Author Statement

This website is a constant work-in-progress, with articles updated regularly throughout the site. Much of the information comes from local railroad fans such as yourselves. If you have information regarding local railroads, photographs or railroad documents, or you feel a mistake has been made or information omitted from an article, leave a comment on the appropriate page or email me at author@santacruztrains.com. This site would not be possible without your help and support. Thank you! – Derek R. Whaley

Friday, February 5, 2016

Santa's Express Train

Original souvenir map of Santa's Village in Scotts Valley.
(ImageArchaology.com)
When one thinks of railroads, even miniature ones, in Santa Cruz County, the long-departed Santa's Village amusement park in Scotts Valley does not usually come to mind. And for many good reasons, it should not, yet for the entire length of its operation, a small diesel-powered railroad ran around a loop entertaining children and adults of all ages.

Santa's Village—sometimes called Skyforest—was the brainchild of H. Glenn Holland, a property developer from Southern California who had already built a similarly-named park at Lake Arrowhead in May 1955, six weeks before Disneyland opened in Anaheim. In 1957, his Santa's Village franchise became the first to become a chain of amusement parks, with a park opening in Scotts Valley that year, and another park opening in East Dundee near Chicago in 1959. Plans to built two more parks in Virginia and New Jersey were never realised. The Scotts Valley venue was opened on May 30, 1957, on 25 acres of the Lawridge dairy farm which Holland had leased the previous year. Richard Bellack, the resident manager, operated the park as a franchise for the first two summers before selling his role to Bruce Prather.

Santa's Express Train* rounding a corner during Halloween time. (ImageArchaology.com)
Among the opening day attractions was the Santa's Express Train which operated under the name "Magic Train Ride". This 14-inch gauge miniature railroad mimicked the appearance of a generic steam engine from the 19th century, although in actuality a diesel motor drove the train. It was built by the Hurlbut Amusement Company in Buena Park, California. Bud Hurlbut's operation was famous regionally for building the trains at Knott's Berry Farm, where he operated a concession for decades.  It was a relatively simple design with around five painted wooden passenger cars that could see four adults (uncomfortably) or eight mid-sized children in front/back facing seats. The single operator sat perpendicular to the locomotive in the tender car. The train ran around a relatively short circular track which was decorated with an assortment of vegetation. What Christmas theme existed along the route has not been documented or commented upon.

Santa's Express Train with Santa Claus at the wheel! (ImageArchaology.com)
Santa's Express Train ticket booth, with locomotive in the distance. (ImageArchaology.com)
Santa's Village was never a very successful venture, especially once the East Dundee park opened, which was more expensive to run and unable to operate in cold weather conditions. The board of trustees revolted in 1965, forcing Holland to sell all his parks. The Scotts Valley park passed to Noorudin Billawalla in 1966, who operated it under the name Santa's Village Corporation. Billawalla eventually declared bankruptcy in 1977, hoping to recover his expenses and reopen the park as a second Knott's Berry Farm in the north, but the City of Scotts Valley rejected this idea. Suddenly desperate, Billawalla rebranded the park The Village, promoting it as an arts and crafts event space, but it attracted little interest. Scotts Valley demanded the park be brought up to code and also rezoned some of the space as residential, removing many acres from the site. Damage from a winter storm in 1978-9 crippled the park further. In 1979, operations in Scotts Valley came to an end and the entire park, including Santa's Express Train, were dismantled and sold. The property sat abandoned for over a decade until Borland International purchased the site. Besides a small collection of abandoned structures hidden in the woods, nothing really remains of the park except the State Route 17 highway exit "Santa's Village Road". Sadly, even that road is falling apart. The ultimate fate of Santa's Express Train is unknown.

* All images of the train may be of the sister train that operated at the Lake Arrowhead park, which was also of the same design. Both parks were popularly known as Skyforest, causing endless confusion regarding attribution of photos.

Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
37.0655˚N, 121.9953˚W

The Santa's Village property is off limits to all unauthorised visitors and trespassing is highly discouraged. Nothing of the rides or the train survive, only the original club house which sits in a very dilapidated and dangerous state remain on site. Relics of the park can be seen at various places throughout the Scotts Valley area, especially iconic multicolored toadstools that once littered the park.

Citations & Credits:

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Miniature Railroads

Out of the ashes of the great Neptune Casino fire of 1906 arose a new phenomenon at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Since the 1860s, the Santa Cruz main beach had been a popular tourist resort, sporting public bath houses, spas and restaurants, gift shops and beachfront campsites. Then in 1903, Fred Swanton formed the Santa Cruz Beach & Tent City Corporation to convert what was a random assortment of private attractions into one unifying vision for the beach. He purchased the large Miller-Leibbrandt Plunge and its accompanying Electric Pier and he moved the old Neptune Bath across the street to become the Tent City restaurant and corporate office for the company. In its place, he erected a massive Moorish-style casino inclusive of (non-gambling) games, gift shops, restaurants, dancing pavilion, and so much more. Outside, a beautiful band stand was erected while beyond the newly-upgraded plunge a large roller rink was built. No other entertainment attractions were built at this time and nothing else would be forthcoming. For two marvellous summers—1904 and 1905—this grand casino thrived attracting visitors from all over the country, and then tragically everything came to a fiery end one June night in 1906.

Color postcard of the Bay Shore Limited, c. 1910, after the demolition of the curio shop. (Santa Cruz Public Libraries)
The new Casino and the Plunge, while opened before the summer of 1907, built in a Spanish Revival style and was upgraded with state-of-the-art fire suppression systems and far superior architecture. These buildings were meant to last and they still stands today at the western end of the Boardwalk, testaments of the resolve to avoid another catastrophe like that of 1906. But with the new Boardwalk completed, Swanton began searching for attractions to improve his upstart amusement park.

