By Mabel Plaskett
Gorda Village is nestled in a sheltered cove just south of Point Gorda. Built against a hill on which clumps of Monterey pine tower, the little village of Gorda faces the sea where the turbulent waves dash noisily against the 150-foot cliff.
For many years this was government land lying just south of the Plaskett holdings until John Evans from down the coast files on the acreage and in 1935 started building the village. It consists of a café, a service station and eight cottages, built on terraced ledges so that each has a magnificent view of the sea.
Mr. and Mrs. Evans operated the café and station until Mr. Evans’ health failed when they leased it to Julius Fugil and Mr. Hyatt who in turn leased it to Joe Sabot and Phil Smith.
From them it went to Mrs. Luneta Thelen who sold out to Mrs. Lavina Frame in 1959. Mrs. Frame, with Jim Haggard as manager, is now operating the business and is in process of putting up a new building and making plans for a 20-unit motel near the café.
MR. JOHN EVANS is dead and recently Mrs. Evans sold the Gorda property (subject to its being leased) to Mr. Larry Anderson of North Hollywood. Mr. Anderson has owned a place in Plaskett Creek for many years where he comes as often as possible with family and friends to escape the stress and tumult of city life.
The cottages in Gorda are never vacant and no doubt many more could be rented if available. There is always someone looking for a house to rent near Gorda.
The state highway maintenance yard is just around the corner to the north where Foreman Guy Hudson and his wife Helen live. Mr. and Mrs. Howard Krenkel also live here. Howard better known as “Tuck” is a State Highway employee and his wife Jackie was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Phil Smith, former manager of Gorda Café.
The Smiths now live in Gardena, Calif. Mr. and Mrs. John Lowe live in their own home “just around the bend.” John is also a state highway man and his wife Violet is William Plaskett’s daughter. William or “Billy” is gone and Vi’s mother Mrs. W. E. Plaskett lives in Salina.
OTHER STATE HIGHWAY employees, Claude Mitchell, Jim Maher and Bob Treece reside in the cottages on the hill in back of the service station. Don Harlan, the other employee of this division, lives with his wife Dorene and son Michael in their own home near Lucia.
The state highway families are a vital part of Gorda. Others living in this quaint village by the sea are Mrs. Luneta Thelen and Mrs. Betty Rivers. Mrs. Evans always reserved one cottage for her own use as will Mr. Anderson the new owner.
At nearby Willow Creek beach one may find precious jade and other lovely stones and shells. A road leads to the beach under the bridge, (a new bridge is under construction scheduled to be finished this fall.)
On some of the new maps we note that Gorda Point is called Cape San Martin, but the old timers say that Long Point in Pacific Valley was called Cape San Martin in the old days and it is shown as such on the older maps. One wonders at this discrepancy. The early geodetic surveyors named the Point Gorda and the earliest post office in Pacific Valley was called Gorda after the Point.
The coast is indeed a magic wonderland as described in a Geographic magazine article “California’s Wonderful One.” It lures people from every walk in life and gives to each that sense of inner space so rare and hard to find.
EVERYONE HAS a special gift or talent. Phil McGuire, living in a cabin in the hills, can look at you and in a matter of minutes hand you a perfect sketch of yourself.
Down the coast lives the granddaughter of Amy McPherson whose evangelistic charms claimed thousands of followers.
Individualist Warren Leopold could command his own price as an architect, but prefers the quiet solitude of his hillside acres near Gorda.
Luneta Thelen and Betty Rivers both with masters degrees live here because of a deep and unalterable love of the coast land.
Henry Miller whose great love for the Big Sur region is well known writes as follows:
“OFTEN WHEN following the trail which meanders over the hills, I pull myself up and make a supreme effort to encompass the glory and the grandeur which envelopes the whole horizon. Often I say to myself especially when the clouds pile up in the north and the sea is churning with white caps and the grass bends low in the wind, this is the California that men dreamed of, this is the Pacific that Balboa looked out on from the Peak of Darien, this is the face of the world as the Creator intended it to look. How wonderful is the earth and the creatures that inhabit it! This is Heaven enough, why ask for more? Pax Vobiacum!”
Mabel Sans Plaskett was born in Coralitas near Ben Lomond in the Santa Cruz Mountain area of California. Her father Edward Robert Sans ran a saw mill near Pacific Valley, along the Nacimiento – Ferguson road to the coast at Highway One. It was there she met Edward Abbott Plaskett, her husband. Mabel wrote about the coast and the pioneers of the 19th and 20th Centuries.