If you look closely at the rocks at Gerstle Cove, you
can still see eye bolts where ships anchored while sandstone
slabs were loaded. Coastal schooners carried wood and stone
products from Salt Point to San Francisco. Prior to the 1870s,
cargo was loaded on to waiting ships using wire cables anchored
to the cliffs. Later there were two loading chutes built at Salt
Point: the Miller chute built in 1872, and the Funcke & Co.
chute, a public landing, built in 1876. There was a horse-drawn
railroad to the landing from W. R. Miller's sawmill located
several miles north and east of Salt Point. It employed about 50
men and had a daily capacity of 18,000 board feet of lumber.
Contemporary with the sawmill, and outliving it for some time,
was the Funcke & Co. tanbark industry. Bark was peeled from tan
oak trees and boiled to produce the acid used in tanneries for
finishing hides. By the turn of the century there were few trees
left. By the 1880s and 1890s, the region had begun an economic
decline. There was continued shipping of some wood products, but
there was decreasing demand and production of posts, pickets,
shingles, and tanbark, and before the end of the century sheep
and cattle became the economic base of the region. There was one
chute left in 1889, but by 1917 it too was abandoned.