Timeline of Events in Morro Bay's Past
Dorothy Gates and Jane Bailey's
Morro Bay's Yesterdays
Morro Bay: El Morro Publications, 1982
(Third printing 2001 by Central Coast Press)
Timeline by Jane H. Bailey,
based on elements from newspaper headlines
assembled by Mrs. Shirley McGuire
during Morro Bay Centennial, 1970
1542 Juan Cabrillo and party enter Estero Bay, name Morro Rock.
1587 Pedro Unamuno, pilot with Manila Galleon, enters Morro Bay, sends expedition as far as San Luis Obispo locale, plants a cross to take possession in the name of Spain's King Philip.
1603 Former merchant Sebastian Vizcaino and party sail into Estero Bay, christen the Santa Lucia Coast range.
1769 Spain sends expedition to Alta California by land and by sea, to establish presidios, settlements, Missions.
1769 September: Portola's overland party camps near Morro Bay.
1772 Fr. Serra establishes fifth Mission: San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, in village of Tixlini.
1822 Alta California becomes Mexican territory.
1834 Secularization of Mission lands begun.
1837 Rancho days of California commence, with the distribution of Mission lands
1840 Among grants issued, Don Vicente Canet (Cane) was granted 4379.42 acres of San Bernardo Creek land by Governor Alvarado. Canet is made the administrator of Tolosa, now a church.
1841 Canet builds adobe home of two stories.
1848 Treaty of Hidalgo with Mexico cedes California to the United States.
1850 E.W. Howe (b. Ohio) establishes 560-acre ranch on Morro Creek
1861 E.W. Howe appointed Inspector of Morro Precinct
1863 V. Canet receives patent for [land] grant.
1864 Franklin Riley arrives in Morro to acquire government land.
1868 The Reverend Mr. Alden B. Spooner settles on Toro Creek.
1870 Morro Township established by county Board of supervisors.
1870 Embarcadero built by F. Riley, who builds first house in Morro.
1870 First post office established; first postmaster, Ezra Stocking.
1870 Morro Judicial Township's Justice of the Peace appointed: Mr. H.Y. Stanley.
1870 H.Y. Stanley owns Canet adobe, and district's only school is nearby Banning School.
1870 Two hundred turn out for patriotic Fourth of July celebration at Toro Creek.
1871 J.C. Stocking arrives to join brother Ezra in general merchandise store.
1872 James C. Tanner takes up residence and begins farming.
1872 G.W. Michael, Jr., establishes 310-acre farm on Morro Creek.
1872 Second general store built, by Wm. Stewart. This is followed by six other shops.
1872 Isaac Miller builds H.H. McKennon home at 665 Main Street.
1872 Mathias Gilbert (b. Norway) acquires property east of Morro near present Highway 41.
1873 First Grange organized and members build meeting place which was used as school until 1919.
1873 Riley plants blue gum eucalyptus from seed brought from Tasmania.
1873 Mendell and Sears make port survey for U.S. government.
1874 Population of Morro is 250, according to San Luis Obispo Tribune.
1875 Developer C.H. Phillips subdivides Rancho Morro y Cayucos into town lots.
1875 Shipping falls off due to questions about safety of entrance channels.
1876 John Greening acquires 150 acres, including property where high school stands
1877 The Reverend Mr. Spooner drowns while going out to pilot the steamer Mary Taylor.
1878 Morro Y Cayucos Rancho grant patented to James McKinley.
1880 Tenth U.S. census shows 148 residents of the "village of Morro."
1881 Land on Morro y Cayucos grant sells for $25 per acre.
1882 Pietro Righetti obtained 1350 acres of San Bernardo Rancho, including the adobe, from H.Y. Stanley. (He was father of Artilla Righetti Bonetti, whose grandchildren, Jones, occupy the adobe today).
1882 Morro Branch of the Chatauqua Literary and Scientific Society organized.
1882 Three schools for Morro: Estero, Mountain View, Excelsior. (The latter, four miles up Atascadero Road on Chester Tanner ranch.)
1889 Schneider family moves to Morro.
1889 Town of El Moro plotted on southeast shore of Morro bay or lagoon.
1890 Fire burns J.C. Stocking home to ground.
1892 Alden Bradford Spooner II leases 6500 acres of Pecho Ranch.
1895 Morro Rock quarrying continues, probably in fourth year.
1896 Rod Spooner's band holds last performance.
1897 Original grain warehouse in Morro converted to dance pavilion and skating rink.
1898 A dry year for Morro, with one inch of rain.
1899 300 camp on The Point, north of Morro.
1902 First Presbyterian church built in Morro.
1904 Caccia home built by Alvee Paul, retired farmer, on Fifth Street (the Boulevard).
1905 (approx) Bargeload of rock quarried from Morro rock, anchored overnight, breaks lose under heavy seas, capsizes, dumping rock and changing current.