The west end of the Bay Shore Limited loop, with the Pleasure Pier in the background. (Harold von Gorder Collection).
The Bay Shore Limited beside the Plunge, 1907. At right is the skating rink
and at left is the curio shop, both in the style of the 1904 Neptune Casino
suggesting they survived the fire of 1906. [SC Sentinel]
The very first one of those attractions was a 1904 Cagney Brothers' Miniature Railroad Company 22-inch gauge train that ran from the base of the Pleasure Pier to the San Lorenzo River and back under the name Bay Shore Limited. The locomotive was a regulation coal-powered steam engine registered with the Interstate Commerce Commission and operated by an engineer and fireman. It opened in the summer of 1907 right alongside the new Casino and Plunge, and operated on the beach side of the quickly-extending wooden walkway that lined the shore, although after the L.A. Thompson Scenic Railway was built in 1908, part of the track ran directly atop a beach dune. The railroad ran with up to six passenger cars, each capable of seating 16 adults comfortably. Despite persistent rumours, there is little evidence that the locomotive operated on the Loma Prieta tracks in the off-season hauling logs due to the difference in gauges. What is certainly true, though, is that Swanton used this train to exchange courtesy passes with other railroad companies, earning him free railroad service across the United States. The track ran down a long wooden boardwalk to the river where a sharp loop inside an enclosed tunnel turned the train around for its return trip to the Pleasure Pier. Another turntable at the base of the pier ended at a loading station for another trip. The railroad remained in use until the end of 1915, at which point the Santa Cruz Seaside Company, which took over from Swanton in December, decided to discontinue it. Santa Cruz businesses were not responding well to World War I and Swanton had overextended himself, going bust. Competition with other attractions also damaged the little railroad's income.

The eastern end of the Bay Shore Limited, showing the long platform out to the turnaround. (Harold von Gorder)
After its near-destruction in a warehouse fire, the railroad was sold for scrap to a San Francisco firm where Joseph Cornelius Hayes found it. He began restoring it in 1924 with plans to operate it at San Francisco's Ocean Beach or Pacific City in San Mateo, but bad luck haunted the train. Herbert Fleishhacker finally purchased the restored train from Hayes in 1925 and installed it at his zoo in west San Francisco, where it operated until 1978. It was put into storage that year where it languished, rusting as it sat in an enclosure with two Asian elephants, a grey seal, and a pigmy hippo. The Golden Gate Railroad Museum petitioned the zoo to restore the train and and finally, in 1998, it was restored by staff of the zoo and museum volunteers. The parks is now known as the San Francisco Zoo and the train is the "Little Puffer", apparently a nicknamed it had even in 1907. It can still be ridden today, one of only four 22-inch gauge railroads still in existence.

The Sun Tan Jr. parked beside its runaround siding on the western end of the
Boardwalk, c. 1930. Loff Carousel building visible at left. [SC Sentinel]
A decade later, in 1928, the Sun Tan Jr. was installed along much of the same route of the original miniature railroad. This train was named after the much larger Sun Tan Special that began hauling passengers to the beach from San José the year earlier. Stanley E. Kohl, a Capitolan miniature railroad builder, opened the train as a beach front concession and operated it for five years until 1933, when the Great Depression likely drove him out of business. This train was a 1/3 scale Northwestern Pacific locomotive, based on his memories as a mail clerk in San Francisco. Unlike the first railroad at the Boardwalk, this one operated off of a simple diesel-powered Dodge motor hidden beneath a fake boiler, with the exhaust exiting out of the steam pipe at top. The capacity of this little train was up to 3,500 people per day, an impressive feat. It ran from the base of the Pleasure Pier to roughly the location of Funland Arcade today atop a long raised trestle that turned back onto the 'Walk on its ends. The Seaside Company took over the concession in 1933 and operated it until 1935, after which the train disappeared from history.

Photograph of the Sun Tan Jr. running alongside the Boardwalk with the Laff-Land dark ride at left, c. 1930.
The City of Santa Cruz Streamliner on its elevated track beside the main
Boardwalk, c. 1940 [SC Sentinel]
In 1938, a new track was built along the outside edge of the Boardwalk atop 5,000 redwood ties and 1,000 pilings. The new railroad was the City of Santa Cruz Streamliner, an electric train based on Zephyr that had locomotives at both ends. The locomotives and four passenger cars were locally built by the Standard Welding Company of Santa Cruz under the leadership of J. Ross Whiting, the later founder of Whitings Games.  The train was highlighted in red and silver/chrome with green leather seats throughout, replicated in the Zephyr in every way possible. At the time, it was the only miniature railroad that ran entirely atop an elevated trestle. It's capacity was estimated to be 200,000 per summer, which comes out to roughly 2,000 people per day. Unfortunately, very little information is known about this short-lived attraction. Unfortunately, World War II ostensibly shut down many of the attractions at the park including this railroad. The railroad, which operated directly over the beach, was deemed too visible when blackout curtains were installed along the walk. It was the last attraction to run alongside the majority of the Boardwalk until the construction of the Skygliders in the mid-1960s. Nothing is known about this train's fate.

The Cave Train to the Lost World, April 2014. (Dexter Francis)
The Cave Train at its depot at the eastern end of the Boardwalk, 1964.
[SC Sentinel]
At around that same time, in June 1961 to be specific, a new miniature railroad was installed in a much tighter and enclosed venue than its three predecessors. Operating off two 2-ton batteries which are recharged nightly, the Cave Train to the Lost World is not your usual miniature railroad. Its appearance is a bit exaggerated and it is operated with quite simple controls. Two near-identical fiberglass locomotives drive two 8-car trains in a circular, albeit curvy, 2,200-foot-long track that runs under the far eastern end of the Boardwalk. The interior nature of this train means that, unlike its predecessors, it can actually feature artificial wonders during the ride, thus the theme of the Cave Train is something akin to The Flintstones, less the official branding. Many of the automated electronics along the ride are triggered by switches hidden in the tracks so staff does not have to operate visuals remotely. In 2000, the ride was upgraded and now is in ultraviolet and follows the story of cave people visiting the Santa Cruz Beach during the Palaeolithic Era, although the trains themselves retain their original faux rustic charm. The original welcome depot was demolished as a part of the rebuild and now the queuing area is outside and uncovered. Considering the recent improvements to the ride, it is unlikely this will be replaced any time soon.

Citations & Credits:

  • Beal, Chandra Moira and Richard A. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk: The Early Years—Never a Dull Moment (Pacific Group, 2003).
  • "Little Puffer Steam Train". San Francisco Zoo.
  • Rice, Walter and Emiliano Echeverria. Images of Rail: Rails of California's Central Coast (Arcadia, 2008).
  • Santa Cruz Sentinel, 05/05/1938, 2:1-3.
  • Santa Cruz Sentinel, 09/20/1964, 21.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Santa Cruz Lumber Company

Map of Santa Cruz Lumber Co. Railroad in Pescadero Creek
For decades, the timber at the headwaters of Pescadero Creek, located just barely within the limits of Santa Cruz County, were harvested and lumbered for various logging concerns.  Oil Creek was harvested in the 1890s and Waterman Creek from 1903 to 1913. Then things went very quiet. 12,000 acres of old-growth redwood remained untouched along Pescadero Creek, timber acreage that had inspired the Felton & Pescadero Railroad's very name in 1883. No railroad would ever connect this territory to the outside world. But a railroad was built all the same.

