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Pebble Beach, California facts for kids

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Pebble Beach
The Lone Cypress, an icon of the region, as seen from 17-Mile Drive
The Lone Cypress, an icon of the region, as seen from 17-Mile Drive
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Country United States
State California
County Monterey County
Rancho Pescadero (Barreto) Established early 19th Century
0 ft (0 m)
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area code 831
GNIS feature ID 230455

Pebble Beach is an unincorporated community on the Monterey Peninsula in Monterey County, California. The small coastal residential community of mostly single-family homes is also notable as a resort destination, and the home of the golf courses of Cypress Point Club, Monterey Peninsula Country Club, and Pebble Beach Golf Links.

The Pebble Beach Golf Links, The Inn at Spanish Bay, The Lodge at Pebble Beach and four of the eight golf courses inside the Pebble Beach community are among the local assets owned by the Pebble Beach Company. Residents pay road fees for maintenance as well as Monterey County property taxes. Application of the property tax revenues is the realm of the Pebble Beach Community Services District, a public agency that is independent of local private facilities, e.g., golf courses, with an elected Board of Directors that manages essential functions including fire protection and emergency medical services, supplemental law enforcement, wastewater collection and treatment, recycled water distribution, and garbage collection, disposal and recycling. The community's post office is named Pebble Beach, as is its identity; whereas, the U.S. Census Bureau aggregates census returns from Pebble Beach as part of the larger census-designated place of Del Monte Forest. However, residents and visitors associate and identify with the name Pebble Beach; boundaries of the Del Monte Forest extend outside of the Pebble Beach community boundaries encompassing a larger forest area that comprises the wooded parts of Monterey Peninsula.

Area open space is partly administered by the Del Monte Forest Conservancy, a non-profit organization designated by Monterey County and the California Coastal Commission to acquire and manage certain properties by conservation easement and, as well, by fee title. The Conservancy is governed by a self-elected volunteer board of up to 12 members working with a small part-time group of contractors and volunteers to preserve the open space within the Del Monte Forest and non-forested sites of Pebble Beach. All board members must be property owners and residents of Pebble Beach.

Pebble Beach lies at sea level, its ZIP Code is 93953, and the community is inside area code 831.


The name Pebble Beach was originally given to a rocky cove and beach strand, a prominent coastal segment of the Rancho Pescadero Mexican land grant that had been awarded to Fabián Barreto in 1836. Barreto died and the land went through several owners. In the 1850s, Chinese immigrants formed a series of fishing settlements along Carmel Bay including one at Stillwater Cove, next to Pebble Beach. They collected abalone and various fish. In 1860, David Jack bought the Mexican land grant, then sold it in 1880 to the Pacific Improvement Company (PIC), a consortium of The Big Four "railroad barons." By 1892, the PIC laid out a scenic road that they called the 17-Mile Drive, meandering along the beaches and among the forested areas between Monterey and Carmel. The drive was offered as a pleasure excursion to guests of the PIC-owned Hotel Del Monte, and it was intended to attract wealthy buyers of large and scenic residential plots on PIC land. Sightseers riding horses or carriages along the 17-Mile Drive sometimes stopped at Pebble Beach to pick up agate and other stones polished smooth by the waves, and they commented on a few unusual tree formations known as the Witch Tree and the Ostrich Tree—the latter formed by two trees leaning on each other. At that time, the Chinese fishing community continued in existence despite mounting anti-Chinese sentiment among Monterey residents of European heritage. At roadside stands, Chinese-American girls sold shells and polished pebbles to tourists. In the 1900s, the automobile began replacing horses on 17-Mile Drive, and by 1907 there were only automobiles. Adverse sentiments by local non-Chinese towards the Chinese fisherman and villagers of Pebble Beach was ironic in view of the vital contribution Chinese laborers made to the development of the Central Pacific Railroad, the fundamental fount of capital for the "Big Four," founders of PIC.

