Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wednesday Search Challenge (6/18/14): Can you see the other side of this mystery building?

EVERY SO OFTEN you take a picture and can't quite remember where it was.  Sure, cell phone photos will often record the GPS latitude/longitude, but some cameras still don't quite write that information down.  

Here's a picture I took a while back.  But for the life of me, I can't remember where this is! 

Can you figure this out?  

Today's Challenges: 

1.  Where is this building?  (A street address or lat/long would be a fine answer.) 
2.  With your extraordinary SearchResearch powers, can you find a picture of the OTHER side of this building?  (Trust me, it's worth a look.) 
3.  How old are those trees on the left side of the building?  (Within a couple of years is fine.  But you have to tell us why you believe that's the correct date.) 
4. (Extra credit for the truly hard core searchers, and because you know I enjoy knowing the history of a place...)  What was located on this site in 1875?  

All of these questions can be answered from this one photo.  

This one is slightly harder than last week's Challenge, but I was able to find these answers in just a few minutes.  You can too!  

As always, tell us how you figured out the answers to these questions.  

Search on! 


  1. 1. 60 Sea Walk Dr
    Sea Ranch, CA 95497
    2. Sea Ranch Lodge's main website has images from all sides! (
    3. Lawrence Halprin was the landscape architect who developed the natural site's landscaping during the sixties, making those trees about 50 years old.
    4. It was Robert Rutherford's cattle ranch in 1875.

    Cropped the photo to the logo on the building. Searched by that photo. Immediately found that it's the Sea Ranch Lodge. Its website provided photos from all sides. And a search ("Sea Ranch Lodge, History") led to this page, (, which gave info both on the site's landscape history, and ownership/usage history.

    Total time: approx. 7 minutes...but then, that includes getting distracted by the beautiful images in the gallery.

  2. Sea Ranch Lodge, 60 Sea Walk Dr, Sea Ranch, CA 95497
    Other side of building:
    From wikipedia: It has been widely reported that individual C. macrocarpa trees may be up to 2,000 years old, but this is disputed by botanists, and the longest-lived report based on physical evidence is of a tree 284 years old.

    The Rancho German land grant was here in 1875.

  3. 1.
    A simple search for image didn't work, si I downloaded the image, went to preview and cut out the symbol on the house.

    A search for the image brought me to the site of the "Sea Ranch Lodge". The Lodge's address is

    60 Sea Walk Drive, P.O. Box 44, The Sea Ranch, California 95497

    Going to google maps, and summoning the nearby pictures, I found a nice one of the surf.

    I don't have the slightest clue..
    Searching for pictures on question #2, I realized that this specific beach was called "black point".
    When I did a search for "Sea Ranch history", I found this site on the first page:

    cmd+F "18"
    brought me to the subtitle of a picture, "By 1870 the sawmill at Black Point was producing 8 million board feet of lumber a year."
    Alas, a sawmill.

  4. Sea Ranch Lodge is located on the northern end of the Sonoma Coast 29 miles north of the coastal town of Jenner at mile marker 50 – about a three-hour drive north of San Francisco and one-hour drive south of Mendocino.

    46 Sea Walk Dr
    Sea Ranch, CA 95497, USA
    From Google Maps: 38.679285, -123.428146

    A quick Google search ['sea ranch lodge' history] returns several articles of interest
    These sites also reveal photographs of the architecture and discuss the construction and design.

    The age of the trees is from 1963 or earlier. One site records the planting of trees following slashing in 1963. Howver the comment that "They measured it, observed the way its salty gusts sculptured the cypress trees." indicates that these may date from earlier times.
    The land was previously a sawmill "By 1870 the sawmill at Black Point was producing 8 million board feet of lumber a year. " and the site includes a photograph. After this "Gualala resident Joe Tongue leased Rutherford's ranch during the 1890s. He raised grain and fruit, which he shipped out from an exposed north-facing landing he constructed on Rutherford's land. Rutherford's 985 acres were lost to bank foreclosure in 1895 and were resold to Bender Brothers Mill and Lumber Company in 1903." The actual use is difficult to tell as there are conflicting stories. One source indicates the sawmill started in 1905 and another indicates that it was a group of businesses owned by a German. ""Dutch Bill" Bihler set up headquarters at Black Point near the site of the present day Sea Ranch Lodge, and built the town of "Bihler's Landing." This settlement boasted a hotel, blacksmith shop, shingle mill, general store, post office, and a saloon. The Gold Rush brought about large demands for beef, hides and timber, which created a booming business for Captain Bihler."
    Most of these sites depend on the original source (1996) so it is difficult to verify the facts immediately. A search of the newspaper archives may confirm some of these stories.

