Blanco, California

Blanco is now a small, unincorporated settlement of a few, scattered farmhouses on Blanco Road, west of Salinas. But its history goes back further than Salinas!

This is possibly the area known as "El Tucho," which was a concession granted to José Manuel Boronda in 1795. As was often the case with concessions given at that period when the whole domain was considered unpeopled (by Europeans at least), its value was not appreciated and the grantees made little effort to hold their lands. Local Indians, most likely the Ensen, a subdivision of the Ohlone who lived in the Spreckels and Toro areas, attacked and burned El Tucho and three other ranchos in 1795.

It is reportedly named for Thomas White, an Englishman who deserted from the ship St. Louis in Monterey in 1840, and who became known as Tomás Blanco to his Spanish-speaking neighbors. He became a lumberman, married, and on August 28, 1844 he received a small grant on the Salinas River. The spot soon came to be known as Blanco Crossing.

White established a small settlement, consisting of a few buildings and a school, which bore the name Blanco. Thomas White died about 1850, but the settlement continued. Blanco became one of the earliest potato growing regions in the valley, with William Schmidt growing potatoes there as early as 1853. Much of the settlement was washed away in the great flood of 1861-1862, but it survived. James "Jim" Bardin II produced 6,075 tons of beets on his Blanco ranch in 1892, and became known as the Burbank Potato King.

A post office was established at Blanco on February 18, 1873, closed on April 23, 1878, reopened three weeks later and survived until December 3, 1941. Charles Louis (or Lewis) was the first postmaster.

The Breschini family settled in Blanco in the late 1800s and managed the post office. They constructed a new brick store and saloon--known as Breschini's Emporium--about 1910, and it stood until its foundations were undermined by the flood of 1995. This was the site of the well-known Breschini Turkey Shoots.

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