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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Half Moon Bay in San Mateo County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

The James Johnston House

 
 
The James Johnston House Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By I.G.V.Atajar, August 28, 2009
1. The James Johnston House Marker
Inscription.  James Johnston, a forty-niner from Ohio, established a homestead on this wild, romantic vista of sloping fields and ocean shore in 1853. For his Californiano bride, Petra Maria de Jara, he built this typical eastern saltbox, whose origins from the American colonial period date back to medieval East Anglian architecture. Rare in California, this "New England farmhouse" is the earliest American home still standing along the coatside of San Mateo County. Its handhewn redwood timbers from a link with the past when San Benito or "Spanish town" consisted of a few adobes. The small chapel on the second floor and the separate cookhouse reflect the influence of its Spanish mistress and the transplanted house uniquely Californian. Known as "The White House of Half Moon Bay," it was the center of the social and cultural life of its day. The history of the house and the Johnston family is a history of a pioneer period of the American West.

In recognition of its preservation for future generations by the Johnston House Foundation, Inc., the Spanishtown Historical Society, and the City of Half Moon Bay, this plaque was dedicated on May 14, 1976
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by the American Revolution Bicentennial Committee of San Mateo County.

"When it was new, the house was painted white. Known as the 'White House,' it was doubtless a striking sight, especially in summer. For John Johnston said that in his boyhood days his father's ranch - sloping from the hills to the ocean - was in summertime one sweep of golden grain."

from the White House of Half Moon Bay, by Malcolm Watkins.
 
Erected 1976 by American Revolution Bicentennial Committee of San Mateo County.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Notable Buildings. In addition, it is included in the The Spirit of ’76, America’s Bicentennial Celebration series list. A significant historical month for this entry is May 1945.
 
Location. 37° 27.061′ N, 122° 25.432′ W. Marker is in Half Moon Bay, California, in San Mateo County. Marker is on Higgins Purisima Road near Cabrillo Highway (California Highway 1). Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Half Moon Bay CA 94019, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Joseph Debenedetti Building (approx. one mile away); "The Determination of One Man" (approx. one mile away); Zaballa House (approx. one mile away); First Concrete Bridge Erected in San Mateo Co (approx. 1.1 miles
The James Johnston House Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By I.G.V.Atajar, August 28, 2009
2. The James Johnston House Marker
away); Miramar Beach Restaurant (approx. 3.8 miles away); Granada's Burnham Plan (approx. 4.3 miles away); Ocean Shore R.R. and Granada (approx. 4.4 miles away); Hotel El Granada (approx. 4˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Half Moon Bay.
 
Regarding The James Johnston House. This site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 9, 1973.
 
Also see . . .  The White House of Half Moon Bay. The James Johnston's Homestead (Submitted on December 14, 2009.) 
 
The James Johnston House image. Click for more information.
Library of Congress, Prints and Photograph Division, circa 1930's
3. The James Johnston House
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)
HABS CAL,41-HAMOB,2-
Northwest Side and Southwest Front.
Click for more information.
The James Johnston House image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress, Prints and Photograph Division, circa 1930's
4. The James Johnston House
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress) Southwest Front and Southeast Side
HABS CAL,41-HAMOB,2-3
The James Johnston House image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress, Prints and Photograph Division
5. The James Johnston House
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)

Photocopy of circa 1900 photograph Southwest Front and Southeast Side
HABS CAL,41-HAMOB,2-15
Interior of House Prior to Restoration image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress, Prints and Photograph Division, circa 1930's
6. Interior of House Prior to Restoration
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)
HABS CAL,41-HAMOB,2-4
The James Johnston House image. Click for full size.
Photographed By I.G.V.Atajar, August 28, 2009
7. The James Johnston House
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 22, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 14, 2009, by I.G.V.Atajar of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 1,582 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 14, 2009, by I.G.V.Atajar of San Jose, California.   3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on December 14, 2009.   7. submitted on December 14, 2009, by I.G.V.Atajar of San Jose, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 3, 2024