Main mill pond with track at left, 1949.  Photo by John Cummings.
In 1923, the Santa Cruz Lumber Company was founded by George Ley, who had purchased most of the timber north of Pescadero from the Henry Cowell family. Near the headwaters of the creek and on the county line of Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties, Ley built the Waterman Gap Mill, which was accompanied by a large mill pond and inclined tramway to connect the facility to the main County Road just to the east (modern-day State Route 9).  The mill had a capacity of 60,000 board feet per day and operated via steam power. It employed up to 85 men in the 1920s, although by the 1970s the number had dropped to 50.

The engine shed and water tower for the locomotive. Mill in ravine at left, January 7, 1950. Photo by Richard C. Brown.
For the first decade, Ley harvested the lumber around the mill, creating areas for lumber storage, an expanded tram system, and better roads to ship the wood to Santa Cruz. Chutes were installed above the mill to slide and drag lumber to the mill pond from the hills. Ley used trucks operating on service roads to haul the lumber to Boulder Creek for railroad shipment (until 1933) and then to Felton. Since the Dougherty Extension Railroad was pulled in 1917, there was no railroad access north of Boulder Creek at the time Ley ran his mill. By the 1930s, all of the area within reach of the mill had been harvested and a decision had to be made on how to get the timber from further afield to the mill at the top of the grade.

The lumber train dumping into the mill pond, 1943. (Company photo)
 On March 31, 1930, Ley purchased a 42 ton standard-gauge Shay locomotive from the San Joaquin & Eastern Railroad, as well as a few flatcars for use on a private isolated railroad that he envisioned running between the mill and alongside the creek to the west. It was designated SCLCo. No. 2, taking its number from its former owner. The truck was trucked to the top of State Route 9 and then hauled to the mill overhead via cable lines. At the same time, a small track was built beside the mill where the locomotive would be reassembled for operations on the line. The track was constructed with truly ancient metals—some dated to 1881. The main track ran opposite the mill and slightly above it so that it could dump logs directly into the mill pond. Beside and above the mill, a one-stall engine house was erected for storage and repairs of the locomotive. Only a single siding was installed, serving as a runaround for the engine house. The fuel tank and water tower were installed just opposite the house on the siding.
The lumber train running down the track to the mill, 1947. Photo by Jack Gibson.
In the early 1940s, the flatcars were destroyed in a wreck along a steep logging spur lower in the valley and six new flatcars were purchased from the Yosemite Valley Lumber Company. This new fleet of flatcars were sturdier and stronger so could withstand more abuse. A Southern Pacific tanker car was also purchased around this time for unknown uses. As the track was ever extended downhill alongside the creek, a few short spurs were added and removed and grades of up to 6% were attained to reach some of the more troubled spots. Bridges were built primarily out of stacked logs and, while massive in size, were still ofttimes precarious. By 1950, the railroad extended nearly 8 miles to just outside the YMCA camp at San Mateo county Memorial Park. A makeshift passenger car was created at some point in the 1940s to ferry lumbermen from the mill to the end of the line. A water tower was also installed mid-way down the route.

The train dumping lumber into the mill pond. Engine lettering added by photographer. Photo by Fred Stoes.
The railroad never made any connections to the outside world, unfortunately, and was doomed before it even began. Large freight trucks were already becoming popular in the mid-1920s and by 1935, Catepillar tractors were brought in to assist in the logging operations. In 1945, the road to State Route 9 was properly graded so that trucks could regularly access the mill for exporting lumber. Then, in the summer of 1950, the lumber company's timber harvesters had finally reached the top of the summit ridge. While the company still owned extensive lands on the opposite side of the summit, there was no way of getting the train over there cheaply. Santa Cruz Lumber Company decided to tear up the rails and roadbed and convert it to a truck road. The locomotive and cars were stored until 1954 when they were scrapped. The mill itself was scrapped in 1955 and rebuilt into a modern facility. Santa Cruz Lumber continued to operate along Pescadero Creek until 1972, reorganising the remaining 7,079 unharvested acres of redwood forest as Pescadero Creek Tree Farm. The company closed in 1989, selling its assets to San Lorenzo Valley Lumber Company, while its properties were transferred to Redtree Properties Ltd., which is still owned by the Ley family today.

One of the log bridges created along the right-of-way. (Company photo)
Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
Mill Location: 37.212˚N, 121.171˚W

Access to the mill site is trespassing, unfortunately, since there is still quite a lot of material left on the site. By the time the mill closed, a full planning mill appears to have been in operation there. The route of the track mostly followed along the south bank of Pescadero Creek from the mill site to Jones Gulch. While the precise route of the track is not certain, many believe and assume that Old Haul Road, which begins at the junction of State Route 9 and State Route 236 is more or less the railroad grade. This road is legal to use, although it is very remote and 4-wheel drive is recommended. The grade passes into Portola Redwoods State Park, passing beside Pescadero Creek Park, ending just east of the junction of Pescadero Creek Road and Wurr Road near YMCA Camp Loma Mar.

Citations & Credits:

Friday, January 8, 2016

Glenwood, South Park & Pacific Railroad

Deep in the redwoods in the mountains north of Scotts Valley, a small private miniature railroad once thrived under the guardianship of Jim "Homer" Holmes. Holmes was not new to the miniature railroad game—he had helped Billy Jones build his small railroad on Jones's ranch in Los Gatos and Holmes had also assisted Erich Thomsen. In addition, Jim was an employee of the Southern Pacific Railroad, working out of their signal department for decades. Thus, in 1959, Jim and his brother Dick decided to purchase land in Glenwood for the purpose of constructing their very own railroad. Now Glenwood once had a much larger railroad of its own, but the disastrous winter storms of February 1940 put an end to that line and for  nineteen years, Glenwood sat quiet, largely forgotten by the rest of the county. Holmes had no ambition to put the former town back on the map, but he did aspire to turn his 15 acres into a miniature railroad paradise. He dubbed his creation the Glenwood, South Park & Pacific Railroad, and over the next thirty years, it would continue to grow without end.