  5. Good day, Dr. Russell, fellow SearchResearchers


    Trimmed your image to use only the white part that looks like horn.

    Searched that with Google Images. Found it is a Logo for Sea Ranch

    [Sea Ranch]

    Sea Ranch Lodge

    In site went to directions and to explore.

    [Sea Ranch lodge] Google Maps.

    [sea ranch lodge intext:1875]

    ["sea ranch lodge" history]

    Sea Ranch wikipedia Here also read and visit the external links
    Sea Ranch Page



    Sea Ranch, California From this site: The thing that makes Sea Ranch so unique was the mindset of the developer. Rather than pack as many properties as possible onto this site, they wanted to restore the land and build a community of like-minded conservation focused residents who would act as custodians for the land, help heal the grass starved terraces, the wind burned hedgerows, the crumbling cliffs and the tangled mated forests


    1. Where is this building? (A street address or lat/long would be a fine answer.)
    A:Sea Ranch Lodge In California.

    60 Sea Walk Drive, P.O. Box 44, The Sea Ranch, California 95497 707-785-2371

    On site went to Google Maps view to find Lat/Long (Right click, what's here?)

    38.68, -123.428

    2. With your extraordinary SearchResearch powers, can you find a picture of the OTHER side of this building? (Trust me, it's worth a look.)

    In Google Maps, changed to Earth View. Found site, zoom and looked for imagery.

    Other Side building photo

    Sea Ranch Lodge images

    3. How old are those trees on the left side of the building? (Within a couple of years is fine. But you have to tell us why you believe that's the correct date.)

    1964. This was the year the new project began.

    4. (Extra credit for the truly hard core searchers, and because you know I enjoy knowing the history of a place...) What was located on this site in 1875?

    A. Herman Ranch, also were lumber mills later. Source: Link A.

    1. New Year's Dinner cost at Sea Ranch Lodge in 1984?

      To find the article used [sea ranch lodge history]

      ["Sea Ranch Lodge"] in videos
      View from Sea Ranch Lodge Video
      Sea Ranch Lodge Ocean view Video

      Signs of times

    2. Ramón - as I was reading through the newspaper article you cited (New Years dinner @ TSRL…) found another tie to a
      more recent transfer of "surf & turf" (the real stuff) by players that have roots in The Sea Ranch… Oceanic California Inc. - see OCI
      the developers of TSR, a subsidiary of Castle and Cooke Inc. ( rolled into Dole Food Company, now Castle and Cooke again - Dole's
      former real estate operations) just sold (2012) the bulk - 98% - of the Hawaiian island of Lanai to DrDan's "neighbor in Silicon Valley/Redwood City, Larry Ellison/Oracle.
      The deal was a bit more than the 2.3 million spent to buy the original property used for TSR… 500-600 million for Lanai - which still seems like a deal… in line with the way Mr. Ellison shrewdly operates.
      Ellison Lanai deal
      Al Boeke, OCI/TSR obit
      Boeke Hawaiian project: Miliani
      Boeke wiki bio
      LE Lanai plans
      love lanai site see the video
      … it has its own ship wrecks and the cliffs are MUCH higher (so the falls last longer) than TSR and it has a marine layer… both places are stunning.
      It will be intriguing to see how this developed over 50 years… as TSR has morphed to its golden anniversary this year. The allegory of the rise & fall of the surf.
      DATHON: Shaka, when the walls fell. Darmok and Jalad on the ocean. Live long and prosper… hopefully at the Ellison level… Boeke and Ellison on the ocean. Sokath! His eyes open!
      Interesting detour into the meaning & interpretation of language… something to contemplate while listening to the sea. Dan, can you score that Lanai invite for the sRs crowd? I've misplaced
      Mr. E's #… Kadir beneath Mo Moteh.

