|USGS map from 1902 showing Eccles' location.|
In 1878, John Sanderson Eccles deeded 2.5 acres of land to the South Pacific Coast Railroad when it was constructing its right-of-way beside Zayante Creek. Eccles was a gas-fitter from Ireland who entered the United States in 1856 via New York. He moved to Santa Cruz in 1875 and registered to vote on July 16th of that year. Little else is known of the man. The community named after him was well known for a while as a resort area in the redwoods akin to Boulder Creek. The first post office in the area operated near Zayante School Road from 3 May 1878 to 10 April 1915 when it moved to Olympia. Following the relocation of the post office, Eccles seems to have disappeared. Olympia became the established name of the community and, although Eccles remained a flag-stop thereafter, its importance declined quickly. It lingered on railroad timetables for decades until 1942.
|One of the Eccles station signs survived and is owned by the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. (Derek Whaley)|
Official Railroad Information:
Eccles was located 70.0 miles from San Francisco via the Mayfield Cut-Off and 9.2 miles from Santa Cruz. It was formally active from at least 1888 until 1942. It hosted a 310-foot-long spur, a freight platform, and a station shelter. Agency books classified it as a B-class station, implying the presence of a siding at the stop, which is easily believed considering the wide right-of-way through the area. No other facilities were at the site and there was never a permanent agency office there.
Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
37˚N 4’ 38.4”, 122˚W 3’ 2.7”
The site of Eccles is at the fork on Zayante School Road, which now functions largely as a parking area for local residents. The freight platform was probably located beside the sandstone wall. The property is public or at least publicly accessible.
Citations & Credits:
- Clark, Donald Thomas. Santa Cruz County Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary. Scotts Valley, CA: Kestrel Press, 2008.
- Southern Pacific System: List of Officers, Agencies and Stations, 1899.
- Whaley, Derek. Santa Cruz Trains: Railroads of the Santa Cruz Mountains: 111-114