Pillar Point Harbor is located to the north of Half Moon Bay in the Bay Area of California. Pillar Point Harbor is about 16 kilometers southwest of the Port of San Mateo and a little over 30 kilometers southwest of the Port of San Francisco. Pillar Point Harbor offers protecting landing for boats and other marine infrastructure serving Half Moon Bay. Half Moon Bay is a seaside community just an hour's drive from one of America's most exciting cities. In 2000, almost 12 thousand people lived in the Half Moon Bay and Pillar Point Harbor area.
The Half Moon Bay and Pillar Point Harbor area was originally an agricultural area used to graze horses, cattle, and oxen at the Mission San Francisco de Asis that was established in 1776. In the early 1800s, land grants were given to Spanish settlers for ranches and farms.
The community of Half Moon Bay began to grow in the 1840s. It was the first town in San Mateo County. Called at first San Benito, it was renamed Spanishtown. During its early years, Pillar Point Harbor supported a busy fishing industry, and it served agriculture in nearby coastal areas. It was a culturally diverse community, with residents from China, England, Germany, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, Scotland, Portugal, Italy, and the Pacific Islands. The community was served by stagecoach services for many years.
In 1874, Spanishtown was renamed Half Moon Bay. The area grew slowly. The railroad's arrival in 1907 did not significantly increase growth. When the Petro Mountain Road was completed in 1914, access to San Francisco became easier. The railroad closed in 1920.
During Prohibition Pillar Point Harbor and Half Moon Bay were popular with "rum runners" who hid in the dense fog and coves in the area.
The Pillar Point Harbor/Half Moon Bay area began to grow after World War II. Half Moon Bay was incorporated in 1959, though it contains historic buildings that were built as early as 1869.
Pillar Point Harbor supports a rich diversity of fish and marine species popular with sports fishers, including rockfish, sole, surfperch, and the commercially-important Pacific herring. Fishermen sell crab and fish catches off their boats in Pillar Point Harbor at a discount.