  6. it's hard to get a feel for the place over the interwob, but this isn't a bad glimpse - it had even greater promise… but reality.
    (if anyone finds the complete film, I would appreciate a link)
    Zara Muren
    going with 1916, Monterey cypress - page 31
    "The hedgerow of Monterey cypress immediately south of the cul de sac at Dune Drift was planted about 1916. At that time this area was a cattle ranch. This is one of several hedgerows that were planted on the ranch to serve as windbreaks."
    Susan Clark, area history

  7. Dropped the logo into IMAGES for instant results.

    1. Its Sea Ranch Lodge the WWW of which says its address is Sea Ranch Lodge 60 Sea Walk Drive, P.O. Box 44, The Sea Ranch, California 95497

    2. Yes. The other side of The Lodge is at

    and on its banner display home page of The Lodge.

    3. The Monteray Cypress trees in your image were planted during The Sea Ranch build-out from 1964

    and Donlyn Lyndon professor emeritus Architecture UC Berkeley Youtube talk in which he shows the site in 1965 with no trees again in 1972 the small trees are visible planted by The Store which later became The Lodge. which is where you snapped your image. Earlier in 1915 the big hedgerows were planted, So, the trees are about 60 years old assuming they were about 10 when planted in 65.

    4. On this site in 1875 was a beef and dairy cattle operation.

    I want to visit this nifty place



  8. 1) Well Anne and I must by Goldilocks! First we dropped the image uncropped into Google image search (we didn't think it would work but wanted to start with the simplest choice) and we were right it didn't work. Then I really cropped it to just get the logo (which by the way I mistakenly thought was a ram or the Aries symbol) and still got no results! We were feeling a little disheartened and even tried an exif site to see if, despite Dan saying some pictures didn't have the location data, maybe it would be there. We tried zooming in to find some identifying mark and nothing. So then we looked at responses and saw everyone saying they dropped it right into images and got the answer. So after too big and too small we got it right! I recropped and didn't do it quite so tightly and voila there was the answer right there; same as what everyone else got. Sea Ranch Lodge 60 Sea Walk Drive, P.O. Box 44, The Sea Ranch, California so I guess the lesson is to persevere! I do know from prior experience that the cropping does make a difference in image search.
    2) once we had the name of the place we went to google images and did a search for sea ranch lodge and found lots of images of the other side of the resort. Beautiful views of the ocean. Confirmed by going to google maps and looking at satellite view.
    3) Anne was sure the trees were Monterey cypress. We looked up images of monterey cypress to compare. We also did a search for native trees sea ranch california and found that monterey cypress are native to the area. Doing that search led to some interesting results including a link to the wikipedia article on the architect/developer Al Boeke. That article states that he wanted to restore the land which had been cleared for logging to it's natural state. Native trees were planted at the site in 1964. Looked up the growth rate of those trees and it is about 3' season and they reach about 40-65' so it does appear to confirm that the trees were planted very recently but doesn't mean that they couldn't have been planted earlier as some people have found. The Sea Ranch Design manual which was one of the results from this search query also confirms that the trees are cypress. The design manual mentions a row of cypress hedges and says that that land was formerly grazing land.
    4) This same search yielded a result to the Sea Ranch History which indicates that in 1870 there was a sawmill called the Black Point Sawmill on the site which became the resort. This site also confirms the development of Sea Ranch and that an effort to restore the area to its natural beauty was made by planting 1000s of trees in the overgrazed and logged area.

  9. Didn't have a ton of time today, but here are my answers.
    cropped the photo to just the distinctive logo and did an image search to figure out the Sea Ranch Lodge.

    For the trees, I ended up finding a collection of aerial photographs at which a quick scan puts the tree plantings on that side of the lodge between 1972 and 1979.

    A couple sources on the history of the area, puts the Knipp-Stengel Ranch there at that time where they built a barn that still stands on the property.