Pebble Beach Lodge
The original Pebble Beach Lodge, burned in 1917

In 1908, architect Lewis P. Hobart was hired by PIC manager A.D. Shepard to design the Pebble Beach Lodge, a rustic log-cabin-style one-story inn completed by 1909. The rambling lodge, featuring private patio nooks and a wide pergola made of local logs, was positioned halfway along 17-Mile Drive, overlooking Pebble Beach. The great hall or assembly room was 35 by 70 feet (11 by 21 m) wide and was flanked by massive fireplaces at each end. A tavern and kitchen supplied food and drink, and later, cottages could be rented for overnight guests. Operated under the same management as the Hotel Del Monte, food service was available at all hours, including fresh local abalone chowder. The lodge was built as the community center for the wealthy residents of the Del Monte Forest, and was popular as a rest stop for 17-Mile Drive motorists. Samuel Finley Brown Morse, a distant cousin to Samuel F. B. Morse known as the inventor of Morse Code, was hired in the 1910s to manage the PIC. In 1916, Morse convinced the PIC to create a golf course at the edge of Pebble Beach and Stillwater Cove. The lodge burned down on December 17, 1917, while the course was being completed, and a completely different structure replaced it: the Del Monte Lodge. Hobart worked with Clarence Tantau to create a luxurious multi-story hotel, and Hobart designed a signature "Roman Plunge" pool to the east of the hotel. The golf course and the new lodge held a grand opening on February 22, 1919.

Morse formed the Del Monte Properties Company on February 27, 1919, and acquired the extensive holdings of the PIC, which included the Del Monte Forest, the Del Monte Lodge and the Hotel Del Monte. Morse brought his son on board as president in 1948. The lodge was expanded with offices and a shopping arcade. In 1954, Morse's son-in-law was named president of the Del Monte Properties Company.

Samuel Finley Brown Morse died in 1969. Alfred Gawthrop Jr served as Chairman of Del Monte Properties through the 1970s. On March 30, 1977, the Del Monte Properties Company was reincorporated as the Pebble Beach Corporation. The Del Monte Lodge was renamed the Lodge at Pebble Beach.

In May 1979, 20th Century Fox, later bought by Marvin Davis, purchased the Pebble Beach Corporation. When the film company was sold to Rupert Murdoch in 1985, Davis kept several company assets not directly related to the film and TV industry, including the Pebble Beach Company and the Aspen Skiing Company.

In 1990 Davis sold the Pebble Beach Company to the Japanese businessman Minoru Isutani, who made it a subsidiary of the Japanese resort company Taiheiyo Club Inc. under a holding company called the Lone Cypress Company. Isutani was investigated by the FBI in the early 1990s for money laundering. Isutani's $341M loss taken on the sale of Pebble Beach was cited as an example.

Famous "Witch Tree" landmark at Pescadero Point, Pebble Beach, September 1962. The tree was blown down by a storm on January 14, 1964.

In 1999 the Pebble Beach Company was acquired from Lone Cypress by an investor group led by Clint Eastwood, Arnold Palmer, and Peter Ueberroth. In 2000, the company initiated Measure A, a controversial development proposal. Eastwood appeared in a US$1 million legal and advertising campaign urging voters to pass Measure A. In 2006, the plan went before the California Coastal Commission for approval. On June 14, 2007, the plan was submitted again. Commissioner Sara Wan called it "wholesale destruction of the environment," and Measure A was denied in an 8 to 4 vote.

The famous landmark, known as the "Witch Tree," stood for decades at Pescadero Point until it fell during a storm on January 14, 1964. It was sometimes used as scenic background in movies and television. It was displayed as part of the coast of Italy, in the 1951 movie Mr. Imperium, with Lana Turner, Ezio Pinza, Majorie Main and Barry Sullivan. That tree was also part of the background in an early scene from the 1956 movie Julie, featuring Doris Day, while she was fleeing from her psychopathic husband, played by Louis Jourdan.

The Pescadero "Ghost Tree" gave its name to an extreme surfing location known to have storm waves as large as 60 feet (18 m) high. Effective 2009, the surf break of Ghost Tree became effectively off limits, the result of a decision by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that personal watercraft, which were a virtual necessity for the tow-in only surf spot, were no longer permitted in specified waters of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. On the last day of legitimate surf access to Ghost Tree (December 4, 2007), a well-known local surfer, Peter Davi‍—‌45 years old and one of the last ghost-riders‍—‌died in the water, apparently from drowning while in cardiac arrest.


