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Friday, August 17, 2012

Clems Flag-Stop

(Santa Cruz MAH)

Like so many other small flag-stops along the South Pacific Coast Railroad route, Clems was little more than a bus stop for trains. It was located just around a corner from the northern portal of Mountain Charlie Tunnel, about a mile south of Glenwood. The site itself was probably named after E.A. Clems, a man who owned vast amounts of land in the Glenwood Valley and may have sold a section of that land to build the right-of-way around 1879. The name remained in records until 1963 when Thomas C. Metsker's Map of Santa Cruz County, California, last mentioned the site. It's relative lack of importance was less than even Tank Siding, which was located roughly the same distance from the Mountain Charlie Tunnel on the south side but which was mentioned in numerous timetables. Clems flag-stop, as can be seen above around 1890, was a simple wooden shack with a bench located beside the tracks.

(Bruce MacGregor)Clems made an appearance in the 1899 Station Book with the added tagline "Tunnel No. 4" beside it. In that entry, Clems is noted as being 67 miles south of San Francisco via Alameda Point with a platform on the left side (which is incorrect according to photographic evidence) and a B-class freight station, suggesting there was a siding there in at least 1899, though not when the earlier photograph above was taken. The mention of a siding is rather obvious since a tunnel would often have sidings on either side of it to allow trains to wait for other trains. When looking at the photograph at left of a train approaching Clems in 1898, the corner of a track switch is partially visible at left. Note also that the tracks in this photograph were undergoing broad-gauging, with large broad railroad ties intermixed with narrow-gauge ties. Bruce McGregor in his South Pacific Coast: Narrow Gauge Portrait book mentions briefly that Dougherty had a shingle mill nearby, possibly justifying this locations existence, though he does not elaborate on the site. No other known document notes a mill nearby.

Clems formally closed down in June 1933, though it was probably in disuse for many years prior to that. Of the station's site, nothing today remains, not even foundation stones. The right-of-way in this area has become a private dirt road which exits from near the tunnel portal and heads toward the townsite of Glenwood, about a mile north following Bean Creek. Even the location of the station is not 100% known, though any of many various small divots in the hillside could be the site. It's importance, if there ever was such a thing, probably waned once E.A. Clems died, and certainly once Glenwood passed into history in 1954 with the closure of its post office.

  • Logan, Clarence A. "Limestone in California". California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 43, No. 3. July 1947. California Division of Mines, San Francisco, California. Pages 175-357.
  • Clark, Donald Thomas. Santa Cruz County Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary. Scotts Valley, CA: Kestrel Press, 2008.

1 comment:

  1. Hamman's book has a Dougherty mill located in the Zayante Valley. From his map, it looks like it was located near the confluence of Lompico & Zayante creeks, with a narrow gauge spur leading down to it from Eccles.

    Of course, Dougherty might have had lots of mills!

    I wonder if the narrow gauge spur followed the current Zayante School road... Do you know if a school house ever existed there? Any extant photographs?