AÑO NUEVO NEWS THROUGH TIME

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AÑO NUEVO NEWS THROUGH TIME


In the News~

May 15, 1958 [Sacramento Bee]: “Año Nuevo Isle Is Bought By State For Park. San Francisco—The state has bought Año Nuevo Island off the San Mateo County coast from the federal government for $51,094. Ten years ago, the state could have purchased the island for $18,094. The rocky nine acre lighthouse station has been sought for a state park ever since it was abandoned by the coast guard in 1928. The state park commission had intended to buy Año Nuevo but never completed the deal. The island was put up for auction by the federal government early this year. Frank Spangler of Berkeley bid $100,000 for Año Nuevo which he intended to turn into a fisherman's paradise. However, the law said the state still could buy the island at half the market value plus the costs of the auction. The park commission decided to acquire it.”


May 15, 1958 [San Francisco Chronicle]: “State Gets Coast Island at Last. The State finally bought Año Nuevo Island from the Federal Government yesterday for $51,094.54. The rocky, nine-acre lighthouse station 1500 feet off the San Mateo county coast will become a State park, together with a broad stretch of beach on the mainland. A deed for the island, now the lonely home of a sea lion herd, will be mailed today from the General Services Administration here to the State Division of Beaches and Parks in Sacramento. The sea-battered site had long been sought as a State park, but two months ago it looked as though the island would pass into private hands. The State Park Commission was scheduled to buy the island for $18,094 after it was abandoned by the Coast Guard ten years ago. Red tape at State and Federal levels slowed the project up, but by 1956 the State deal was set. Then someone goofed in Sacramento and the money was not put in the budget. Early this year the Federal Government got tired of waiting. The island went up for sale at auction. Frank Spenger, a Berkeley restaurant owner, bid $100,000 for it and announced plans to turn it into a fisherman's retreat and picnic grounds, attached to the mainland by a causeway. But the law still favored the State. The Park Commission was given 90 days to buy the island out from under Spenger—with the price now set at $50,000, or half the established market value, plus costs of the auction. Although the State will develop picnic and parking facilities on the mainland beach quickly, it has no immediate plans to change the character of the island. The abandoned lighthouse buildings, the flocks of sea birds and the barking sea lions will remain. The treacherous, shoal-filled water between the mainland and the island will still be difficult to cross except at low tide. As for Spengler, the high bidder who lost out, he was away yesterday. But his son, Frank Spenger Jr., said: "We're disappointed, of course, that our plans won't go through. But my father has some other plans too—there's a rocky spot up on the Mendocino coast, and if the State doesn't get that he might so something there. He just likes salt water.”