Sweet Springs History

SWEET SPRINGS HISTORY - to be continued...

  • Archeological artifacts indicate the area where Sweet Springs is located was originally settled by the Chumash as early as 500 AD and lived there through the late 1700s.

  • The area was subsequently “discovered” by the Spaniard Captain Gaspar de Portola on the ‘Sacred Expedition’ from Mexico through San Diego to Upper California. From 1769 to 1770.

  • A map of “The Town of Sunshine Beach” was filed with the County Recorder’s office by Norman Harrison and D.R. Oliver in 1893 and depicts a number of lots terminating where Sweet Springs central and east are located. The subdivision was never developed.

  • There may have been other interim players, but Walter Redfield was an early real estate developer who saw potential in what bankers at the time apparently viewed as “useless sagebrush land.” He purchased 3000 lots in 1919 in what is currently Baywood / Los Osos / Cuesta By The Sea, and sold many of them for ten dollars each. Sweet Springs was likely a part of Redfield’s holdings. He also acquired an interest in 340 acres of eucalyptus trees in 1925 on the corner of Los Osos Valley Road and Pecho Road.

  • Richard Stuart Otto was another real estate developer and engineer at the time that purchased some of Redfield’s lots. He is the one who came up with the name Baywood Park, and started developing it in 1924. He planted over 20,000 trees by his own account – primarily cypress and Monterey pine – mostly lining the streets. I spoke with his widow Shirley Otto and she had no recollection of who planted the trees on Sweet Springs, but indicated her husband never planted any eucalyptus trees.

  • Other owners of the property apparently included Charles Ferrell, who owned 220 acres, including Sweet Springs, and is credited with building the “Duck Inn” around 1920.

    According to an interview with Emma Ferrell by Joan Sullivan before she passed away, the Ferrells planted the cypress.

    In 1921 William & Lydia Mickle, Canadian farmers, purchased 18 acres from the Ferrells including central and east Sweet Springs and continued to operate the Duck Inn.

    In 1948 Henry Bumpus purchased the 18 acres and in 1972 sold the eastern parcel to Jan & Tom Corr who attempted to donate the eastern preserve for a library at one point, but encountered community opposition.

    In 1948 Harold & Orlien Broderson purchased Sweet Springs central and are credited with excavating the ponds for irrigating a potato farm nearby.

    In 1957 Morro Palisades Company purchased land including the central and west preserve. They developed the mobil home park in the late 1960s and applied for permits to build a hotel on Sweet Springs in 1981. After encountering considerable resistance from the community, they abandoned their plans and decided to donate the 24 acres comprising Sweet Springs central & west to the State Coastal Conservancy (SCC) in 1985.

    In 1989 the SCC, in turn, donated the land to the Morro Coast Audubon Society.