Story by June Morrall
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Gold is the seductress that weaves a spell over those who become obsessed with finding her.
Pulses raced when the official 1888 “Report of the State Mineralogist” listed the discovery of a ledge of quartz, said to contain silver and gold on Ote Durham’s Tunitas Creek ranch.
Speculators were also panning for gold on the glittering black sands of the Denniston Ranch, located about one mile north of Amesport Landing in Miramar. Prospector interest in this beach was maintained for two years when W.R. Welch announced his plans to use a new invention that tested the gold richness of sand. Evidently the gold detector was worth the investment: Welch supposedly found enough of the precioius metal “to yield a good margin of profit.”
A later edition of the “State Mineralogist” tells us that the source of “the fine gold that trickled down Denniston Creek could probably be traced to the quart veins found in “Montara granite rock.”
In the early 1950s three ounces of gold, one ounce of silver and a small quanity of platinum were said “to have been produced fro placers in the vicinity of Pescadero Beach by small-scale methods.”
In 1913, inquiries swamped the San Mateo County Clerk’s office regarding an alleged cache of gold, said to be worth $300,000, that had been buried somewhere on the old Herling ranch in Half Moon Bay. The Herlings were described as a wealthy, distinguished family from Austria who left their country “under mysterious circumstances.”
The Herlings gold (if it ever actually existed) was never found.