The Pfeiffer Homesteads

The Pfeiffer name is scattered across Big Sur, California.  Be it Pfeiffer Falls, Pfeiffer Ridge, Pfeiffer Road, Pfeiffer Gulch, or Pfeiffer-Redwood Creek all these landmarks are homage to a family that settled and thrived in Big Sur since 1869.

Michael and Barbara Pfeiffer were European immigrants who settled in Sycamore Canyon, Big Sur in 1869 [visit Michael’s owner page] with their four children Charles, John, Mary Ellen, and Julia.  Once settled they had four more children: Michael and Barbara had William, Frank, Flora, and Adelaide.  The family homesteaded – supporting themselves by ranching and beekeeping.

Following in his parent’s footsteps, John also established a homestead in Big Sur around 1893 where he raised bees [visit John’s owner page].  In 1933, John sold his 680 acres to the state of California to create Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. The cabin still stands today. Accessing the cabin is an easy hike from a parking lot, though little but the wood exterior remains.

The front of the Pfeiffer Homestead Cabin.

The front of the Pfeiffer Homestead Cabin.

Rear view of the small Pfeiffer Homestead Cabin.

Rear view of the small Pfeiffer Homestead Cabin.

John’s Sister Julia married John Burns and leased pasture land from Former U. S. congressman Lathrop Brown at Saddle Rock, near McWay Falls.  They lived in Slate’s Hot Springs (now the Esalen Institute) where they served tourists visiting the springs.  The Browns grew close to Julia, and when they donated the ranch to the State of California in 1962, they named it after their friend: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.  The park is one of the most popular destinations in Big Sur, offering stunning views popular among the photographers.

An arrid hillside of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

An arrid hillside of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

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  2 comments for “The Pfeiffer Homesteads

  1. Sylvia
    October 27, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    The Pfeiffer’s were NOT GERMAN. They are both of French descent.

    • Liz
      October 28, 2015 at 7:22 pm

      Hi Sylvia,

      Thanks for the feedback. On review, we acknowledge that we can’t find multiple corroborating sources for their place of origin being Germany. We have removed that. However, we aren’t finding France as their country of origin either. Could you cite a publication that specifies their birth country?

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