Saturday, May 6, 2017

Hodgepodge 189/365 - Hollister

I am always bemused by sightings of young people wearing the Hollister Co. brand, "So Cal Inspired Clothing for Guys and Girls." Oh! The surfing life! 

Because yeah, Hollister, California: so not So Cal. (Though I admit: there is surfing, mediocre at best, sixty miles away.)

Hollister is known for a few things: it's certainly known as an agricultural and ranching community (though curiously, it's hard to find any actual information about that on the Internet).

164 Locust Street
(demolished in 2009)
It's known by geologists as one of the best examples of "aseismic creep": the Calaveras Fault (a branch of the San Andreas) runs north-south through the middle of town and has contorted some of the houses, which are reinforced to withstand the dislocation of their foundations. (I suppose that's a sort of surfing?)

It is also known for its intermittent annual motorcycle rallies, of which the 1947 event erupted in violence that was memorialized in the Marlon Brando movie The Wild One (1953). (Motorcycling and surfing strike me as antithetical, but I could be wrong.)

Oh, but finally: a little finessed Googling does get me an interesting entry at a blog called "Legendary Surfers" (aha!), which tells how the man after whom the town was named, "Col." William Welles Hollister (1818–86), came originally from Ohio to an area near Santa Barbara with 200 head of cattle and nearly 10,000 sheep. He fell in love with the land, but unfortunately it was not for sale, so he continued north—to what is now San Benito County, settling there in 1855. Later, in 1868, having accumulated 20,000 acres of land, he decided to sell everything and head back to the Santa Barbara area. "Approximately 12,000 acres was divided into 50 homestead lots of about 172 acres each; about 100 acres were reserved for the town [of Hollister] itself and were bounded by North, East, West, and South streets. About 8,500 acres were reserved for future sale, and the remaining property was parceled out and sold as farm units." The town name came about simply because the principals in the land company (San Justo) that purchased the acreage were tired of Spanish place-names and decided that Hollister would be a good solid name for a good solid town.

Hollister himself then settled on the coastal plain north of Santa Barbara (near Gaviota) and became a booster of Santa Barbara, where he is better known than in his namesake community. He helped develop, among other institutions, Santa Barbara College, the Arlington Hotel, the Lobero Theater, Stearns Wharf, and the Santa Barbara News-Press. His vast property, which his family held into the 1960s, is now known as Hollister Ranch, site of 133 multimillion-dollar 100-acre estates nestled within a "working cattle ranch." A point of pride, apparently.

The connection to surfing has something to do with a club established at the ranch in the 1950s by one Reynolds Yater, and since then surfers have sneaked onto the private land to get a crack at the waves there. Those dirtbag surfers . . .

But as it turns out, Hollister Co.'s parent company, Abercrombie & Fitch, based in New Albany, Ohio, pulled the name Hollister out of thin air, so no need to seek too deeply. Or deeply at all. A fun, flingy name for fun, flingy clothes.

Oh, but not so much if Hollister-the-city wants to use its own name on clothing it sells. Lawsuits have occurred. Maybe not so fun and flingy after all . . .

Today we took a drive out to the real Hollister—still an agricultural and ranching town of about 35,000 in land-locked San Benito County (still no surfing), founded in 1868, incorporated in 1872; county seat since the county was separated out from Monterey County in 1874. We were there to geocache, of course (found ten of ten). I took some photos. It was a gorgeous day, and it was nice to get away from the surf zone.

San Benito County Migrant Center / Mobil(e) Home Park /
Single Men's Camp (on the way to geocache #8)
Fresh-cut hay near stop #7
A bumper lying in the grass at stop #6
For my Flickr numbers project ::22:: (also on the way to #8)
San Benito County Cemetery (stop #8).
Here's the geocache description (edited), which I find interesting:
San Benito County Cemetery was founded in 1889.
The county owns the cemetery, but it is maintained mostly by
the San Benito County Cemetery Preservation Society.
Other names the cemetery went by are County Cemetery,
Hollister Cemetery, Potters Field, County Hospital Cemetery,
County Farm Cemetery, and Public Cemetery. The last burial took
place in 1968. This was a potters cemetery, so very little expense was
made for grave markers. If there was family around at burial time, a
wood marker might be used; otherwise, the county erected a small metal marker.
Over the years the names or numbers on the markers have vanished.
Today, only five graves are identified; the rest are unknown.
I am still puzzling over the lower-left symbol.
Does it mean no heterosexual couples allowed?
But mountain bikes are apparently okay—which
only adds to my puzzlement . . . So bike
(and maybe walk?) on! Just do it with others
of your own sex! But what about plain old
"No Trespassing"? You wouldn't think that
needs elucidation. So very confused . . .
("No Dumping" also seems obvious.
But just in case, the lower-right symbol clarifies.)
(near stop #7)
A ranch near our final stop (#10).
Hollister is so pretty when the hills are green.

Finally, since I may never return to San Benito County as a topic of my blog, I would just like to point out that the state gemstone of California, Benitoite, was first discovered there; found in hydrothermally altered serpentine (which last is the state rock), it is a gorgeous blue. San Benito County is also home to Illacme plenipes, the millipede with the mostest—legs, that is. Up to 750.

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