Captain James Cass
Photo courtesy oldmorrobay.com

Captain James Cass left his New England home, sailed around the Horn and settled in Cayucos in 1867 on 320 acres of the original Rancho Moro Y Cayucos Spanish Land Grant of 8,845 acres. He realized the future possibilities of the excellent location as a shipping port of cheese, hides, beef and fresh water. He and his partner, Captain Ingals, built the pier, a store and a warehouse. It was known as Cass’ Landing. Captain Cass’s home still stands at the north end of town.

C.H. Phillips, well known real estate promoter, subdivided another section of the land grant into town lots and Cayucos was born. The surrounding land and rich soil was found to be perfect for fruit, dairying, berries, farming, alfalfa and beans. Cayucos prospered, also buoyed by fruitful harvests of fish and abalone, around Cass’ landing.

The land grant was subdivided into town lots and Cayucos was born.

Cayucos took its name from the original rancho land grant which means kayak or canoe; a small fishing boat such as used by the Aleuts in hunting sea otters along the coast.

The pier still exists, and the warehouse has become a community center that is available for public and private parties and functions. It also houses the Cayucos Art Society Gallery. Prehistorically the local area was inhabited by the Chumash people, who settled the coastal San Luis Obispo area approximately 10,000 to 11,000 BC, including a large village to the South of Cayucos at Morro Creek.