Gerstle Cove Beach and Campground

Gerstle Cove Beach and Campground


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.

gestleBy 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.