1910 Post Office opens in Sewall building.
1910 Morro Judicial Township population is 2,255.
1911 Statute limits clam picking to 200 daily.
1911 Quarrying of the Rock continues, including building of trestle bridge to it from shore. Dynamite charges range up to 50 tons.
1914 Robert Tonini appointed Justice of the Peace.
1917 World War I stimulus leads to cultivation of beans on Spooner ranch hillsides. A departure.
1919 E.G. Lewis raises flower and vegetable seeds on land north of present high school.
1919 townships population is 1,795.
1920 Highway construction between San Luis Obispo and Morro begins.
1922 August: Morro's first library housed in the Post Office, later moved to private home. Librarian, Mrs. Medeiros. Salary: $5.00 per month.
1923 With completion of highway, Morro holds jubilant celebration.
1925 E.G. Lewis Company builds Morro Beach Inn (The Cloisters).
1927 Lots in Morro Beach tract sell for $250 to $300.
1928 Nine-hole golf course built by real estate developers at cost of $140,000.
1928 Las Amigas Women's Club founded.
1929 J.M. Goulding promotes Morro Heights property sale.
1930 Volunteer firemen have bucket brigade, plus hose cart
1930 Standard Oil Company of California begins operations in Morro Bay after two years of preparation.
1932 Morro Bay Sun newspaper born. Neil Moses, editor.
1933 W.P.A. (Works Progress Administration) fills in north entrance channel.
1933 Right-of-way map drawn for proposed breakwater.
1934 State acquires land to establish Morro Bay State Park and Campground.
1936 W.P.A. (WPA) begins on revision of golf course.
1936 Texaco, Inc., begins operations.
1936 W.P.A. (WPA) begins work on north breakwater, making causeway to Rock
1936 Sandy McKennon first person to ride horseback to Rock. (Colonel McKennon is the son of Hollis and Marie Walsh McKennon.)
1936 Morro Union Elementary School constructed.
1939 Morro Bay population is 400.
1941 U.S. Navy arrives in fall to begin training operations on the bay.
1941 December 7, Pearl Harbor.
1942 Spooners sell interest in ranch of 9000 acres.
1942 Corps of Engineers builds trestle bridge across bay to spit.
1942 South breakwater built and earlier W.P.A. project improved upon.
1942 Corps of Engineers begins study of bay, including dredging costs to the year 1970, in the amount of $7,000,000.
1943 U.S.O. (United Service Organization) opened under leadership of resident Coast Guardsman Ralph C. Horton, on Fifth Street, south side between today's Napa and Monterey Avenues. La Vora Parvin (Bickford) participated as one of the hostesses.
1949 After five years of promotion by Morro's William Roy, approval is granted to build small boat basin in State Park.
1950 According to census taker Ethel Billing Birkhead, there were 800 dwellings south of the Boulevard, 200 of which were vacation homes with no registered residents.
1950 U.S. government fire station pu4rchased and moved to Morro.
1951 A 400-pound elk (a stray from Hearst Ranch? wandered across golf course, crossing road to Domenghini Ranch.
1951 Morro Bay golf course completed (and operating in its present form). Eighteen holes.
1951 Morro Bay incorporation question arises, with largest town meeting in its history held for a rousing debate. Petitions fail.
1951 New storage tanks built to handle General Petroleum Company oil.
1951 Eighty-two-acre Serrano Heights tract goes on market for homesites.
1951 County Board of Supervisors begins legal steps to clear Mattoon Act from Atascadero Beach (E.G. Lewis) property.
1951 Conveyors installed on waterfront for unloading sardine boats.
1951 Morro Bay Art Association founded.
1951 AMVET Post disbands and property auctioned.
1951 Electric horns replace "objectionable wailing signal" at Rock.
1951 Commercial development of harbor accelerates.
1952 Post office moves the the new Roberts Building, 475 Fifth Street.
1952 War Memorial and drinking fountain contributed to Morro Bay by local AMVET organization.
1953 The Morro Beach Company set Saturday, January 17, for re-lacing on market the portion of Atascadero Beach development, dormant for 25 years and unsaleable due to bond and tax delinquency following an ill-advised bond issue prior to 1929.
1953 Ground-breaking begins on the Morro Bay Pacific Gas and Electric steam generating plant on former Naval Base property. The site measures 140 acres, its cost $44,000. Plant's output: 300,000 kilowatts.
