Classic Car Appraisal Services in Cambria, California
If you are like us, you love your car. You have probably spent countless hours and dollars making it everything you have always dreamed of. We, like you, enjoy being around car people, and more importantly cars themselves.
Although car people love to spend time and money on their cars, they all too often forget to properly value their car for insurance purposes. Dollar after dollar goes in, but never gets properly documented so that if a catastrophic event strikes, the real cost of putting the car back together gets paid by the insurance company. As collector car owners ourselves, we understand the importance of our product first hand. Fill out the form on the right to get started on your on-site Cambria car appraisal.
Facts about Cambria
The earliest human settlement of this area is known to be associated with prehistoric habitation by the Native American Chumash peoples, who exploited marine resources along the coastal area, with emphasis upon sites that were close to rivers.
Although our recorded history of the tribes in this region does not begin until the explorers and missionaries arrived, there is evidence of many tribal settlements in the area later known as Cambria. It is estimated that as many as 30,000 people inhabited the area in the time (some 1000 years) before the Spanish arrived. Experts believe these tribes to have been migratory and used Cambria as a seasonal settlement; other scientists are convinced that they lived there permanently. Most agree that they fed themselves with shellfish and seafood, as well as obtaining food from travels inland to hunt and gather seeds. A variety of artistically-crafted implements have been discovered, including spears points and arrowheads made from obsidian; basalt, sandstone, and granite were used to make mortars and pestles; soapstone kettles and stone hammers were also found. These early inhabitants were skilled basket and net makers and fashioned jewelry from crab claws, abalone shells, and the teeth of sharks and whales. The presence of soapstone (steatite) provides evidence that they traded with the Catalina Island tribes, whereas the lack of metals and glass indicates that they did not trade with Europeans or Asians.
According to scientists there is ample evidence to conclude that Cambria tribes were gentle, generous, and peaceful people and that they lived simply. Their family bonds were strong, and they showed great love and patience toward their children. The members of the Cambria tribes were also noted for their extreme cleanliness in handling and preparing food and possessed a marked knowledge of medicinal herbs. For entertainment, they played music and had a passion for gambling.
Early settlers and quicksilver
The first recorded visit by Europeans took place in 1769 when the Portola expedition, coming overland from the south, visited the area. The Spanish explorers camped near the present site of the Coast Union High School, on Santa Rosa Creek, on September 10, 1769, and again on December 24-25, spending the first Christmas in what later became known as Cambria. The Spanish soldiers named the site El Osito, because the local Chumash people offered them a young pet bear (which they politely refused). Gifts of food (pinole and fish) were particularly welcome on their return journey, because food supplies were running short.
Cambria is located on the Rancho Santa Rosa Mexican land grant given in 1841 to Julian Estrada.
Settlers were drawn to the area because of the fertile land, streams, and lumber. Additionally, miners were attracted to the area by the 1862 discovery of cinnabar, the ore from which quicksilver can be made. For a while, Cambria was a boom town, with $280,000 worth of quicksilver shipped out of San Simeon between 1867 and 1870.
During several years Cambria was a booming mine town, and prospectors flooded the area. More than 150 claims were filed in the early 1870s. The most successful of these claims, the Oceanic Quicksilver Mining Company, at one time employed 300 and was the largest mine in the area and the sixth largest in the world. Three furnaces were built, seven tunnels completed, and their stock price jumped to $30.00 a share. Hopes were high, and Cambria residents dreamed of imminent wealth. Unfortunately, by 1878, mercury prices started to fall and Cambria's first economic boom ended. As mercury prices fluctuated, Cambria's mining thrived and dwindled. During the boom of 1876, $282,832 worth of quicksilver was produced; four years later, production had decreased to only $6,760. A devastating fire in 1889 virtually ended the mercury business and Cambria settled into a quiet dairy community.
Originally an American settlement called Slab Town, the town later known as Cambria was centered at the Leffingwell cove of today's northern Moonstone Beach, which beach also featured a wharf. Because lumber production, ranching activities and mercury mining increased in the area, the village adopted the more dignified name of Cambria. The name as such was contributed by a local surveyor from Cambria County, Pennsylvania, because the local topography and flora reminded him of that place.
A castle and a shipwreck
Cambria has benefited greatly from the building of Hearst Castle. During the high unemployment years of the Great Depression, many Cambria citizens found welcome employment in construction. Additionally, Cambria provided supplies, services, and accommodations for many who came to build the Castle, creating prosperity in Cambria in an otherwise less prosperous decade.
War affected Cambria when the 8,000-ton Union Oil tanker, SS Montebello, was attacked and sunk by a Japanese submarine in the early morning of December 23, 1941. Cambria citizens rallied to the rescue and all six crewmen were rescued. According to the captain, Olaf Eckstrom, these citizens of Cambria were real heroes: "God Bless 'em — they performed like American seamen, orderly, efficient, without hysteria."
Other notable locations in the town include the historic Old Santa Rosa Chapel, which was built in 1870, and as one of the oldest churches in the county of San Luis Obispo, held Catholic mass until May 26, 1963. The church fell into neglect until 1978, when the chapel and cemetery were restored.