Mary Bordi has once again discovered an interesting article about La Honda called "La Honda Store Model on Display." This time it was printed in the San Mateo Times (it was not yet called the San Mateo County Times) on December 14, 1966.
Mary said, " I came across this article about Eudele Towne's miniature of the old store. I think she donated it to the SM Co Historical Society and the museum may still have it--maybe even on display. Eudele put together a lot of these miniatures. Eudele was married to Pete Towne. They both passed away some years ago."
"HOLIDAY DISPLAY —The old country store, that treasured American memory, is somehow an appropriate subject for the holiday season. Mrs. Pete Towne of Atherton has recreated in miniature the warm setting of the Old La Honda store as oldtimers remember it back in 1904. Detailed down to lighted hurricane lamps and cards on the table, the model will be on display in the lobby of the County Courthouse in Redwood City through the holiday season.
"A model of the Old La Honda Store, located in the Redwoods on the coastal side of the County in the village of La Honda, is now on
display in the lobby of the store built by John Sears, an early settler in the area, in the days after the Civil War.
It acquired the name "Bandit Built" Store because of the fact that the Younger Brothers, Jim and Bob, worked for Sears in construction of the store. The Youngers were notorious bandits from the Middle West who hid out in the area while being sought for bank robberies and train hold-ups. They were associates of the also-notorious James boys. They later returned to their former haunts, were apprehended, and served time in the Stillwater Penitentiary.
Before the turn of the century until the twenties, the store was run by the Cavalli brothers, Charles and Frank. The operation consisted of a general merchandise store, saloon and post office. The miniature store is designed to show the store, as it appeared during the Cavalli administration in 1904, all in scale one inch to a foot.
The La Honda Store in the earlier days was a center for the logging industry and the many mills which cut redwood timber from the
surrounding mountains; also for the ranchers who lived on the many open areas between the Skyline and the coast, raising cattle and sheep, growing hay, grain and supplying dairy products such as cheese and cream, which was shipped to creameries for butter production.
The Sears family also constructed a good-size hotel adjacent to the store. This was headquarters for people who went into the mountains for vacations, fishing or hunting trips, and for traveling salesmen who called on the mill owners selling supplies to them.
Across the road from the store and hotel was a large stable which took care of the horses ridden and driven by the patrons of the hotel. To take care of the shoeing needs of the many horses in the area, those of travelers, a blacksmith's shop also operated near the small village.
In a Redwood grove across the road from the store and hotel was a dance hall which was the scene of many dances and social affairs attended by many of the ranching families in the community. They would travel to the gatherings on horseback or by horse-and-wagon. The trip home was usually in the dark or in the early daylight hours. As there were not too many of these festive occasions, they came early and stayed late.
La Honda was also a stopping point for the four-horse stage which made regular runs from Redwood City to Pescadero or San Gregorio carrying passengers, luggage and mail.
The main source of transportation of freight and supplies to a Honda was the colorful Al Weatherby Fast Freight Wagon drawn by four or six mules. This ran from Redwood City to La Honda until replaced the first automobile trucks which ran on solid rubber tires.
The La Honda store was also headquarters for many vacationers who camped in the sur- rounding redwoods along beautiful La Honda Creek.
It was the custom in those days for families living in the towns on the bayside of the County to set-up camps on the flats along the creek which would be used during most of the summer. The camps were gaily decorated with Japanese lanterns, flags and signs. It was the custom in each camp to have a large campfire every evening, around which the tents were erected. The campers would gather there to perhaps tell stories, sing and enjoy the beautiful evenings. With the coming of the automobiles, these enjoyable old days so much a part of La Honda, were soon forgotten as people seemed to travel longer distances from home for their vacation and trips.
Today all is gone the "Bandit Built" store torn down to be re- placed by a modern building. The dance hall and blacksmith shop (which later became a garage) were also torn down, and the hotel stable burned to the ground, as did the old hotel. A second hotel which replaced it, also burned. Modern buildings, including churches, a fine grammar school, a general store, refreshment businesses and many residences, make up the La Honda of today.