KINGS MOUNTAIN — Stacy Trevenon summed up her reasons for falling in love with Kings Mountain almost unconsciously Sunday morning, as she perched on an old fallen log in a circle of redwoods.
"I love living by the ocean, but there's something about a redwood forest," she sighed.
The local poet and journalist, a longtime staff writer for the Half Moon Bay Review, Trevenon has done enough research into Kings Mountain to recognize the irony in her statement.
The tall, majestic groves of redwoods are the heart of this wooded enclave, but there was a time when Kings Mountain was far more famous for the lumbermen who eviscerated an entire region of 1,000-year-old redwoods with cool efficiency in the course of just 70 years.
"There were loggers up here who denuded the mountain," said Trevenon. "They would timber out the area and pick up the mill and just move it."
The scrappy, knockabout lives of lumbermen get plenty of attention in the first chapters of Trevenon's new history book, "Kings Mountain," published in August and available at several Coastside bookstores.
The milling rush forever transformed the landscape — 60 square miles of mountain ridgetop and gulch area between Skyline Boulevard and incorporated Woodside — and Tevenon has unearthed a treasure trove of dramatic black-and-white photographs of ox teams and mill workers dwarfed by the stature of the redwood trees they felled, some up to 75 feet in circumference.
It was during this period that Kings Mountain took its name from the King family, locals who owned a hotel and saloon in the area.
Using facts and anecdotes pieced together from months of research and talks with local residents, Trevenon traces the mountain's journey, from the start of its lumber days in the 1850s to the dairy farms that followed and the conversion of much of the area to protected open space.
Today the community includes many young families and sends their children to Kings Mountain Elementary. It also includes a sprinkling of retirees, Silicon Valley executives, and even a few famous residents like musician Neil Young. A new generation of second-growth redwoods has grown to reclaim the land, and with them a powerful sense of civic pride.
With something like awe in her voice, Trevenon describes how Kings Mountain residents coalesced to build their own community center, picking up their hammers and pitching in on weekends to get the job done. Many local parents also help out at the school as classroom aids and administrators.
"People her here are very resilient, very self-sufficient
and have learned to take care for each other," said Trevenon.
Countless locals also volunteer their time to help organize the annual Kings Mountain Art Fair, an impressively large, juried art show that draws thousands of visitors on Labor Day weekend. Proceeds from the fair help fund the community's own volunteer fire brigade — the community's first and often only recourse in wildfire and flood seasons. It was the experience of reporting on the Kings Mountain Art Fair for her newspaper year after year that inspired Trevenon to write a book showcasing the wooded hamlet's history. Since then, she has gained many friends in the community.
"It's a truly inspiring and resonant story of a community coming together, staying strictly away from commercialism and creating this beautiful event along the way," she said with a smile.
"Kings Mountain" from Arcadia Publishing is available at several stores in Half Moon Bay, including Cunha Country Store, the Bay Book Co. and Moon News Bookstore. It is also available online at Amazon.com and ArcadiaPublishing.com