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Monday, March 12, 2012

Shady Gulch Trestle

Built around 1875 by the Santa Cruz & Felton Railroad to cross a small ravine, the Shady Gulch Trestle was located just north of the California Powder Works' primary facilities and just south of the Paper Mill at Rincon. It was originally built crossing Eben Bennett's toll road, visible in the photograph below. When the road was made public in the 1880s, the route continued to pass under the trestle.

Shady Gulch Trestle, South Pacific Coast Railroad, 1884 (Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley)
In the late 1890s or early 1900s, the bridge was replaced with a broad-gauged trestle that appeared amazingly similar in style to the earlier trestle. Highway 9 eventually bypassed this dangerous curve in 1930 when it built a automobile bridge over Shady Gulch.

Google Streetview capture of roughly the same place today as the photograph up top.
Although the original route has long since been bypassed, the old toll road is still visible under the new trestle, wrapping around to the back of the gully before emerging again on the other side. The trestle is used seasonally by the Santa Cruz Big Trees and Pacific Railroad for its tourist train and was used regularly for freight until the early 1980s, after which it was only used occasionally to haul lumber for San Lorenzo Lumber Company in Felton.

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