Shell mounds to cul-de-sacs: the cultural landscape of San Pedro Valley, Pacifica, California

Research Project

Even ordinary elements of the American cultural landscape have unique histories that have helped create their present form. San Pedro Valley, a suburban landscape since the 1950's, has evolved from a number of distinct different landscapes, a few small relics of which can still be found if one takes the time to search them out. This paper traces the development of the cultural landscape of San Pedro Valley from the valley's occupation by native Americans up to the present. The evolution of the landscape is divided into several phases: the Ohlone Landscape, the Mission Period Landscape, the Rancho Landscape, the Truck Farming Landscape, the Early Suburban Landscape, the Modern Suburban Landscape, and Today. Using archival research coupled with interviews and field research, the history of the valley is examined in an attempt to re-create images of how the landscape appeared during each of these phases. Cultural landscapes are complex entities and this paper demonstrates that even seemingly ordinary places have complex and interesting histories that have helped shape their present form.

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