A ride behind the "One Spot", with crowded gondola and flatcar, 1970s. (Clark Bauman)
#5 outside South Park enginehouse, 1970s. (Clark Bauman)
Construction of the 15-inch-gauge track was the first task completed, with a small fully-functional sawmill erected to cut the ties and other wood materials for the line. By 1962, the first locomotive was completed, which was essentially a custom-built steam donkey on wheels. Soon after its completion, a second locomotive, this one an oil burner that resembled a much larger narrow-gauge engine, was assembled on site. The track was slowly extended outward, covering much of the property over the years, with many friends of the Holmes' volunteering to help build and operate the trains. Two additional steam locomotives were added in the early 1980s, with one using a design based on Erich Thomsen's Redwood Valley Railway (Berkeley, CA) stock and another shop-built by Ken Kukuk. Indeed, it was Ken's Westside Locomotive Works that provided much of the machinery, parts, and technical assistance needed for Holmes and his friends to build their myriad rolling stock. A relatively large locomotive was completed in the early 2000s. To act as rolling stock for these five locomotives, a flat car, gondola, tank car, ballast car, and caboose were created, primarily to assist in further construction of the railroad. Finally, a rarely-used electric motor car, running off of overhead wires, and a heavy-duty maintenance motorcar fill out the railroad's stock.

The railroad itself was named directly after the narrow-gauged Denver, South Park & Pacific Railroad in Colorado which Jim admired. Glenwood, besides being the location of the railroad, was a historic railroad stop until 1940, while the name of the Clems stop on his line is after the real-life Clems station that sat at the south-western end of the Glenwood vale. Stovebolt was named after the Chevrolet engine that ran the mill. The etymology of Luteward Junction is not currently known to this historian.

#5 being worked on outside Glenwood, 1970s.  (Clark Bauman)
The railroad is definitely a bit of a roller-coaster ride in its design, with a simple U-shaped track that has numerous spurs to access car barns, engine houses, and the sawmill. Most of the route sits on about a 4% grade but the climb from the sawmill exceeds 7% and a very short stretch near the top of the line is 9%! The turn at the bottom of the U is especially tight. Four formal stations, Glenwood, South Park, Stovebolt, and Clems, pockmark the route, with each sitting at a strategic site: South Park doubles as an enginehouse at the bottom of the grade, Glenwood is a switch to the sawmill and a car barn, Stovebolt doubles as the mill, and Clems is another enginehouse, accessible via a switch at Lutewards Junction. As of 2000, 3,000 feet of track was laid, while new track was recently still being laid further up on the hillside.

Craig operating the #13 on the Hillcrest & Wahtoke Railroad line in the 2000s. (Mike Massee)
The 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake did a number to the railroad, damaging a locomotive and shifting much of the track downhill. While it has since been repaired, the most damaging aspect of the earthquake was the change of the water table from a relatively soft, easy-to-steam tap water to a much harder water that unfortunately damages the locomotives' inner workings. Because of this, the railroad has only operated on-site sporadically over the past twenty-six years. Much of its rolling stock enjoys a second life now at the Hillcrest & Wahtoke Railroad in Reedley, CA, where it can be experienced by more people than the small group of friends responsible for the GSP&P's existence. In fact, the #13 is one of the railroad's primary locomotives!

#5 on the Hillcrest & Wahtoke Railroad line in the 2000s. (Mike Massee)
Unfortunately, Dick Holmes died in 1977, and Jim Holmes just passed on 5 January 2015, leaving the future of the Glenwood, South Park & Pacific Railroad up in the air. In addition, due to the problems caused by the earthquake, the original railroad site has largely been abandoned, with vandals and thieves destroying much of the infrastructure and machinery. Although the track still remains in place, it seems the railroad will never really operate on-site again. But regardless of the physical location's fate, the locomotives and rolling stock continue on either in Reedley. The precise location of Holmes' railroad remains a closely-guarded secret, but its existence in the Santa Cruz Mountains is further evidence of the love Santa Cruz County has for railroading.

Citations & Credits:
  • "Glenwood, South Park & Pacific #13". Hillcrest.
  • Mike Massee and Clark Bauman, photographs and personal correspondence.
  • "Narrow Gauge at Glenwood". The Grand Scales Quarterly 10 (Jan 2000), 10-14.
See Also:

Friday, January 1, 2016

Sierra Nevada & Golden West Railroad

Harvey West giving the final swing on the
golden spike, 1968. [Santa Cruz Sentinel]
There are many peculiar railroad-related enterprises that have passed through Santa Cruz County over the years. One such company was the miniature railroad that operated in Harvey West Municipal Park from 1968 until 1992. Harvey West Park itself was dedicated on May 30, 1959, on fifty acres of land on the north side of the City of Santa Cruz beside Pogonip. It was named after Harvey E. West, the son of old Loma Prieta Lumber Company tycoon and former county supervisor Ed West. Harvey himself was an employee in his youth of Frederick A. Hihn's milling operation on Laurel Creek before founding his own lumber hauling company upon returning from service in World War I. He moved out of the area in the 1930s and founded the Placerville Lumber Company in 1936. West lived until 1979, twenty years after his eponymous park was founded. The park was named for him for multiple reasons: he was a well-known and influential local into the 1930s, he donated great amounts of money to private and public organisations, and he arranged for the purchase of the properties that would make up Harvey West Park, presenting the larger part to the city in 1955 and the Wagner Grove in 1958. Wagner was the original American owner of the land whose descendants had sold it to West for the creation of the park.

In April 1968, notice was given to the city council that a man named Dan J. Hurt was being solicited to install his still-under-construction miniature railroad to the park. Hurt, a friend of West as well as a former US Navy admiral and a local model railroader, proposed a 170-foot-long loop track that would initially operate with a single locomotive and two passenger cars, which would be installed with accompanying authentic railroad sounds. The locomotive was modelled after a 1860s wood-burning engine, although it operated off of a diesel engine. The gauge of the track was to be 18 inches. Hurt was required as part of the lease agreement to erect an enclosed station house and ticket office to protect the rolling stock when the train was not operating. It was intended to operate daily in the summer and on weekends for the remainder of the year. Hurt planned to charge 10¢ per passenger per ride and called his enterprise the Sierra Nevada & Golden West Railroad.

