|A oxen team hauling a log alongside the tracks opposite Felton Grove, c. 1890. (Courtesy Valley Press)|
An article from the Santa Cruz Sentinel discusses the merits of Felton Grove and its early relationship with the South Pacific Coast Railroad (transcribed by Vicki Wees):
Within a few hundred yards of Felton, just across the San Lorenzo and between it and the Zayante, lies the prettiest spot for picnics and camping parties on the whole San Lorenzo. It has been used by the people of Felton to picnic at for many years, and the grove has been partially cleared of underbrush, avenues and winding walks have been cut, rustic seats put in many places, tables and benches to accommodate a great many put up, a large dancing floor laid, and many other things done to make it pleasant and comfortable, but the place has been known to few besides the Feltonites. Now that the S. P. C. R. R. is in running order, picnic parties have discovered this lovely retreat, and it is occupied from a party from San Francisco numbering some two hundred, who propose to stay some time. They are very comfortably settled, having sent down in advance three car-loads of freight, with men to put up tents and arrange things for housekeeping. They have thirty four white tents among the green trees, and the camp has a very cheerful, animated look. There is a large majority of women and children during the week, but on Saturdays the husbands and fathers come down to spend Monday with their families in the quiet shades of this most beautiful grove. They spend their time hunting, fishing, bathing, gathering ferns, flowers, etc., and in visiting the different lime kilns, mills, big trees-which are only a short mile from camp-go to Santa Cruz and take a plunge in the ocean and come back on the next train. – June 17, 1880
Frederick A. Hihn's papers track the progression of ownership of the property. Frederick Hihn either owned the property initially or controlled its distribution through the 1910s. An early lease of the land by F.A. Hihn to Joseph Ball for one year began on 27 November 1891. On February 15, 1906, Hihn officially named the site Felton Grove & the Felton Baseball Ground and passed lease and resale rights to individuals named Glass and Draper. On June 24, 1908, he leased a remaining part of the property to C.H. Webb. On Sep. 24, 1910, Hihn formally deeded a portion of the grove to D. Goulding, who owned the Felton Grove Planing Mill. From the 1910s through the 1920s, ownership of the site becomes murky. By the mid-1920s, it seems the Beaver family owned the property, and in 1940 the Wright family took over and retained ownership thereafter.
|Felton Grove Auto Camp in the mid-1920s. (Courtesy Vicki Wees, FeltonGrove.com)|
|Felton Baseball Park, circa 1920s. The railroad tracks are just barely visible in the foreground at bottom-left. This tree still stands today within the parking lot of Felton Bible Church. (Courtesy Vicki Wees, FeltonGrove.com)|
|Felton Grove in 1937 at the top of Park Avenue. The tracks in the foreground remain though they are no longer used, with service to Boulder Creek having ended three years prior. (Courtesy Vicki Wees, FeltonGrove.com)|
|Felton Grove subdivision, circa 1928. The original right-of-way can be seen at the top of this map, with|
the Boulder Creek branch heading off the top of the page. (Courtesy Vicki Wees, FeltonGrove.com)
The legacy of the railroad at Felton Grove is shadowy and not well-documented unfortunately. While Felton Grove was bookended with trestles over Zayante Creek to the east and the river to the west, both were considered the northern boundary of the Felton Grove property. No signage regarding a stop seems to exist nor evidence that any trains stopped there specifically. Felton Grove appears on no time tables or the 1899 Station Book, and its close proximity to both Felton depots suggests it may have been a rarely-used special excursion stop rather than even an informal flag-stop.
- Vicki Wees, www.FeltonGrove.com (2013).