Hidden away as it is, up Sears Ranch Road, a person could live in Cuesta for months and not realize there is a church in town if they never drive up the road to the school. The church you see today was built in the mid-20th century, but the church community has existed since before 1883.
Someone recently came across pictures of the 1954 dedication of Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church. Along with St. Anthony’s in Pescadero, Our Lady of Refuge is a mission church of the parish of Our Lady of the Pillar in Half Moon Bay. The following is adapted from a portion of a booklet published in 1968 for the celebration of the centennial of Our Lady of the Pillar parish.
The chapel of Our Lady of Refuge in La Honda, built in 1953, was dedicated on May 16 1954, by Most Reverend Merlin J. Guilfoyle, Auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco.
In the 1880s, when La Honda was a summer resort destination, Catholic services in La Honda were held in various places until a suitable building was found. But with a shift in population, the original church was later sold and the property on which it stood reverted to the owner. Parishioners then attended St. Gregory's in San Gregorio. Later on, when the La Honda congregation built up again, the priests from Half Moon Bay began offering Mass at La Honda--in the pre-1953 days in available halls. (Editors note: the banquet room at Boots and Saddles Lodge was one of those places).
General construction of this church is wood frame and concrete. The main frames which span the structure are of reinforced concrete and weigh about 10 tons each. The interior of the church is simple. The altar is executed in walnut and the focusing of attention on the altar is facilitated by carefully planned lighting. The finishes are creosote stains and natural oils. The wide overhangs are designed for protection of the structure in an area where considerable rains fall in the wintertime. The structure is heated by a forced warm air system. The cost was $67,295.25.
The propane heater was replaced last year. We believe that it was the original from 1954.