The Native Sons Community Hall was originally built as a house of worship by seven families who were members of The Methodist Episcopal Church. The first Protestant denomination to formally organize on the Coastside south of San Francisco, they began meeting as early as 1861; later, in 1877, they held services in the Good Templars’ Hall, which they shared with the Native Sons, one block north of the present building.
In 1889 the Church sold their portion of the Templars’ Hall, collected $4,538 in subscriptions and donations, bought a ready-made architectural plan for $30, and started putting up their own building. Pastor M.V. Donalson held the first services in the new church on March 1, 1890. Church membership dwindled through the turn of the century, however, and by 1905 it ceased altogether. The building survived the effects of the 1906 earthquake and served briefly as a school before it was finally abandoned in 1915 as a kind of “white elephant.” The building went up for sale; in 1916 its two art glass windows were sold.
The building was vacant until in 1920 the Pescadero Social Center Corporation converted it into a community center where card tables, a billiard table, and various games were available every afternoon; there was a player piano and a moving picture machine. Louis McCormick played the piano during shows when the hall was used as a theater. Dances were held on Fridays and Saturdays. The hall also served as the town library and health center under the directorship of Madeline Gianola. These functions lapsed with dissipating town enthusiasm.The church building stood empty again until the good-sized community of Japanese-Americans living in Pescadero leased it in 1928 to serve as a Japanese Cultural Center and language school. The children studied language for about two hours each day after their regular school hours and the martial arts (judo or karate) in a small room in the back on weekends. These activities ended abruptly with the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and the local Japanese community was sent away to various internment camps.
Early in 1942 the church was acquired by the Native Sons of the Golden West, Pebble Beach Parlor, and the Native Daughters of the Golden West, Año Nuevo Parlor. The hall was converted into a theater for public use during the ’40s: seats were installed and the community could watch comedies, news, and current feature films in comfort. Ed Weeks, Eddie Nunes, and two other men took turns running the projector. The theater continued for about 8 years, when televisions started to become available in town. Sometime after the war ended, the badly deteriorated bell steeple had to be taken down.
The Native Sons Community Hall was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. In 2000 the Pescadero History Project (PHP) raised $50,000 from local donors to purchase their half interest in the hall from the Native Daughters and subsequently invested $25,000 more toward the restoration of the Hall interior. With money garnered from fund-raising events and hall rentals we’ve been able to install low-energy propane heaters, low-flow toilets, a restaurant-grade stove, and a new refrigerator. The beautiful redwood-trussed ceiling was in good condition when the PHP bought their part of ownership but the rest of the interior has been repainted and new lighting fixtures installed; the restroom has been renovated and the foyer refurbished. Since then the PHP—now renamed The Pescadero Historical Society—has operated the hall as a community center for the benefit of South Coast residents.