THE STORY OF THE HAVEN
It all started in 1858 when…
... a Northern California gold rush settler’s son, Abijah, set out to lay claim to his own land. His search for the perfect spot is documented in preserved historical letters to his loved ones back East. The below are excerpts from his family.
One fateful Sunday afternoon fulfilled this young dreamer’s vision. Abijah had been seeking a property for some time and failing to find a place which spoke to him. This day’s drive with his horse and cart was seemingly no different. He drove west from his parent’s parcel towards what is now the town of Tomales, near the ocean. When he came within several miles of the Tomales Bay shore, he could smell the exhilarating sea air and felt his spirits become uplifted.
As he moved closer to ocean on his journey, the horse spooked at something obscure. Abijah wrote he never knew what scared the horse, but wildly galloping over the hill changed his destiny. By the time his horse was under control, Abijah was about a mile south of the main traveled road. A little disoriented, Abijah stepped out of the cart and surveyed the land. A strange feeling of familiarity and comfort over took him. He felt he had been here before. Even knowing it was impossible he had, he recognized this horizon he was scanning. “It is my place in the dream!”
Even as he said those words out loud he couldn’t believe them. What stroke of luck – or element of providence – led him to this pasture? Just as he saw in his vision, the abundant green grass waved softly from the gentle sea breeze. The murmuring creek ran through rolling hills filled with wildflowers.
Right here! This is where he would build his house from the dream. The house would face west, towards the setting sun. The barns would stand majestically on top of the hill overlooking his fields.
The very next season after Abijah laid claim to his land, Abijah proposed to his best friend, Abby. He had not planned on doing it that beautiful winter day, but the timing just seemed right. Abijah had taken Abby for a ride to explain his plans for the land he loved so much.
“On top of that little hill, I’m going to build a house seventy feet long and beautiful, grand barns! Along each side of the driveway, I’m going to plant a row of tall Eucalyptus trees. Two long rows! A driveway fit for a king! In the back of the house, I will plant a big grove of trees to break the wind. I figure 10,000 Eucalyptus trees in the shape of a sailor … then I’ll plant 5,000 Eucalyptus trees in the shape of an anchor. Can’t you see it, Abby? I will anchor the ground down to earth.”
“But who is going to see it?” questioned Abby.
“See it?” Abijah shook his head in frustration. It was not for someone, it was for the wind and the rain. “They will fly right past. We will create a Haven!”
The young settler achieved his vision. The prominent Eucalyptus grove of a sailor, sword and anchor still stand on the ranch today. Abijah’s original barns have also proudly outlasted the test of time. Within their walls, cows have cuddled with their young; baby lambs first wobbled to their feet; and many, many children played hide and seek in the sweet hay.
May the land, trees and beautiful barns be as inspirational for you as they were to Abijah and Abby over a century and a half ago. After many years of land stewardship and nature conservation, the family caring for this historic land fulfilled a dream of their own: lovingly renovating the treasured barns. The family is honored to welcome select guests who appreciate and respect The Haven’s land.
Excerpts from the Woodworth Family History as recorded by Cory Stander, descendant of Parmenus Woodsworth, in his book “The Timbers of this House.” Thank you to the Tomales Historical Society for making the story of the Eucalyptus trees available for us to all enjoy.