  10. …courtesy of Paul Lilley's reminder about the California Coastal Records Project - good resource - the growth of the Lodge/store trees… planted mid-late 60s.
    the earlier hedgerow/windbreaks were planted in 1915-16 as mentioned in the video (Donlyn Lyndon, FAIA, UC Berkeley) Jon tU found and are nearing the end of their
    lifespan & are being replaced… landscape management seems to be a huge issue with fire regulations playing a significant role.
    These "meadow management tools" were also mentioned in the video - they seem quite content with their jobs… ˙ ͜ʟ˙
    TSRS, baaaah
    2013, current

    "The land was rediscovered for its beauty by architect and planner, Al Boeke, who began to conceptualize the possibilities of a second home community that harmonized with and was not injurious to the environment. Boeke approached the Hawaii based Castle and Cooke Inc. with his idea of "building clusters of unpainted wooden houses in large open meadow areas and not allowing fences or lawns." In 1963, Castle and Cooke, through a subsidiary, Oceanic California Inc., purchased the entire 5200 acre ranch for $2.3 Million Dollars. A number of experts were attracted to the challenge by Boeke's enthusiasm for his ideas of stewardship of the environment."

    Barbara Stauffacher Solomon - logo design -
    a recent TSR visit

  11. Crop Image & Search Logo - Sea Ranch Resort, Ca. 60 Sea Walk Dr 95497- Resort as a ‘gallery’ of excellent photos of the faciity, coastline and “the other side of the building” 38.680162,-123.429802

    A ‘Book Search’ tells us the logo is “a ram’s horn wrapped around a wave & a seashell” from Susan Clark’s “The Sea Ranch” page 110. The book is filled with early pictures of the area. You can see the Post Office & Real Estate building. The photo on page 113 ‘may’ show the first signs of the planted trees.

    Query [Sea Ranch] California Coastal Records Project - (useful when you don’t have Google Earth timeline for that time period). We used in previous challenge but I hadn’t noticed until now the time comparison feature.. Here we get a time comparison using the coordinates for the Sea Ranch Lodge that go back to 1972.

    From our search at Source we find a quote as to when the lodge & restaurant were built. However it looks like it was before 1972 based on the timeline photos of the area.
    “Between 1964 and 1972 a lodge and restaurant were built”.

    In this case we can approximate the time of the trees being planted. We can see they’ve been planted based on the gathered information after 1967 and before 1972.

    As well supporting the timeline we see at the Online Archive of California we find a photograph dated 1963 to 1967 - no trees in sight. Shows Condo #1 on the bluff and of what would become the Lodge which then was a store.

    Online Archive of California holds collections representing 200 institutions for California but I found in this case only a portion are actually online. I did find “Joe Esherick” papers on this site. I had already searched & found he was the lead architect that designed the Lodge. He and his team were hired by Oceanic Properties.

    One further mentioned of a time period is
    This photo from 1964 to 1965 shows construction & no trees in that area. “Exterior photo of building cluster against sky and sea, with construction work in foreground · Sea Ranch Condominium · Sea Ranch, California”

    Another book search I find “The Sea Ranch” 50 years of Architecture, Landscape by the architects involved. I can’t view the book but it likely is focused on the homes and not the Lodge. My conclusion comes from this Youtube talk on the architecture of the homes in the area and this same book is mentioned.

    The original “hedgerows” planted by “Walter Frick... Between 1916 and 1929 he planted the hedgerows as windbreaks and to divide the meadows.” not to be confused with later planting around the Lodge.

    Searching back in the 1870’s I find “Bill Bihler set up headquarters at Black Point near the site of the present day Sea Ranch Lodge, and built the town of "Bihler's Landing." This settlement boasted a hotel, blacksmith shop, shingle mill, general store, post office, and a saloon.” “By the end of the 1870s, sailing ships, known as "dog schooners," loaded tan bark, oak wood and millions of board feet of redwood lumber at Bihler's Landing.”
    Bihler sold the property to Robert Rutherford over the years from 1872 to 1882. 985 acres north portion that became a county park in 1968 due to demands for public spaces on the coastline.

    1875 - Town of Bihler’s Landing may have been in a phase out mode and ranching taken over by Robert Rutherford.

