|Trafton siding as viewed on a 1914 USGS Map.|
The Trafton family owned farms all over the area, but their original holding was a large parcel between the Pajaro River and modern-day Trafton Road, located specifically along the top half of the large bend in the river just south of Watsonville. In total, this area measures 400 acres, 280 of which are in the floodplain and the remainder on the hills. The Pajaro Valley Railroad snaked its way around this parcel in 1889 with the permission of the Traftons, who benefited by the addition of a 20-car siding and spur located at the north-east corner of their property. The spur sat on the inside curve of the tracks, while the spur broke off from this siding and terminated shortly afterwards, probably with a holding size of roughly 6 cars. This stop was located exactly three miles south of the Watsonville station terminus.
When Trafton died in 1922, his nephew Thomas F. Trafton took possession of the family estate. He began specializing in fruit- and vegetable-growing and chicken raising. Whether he used the railroad access at the back of his property is unknown, but the station remained until the abandonment of the Pajaro Valley Consolidated Railroad track in 1929. The Trafton family still holds land in many areas in Monterey County and have held many prominent positions in the community, including Sheriff of Santa Cruz County and Mayor of Watsonville.
Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
The site of Trafton station is one of the more recognizable and enduring locations along the Pajaro Valley Consolidated Railroad right-of-way. The station was located with the first sharp bend in the Pajaro River as it exited from Watsonville to the sea, now directly across from the Watsonville City Wastewater plant. There is still space at this location for the original siding and spur, now occupied by various storage and fencing supplies along a private access road that runs behind the property. Unfortunately, this location is deep within private property and trespassing is strongly discouraged.
Citations & Credits:
- Clovis, Margaret. Images of America: Monterey County's North Coast and Coastal Valleys. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, .
- Harrison, E.S. Monterey County : its general features, resources, attractions, and inducements to investors and home seekers. Salinas, CA: Harrison, 1889.
- History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing. Co., 1925.