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Friday, December 6, 2013

End-of-Track Logging Camp

Map showing the general location of the End-of-Track Logging Camp
(Google Maps)
Though in normal terms, a conspicuous and rather generic title, for the Santa Clara Valley Mill & Lumber Company the End-of-Track Logging Camp designated the logging camp that existed for four brief years at the headwaters of the San Lorenzo River, or rather the junction of its two principle feeder creeks. The Dougherty Extension Railroad's right-of-way had slowly been extending farther north beyond McGaffigan's Switch throughout the 1890s, but in 1897 the SCVM&L Co. finally moved it the final two miles north where the final company logging camp along the extension line was established. For four years this logging camp at the end of the line was the collection site for all logs collected from the Castle Rock area around the headwaters. At least one spur was likely built here alongside the end of the mainline, while loading apparatus was also built to support the transfer of logs to waiting flat cars. The logs themselves were then shipped six miles down the track to Riverside Grove where the primary Dougherty mill converted them into milled lumber for shipment to San José. The 1900 logging season completed the task and the end-of-track was abandoned.

How long the track remained at the headwaters of the San Lorenzo River may never be known, but the track was removed no later than the middle of 1917 when the entire Dougherty Extension Railroad was lifted for sale as scrap metal. The railroad ties were left in the ballast and mud to rot over the subsequent century. Today, the ties have all but disappeared under the rotting foliage of the forest. The path of the right-of-way still survives in parts, though the logging camp was likely near the river bed and, therefore, has been washed out over the past 100 years. It was located at the division of the San Lorenzo River within Castle Rock State Park, off of an old access route named Beekhius Road, which doubles as the Toll Road Trail. This may have been a connecting road between the logging camp and Saratoga Toll Road or even the primary route. Since the precise location of the camp is not known, its current status can only be guessed at.

Citations:

  • Rick Hamman, California Central Coast Railways (Santa Cruz, CA: Otter B Books, 2002).

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