    We can’t complete this challenge without mentioning Condominium #1 which won prestigious awards and recognition. I included the link above referring to the photo in the Great Buildings website showing construction of a portion of this building.

    1. Rosemary, nicely researched & presented! — very much like peeling the onion - methodical & meaty with detail.

    2. Remmij I appreciate your kind words. I just watched that 6 minute video that you provided & I found it informative. Thanks for the link.

    3. Nicely done, Rosemary! Lots of detail, interesting sources.

  12. I have an unusually long answer so I must cut it in parts.

    Part I

    Fun and much more challenging than I believed it would be, because of a few bumps I stepped into.

    1. Where is this building?

    I remember having read (and having had the experience) that Google Goggles deliver best results out of logos, among other things. So my first thought was to take a picture with my phone of that logo on the façade and do a reverse image search (Search by Image).
    It took me less than 10 minutes to quit trying this, because I can't find a way to do it on my iPhone. Either the option to do an image search of a picture I take isn't available for iOS or I can't find it.

    So I decided to search on my computer after clipping that logo from the picture. I used a tool I use very often: the MS Windows Snipping Tool.
    The Search by Image was successful. The only result found on "Pages that include matching images" was a page from Sea Ranch Lodge (Mendocino CA Hotels | Sea Ranch Lodge - Shop | Best ...). I guess that site will give me answers 1. and 2. easily.

    On their site, the Directions page has a Google Map, and the address is on the bottom of every page: 60 Sea Walk Drive, The Sea Ranch, CA 95497.
    For the lat/long data, I opened the map on Google Maps. I'm still using the old interface because I use the LatLng Tooltip by Marcelo C a lot. This is an add-on from Google Maps Labs that "displays a tooltip next to the mouse cursor showing the latlng directly underneath it." Once installed, you just have to press the shift key to activate the tooltip. The answer in decimal degrees is: 38.68042,-123.42904. This is where that logo is.
    Anyway, I tried the new Google Maps again and am glad to verify that it already has lat/long information, and it's really easy and intuitive. Just click on any point and then on "What's here?" The geo coords will be right below the address given. I get pretty much the same result so there's no automatic correction of any sort (like pointing to the nearest house or road). Great, I'm finally making the transition.

    I would be misled if I took the lat/long from the url. The Lodge misdirects us to a point around 450 meters (circa 1500 feet or 550 Californian varas, if you prefer) up north, at 38.684605,-123.428607.
    On Google Maps, two different buildings are signaled as being (or belonging to) the Sea Ranch Lodge: the one I'm pointing to (signaled by a bus stop for the Mendocino Transit's 95 line), another one for a building a little further south, closer to where the Sea Walk Drive begins. The bus stop is next to the main building, as expected, so the main Google Maps placemark should be there instead of where it is.

    (continues on Part II)

  13. Part II

    (continues from answer #1)

    Since the official website is pointing to a different place, I have to check the house number. This is a tricky quest. House numbering has widely different rules according to the place, even within California. On Google Maps, if you right-click the place and click on "What's here?", it says it's #118 (but if you search for 118 Sea Walk Drive, Annapolis, CA 95497; Annapolis is the unincorporated community within Sonoma County that shows up on the suggestions once you start typing the address). But if you search for 118, Google Maps will give you a spot further south. From 40 to 132, Google Maps guesses a place on that road south of the real spot (with larger leaps on each end ot this range). From 134 to 262 Google Maps shows a different, round, placemark (used for "approximate addresses"), on the same spot further north. From 2 to 38 and from 264 up, as well as for all odd numbers, one other round marker is given, to the south. All markers are on the East side of the road. Something is wrong: streets are globally numbered even on one side, odd on the other one. On MapQuest, that building's number is 122. On Bing, it's number 70 (or 63 ot 71 to 74, depending on where you click). I tried to check Sonoma County's GIS (Geographic Information System) but its website's security certificate expired last month and it wouldn't be safe to open the page. I emailed them but still didn't receive an answer.
    When I was looking for the history of Sea Ranch so that I could answer question #4, I followed a very useful link on Wikipedia. Here's the path I took: The article for Sea Ranch, California > the article for Rancho German > the link provided on note 4, U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Rancho German (GNIS). I will explain this path below. On the latter page, I clicked on the link on footnote 4, to GNIS in ESRI Map. Zooming on that map, it's clear that, assuming this is right, on that side of the road should be an odd number, as I suspected. The closest number found is 51, but the real one should be either a little bigger or a little smaller.
    Then, back to the GNIS page where I came from, I clicked on The TerraFly / FIU map is much more assertive regarding house numbers. If you click on a point, a precise address will be given. The entrance to this spot (where the mentioned logo is) should be number 67.
    So, if this is right, as I suspect, the correct address should be 67 Sea Walk Drive, The Sea Ranch, CA 95497.
    I double-checked on the official USPS Zip+4 Code Lookup page. The preferred city for zipcode 95497 is in fact THE SEA RANCH and not Annapolis. The system doesn't find any Sea Walk street of any kind, though, so either there's no official 5+4 zipcode or the address is wrong again! I suspect te former is true. Case closed, although unconvincingly.

