Reviews My Princeton-by-the-Sea Book

Here’s a review of Princeton-by-the-Sea by

Story by Barry Parr,




June Morrall’s Princeton-by-the-Sea is a compact history of a compact part of the Coastside. From the unincorporated neighborhood of Miramar, up the coast to the radar antenna at the Air Force tracking station, these few square miles are San Mateo County’s connection to the Pacific. At the end this Review, we’ll tell of you how you can win an autographed copy of this interesting book.

June’s photo history shows many of the buildings in today’s Princeton in their original settings, complete with the cast of characters who made their lives there. June Morrall is the author of the Half Moon Bay Memories blog and wrote and produced the film Mystery of Half Moon Bay (1981).

Princeton is a peculiar piece of land. It features million dollar views and some of our most popular tourist destinations, but it is also littered with storage lockers, the rusting remnants of its industrial past, and a big chunk of the Coastside’s criminal element. While it has been a destination since the days of the Ocean Shore Railway and still serves thousands of tourists, it has never lived up to its potential.

June’s book captures some very special moments in Princeton: When it was a much more vital fishing port than it is today, when Pete Douglas founded the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society as artists converged on the Coastside, when surfers discovered Mavericks, when bootleggers landed liquor bound for San Francisco, and when the Coastside was an important center for drag racing.

Most dramatic are the photographs of the damage caused by a tsunami on April Fool’s Day, 1946. It’s a reminder of how vulnerable this part of the Coastside is to another devastating big wave.

Princeton’s not the most thrilling piece of real estate in the world and it has always been kind of scruffy, like any working harbor. June’s book is a good introduction to the way that many Coastsiders then and now made their living from the sea.

You can get it from Amazon if you must, but you really should drop by your favorite Coastside bookstore to get your copy.

How to win a copy from Coastsider: The publisher sent us five copies of June’s book, which she has graciously autographed for us. Share your memories of Princeton with us, or your dreams for its future by attaching a comment to this story. We’ll award copies to the best comments as well as to a couple of randomly chosen entries—so you can win either by being the best, or simply by showing up. Remember, you can’t post unless you’re a registered user and you use your real name. Click here to register. It only takes a few seconds.

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