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Santa Margarita de Cortona was founded in 1775 as part of the original Spanish mission system. Its asistencia, in fact, has been considered a lost mission. Santa Margarita Ranch was later founded from a Mexican land grant. In 1889, the arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad, with its terminus in Santa Margarita, created a boomtown with dance halls, blacksmiths, hotels, pool halls, saloons, and a jail. And with the popularity of auto travel half a century later, Santa Margarita was once again revitalized with garages, gas stations, motor inns, restaurants, and bars. It fell into a deep sleep, however, as Highway 101 bypassed the town in the mid-1950s. Landlocked by the 17,000-plus-acre Santa Margarita Ranch, the town has remained frozen in time until recently.
About the Author
Cheri Roe is the founder and president of the Santa Margarita Historical Society. She was also a researcher for the San Luis Obispo County Historical Society and a board member of North County historical societies and museums. With the help of these organizations, she tells the fascinating story not only of Santa Margarita but also of surrounding areas such as Pozo and Carrizo Plain (now a national monument).
Table of Contents
1 The First People and the Mission Era 9
2 Rancho Days 15
3 Railroad Days 25
4 School Days 39
5 The Town of Santa Margarita 49
6 Rural Santa Margarita 113