Dunite Cabins









Bill Arnold and I stole lumber to make an observatory on the roof of his home on Wayne Avenue. We lowered it down and made a raft that we floated in Lake Merritt. We hauled it out and Bill made a studio down in his basement. We went to Oakland High and had plans to attend the College of Arts and Crafts. Bill’s military father wanted his son to follow a military career and was pulling strings to get him drafted and into the Army. Bill was struck by a train on October 9, 1964. He appeared in a painting I was doing and said “Goodbye!”

The world has not changed. Jews and Arabs are still killing each other’s children while a Russian despot plays mind-games with deadly rockets. Bill and I dare take a creative path, and we were, and are, being severely punished.

Last month I was making plans to take one of Christine’s lithographs down to Oakland, along with my grandfather’s letters and books, and donate them to the Oakland Museum. My Trust money ran out. Our family is greedy and worthless. The duck hunting hut I painted in 1964 made it to the home of our Muse.

Note the tire that frames Elwood and the tire in the mud in my painting. It is such a little connected world we artists make as we lay our canvases down before us, and make our way into the void. Give us this day our tiny abode, our little capsule , and, some inspiration.




Meanwhile, a new kind of community was coming into being in the dunes — a ramshackle cluster of cabins populated by artists, hermits, mystics, nature lovers and Lemurians. (The latter believed the long-lost continent of Lemuria would one day resurface from the depths of the Pacific.)

The 12 by 30-foot wooden structure served as a rental property for about 15 years before owner Harlis Wall asked Hammond, then a firefighter, to burn it down. “I said, ‘No…. I can’t do that because it’s a historical structure,'” Hammond recalled, so Wallis agreed to spare the cabin.
Finally, in September 2010, the cabin was moved four blocks to the Oceano Train Depot, already home to a 1940s boxcar and a turn-of-the-century caboose. Now Austin, Hammond and the Oceano Depot Association are raising funds to restore the cabin to its previous condition.

“We’re preserving for the future all this history,” explained Austin, who organized the first-ever Dunite Days, held at the Oceano Train Depot in early June, as a fundraiser. “It’s such a fascinating era …”

Elwood Decker had attended high school in Oakland, California and then he later attended the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. In the year of 1952, Elwood Decker decided to enroll at Santa Monica City College to study photography. [1]

Elwood Decker’s interests extended to film making, writing and music, and spent much of his life in San Luis Obispo. He worked in paint, ink, and pottery, and his style ranged over many schools of modern art: abstract, expressionist and impressionist, among others. He was the subject of a biographical song by The Bobs.[1]

In the year of 1992, Elwood Decker was killed by a freight train while he was walking along the tracks that were in dunes of Oceano. His wife, Anne Decker, had died several years earlier. As in request of Elwood and Ann, both of their ashes were scattered together in a remote section of the dunes where they had first met over 40 years earlier.[1]


About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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