John Vonderlin (JV): Here are some pages from Harvey Mowry’s book that concern the Fog Whistle. He gave me permission to use his book for educational purposes when I called him a month or so ago to track down a copy of his book for Robin Caldwell. The San Mateo Historical Society had four, apparently the last four left at that time. Meg just bought herself another copy, so I could dogear this one I borrowed from her. And now there are only two left. I wish my responsibilities didn’t prevent me from driving up to Pioneer to sit down and talk with him about his books and his memories of the Gazos area early in the last century. Enjoy.
Russell Towle (RT): I gather the crossing to the Island was hazardous even back then.
The pier on the Island is exactly where we used to beach the Zodiac raft.
I believe the one photo misidentifies the fog whistle building as
being behind the residence. As the first photo correctly states, the
fog whistle building was on the northwest corner of the island. In the
incorrectly-labeled photo, the fog whistle would have been on the
southwest corner. I can’t rule it out, but the two captions are
inconsistent, either one is wrong, or the other.
To me that fog-whistle building must be the same one which was in such
great shape even in 1970. It was on the northwest end of things, as
seen in your Google aerial photo. I don’t recall any trace of the
small steam engine. The picture shows it before those cement walls
were built, with their extensive slabs.
Those cement slabs near what I think is the true fog-whistle building
were not favored by the sea lions; they and the sea elephants stayed
off them. Hence not covered with feces. But they loved the house.
June: When the Pigeon Point lighthouse was built in 1872, it was not the first fog whistle on the South Coast. There was already one at Ano Nuevo, and the locals grumbled that the ships passing by could get confused–because the whistles were timed differently.
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