Outside of the city’s famed Boardwalk, few places are as iconic in the coastal city of Santa Cruz as Lighthouse Point. Yet in 1970, the City Council approved a major construction project that sought to develop every square foot of Lighthouse Point and adjacent Lighthouse Field, turning one of the city’s last open parcels of coastal land into a bustling tourist and business hub. Bolstered by the creation of the Coastal Commission, the citizens of Santa Cruz organized to save Lighthouse Point, a battle that would come to stand as a watershed moment in the city’s history.
Featured Interviewees: Gary Patton; Katherine Beiers; Andrew Schiffrin
Interviews, Research, Writing: Todd Holmes
Audio Production: Allie Cheroutes
Narration: Paul Burnett
Pilot episode of the podcast, Coastal Tales: The Long Struggle to Preserve California’s Coast
Produced by the Oral History Center of the Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley and the Bill Lane Center for the American West
It is often said that the true history of the California Coastal Commission—the state agency created by public initiative in 1972—is what you don’t see, namely the developments along the coast the Commission either denied or significantly scaled back. Highlighting this “unseen” history stands at the heart of the 15-episode podcast, Coastal Tales: The Long Struggle to Preserve California’s Coast, a production of the Oral History Center at UC Berkeley in partnership with the Bill Lane Center at Stanford University. Each episode will feature a specific site on the state’s coastline and detail the story of a proposed development that, if not for the Coastal Commission, would have significantly altered those sites and communities forever. Led by Todd Holmes, an affiliated scholar of the Bill Lane Center who joined the Oral History Center at Berkeley in 2016, the podcast draws on oral history interviews currently underway at the OHC, as well as years of research Todd conducted with the California Coastal Commission Project that the BLC initiated in 2014. When complete, the 15 episodes of Coastal Tales will be housed on a dedicated website that will also feature additional information and resources on the history of the Commission. The public will also eventually be able to access the episodes at the sites themselves with the scan of a QR code.