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Welcome to THE GREAT TIDE POOL ~Tales of Pacific Grove, California

by local award-winning author, Brad Herzog


July 15, 2024

I’ve written several American travel memoirs in which I visit tiny little hiccups with names that beg exploration. My first such book, States of Mind, was a trek to towns like Pride (Alabama), Justice (West Virginia), Inspiration (Arizona) and Truth or Consequences (New Mexico). But the deliciousness is in the delving. By examining the origins of a simple name, we can get a better sense of history, place, people, and priorities. It turns out that Pride and Justice were the surnames of early settlers with remarkable tales. Inspiration was the name of a copper mine and its company town. Truth or Consequences? It was literally named after the popular 1950s TV game show of the same name.

But much closer to home, I’m curious about Pacific Grove – specifically, the streets of Pacific Grove. They’re named after someone. Well, most of them. I’m not pretending there were early Pagrovians named Mary Mermaid, Ebenezer Eleventh, and Sanford Spruce. But there are streets named Jewell and Gibson and Heacock. And those were real people. In fact, those three – Frank Jewell, Otis Gibson, and H.B. Heacock – were among the original incorporators of the Pacific Grove Retreat Association in 1875.

If you live on Eardley Avenue, you can thank Bedson Eardley, one of the early directors of the Bank of Pacific Grove. If you’re on Sinex Avenue, you should know that Thomas Sinex was an early president of the University of the Pacific and built the Methodist Episcopal Church in PG. If it’s Crocker Avenue, you can give a nod to Charles Crocker, one of the wealthiest men in America and a founder of the Central Pacific Railroad, which constructed the westernmost portion of the first transcontinental railroad. He’s also responsible for building the luxurious Hotel Del Monte in Monterey, as well as the original 17-Mile Drive in 1881.

Egan Avenue runs near the front nine of the Pacific Grove Golf Links, and a little history lesson will tell you why: H. Chandler Egan – a former captain of his Harvard golf team, NCAA title-winner, U.S. amateur champion, and Olympic gold medalist – designed those front nine holes in 1932. That was after he partnered with Alister MacKenzie to renovate the Pebble Beach course and before he played in the very first Masters Tournament at the request of Bobby Jones. That’s a long resume for a short street.

An even shorter street, perhaps the shortest in town, is Platt Court in the Candy Cane Lane neighborhood. But Julia Platt left a giant shadow as a pioneering biological researcher and, at the age of 74 in 1931, mayor of Pacific Grove. Actually, she’s also celebrated for hitting the first ball struck at the PG Golf Links.

So I urge Pagrovians who are curious about where they live to be specifically curious about the street they live on. Do a little sleuthing, whether you live on Doc Ricketts Row (that’s an easy one) or Laurie Circle or Pedersen Court or Kenet Place or Todd Lane or Stuart Street or Balboa Avenue or Walcott Way.

There’s always a story.


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