Page 6 - R.G. Percy

They sent the money to Mr. Foster and Supervisor Clark to be used for this purpose, and it was deposited in the Bank of Ventura for them to use. They came to me and asked me to hire a crew and build the necessary road, and to draw on the Bank account to pay for men and teams, and put the eight miles of road in good condition. Ventura County owned a right of way for a county road along the beach, but without a survey no one knew just where the road was supposed to be. I was told by Mr. Foster and Supervisor just to put the old wagon road along the Rincon is the best way possible. Neither of them went over the old road with me or told me just what to do, just do it. Mr. Foster made one suggestion about one area where the only way to go would be over sand hills for about a mile. He said to haul clay from the hills and cover the sand hills with the clay about 18 inches deep and make the entire road one lane wide.

One other thing that he told me was, "Gird, you are not to work with a team or a pick and shovel, you are to boss the job." Another thing which I never have forgotten was, "An executive is a man who can get others to do the work, but to see that it is done right." A pretty big undertaking for a 23 year old young man with no past experience in building a road. During the time that I was doing the work neither of them came to see what I was doing, but left it entirely up to me. I graded the entire road for the eight miles with a team of six horses which I hired, including covering the sandhills, and a wooden bridge across Sea Cliff creek, and almost a mile of entirely new road.

I used up the $1000 dollars in the Bank, and then told the Supervisor that it would take a little more money to finish it. He told me that his road district was out of money, but to go ahead and issue County warrants, which couldn't be paid until new taxes came in. I couldn't very well pay the men with a County warrant and ask them to wait three months before they could cash them, so I went to Mr. Foster at the Bank and asked him what to do. I would need at least $500.00 more.

"Go ahead and finish the job, Gird, make out the warrants and tell the men to bring them to the Bank, and we will cash them without any discount, and we will hold the warrants until the Tax money comes in." I finished the road with the extra $500.00, and advised Supervisor by phone that an automobile could now use it all the way to the Santa Barbara County line.

Supervisor Clark wanted to be the first man to drive an automobile over the road, which he did from Ventura to Santa Barbara. On the way back he stopped and told me, "You did a good job, Gird," which was very pleasing to me.

He notified the Automobile Club that the road was now open for travel by cars. Two weeks later the Club, with about 100 cars, drove from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara one day and back the next. That was the first Rincon Highway, now only a better cow trail, but passable. For being boss of the job I received the big pay of $5.00 a day, which in 1912 was good pay.

We still had the sprinkling contract, which Earl took care of while I built the road. It only took about six hours a day to do the sprinkling, and in the meantime he cared for our young seedlings which soon would be large enough to bud. A few weeks later the Supervisor came to me and told me, "The County has a big pile of crushed rock on the Avenue. I want you to hire a crew and haul the crushed rock, and pave the Avenue as far as it will go .You can use County equipment, a road grader and the heavy roller. Make the paving forty feet wide and about five inches thick, and roll it down thoroughly, and smooth."