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Blog: The store built by bandits

The original residents of La Honda were the Ohlone Indians who were primarily hunter/gatherers.

A tiny town of roughly 1,000 people lies along Highway 84 in the beautiful redwood forest area of southern San Mateo County, called La Honda, which means “The Sling” in Spanish.

The original residents of La Honda were the Ohlone Indians who were primarily hunter/gatherers. In other words, they survived without farming the land or herding animals.

The creek that runs through the town was originally known as Arroyo Ondo, and then Arroyo Hondo on the map of Rancho Cañada de Raymundo which was drawn up in 1856.

The name La Honda was revised in 1895 to Lahonda. However, in 1905 the original name of La Honda was restored, and remains to this day.

In 1862 John Sears purchased 400 acres of land and settled in La Honda. He moved there after his land near Menlo Park, known as Searsville, was sold to the Spring Valley Water Company, that eventually built a dam 1892, which created Searsville Lake.

Sears also built a store.

The story goes he hired the Younger Brothers to assist in building it. They were outlaws from the Midwest, who were on the run, and also known to associate with the notorious Jesse James Gang. Hence, the store was nicknamed the “Bandit Built Store.”

Some have suggested the Younger Brothers were in jail during this period.

A store does exist at the same spot today; however, there is nothing left of the original one.

Some famous La Honda residents include Ken Kesey, along with the Merry Pranksters and his famous psychedelic bus, Neil Young, along with gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson.

Everything else is just history.


Dan Calic

About the Author: Dan Calic

A product of Goodwin (JFK), Henry Ford, Roosevelt, Sequoia High and Canada College, Dan has deep Redwood City roots. He’s witnessed Redwood City transform from a sleepy peninsula town into a thriving high-tech hub.
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