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 San Luis Obispo County California

San Luis Obispo County. Organized in 1850. Bounded north by Monterey, east by Kern, south by Santa Barbara, and west by the Pacific Ocean. Area, 32,000 square miles. Assessed valuation of property for 1874, $l,640,876. Population 7,000.

County seat, San Luis Obispo. Principal towns; Arroyo Grande, Cambria and Morro. The resources of the county are agricultural, pastoral, and mineral. The topographical features of the county present a succession of hills with narrow valleys intervening. The coast is generally bold, with but few indentations, but quite a number of convenient and safe landings are found, as at San Simeon, Esteros, Avila, and several others. A recession of the coast between Point San Luis and Point Sal, a distance of about 15 miles, forming the Bay of San Luis Obispo, where quite a fair harbor is obtained, particularly where protected by Point San Luis. Here a fine wharf has been constructed, at which large steamers lie in safety at all seasons of the year. Upon the wharf a narrow gauge railroad has been constructed, extending two miles towards the town of San Luis Obispo, with the expectation of being extended to that point.

At San Simeon, in the northern part of the county, is another small bay affording a good harbor at all times except during southeast gales. In this neighborhood are fine forests of redwood, as well as grazing lands, and with the recent quicksilver development of the Coast Mountains the port of San Simeon may become important. The land of the county is generally, or has been, held in large tracts under Mexican grants, and held for pasturage, thus excluding population and suppressing enterprise. Recently, however, it is becoming the custom of dividing these large ranches into farms of moderate size, and thus a large immigration is invited and the natural wealth of the soil and the minerals beneath the surface are made known.

Important discoveries of quicksilver have been made particularly in the Pine Mountain region near the town of Cambria. The Oceanic, is the name of the most developed of these mines, and this is producing largely and gives evidence of great value. A furnace of 20 tons capacity per day has been erected, and three tunnels penetrate the mineral body, showing cinnabar of a high percentage. The Santa Cruz, Queen Sabe, and others in the district, are partially developed and are held in high esteem.

Wool growing, sheep and cattle raising and dairying, have been the chief engagements of capital, and in these departments the county took high rank. The hills and valleys are very favorable for grazing; nutritious grasses growing everywhere. The principal range of mountains is the Santa Lucia, extending through the center, from Monterey to Santa Barbara. West of this range is the small valley of San Luis, and east is the much larger and more fertile valley of Santa Margarita in which heads the Salinas River. The San Juan River rises in the southeastern part of the county, running through a narrow, and in places, fertile valley, and in the northern part joining the Salinas, being the largest branch of that river. This section of the county is sparsely wooded with small, or post oaks, and its pleasant valleys offer many inducements to settlers, particularly as the land is generally open to entry, belonging as it does to the government.

Paso Robles Hot Springs, are in a lovely and picturesque valley in the northern portion of the county, and are much visited by invalids, particularly those afflicted with rheumatism.

Officers: Mc D. R. Venable, County Judge; Charles W. Dana, Clerk Recorder and Auditor; A. A. Oglesby, District Attorney; D. C. Norcross, Sheriff and Tax Collector; Bernardo Lazcano, Treasurer; John J. Schieffarley, Assessor; Robert R. Harris, Surveyor; William Leffingwell, Coroner and Public Administrator; J. W. Feltz, Superintendent Public Schools.

California Gazetteer | AHGP California

Source: Pacific Coast Business Directory for 1876-78, Compiled by Henry G. Langley, San Francisco, 1875

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