The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Daily Blast

July 8, 2014

Sold! 18-resident California town has new owner

— HARMONY, Calif. — A small town midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco on the Pacific Coast Highway has been sold for an undisclosed price.

The San Luis Obispo Tribune reports the buyers plan to restore the one-block, 2.5-acre town of Harmony.

"We want to recreate the special feeling of time gone by," Alan Vander Horst said. "I see this is an opportunity to be part of the history, to be part of something fun and quirky."

Set in the rolling coastal hills 6 miles south of Cambria, the ranching village dates back to the mid-1800s when the region thrived on cheese and butter production. The Excelsior Cheese Factory, which built the town's first creamery building, used to produce up to 1,200 pounds of cheese per day. As many as 400 dairymen countywide were members of the Harmony Valley Creamery Association.

The town was once famous for its "Doo Dah" parade. With nowhere to go in the one-block burg, the entries stayed in place while spectators circled the parade.

A Maine Coon cat was once proclaimed to be town mayor. More recently, Harmony is known for its listed population, perpetually consistent at 18.

A Los Angeles man whose family owned the town for 17 years said he couldn't invest the time and money it would take to keep Harmony the rustic artists' community it has become.

Vander Horst, who is a member of a three-generation dairying family, says he understands the history his family wants to preserve.

The town manager hopes the post office, which opened in 1914 and shut in 2008, might even reopen.

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