One of the first rides of the Sierra Nevada & Golden West Railroad, July 1968. [SC Sentinel]
Retired Admiral Dan J. Hurt in a press
photo from 1973. [SC Sentinel]
The new railroad opened in late July 1968 and was staffed that summer by Hurt and by volunteers. Harvest West became involved in the construction, donating ties to the track and striking the golden spike during the dedication ceremony. Because of the donations and city funds, he was able to expand the track to 0.25 miles, or around 1,300 feet, which was much longer than the proposed length. It ran in a figure-eight pattern around a good portion of the park. The SN&GWRR departed the station every 20 minutes (implying an approximately 15 minute ride) and it could hold 20 passengers, plus the engineer. Because of the increased costs of the longer track and the need for more cars, the cost of each ride was set at 25¢ for children and 50¢ for adults. Hurt operated the train through the 1975 summer season and then the concession went up for sale.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there was not a lot of demand for a miniature railroad linked to a public space. As part of the concession, the railroad included a snack bar and hamburger stand, both of which operated out of the ticket station. Hurt listed the train and its accoutrements for $11,000, although its final sale price is unknown.

The station booth and snack shack, c. 1970s.
[Doris Emerick Correll]
Alberto E. and Gayle Vincent finally took over operations for the 1976 season, changing the name to the more straightforward Sierra Nevada Railroad. In 1977, Robert O. and Virginia M. Mock took up the lease, operating it through the 1979 summer season before putting it up for sale again. In April 1980, Hamlet Char Broilers, owned by Gary Parsons, purchased the railroad and ran it for two summers, renaming it the Harvey West Railway & Diner, although "diner" was a bit of a stretch. In November 1981, Richard E. and Barbara A. Gempler, in partnership with Helen Waldemar, took over operations, after which the ownership trail grows cold, unfortunately. Around 1986, it was sold to Chris Burden, but no information is known regarding any intervening owners and it seems that the train was not operating during much of this time.

The Sierra Nevada & Golden West Railroad parked on the tracks, c. 1970s [Doris Emerick Correll]
A real estate advertisement for the railroad, 1975. [SC Sentinel]
By March 1992, the railroad was in a serious state of disrepair. Only the locomotive and a single passenger car were in operable condition, running again under the name Sierra Nevada Railroad. Burden was only charging 75¢ per ride, which certainly did not help his financial situation. Maintenance and rising insurance costs made it so Burden couldn't afford to operate the train in the coming summer. Interestingly, a German tourist offered Burden $40,000 for the railroad and its track, but Burden decided instead to shut it down, thereby ending 24 years of service. The track was pulled up and the train disappeared. Where it went is not currently known. Harvey West today still has a train—the large Southern Pacific locomotive #1298 that was installed for children to play around and on—but the footprint of the miniature railroad that once looped around much of the park is gone and its memory quickly fading.

Citations & Credits:

  • Donald A. Clark, Santa Cruz County Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary (Scotts Valley, CA: Kestrel Press, 2007).
  • Gary Parsons, personal correspondence.
  • Santa Cruz Sentinel, 1959 – 1992.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Parr's Spur & Bermingham

At the northern end of Vasona Reservoir along today's University Avenue once sat the short-lived Parr's Spur Track. This stop first appeared in Southern Pacific Railroad agency books when it took over the South Pacific Coast Railway in 1887, suggesting it had probably existed since the beginning of the line in 1878. Jonathan Parr was an early settler in the area, owning 2,000 acres of land on Rancho Rinconada de los Gatos since 1856. Most of his land was used as a cattle pasture, since the prune orchards that the region became famous for did not enter the picture until the 20th century. Parr had six children, between whom the property was divided when he died. This caused an accounting problem, however, in that it is unknown who received the portion of land which included Parr's Spur. The spur itself was of unknown length and its precise location or which side of the track it sat are not known. The stop was removed from agency books in 1890, although it seems likely that it had been out of use for years by that time. Although the purpose for the stop has never been stated, it seems likely that it was used primarily for cattle shipments and as a private flagstop for the Parr family, since the tracks ran directly through their lands. All of the Parr children were deceased by 1900, possibly explaining why the spur was abandoned when it was.

A train passing near the historic site of Bermingham, March 11, 1939. Photo by Wilbur C. Whittaker. (Jim Vail Collection)
Portrait of Captain John Bermingham.
In 1900, a new customer moved in on or near the site of the spur. The California Powder Works, which had its primary facility at the mouth of the San Lorenzo Valley near Santa Cruz, erected a powder magazine on the site around that time. The Southern Pacific added the stop to its station books in 1901 and by 1907 it was appearing as a formal station in employee timetables. The new stop was named "Bermingham", after the president of the company Captain John Bermingham. Since the mountain section of track had opened in 1880, the CPW had used the railroad exclusively for the shipment of its powder, but some of that powder was used as the New Almaden Mines for blasting, which probably explained the need for a powder magazine here, less than three miles from said mines. Unfortunately, the magazine was not well-prepared for the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. During the temblor, the magazine exploded, destroying the entire facility and probably most of the area around it. Wisely, the CPW decided against rebuilding there and the stop was abandoned by mid-1909 when the mountain track was reopened and the stops along the route reassessed. In the 1920s, the stop may have become host to Bulwer Station, however track measurements suggest that stop was 0.1 miles further to the north.

Official Railroad Information:
Very little is listed for Parr's Spur Track. It first appeared with no facilities listed in the 1888 Southern Pacific Railroad station book. By 1890, the spur was gone (unfortunately all copies of the 1889 station book appears to have been lost). The spur was located approximately 53 miles from San Francisco via Alameda Point.

Bermingham is better recorded, first appearing in the January 1901 station book. In 1902, it was listed as a B-class station, implying a spur or siding and a freight-loading platform. It was also in a section of track that was dual-gauged. The station was added to an employee timetable as "Bermingham (Spur)" in June 1907, listed at 53.0 miles from San Francisco via Alameda Point and 27.1 miles from Santa Cruz. The length of the spur at the station was 677 feet. No other facilities were listed there and the station did not receive any regularly-scheduled freight or passenger traffic, implying it was for private use only. In 1909, the distance from San Francisco was altered to match the new Los Altos Branch and was now only 52.1 miles from San Francisco, this time via Mayfield. The spur was also lengthened to 827 feet. The station disappeared from timetables in 1909 and from station books in January 1910.

Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
37.247˚N, 121.967˚W

Parr's Spur and, presumably, Bermingham were located approximately at the modern-day location of the Vasona Reservoir dam. The site itself is either under water or buried beneath the earthen fill. In context, University Avenue is the right-of-way, so it would have been directly to the east of the road, south of the Creekside Turf Sports Park field and before crossing Los Gatos Creek.

Citations & Credits:
  • Conaway, Peggy. Images of America: Los Gatos Generations. Arcadia Publishing, 2007.
  • Southern Pacific Railroad documents, California State Railroad Museum Archives.
  • Whaley, Derek. Santa Cruz Trains: Railroads of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Self-published, 2015.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Swanton Pacific Railroad

In the tiny northern Santa Cruz County hamlet of Swanton—once the terminus of the Ocean Shore Railroad until 1920—sits the quaint miniature Swanton Pacific Railroad, owned by California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo (CalPoly) and operated by the Swanton Pacific Railroad Society.

Swanton Pacific is a 19-inch gauge miniature railroad that was founded by Albert "Al" Smith, former mayor of Los Gatos and president of Orchard Supply Hardware, back in 1979. The railroad's three steam locomotives are all 1/3 scale steam engines built by Louis M. MacDermot for the Overfair Railway between 1913 and 1915 (a fourth non-operable engine now sits in the foyer of the California State Railroad Museum). This railway featured in the Panama-Pacific International Exposition at San Francisco. The engines went into disuse after the exposition and sat in storage for over sixty years. Smith, who previously worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad, purchased the trio at auction and began building the railroad on his ranch along Scott Creek north of Davenport. Two additional engines, the steam-powered 1500 (another MacDermot model, although smaller than the others) and the diesel 502, were added to the collection in later years. Sixty-two other pieces of rolling stock provide passengers with seats for their adventures.
A locomotive rounding a bend at Swanton Pacific Ranch.
(Lawrence Biemiller)
The 1500 switch engine at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition.
(Swanton Pacific Railroad Facebook page)
The site of Swanton Pacific Ranch, which Smith purchased in 1978, has a long history. Originally the 1843 Rancho Agua Puerca y las Trancas (Hog Water and the Bars), the property fell into the hands of Ramon Rodriguez and Francisco Alviso. After California became a state, the land transferred to James Archibald. In 1875, when Archibald died, the land was divided between Ambrogio Gianone and Joseph Bloom. All of these men used it primarily for farming and ranching. Fred Swanton purchased much of the water rights in the area in the 1880s and dammed Big Creek and Mill Creek to power Santa Cruz via his Central Coast Counties Gas & Electric Company. This operated into the new century until a fire destroyed the feeder flume. By this point, the settlement had taken on the name Laurel Grove. The Ocean Shore Railroad diverted a spur up Scotts Creek around 1908 to cater to the San Vicente Lumber Company lands above the village. Over the next fifteen years the company would harvest most of the timber on the east side of the creek. The Ocean Shore terminated at the Swanton Inn, which served as Swanton's post office, general store, hotel, and saloon. Because of this, the railroad named the station "Swanton", a name that stuck. After the railroad left in 1923 and the post office closed in 1930, the village declined into nothing more than a sparse population area. In 1938 the Poletti and Morelli families purchased the land from its previous owners, using it mostly for cattle and dairy. Eventually John and Bob Musitelli took over both properties. By the 1950s, a portion of the property was converted for use by the Boy Scouts of America as a summer camp. It was this property that Smith visited when he was young and which he purchased in 1978 to become the Swanton Pacific Ranch.

Louis MacDermot working on one of his engines before the International Exposition. (Swanton Pacific Facebook Page)
Three of the locomotives sitting outside the Swanton
Pacific roundhouse. (Local Wiki)
Swanton Pacific Ranch features a barn from 1874 and a cheese house dating to 1867, making it one of the oldest buildings in the county. The latter is on the County Register of Historical Buildings. Swanton Pacific Ranch was inherited by CalPoly in 1993 when Al Smith willed it to the university. The railroad remains a separate non-profit venture and railroad rides are always free, although the opportunities to visit the ranch are limited to specific dates and times. The railroad does run monthly volunteer work days which are open to the public. Check their website for more details or call them at 805-995-3659.

Citations:

Friday, December 11, 2015

Rapetti

The West Side of Santa Cruz was rarely as busy in regards to railroading activity as other parts of the county, but one industry dominated the scene beside Antonelli Pond from 1908 to 1923: the San Vicente Lumber Company's planing mill. In fact, Moore Creek was dammed to become a mill pond for precisely that reason and was only called Antonelli Pond in later years. The original name was Mazzoni Pond. The pond was flanked on the north and the south by two separate railroad lines. To the north was the Coast Line Railroad mainline, owned by the Southern Pacific Railroad and built in 1907. To the south was the Ocean Shore Electric Railroad mainline, built a two years earlier. Neither railroad had a need to establish a stop there until 1908 when the San Vicente Lumber Mill moved in, at which point the Coast Line established Orby and the Ocean Shore, Rapetti. Rapetti was named after Louis Rapetti who owned the property before selling it to the lumber company.

1917 Sanborn Fire Insurance map showing the San Vicente Mill at Rapetti. (UCSC Digital Collections)
Of the two stops, Rapetti was the busier because the Ocean Shore Railroad was the connected directly to the redwood tracts up above San Vicente Creek near Swanton. In fact, when the Ocean Shore Railroad formally abandoned the tracks in 1921, the San Vicente Lumber Company purchased the entire Southern Division of the railroad and operated it for another two years, only abandoning the tracks in 1923. Although the tracks never connected to San Francisco, the Ocean Shore Railroad always branded itself a passenger and freight system so it makes sense that Rapetti maintained a full depot at its stop. The depot included a short-lived post office (operating April 6, 1911, to December 31, 1912), a general store, and a company management office, all of which sat on the north side of the tracks. To the south of the tracks, a small company village was built composed of eighteen small cottages and a boarding house for seasonal unmarried laborers.

