• Santa Barbara Santa Barbara
    This history of one of California's most stunning cities is rich with the tales of its Spanish and Mexican years as well as its long-lasting love affair with the rich and famous.
  • Point Reyes Point Reyes
    This stunning peninsula north of San Francisco has one of California's most fascinating stories, rich with the tales of explorers, shipwrecks, and wily lawyers.
  • San Diego San Diego
    Rich with stories of its mission and presidio heritage as well as the visionaries who saw opportunities, this history will introduce you to a fascinating town.
  • Catalina Island Catalina Island
    Romanticized in more than 30 songs and hundreds of poems, this history of the "Island of Love" will inspire you to visit Catalina again and again.

HarborTown Histories is a series of the unique stories of the most interesting California coastal towns by Gayle Baker, lauded historian and adventurer.

Towns have personalities. Their stories combine to create their character, and understanding how these stories transform people and buildings into communities is endlessly fascinating for me. I love walking the streets of my favorite towns and feeling connected to them by this understanding. Since I also like to write, I naturally began jotting down what I enjoy. 

Though exploring the histories of towns has been a life-long passion, HarborTown Histories were born when we arrived in California. Seeking sailing adventures, we fell in love with its amazing coastal towns. So, as I worked hard as Dean at Santa Barbara City College, I also dreamed of writing, even making lists of the first ten HarborTown Histories I would write while sitting in boring meetings.  

Before long, that day arrived, and the first, Catalina Island, written in the cockpit of our boat on many trips to that wondrous Island, was published. As soon as I retired, I could indulge in my passion for local history, and Catalina Island was quickly followed by Santa Barbara, Cambria, Point Reyes, Newport Beach, and San Diego. 

The setting has changed significantly. Still sailing and falling in love with coastal towns, we moved to Salt Spring Island in British Columbia. Now, after over a decade of living on our boat, we are building a home on this wondrous Island. 

I hope you enjoy all six HarborTown Histories - as well as a BoomTown History.