|Map of Wrights in Los Gatos Creek Canyon|
(Annotations courtesy Duncan Nanney)
|Wrights on Market Day, 1893 (Los Gatos Library)|
"The Rich Fruit-growing Section in the Surrounding Mountains. Fertile Soil and Grand Scenery. Private Residences and Summer Resorts. Natural Gas and Mineral Springs.
"Wrights Station, though a small village, is an important shipping point, as it is the depot for the extensive fruit growing sections in the surrounding mountains. Travelers on the cars receive little intimation from what they see along the route or at the station, concerning the rich and beautiful section which crowns the mountain above the heavy belt of timber which covers the hillside, and reaches down into the stream which rushes through the canyon. The roads which leave the little space of open ground by the depot to enter the leafy tunnels through the woods furnish no suggestion of the vine-clad slopes, the towering redwoods, the green fields, the cozy homes and bending fruit trees which adorn the great territory above and beyond. The beauty of this section can scarcely be described. There is a wealth of resource, a grandeur of scenery, and a fertility of soil that challenges description.
"The Great Mountain Fruit Region The amount of fruit shipped indicates in a manner of horticultural wealth of the county. There are in the vicinity about 3, 200 acres being of various varieties. The fruit raised in this section takes on a richness of flavor which is always noticeable. It is is firm in texture, also, and its keeping qualities therefore , pronounced. The in season, about two carloads of green fruit are shipped daily. The brush is being cleared from the northern side of the canyon, and the land planted to vines. WHen these come into bearing the output of the vicinity will be very materially increased.
"Soils and Springs The body of the soil consists largely of disintegrated sandstone and clay, and has the appearance, particularly on the hilltops, of the "white ash" soil of the Fresno raisin district. It is rich in plant food, and never lacks moisture, as the rainfall in this section is always sufficient for all needs. Springs emerge from the mountain sides in numerous places, some of which are mineral, and from every steep ravine rushes a sparkling stream. The atmosphere is always cool, influenced as it is by breezes from the coast.
"The Flow of Natural Gas Wrights Station has a resource which may yet prove to be of great importance. When the great tunnel was being driven through the mountain by the railway company a strong flow of natural gas was encountered, and an explosion followed, which resulted in the death of thirty-two Chinamen. The main leak was subsequently stopped, but gas still escapes in small quantities. The extent of the supply is unknown, but is probably great enough to warrant developments.
"Grand Scenery and Picturesque Homes The scenery is everywhere beautiful, and within the past few years people in search of sites for homes have climbed on mountain sides, searched out the springs, and made winding roads around the knolls, up the canyons, and to the very summits. The brush has in many places been cut away, and trees and vines cover knolls and hillsides. White houses stand on projecting points far above the canyons, or nestle in groves of trees on the benches." (From Sunshine, Fruit and Flowers: Santa Clara County and its Resources—Historical, Descriptive, Statistical—A Souvenir of the San Jose Mercury, 1895)
|The town of Wrights in the late 1890s|
|Downtown Wrights showing the hotel and general store around 1890.|
|Offset fence near Wrights caused by the San Francisco Earthquake, 1907|
|Wrights immediately after the line was closed in 1940. Tracks lay buried under a thick growth from a wet winter.|
Wrights was never destined to survive. As Highway 17 and the automobile diverted much traffic away from the town, farming in the area decreased. Frequent landslides and flash floods at the tunnel's portal made it a bane in the side of the Southern Pacific. The Southern Pacific finally closed the freight office at Wrights in the fall of 1934. The post office at Wrights was shut down in 1938 and the Arbor Villa burned down in 1940. An especially bad winter in 1939 caused such heavy rains that the Southern Pacific Railroad finally were able to persuade the State Department of Transportation to close the line.
|Right-of-way buried at Wright in April 1940. Water tower and station sign in the distance. (Courtesy Bruce McGregor)|
|Town of Wrights today...only six residents and their mailboxes. The northern portal of the summit tunnel is buried in the bushes to the far left of this photograph. (Courtesy Brian Liddicoat)|