Images of America: Pismo Beach, Effie McDermott’s newest book, is the latest in a series of small-town books published by Arcadia Publishing. The fascinating history of Pismo Beach encompasses the importance of certain retired preachers, a king of bootleggers and earned its name, “Pismo Beach.”
McDermott explains that the name originated from a Chumash Indian village located near tar springs in Price Canyon known as “Pismu” meaning “tar,” which was a valuable substance the Chumash used to seal their baskets and canoes. Several variations of the name were encountered before remaining stable as Pismo Beach. These other names included Pismo Surf Landing, El Pizmo and Pizmo Beach.