Higuera Street has been the center for business in San Luis Obispo for over 100 years. It was named for the Higuera family who immigrated to California in 1774 during the De Anza Expedition. They settled in the first pueblo San Jose.
Third generation, Thomas Higuera settled in San Luis Obispo in 1855. He and his wife, Basilia, had 15 children and descendants of these two still live in the area.
Higuera Street was home to Harrington Bros. Harness and Saddle, Sandercock Transfer, and the Union Meat Market which were all thriving businesses in the late 1800s. Sandercock Transfer, although no longer on Higuera St, is still going strong and is the oldest family owned business in SLO.
Ah Louis was a Chinese-American who was a central figure in the development of the Central Coast.Ah was born in Guangzhou, China in 1840. He made several trips to the U.S between 1856 and 1861 hoping to strike gold during the California gold rush. He was unsuccessful and ended up in Oregon working a s a laborer.
By 1870,Ah moved his family to San Luis Obispo and found work as a cook in a hotel. As the Pacific Coast Railroad reached SLO, Ah began organizing work crews of fellow Chinese-Americans from San Francisco and, putting bids in for help with construction. He had found his true calling. Ah and his men can take credit for the construction of the road from Paso Robles to Cambria (Route 46), parts of the Cuesta Grade (Old Stagecoah Road) , portions of the 101, and the road from Avila Beach to Port Harford, to name a few.
Ah Louis opened San Luis Obispo’s first mercantile in 1874. It was located on Palm St and quickly became successful servicing the growing Chinese Community. The building remains to this day and is a historical site not to be missed when visiting SLO.
If you like vintage photos of the Central Coast, check out www.coastprints.com in San Luis Obispo, California.