The San Vicente Lumber Company mill at Rapetti and Orby, c. 1910. Ocean Shore tracks in the foreground.
The mill itself functioned in multiple capacities, serving as both a fully-operating planing mill and the Ocean Shore Railroad's maintenance and storage yard. A long looping track ran from the station to the west, passing immediately beside the mill before looping back to the east where it met the Southern Pacific track. In addition to the switchback at the Southern Pacific Union Depot, this was the only other location where the Southern Pacific and Ocean Shore tracks had an interchange, and this was the easier and more practical of the two junctions. Near the southern end of the half-circle loop sat a short spur for the railroad's maintenance shop and a car shed for overnight storage of the railroad's Southern Division locomotives. The Ocean Shore kept enough trackage here to support 25 cars, suggesting more sidings or spurs may have existed than the map above suggests. Two more spurs were located off of the Southern Pacific end of the track terminating directly beside the mill at the mill pond. Although the map above does not show it, it seems almost certain that the Ocean Shore's southern turntable was at Rapetti as well, probably just beyond the car maintenance shed or beside the storage shed. No other place along the line in Santa Cruz could support a turntable and the trains most certainly did not back up for the fifteen miles to Swanton.

San Vicente Lumber Company mill, 1921. (Photo by Emanuel Fritz) [Bancroft Library]
The mill was divided between two primary facilities: the large saw mill and the smaller planing mill. The planing mill was located directly to the north of the Ocean Shore car shed, with numerous lumber sheds lining the east side of the loop track. The larger saw mill was to the west of the loop beside the pond with conveyors reaching into the pond to bring in logs for processing. A shingle mill to create shingles, railroad ties, grape stakes, and other split stuff was also maintained as a part of this larger structure. The arrangement of the facility and the tracks suggests that the Ocean Shore was responsible for delivering the logs to the mill and the Southern Pacific was responsible for taking the logs to market via one of their two routes out of the county, hence the tracks were located directly beside the shingle mill for easy loading.

Lumber sorting bins at the end of the Southern Pacific Railroad spurs beside the San Vicente Lumber Company mill at Rapetti. A flatcar can be seen at right being loaded, 1921. (Photo by Emanuel Fritz) [Bancroft Library]
When the Ocean Shore Railroad went bankrupt in summer 1920, the milling company leased the tracks and rolling stock so they could finish harvesting the redwood alongside San Vicente Creek and its many tributaries. That task took them just to the end of 1923. In early 1924, the tracks were abandoned and the rolling stock was sold off. The tracks were removed over the following years, eventually becoming Delaware Avenue below the former mill. The mill was dismantled and the lot made vacant until new businesses moved onto the site the 1960s. The site now serves as the college administrative building for University of California, Santa Cruz.

The lumber mill from Antonelli Pond in its final years, 1921. [Bancroft Library]

Official Railroad Information:
Very few timetables survive for the Ocean Shore Railroad but some essential facts are known. The station did not appear in company information until after August 1907 and probably not until 1908. Rapetti was located 2.0 miles from the Santa Cruz Beach Depot, which sat above the bluff beside the Southern Pacific Union Depot yard. Besides having a engine house and a maintenance yard, it likely included  a turntable and additional spurs, the total of which could hold 25 standard-gauged cars. A station structure was located north of the tracks beside Cliff Street (now Natural Bridges Drive) and freight-unloading platforms were located to the north of the car shed. The station was the last to be abandoned along the Ocean Shore Railroad's Southern Division, abandoned permanently in December 1923 when the San Vicente Lumber Company closed its mill.

Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
36.954˚N, 122.057˚W

The site of Rapetti Station is the northwest corner of Natural Bridges Drive (originally Cliff Drive) and Delaware Avenue (originally the Ocean Shore Railroad right-of-way). The mill complex occupied the entire property on the west side of Natural Bridges Drive to the still-present Union Pacific Railroad tracks. While a trestle bridge still crosses Moore Creek on the north side of Antonelli Pond, the trestle that once occupied the south side has since been replaced with a fill. Although technically private property, it is unlikely that anybody will stop you from looking around the area. All evidence of the Ocean Shore Railroad and the mill are now gone except for some barely visible piers left over from the mill's conveyor system that still reside in the middle of the pond.

Citations & Credits:

  • Clark, Donald. Santa Cruz County Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary

Friday, November 27, 2015

Carnadero

Carnadero Station on the 1939 San Juan Bautista USGS Map.
In the open fields to the south of Gilroy sits the lone remnants of a little-used railroad station that goes by the name of Carnadero. Named after a Spanish word that means either "bait maker" or "butchering place", a likely reference to a nearby tributary of the Pajaro River called Carnadero Creek (or Uvas Creek), Carnadero Station first appeared in Southern Pacific Railroad records in 1871. Early that year, the railroad completed its track through the area on its way to Hollister and Tres Piños at the southern end of the Santa Clara Valley. Soon afterwards, Carnadero Station was established as the start of a new branch line to the town of Pajaro and (eventually) to Salinas. By 1873, this route became the main line of the railroad and the route to Tres Piños became a branch.

The area around Carnadero is the former Rancho Cañada de Las Uvas (Rancho Canyon of the Grapes), originally owned in 1842 by Lorenzo Pinedo. It was later sold to Bernard Murphy and it passed to his son Martin John Charles Murphy in 1860. It was his family that still owned the land when the railroad passed through. Pinedo and Murphy were both famous for growing grapes in the region, a practice that began in the mission days. Thus if any industry operated out of Carnadero, it was probably this. In contrast, the "butchering" reference in nearby Carnadero Creek actually dates to the Portola Expedition and, therefore, predates any later land usage. Local agricultural and pastoral farms sprang up along the railroad track in the area, so it should not be surprising to find a freight platform at Carnadero in 1899. What precisely was shipped out from this point is not known, but the numerous buildings are shown to sit alongside the tracks, Carnadero Avenue, and Carnadero Creek from the 1913 to 1939 USGS survey maps. Some maps even suggest an unincorporated township resided along the state highway which was about a mile away from the station.

For many years the station saw a lot of passing trains, but by the 1930s service to the stop had all but ceased. Except for some freight and local passenger customers, the station does not appear to have attracted any significant groups. Picnickers preferred more scenic spots such as Sargent or Chittenden, while most freight customers could just as easily go to Gilroy three miles to the north. The station remained on timetables but only as a flag-stop. When the double-track was installed from Gilroy to Sargent, any siding or spur at Carnadero was removed and none is ever shown on USGS maps. The truncation of the Tres Piños Branch to Hollister in 1942 also likely reduced active traffic at the stop. Although Carnadero remains a registered station on Union Pacific Railroad timetables, it is unlikely that it receives regular customers and there are currently no facilities at the station to permit freight or passenger loading. It seems to remain a stop only because of the Hollister Branch.

