there. Most of the property around San Gregorio in the olden days belonged to Hugh Hamilton, and G. F. Keiffer, while on the outside of the valley were William Raynor, J. B. Harsha, James Quentin and James W. Bell. On the mountains were the properties of the Ralston and Durham families. Practically all of this land was included in the Rancho San Gregorio, which comprised four square leagues and was granted to Don Antonio Buelna, May 2, 1839. Buelna was a soldier at San Jose and took part in the insurrection against the government. Shortly after securing this property, which he wanted for pasturage, Buelna transferred it to Salvador Castro, and most of the titles come from Castro. The hotel at San Gregorio was for years the property of Jesse Palmer, and Mr. and Mrs. Palmer and their daughter, Mrs. Frank Bell, have been probably as well known because of their friendly treatment of tourists as any hotel keepers in California. Mrs. Bell is the present owner of the San Gregorio Hotel (House) and is the mother of three fine boys: Frank, who is in business and also is interested with his mother; Richard, who was graduated from the law department of the University of California in 1927; and Jack, who was graduated in 1927 from the Half Moon Bay Union High School. The store of the village is conducted by Alsford and Peterson. Mr. Eric Aisford is a nephew of J. W. Packard, who for countless years conducted the San Gregorio general merchandise establishment, and when Mr. Packard gave up the business, Mr. Aisford, who had grown up in the village, and his brother in law, P. Peterson, took it over. The history of San Gregorio has been uneventful. A small Catholic Church served the needs of the parish for years, and on the hillside half way between San Gregorio and La Honda a little Congregational Church for a while was used for the religious worship of the section. A creamery for a while flourished in the section and was built upon the property of Mr. Timothy Rowe. Mr. Rowe is still a resident of the section and lives on the farm which is now conducted by his son, Mr. Clarence T. Rowe. The only exciting thing which has happened in the valley for many years was the lawsuit of Mrs. J. W. Wilson for the property of James Quentin. Mrs. Wilson was the daughter of James Quentin by an early marriage, but her mother after a divorce had married James Horn, and the Horns became one of the prominent families of Redwood City. Mr. Quentin on his death left his estate to various people. Mrs. Wilson successfully broke the will and secured what was one of the most valuable ranches in San Mateo County. Several years ago she sold this property and the Hon. George C. Ross of Redwood City now holds the title.

In passing from San Gregorio back toward Woodside and Redwood City the road leads through the Bellvale Valley, one of the real beauty spots of San Mateo County. It was named Bellvale because practically all of the land belonged to the Bell family, and was later divided among the several sons of the family. James W. Bell for years with Mrs. Bell conducted a little hotel and post office at Bellvale, and this was a very popular place for fishermen and hunters and also was renowned for the good meals served. Mrs. Bell passed away in Redwood City two years ago and her husband and daughter now reside in Redwood City. Between Bellvale and San Gregorio the Silva and Sousa ranches and other smaller properties are examples of fine farms. On leaving the Bell property, which is now a scene of much activity because of the development of the La Honda oil fields, the redwood section is reached. Peek-a-boo Inn is nicely situated among the redwoods; Kleinsorg's, on the old Tichenor property; the Pine Tree Inn, where the scenic stages make their noon stop, and Mrs. Cavalli's farm are beautiful places. At Troutmere a large fish hatchery has been established where a San Francisco restaurateur raises fresh trout, which are shipped daily from this place for the patrons of his establishment. A number of beautiful homes line the roadside extending from this point to La Honda. The first building reached is the old Bonzagni Lodge, where wonderful dinners have long been served. All of the property in this section of La Honda was in the name of Morris Woodhams, but has since passed into other hands. La Honda proper is on the land of John Sears and for many years his daughters, Mrs. Ida Sears and Miss Annie Sears, conducted the La Honda Hotel, which is still a favorite resort. They also conducted the store in the village and this property is now under the management of Mr. and Mrs. Archie Woodhams. La Honda is in the very heart of the most beautiful redwood section of the county and the great sempervirens which stand by the side of the road and are the guardians of the various camp sites make this a place of real beauty and here for years campers yearly have come to enjoy their summer vacations. Coming on over the mountain, the Weeks property and the old homes of Henry Hilledebrand and William Hughes may be seen. The Weeks property covered the whole of the hilltop section, and here, after the passing away of the older members of the family, Bert Weeks, and his family, and Arthur Kirkpatrick, who was married to Sarah Weeks, and the Knott family, relatives of the Weekses, maintained their homes. The road from the Weeks property down towards Woodside leads all the way through groves of redwoods and emerges on the Woodside road just by the property of J. A. Folger, who purchased it from the estate of S. L. Jones, the pioneer auction man of San Francisco, who for years occupied the place.

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