Double Cone Quarterly
Fall Equinox 2002 -- Volume V, Number 3

Placenames of the Northern Santa Lucia
by Boon Hughey © 2002

Lottie's Potrero

Lottie's Potrero

High up the watershed of the San Carpóforo at the headwaters of a nameless tributary of Wagner Creek is an oak-studded grassy meadowland in the midst of a seemingly endless sea of chaparral - Lottie's Potrero. Potrero of course is the Spanish word for pasture, and this particular pasture was named for the brave young daughter of an area homesteader, Lottie Woodworth.

Lottie was the oldest child of William and Susan Hysell Woodworth, who homesteaded just west of San Carpóforo Creek in extreme northern San Luis Obispo county, receiving title to their homestead in 1898. According to the late Mary Alice Baldwin who grew up on the Baldwin Ranch and knew the San Carpóforo country perhaps better than anyone, "The story is that Bill Woodworth took his oldest child out there to homestead the place for him when he figured she was old enough to stay alone." Lottie must have been up to the challenge, for on December 30, 1905, five years after beginning the homestead process, she received title to 160 acres of land comprised of the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter, the northeast quarter of the northwest quarter, and the northwest quarter or the northeast quarter of section 19, as well as the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of section 18, township 24 south, range 7 east, Mount Diablo baseline and meridian. In layman's terms, she (or more likely her family) ended up with 160 acres of mostly prime pasturage just west of the coast ridge near the headwaters of the San Carpóforo.

Lottie's Potrero

Most Forest Service maps show a camp near the end of the south coast ridge jeep road named Lottie Potrero, which still exists today although not on the land that was originally homesteaded by Lottie. On Lottie's actual homesteaded land not much remains to suggest that it was once inhabited - the occasional barbed wire in the trunks of old oak trees or a lush seep spring trickling across a long-abandoned trail is about all that can be found. But the memory of young Lottie lives on as a name on the land.


Baldwin, Mary Alice. 1999. Looking Back - The History of the Baldwin Ranch "El Descanso"

Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records Automation Website -

Clark, Donald Thomas. 1991. Monterey County Place Names - A Geographical Dictionary. Kestrel Press.


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