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Harmony, CA = Pop: 18

Each time when I travel north out of my hometown of Cayucos on Highway One, towards Cambria, I would pass by this sign,

Town Sign

                                

Population: 18 per 2000 Census.  That must be the smallest town in our County ~ the San Luis Obispo County, CA.  Harmony bears the zip code, "93435" and is situated off Highway One, a few miles south of Highway 46.

I told myself that I should visit the town. I heard about the fabulous blown glass and beautiful pottery. Since I have tasted the wine from Harmony Cellars, why not?  In April this year, I read that the post office had been closed; the same post office that was open back in early 1800's.  I felt sad for the post office and the townsfolk. 

Sometime in August, Cal-Trans started working on the highway.  Vehicular traffic would have to stop, as Highway One was just one lane in each direction. Last week, I had enough of the ‘move' and ‘stop', and decided to make that turn to explore little Harmony.

 

Town of Harmony

 

The afternoon was quiet.  No one was around. Everything seems to stand still.  The plaza is neglected. The street looks deserted.

  

Plaza & Stores

 

Below, the Harmony Pottery Shop is one of the very few merchants that still operates today.

 Harmony Pottery

 

 When you consider the number of buildings around, it's easy to spot the historic post office.  It was housed in the Harmony Valley Creamery Association building.

 

PO

 

The town was not always this quiet.  History revealed that the town of Harmony was formed sometime back in 1869, by a group of Swiss settlers who established several dairies and a creamery.  Rivalries among these settlers resulted in a shooting. That led the farmers to call a truce to live in harmony, which became the name of the town.

In addition to the creamery, Harmony Dairy, and post office, Harmony used to boast a general store, a livery, stable and a blacksmith, feed store, bunkhouses for employees, and a schoolhouse. There was even a gas station!

It was reported that William Randolf Hearst used to stop for fresh dairy products in Harmony. Harmony Dairy closed in 1950, due to rising grazing cost and when dairy business consolidated and moved to San Luis Obispo. The town was neglected till 1972, and restoration began, as younger generations wanted to explore rural living. The town prospered for a while when restaurants, arts and crafts boutiques were opened.  Many of these businesses had since left. Today, the future of Harmony is uncertain.

If you are heading this way, be sure to stop by Harmony.  You won't miss the sign.

Town sign

Stop to watch Carl Radke blow glass and follow his creations.  Visit Harmony Cellars over the hill and check out the different wines while you are there.  Also, if you are looking for that special gift, visit Backroads Gallery.

 

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