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cayucos history
Last of the California Beach Towns

captain james cass historical photo
Captain James Cass
Photo courtesy
Captain James Cass left his New England home, sailed around the Horn and settled in Cayucos in 1867 on 320 acres of the original Rancho Moro Y Cayucos Spanish Land Grant of 8,845 acres. He realized the future possibilities of the excellent location as a shipping port of cheese, hides, beef and fresh water. He and his partner, Captain Ingals, built the pier, a store and a warehouse. It was known as Cass' Landing. Captain Cass's home still stands at the north end of town.

C.H. Phillips, well known real estate promoter, subdivided another section of the land grant into town lots and Cayucos was born. The surrounding land and rich soil was found to be perfect for fruit, dairying, berries, farming, alfalfa and beans. Cayucos prospered, also buoyed by fruitful harvests of fish and abalone, around Cass' landing.

The land grant was subdivided into town lots and Cayucos was born.

Cayucos took its name from the original rancho land grant which means kayak or canoe; a small fishing boat such as used by the Aleuts in hunting sea otters along the coast.

The pier still exists, and the warehouse has become a community center that is available for public and private parties and functions. It also houses the Cayucos Art Society Gallery.

Prehistorically the local area was inhabited by the Chumash people, who settled the coastal San Luis Obispo area approximately 10,000 to 11,000 BC, including a large village to the South of Cayucos at Morro Creek.

Looking Back

Read your article. Made me cry. My uncle lived in cayucos for a long time. When I was little I would go and stay with him as long as allowed. I was the only one of all us kids that got to go (because I never got bored and whined). I was on the pier every morning by 6:30 a.m. with my bucket and pole. I took him snappers for breakfast every day. We have brought our family almost every summer. Now that they have grown and have their own kids, they make the trip every year. The fishing isn't the same but I still love it. I am now 65 and when we are there you can find me on the pier, if not fishing , watching.

If you live there I would say you are a very lucky person. If my husband liked the ocean more (instead of the mountains) we would have moved near.

My uncle was Quintan Brooks. Just needed to contact.


5/09/09 name is Teri C.
40 yrs. ago my family moved from beautiful cayucos to the rural area of jackson, missouri..(beautiful as well) I was 13 at the time and had the good fortune of being one of the lucky ones to spend 10 of those yrs. roaming all around town..the beach....pier...tide pools..the creek we kids called "the little missippi river" (little did I know that our new missouri home was about 8 miles west of the real mississippi river..ha)..I have so many fond memories of cayucos....migration of the monarch butterflies ....there used to be a piece of property along my walk to school that had several eucalyptus trees where the monarchs would stop and rest..the trees would be absolutely covered..I can remember I would grab hold of one of the branches and gently shake it..hundreds of theÊbutterflies would just flutter all around me...a joyous site..I can also remember the swallows that would make their mud nests all under the building at the foot of the folks..andy and bernice gallagher owned and operated the cayucos trading post from 1959 to 1969..I recently looked the ol' place up on the internet and see that it has been completely's gorgeous....I was shocked about the cass house as well..I remember when the negranti's lived there and it was all weathered best friend was kelly borchard..we went everywhere would most often find us at the beach or along the rock pools at low the looks of your virtual beach camera those are the same swing sets we played on..they always left us with rusty hands..ha...kelly still lives in cayucos..I'm sure someone in your group knows her...I last spoke with her a few yrs. back... I hope all is well with her and her family...I now live in perdido bay, florida (pronounced.. purr dee dough) a small community much like cayucos..our sand here is fine and snow white..the surf being the gulf of mexico is calm for the most part..very pretty sunsets as well..but ugh...the summer HUMIDITY..I can never really get used to that...miss those cool breezes of the pacific..when I'm ready to start my "bucket list" cayucos will be at the very top..I would love to go back and check out all my haunts...ha.....well enough said...I thank you for your time...
Sincerely, Teri C.

Cayucos is located at 35°26'18"N 120°53'26"W (35.438390, -120.890647)


Cayucos Murals
Mural, "Delivery at the Cottage Hotel." John Meng, 1993 Mural for the Cayucos Tavern, Cayucos CA
80 N. Ocean Ave., Size 20' x 12', "Delivery at the Cottage Hotel", John Meng, 1993. There are many Murals located in Cayucos and other communities throughout the area. Inside the Cayucos Tavern at 180 N. Ocean Ave. are reproductions of 13 Famous Western Paintings by artist Grady Houser, 1980's.
Supported by the Cayucos Mural Society (805) 995-3539.

For more Cayucos and Central Coast history visit:

spacer morro strand state beach

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