Official Railroad Information:
Carnaderos was established around June 1871 along the mainline of the Southern Pacific Railroad track. In November 1871, the route to Pajaro was opened with its junction to the main line at Carnadero. In August 1873, the Pajaro route became the main line and the other route became the Tres Piños Branch (Hollister Branch from August 1942 to today). As of 1899, Carnadero had a C-class freight station, which implies a siding or a spur and a small freight platform but no formal service. The presence of a station structure at any time in its history is not known. The station was located 83.2 miles from San Francisco via San José. By 1937 a double-track running from Gilroy to Sargent passed through Carnadero, probably replacing the siding or spur that was originally there as it is no longer referenced. A phone was the only listed service at the stop and no passenger or freight stops were scheduled, although the station served as a flag-stop for all passing passenger trains. Little has changed at Carnadero since 1940 and it still remains an officially-registered Union Pacific Railroad station and the junction for the Hollister Branch.

Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
36.976˚N, 121.543˚W

Carnadero Station is located at the break of Carnadero Avenue, a dirt road south of Gilroy. Take the Bolsa Road exit on State Route 101 and head south on Bolsa Road—Carnadero Ave will be on the left (east). Beside the tracks is a large clearing on either side of the road and the triple-track junction of the Hollister Branch with the mainline. It is unclear what the ownership status of the surrounding property is so caution is advised. As usual, this is an active track so do not trespass on or across the tracks.

Citations & Credits:
  • Nanney, Duncan. Personal correspondence.
  • Robertson, Donald B. Encylopedia of Western Railroad History: Oregon, Washington. Caxton Press, 1986.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Miller & Nema

Miller as located on the 1917 USGS Map
At the absolute southernmost end of the Santa Clara Valley sits the mostly forgotten—although still technically active—station of Miller. The station most likely dates to the earliest years of the Santa Clara & Pajaro Valley Railroad (soon the Southern Pacific Railroad) when the tracks passed beside Henry Miller's ranch in 1870. Miller was in fact Heinrich Kreiser, a German immigrant who stole the identity of a man named Henry Miller. Miller became a major cattle rancher in and around the Bay Area. At the Bloomfield Ranch south of Gilroy, Miller built a 44-room mansion in 1888 which acted as the center of a small railroad community. Around it were built livery stables, a blacksmith shop, granaries, a general store, and a train station. Miller also owned a mansion on Mount Madonna for many years.

Bloomfield Ranch, date unknown. (King Library)
Bloomfield Mansion at Miller's with a cattle herd in front. (Calisphere)
By the turn of the century, Miller's was a major cattle and agricultural shipping point in the area and the Miller family land stretched in all directions. At the top of the long siding at Miller's, the Southern Pacific designated a new station that went by the name of Nema (Spanish for "letter seal"—origin unknown). From this site a long spur went to the west to the base of the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains. The precise purpose for this spur is not presently known but the existence of a reservoir in the hills and the amount of oil located in these hills just to the south may act as clues. The fact that the tiny town of Miller's Station was located here suggests that Nema may have become a new station point for Miller, despite Miller remaining a stop along the main line. Today a private ranch still sits at the end of this spur site, although the tracks are now gone. Unfortunately very little can be found on Nema Station. The stop shut its doors in 1941 with the spur torn up a few years earlier.

Bloomfield Mansion at Miller's
Much more is known about Miller's Station, which became Miller in the late 1900s. Miller himself was one of the largest land owners in California by the time of his death in 1916. His estimated value was at $40 million. Following his death, his grandson George Nickel reincorporated the family company, Miller & Lux Corporation, into a holding and land development firm. A few members of the family continued to farm for many more years, but they appear to have lost influence in the lower Santa Clara Valley, selling its remaining assets in 1930. The family sold the rest of their holdings over the course of the following thirty years. The station has surprisingly remained on timetables continuously since 1870, although there is no longer any spur at the station and it is doubtful that it has been used for many years. A long freight shed alongside the tracks marks the site of the original station point.

Official Railroad Information:
Miller's Spur was an early station along the Southern Pacific Railroad's main line. When precisely it appeared is not presently known to this historian but it seems likely it was an original stop. In 1899, it occupied a long stretch of track between 84.2 and 84.4 miles south of San Francisco via San José. Sometime soon afterwards—no later than 1905—the northern end of this track was renamed Nema. Miller's had a A-class freight platform but had no other facilities listed at the site. It's spur sat on the west side of the tracks and was initially fairly short but by 1899 it stretched 0.2 miles and had become a long siding. By 1937, Nema sat at 84.1 miles south of San Francisco while Miller was at 84.4. An 18-car (~900 feet) spur ran along the western track. At Nema, a 28-car (~1,400 feet) spur ran to the southwest, ending immediately to the east of State Route 101. Extant USGS maps show that this spur forked at the end and included two additional spurs along its length, one staggered on either side of the track. According to the 1939 USGS map, Nema's long spur was removed entirely in the late 1930s. In 1940, both stations were demoted to "Additional Stations" although it appears nothing else changed; Nema was still listed as having a spur, although the length was no longer noted. Nema was formally abandoned on December 15, 1941. Miller remains in use officially, although it seems unlikely that it has seen service for many years. Both stations's spurs have long since been removed and no trace of them remains. The double-tracks from Gilroy pass directly beside the old freight building.

Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
36.958˚N, 121.545˚W (Miller)
36.963˚N, 121.544˚W (Nema)

The site of Miller Station is currently inaccessible to the public. It sits along a long stretch of double-track about 500 yards south of the crossing of Hollister Road over the tracks. Currently a long freight shed marks the site of the spur, although all trace of the spur itself appears to be gone. Nema Station, meanwhile was located just north of this crossing, with the spur paralleling Hollister Road on the north side. It crossed the road just at about the site of the highway on/off ramp. The farm that the station serviced still exists today and is located at the southeast corner of Highway 101 and Hollister Road. The Garlic Shop is across Hollister Road from this site.

Citations & Credits:

  • Igler, David. Industrial Cowboys: Miller & Lux and the Transformation of the Far West
  • Nanney, Duncan. Personal correspondence.
  • Salewske, Claudia. Images of America: Gilroy. Arcadia, 2003.
  • Southern Pacific Railroad agency books and employee timetables, 1899-1940.