1953 Date palms at Fifth and C Streets removed by Highway Department despite protests.
1953 Seventy-foot boats use Morro harbor for newly -discovered fishing grounds offshore.
1953 The fishing boat Hornet brings in first shrimp catch of year.
1953 Claire Tyler Post of American Legion formed. Veterans of Foreign Wars Post also instituted.
1953 Domenghini Ranch to offer airstrip "when new highway is completed."
1953 December: Contracts let for construction of sewage plant for Estero Bay.
1953 P.G.&E. donates site on 9th Street for new Veterans' memorial Building.
1953 Joe Rayman elected first honorary mayor of town.
1953 Community building and youth center plans progress with aid of teenagers' canvassing funds.
1953 Incorporation papers filed.
1953 Estero Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons chartered.
1953 Chamber of Commerce sparks tree-planting program with flowering eucalyptus as choice.
1954 Mrs. Marie McKennon made Branch Librarian.
1955 Morro Bay population increased 141% since 1951, according to one report, and 314% since 1950, according to another.
1956 February: $600,000 appropriated by federal government for emergency repair of Morro Bay harbor, to commence in June.
1956 Morro Bay votes bonds for building high school, by ratio of four to
1956 Harbor Improvement Association formed.
1956 Honorary mayor Edith Morosin leads residents with shovels and 'dozers to "attack" the silted channels of the harbor. Resultant publicity succeeded in securing federal assistance for both dredging and repairs to north breakwater.
1957 June: Governor Knight signs Senate Bill 1451 appropriating funds to purchase White Point property for Natural History Museum.
1958 Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla organized by Wes Mallory, Commander, Joe Rayman, Vice Commander, and Lloyd Munson, as training officer.
1958 John Fleming, State Park Supervisor, plants "Fleming's Forest" of 1200 Monterey pine saplings on slopes northeast of State Park, on land once considered for high school site.
1958 One-hundred-and-fifty-foot dock at foot of Eighth Street built by Clyde and Betty Yancey for leasing as marine service.
1958 Street name changes completed, to end the numerals and letters.
1958 Morro Bay leaders fend off plan for leasing six acres of embarcadero for lumber storage, preferring it for recreational use.
1959 High school built.
1959 Mrs. Dorothy Woods made Branch Librarian.
1960 Morro population is 3,692.
1961 Archeological "dig" at P.G.E. reveals Chumash cemeteries, house floor
1961 Morro Bay Museum construction begins.
1962 Boat ramp for public dedicated.
1962 Del Mar school under construction.
1962 Mrs. Jean Castle made Assistant Branch Librarian.
1963 Cessation of Rock quarrying due to public pressure.
1964 Construction on Atascadero Beach State park commences.
1964 Morro Bay incorporates and holds first elections.
1965 McAllisters sell 4,500 Pecho acres to state for Montana de Oro State Park, for $26 million.
1965 Morro's first police department established.
1965 Branch Library moves to 410 Morro Bay Boulevard.
1967 South Bay Boulevard opened.
1968 Morro Rock declared State Historical Landmark #821.
1969 Negotiation begins, resulting in City's regaining control of Morro sandspit, leased to Greenwest Acres.
1970 Population is 7,109.
1970 Councilwoman Lila Keiser, Morro school nurse (1958-1968), honored with naming new park the Lila Keiser Park.
1970 City and private property owners agree on ownership of Morro tidelands.
1970 By approval of City, ordinance making Morro a bird sanctuary is added to books.
1970 Council budgets funds to extend embarcadero to Morro Creek, bridging the creek and connecting embarcadero to Highway 41.
1972 Morro residents defeat Measure A. to extend Coleman Drive with a 54-foot wide street.
1973 City offers another opportunity to residents to vote to extend Coleman Drive
1973 California purchases former Fairbank property on which Great Blue Herons have established heronry in recent years ($300,000).
1975 Alarm system built on Rock for protection of peregrine falcons during spring nesting season.
1975 Population is 8,875.
1976 Redwood Centennial Staircase and outsized chessboard built on embarcadero at end of the boulevard.
1976 Voluntary water-rationing in Morro due to dearth of rainfall.
1977 Mandatory water-rationing in Morro to reduce use twenty percent.
1977 Building moratorium imposed by California Coastal Commission resulting from second dry season.
1977 At public hearing in Morro by South Central Regional Coastal Commission, the following "amenities" offered tourists by the city were as follows: boat builders, sport fishing accommodations, marinas, piers, commercial fishing operations, an aquarium, a museum of natural history, and 38 motels with 745 rooms to accommodate about 2,600 guests.
1978 (Spring) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (N.O.A.A.) ship, the
Fairweather, spends a month in Morro's harbor on its hydrographic mission around the continental United States.
1978 The city "adopts" the Rock's peregrine eyrie and residents, nationally famous since 1972.
1978 City lifts water restrictions. 1977-78 season brings 28.51 inches. (14 is normal.)
1978 October: According to San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune, Morro grew 2.1% in previous 12 months, and by June its housing stock stood at 5,046 units.
1978 Las Amigas Women's Club celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, with four charter members in attendance: Mmes. Bernice Marshall, Ella Peterson, Lucia Scott, Helen Newbury.
1980 Dredging of the harbor, the tailings to be piped several miles down the spit, out to sea.
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