    (continues on Part III for answer #2)

  14. Part III (and last)

    2. Can you find a picture of the OTHER side of this building?

    The other side of that building is quite easy to find on the Gallery but you have to know what it looks like — at least its floor plan silhouette, that is, how it is viewed from above —, so that you can tell it apart from their other buildings' photos. You can do that by zooming on the map and change to Satellite View.
    Anyway, back to Google Maps, I notice there's a Photo Sphere right behind the building. This is what Dan wanted to share. What an amazing view. The photo was not taken from the point shown on the map. In fact, fortunately, because from where it was really taken it's possible to see not only the back of the building but also, the other building to the left and, separated by those big trees, the other buildings further south.
    I could have clicked on the "Report a problem" link but I'll leave that for anyone who hasn't tried this yet. I've never used it for photos, just for streets and addresses but it's quite easy and fast to use.
    Now that I'm absolutely sure how the building looks like from behind, I can go back to the website's Gallery and find these pictures:

    (Side note: I was eally intrigued by the bycicle on the photo (unfortunately not on Dan's photo). Through another Search by Image, I found out that this life sized bronze sculpture was created by sculptor Robert Holmes. On te sculptor's website, the same bike, without the black coating, is much less interesting.)

    3. How old are those trees?

    I skipped this one. Too long for the first answer. :)

    4. What was located on this site in 1875?

    The first thing I did was going to Wikimapia. I realized that whole strip by the sea up to Gualala is the Sea Ranch.

    A simple [ sea ranch history ] took me to the Wikipedia page I mentioned. Following the path I described, it's easy to find that this was the Rancho de Hermann or Rancho German. To confirm on a map that Rancho German did in fact include the site where the lodge is today, I just had to open footnotes #3 and #4. Following the link from footnote #5, you may search for [ german ] on the Sonoma County Historical Society website. The results will lead you to Land Grants, which is a map of all the grants in the Sonoma County. If you check the limits of Sonoma County on Google Maps, you can confirm, again, that German is in fact where the lodge is.
    Another link may be of interest: the Sonoma County Timeline. Neither browsing fast through the timeline nor stopping to read the 1875 entry nor finding german on the page led me to any other discovery.

    1. Luis Miguel -- Those are great images. I hadn't seen them before. Thanks for sharing!

  15. The logo is a significantly strong one. I visited Sea Ranch in 1977 having been familiar with it from architecture school, so upon seeing the logo I recognized it immediately. I love that that ole meat computer combined with the internet search is such a great combination.

    1. That's a good story. I often recognize a logo, but can't remember WHERE I last saw it or WHAT it means. Kudos to you for actually being able to pull it out of your brain! (The rest of us have to search for it...)

  16. My first thought on seeing this photo was that it was somewhere in NZ - the logo that looks like a sheep's head, the wooden building, the macrocarpa trees...
    I did the same as others - cropped the image to the logo then dropped the image into Google Image search which instantly found the Sea Ranch Lodge, including pages mentioning cypress trees. I searched for <"sea ranch lodge" history cypress trees> which took me to - first windbreaks planted in 1916. I was interested that your Monterey Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) is the same tree that we call macrocarpa. They are everywhere in the countryside.