Why was Miramar Included in my Princeton-by-the-Sea book?

Some people wonder why I folded Miramar Beach into my “Princeton-by-the-Seaâ€? book, published by Arcadia in December 2007.

The same critics complain that they feel Miramar was kind of stuck into a book about Princeton. They don’t see what the two places have in common.

In my mind, the two places are uniquely compatible. Picture this: with El Granada as a kind of watchdog, Miramar and Princeton look at each other, with an expanse of moody Pacific Ocean between them.

They are linked by historical events: the first primitive landing place for small steamers was located at Princeton; there men waded into the cool water to load and unload produce; the second arrangement was a much larger, more professional pier operation at Miramar.

Miramar and Princeton are linked by the search for an outlet, by the dreams of the Ocean Shore Railroad, the entertainment provided by the isolated roadhouses and the behind-the-scenes of prohibition.

In modern times, these two unique places, beach oriented, and protected for so long by lack of roads, is going through a change in life as suburbia catches up with both.

For me, it was important to link Miramar with Princeton-by-the-Sea because I had unearthed the lost story of the beatniks, who had lived in the Abalone Factory–and, at least on one occasion which happened to be a very hot day– “made the sceneâ€? at Pete Douglas’ Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society in Miramar.

The new material broadened the scope of the book allowing me to describe the arrival of Pete Douglas in Miramar, and the establishment of the jazz house called “the Bach,â€? coinciding with the North Beach beatniks leaving San Francisco to pursue their (non-mainstream) lifestyle at Princeton-by-the-Sea—which then was home to fishermen, auto mechanics and restaurant owners, folks who worked for themselves and determined their schedules.

Once I included the history of “the Bachâ€? in the Princeton book, I felt free to include other artists who lived in Miramar.

Much has happened in tiny Princeton, which had a population of 300 in the 1930s–(a recent census estimates 450.) The layers of history include a Cannery Row, the seafood restaurants, the rumrunning, the military presence, the surfing, the drag racing, the beatniks and so on.  Similarly, Miramar Beach,  had a small population–and the two seaside towns still look at each other across the bay.

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