Vignette > Three Groves

Beach Party 1930s

In 1904 Lillian Ferguson, a writer and editor for the San Francisco Examiner and later Sunset magazine, purchased a three-acre lot on Reed Creek in Upper Homestead Valley. She named her estate Three Groves for the buckeye, oak and redwood groves. Lillian created a garden designed as an oriental tribute in the buckeye grove. There were meandering brick paths, a fountain, an oriental cooking facility, a Mandarin red Chinese bench, a Mandarin red Moon Gate and several flowerbeds. In 1930 she sold Three Groves to George Sandy. He built a seven-foot dam on Reed Creek for a concrete lined lake next to the redwood grove. He imported several tons of sand from Monterey for a beach. In January 1967, a storm with 8.5 inches of rain resulted in Reed Creek filling the lake with mud from a barren hillside on Sequoia Valley Road. The lake became a concrete lined meadow.

The Beach Today

Today, Three Groves is a public park except for the privately owned house. The buckeyes died of old age.  The oak grove was decimated by sudden oak death, but the redwoods have thrived. The formerly sunny beach is now in the shade.