The community has 4,531 residents and is relatively affluent, home to many retirees and well-educated workers in the social service (education and health care), management and finance sectors. While Monterey County has a very large Hispanic population, Pebble Beach is more ethnically homogenous, with 91.4% of the population being White, 5.3% Asian, 2.3% Hispanic or Latino and 0.4% African American. The median household income is $99,788, with 54% with incomes between $50,000 and $150,000 and a little more than a quarter of households, 26.2%, with incomes exceeding $150,000. Household income figures, however, may not accurately reflect the area's wealth as 50.8% of households received social security income and 30.8% were retired. Less than half of the population 16 or over, 46.4%, are employed. Of those who work, the plurality (25%) are employed in the social service, education and health care sector, followed by the management (15%) and finance sectors (15%). 2.3% of the population live below the poverty level. The area's adult population is fairly well-educated, with 61% having at least a Bachelor's degree, and 98% having a high school diploma, compared to 25% and 80% at the national average, respectively.

Concours d'Elegance

The annual Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance auto show has been held in Pebble Beach since 1950. The event focuses on classic cars, and each year features a particular marque as its focus. In addition to the car competition, there is an auction, a classic car tour, and an automotive art exhibit.


Pebble Beach is in Monterey County on the Monterey Peninsula at 36°33′59″N 121°56′48″W / 36.56639°N 121.94667°W / 36.56639; -121.94667. It is bordered by Carmel-by-the-Sea to the south, Pacific Grove to the north, the City of Monterey to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Big Sur is about a 40-mile (64 km) drive south on scenic State Route 1. Cypress Point in Pebble Beach is the westernmost landfall in Southern California; the dividing line between the north and south portions of the state coastline is situated at the center of the Monterey Bay shoreline near Moss Landing. Santa Cruz and San Francisco are about 45 and 120 miles (190 km) to the north, respectively.


Pebble Beach owes much of its picturesque qualities to the granitic rock outcroppings, stacks and small islets visible along the coast, these comprising the local portion of the federal California Coastal National Monument, which is administered by the Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management. These are characteristic of the Salinian Block, a geologic province which runs from the Baja California Peninsula and up through California west of the San Andreas Fault. The historically inactive Fanshell Beach Fault, which exits land near Fanshell Beach in Pebble Beach, creates a divide between nearby Cypress Point and northerly Spyglass Hill that is visually appreciable. Native Monterey Cypress forest grows on the south-westerly side of Fanshell Beach Fault: a direct relationship between the underlying rock base and soils and the cypress cover type has not been confirmed.

Other features

Pebble Beach has few businesses‍—‌such as at-home cottage industries‍—‌apart from those owned by the Pebble Beach Company (except the golf courses, a private school, one gas station, and a deli) and no sidewalks. Most of the very expensive houses are obscured from view behind old-growth trees. It is quiet, secluded, and often experiences foggy weather, which occurs frequently on the Monterey Peninsula in general, but especially there because of the area adjoining the open ocean.

Pebble Beach is a gated community, but differs from most gated communities. There is an entrance fee for which The Pebble Beach Company charges $10.00 (per vehicle) from tourists driving along the 17-Mile Drive. Pebble Beach residents are issued small license plate badges that are attached near their cars' license plates or in their windshields to avoid paying the tourist fee.

In 2014 (airing 2017), Pebble Beach was the location for the HBO show "Big Little Lies," a drama which showcases relationships between high income status individuals based on the book of the same name.

Notable people

  • Al Bernardin, inventor of the Quarter Pounder
  • Jane Bryan, film actress
  • James Doolittle, combat pilot, Medal of Honor recipient
  • Clint Eastwood, actor-director
  • Pete Incaviglia, baseball player
  • Hank Ketcham, cartoonist Dennis the Menace
  • Gary Kildall, computer scientist and microcomputer entrepreneur
  • Greg London, singer-actor-impressionist
  • George Lopez, comedian
  • Ingemar Henry Lundquist, inventor and mechanical engineer lived and worked at 17-Mile Drive and The Dunes, overlooking the fourth hole of the Spyglass Hill golf course
  • Jim Nantz, sports broadcaster
  • Condoleezza Rice, 66th US Secretary of State
  • Tibor Rudas, musical impresario and originator of The Three Tenors
  • Charles R. Schwab, stock broker
  • Alan Shepard, astronaut
  • Raymond Spruance, Commander, 5th Fleet, U.S. Navy in World War II, Commander of Pacific Fleet, 1945

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