The Lost World of the coastside in 1972


Posted by on Sat, July 17, 2004

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Montara, when it was half-empty, or half-full, depending on your point of view.

If you haven’t pored over Kenneth Adelman’s beautiful photos of the California coastline yet, there’s a new reason to do it. He’s added an amazing trove of 5,000 coastal photos from 1972 and taken on the staggering labor of fixing decrepit old slides and matching them to current photos taken from different perspectives of the same places. The result is miraculous and seemingly what the Web was designed to do. I thank the HMB Review for bringing this update to my attention.

The changes are remarkable. The 1972 photos show a world where half of Montara is empty lots, Princeton has no industrial zone, the McMansion estates at Miramar is empty fields, Half Moon Bay has only begun to sprawl across Highway 1, and there is no Ritz surrounded by its own Ritzy gated community.


Yes, a useful resource for comparison.

But, you should either do a little research or be a bit more specific before making a sweeping statement such as (in 1972) “Half Moon Bay has yet to sprawl across Highway 1”.

I’m sure many long-time and life-time residents of HMB who have lived in the “sprawl” west of Hwy 1 since the days of the Ocean Shore RR would dispute that statement.  :)

You’re right. That was an exaggeration born of my surprise at how empty the fields were to the west of Hwy 1, and trying to convey it at 1am.  It now reads “Half Moon Bay has only begun to sprawl across Highway 1”.

The low-density rural development from the days of the railroad isn’t sprawl. Sprawl is development that is not only driven by automobiles, but designed to accomodate cars ahead of people. A good example would be CUSD’s current plan for a new middle school on the southernmost edge of HMB, instead of downtown.

It is truly amazing how many houses sprang up in a little over thirty years.