Near Big Sur in Monterey County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
Two Women From Two Worlds
Drawn to this wild, remote coast
Traveling the difficult route along the coast in October of 1869, Michael and Babara Pfeiffer were forced to winter in Big Sur and decided to stay. Their daughter, Julia, was just 11 months old at the time. She grew up at their Sycamore Canyon Ranch, helping her father run the ranch until her mid-forties.
In 1915, Julia married fellow homesteader John Burns. They leased a ranch at Burns Creek and ran cattle on Saddle Rock Ranch.
Julia’s niece, Ester Ewoldsen, wrote of their life in a 1985 memoir:
“Julia and John lived and worked together in great contentment. They shared the inside and outside chores and cared for the cattle, she riding pell-mell up and down the hills, he slowly making his way on foot or riding more slowly.”
Helen Hooper Brown was an east coast heiress. Orphaned at 15, she inherited $10,0000,000. In 1911, Helen married Lathrop Brown, a close friend to Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The Browns were also drawn to this rugged, remote place. They purchased Saddle Rock Ranch in 1924. The Waterfall House was completed in 1940.
Julia and Helen met during the last years of Julia’s life (she died in 1928). These two women from different worlds developed a close friendship.
Location. 36° 9.6′ N, 121° 40.403′ W. Marker is near Big Sur, California, in Monterey County. Marker can be reached from Cabrillo Highway (California Route 1), on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 53000 Cabrillo Highway, Big Sur CA 93920, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 2 other markers are within 14 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. House with a View (here, next to this marker); Cooper Cabin (approx. 13.3 miles away).
More about this marker. This marker is located in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park approximately 11 miles south of Big Sur and 52 miles north of the Monterey/San Luis Obispo county line. The exit for the park is on the left when heading south. From the parking lot take the McWay Waterfall trail to the end to find this marker.
Categories. • Settlements & Settlers • Women •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 13, 2013, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 353 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on September 13, 2013, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.