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Friday, May 2, 2014

Kents Spur

There were many private freight stops along the South Pacific Coast Railroad's right-of-ways in Santa Cruz County, but few of them were recorded. One such stop, Kents Spur, was discovered on an 1891 Officers, Agencies & Stations Book distributed by the Southern Pacific Railroad. Unfortunately, the history of this stop is almost entirely unknown. Located roughly 1.5 miles north of Felton Depot, the spur was in a large open property on the east side of the San Lorenzo River south of Rubottom's Spur (later Brackney) and north of Riverside, an occasional flag-stop that would eventually become Bonny Brae. The tracks first passed through the property in late 1883 when the Felton & Pescadero Railroad (a South Pacific Coast subsidiary) began construction of its narrow-gauged line to Boulder Creek. The stop itself first appears in early 1891, but by December 1894 it is removed. It never appeared in Southern Pacific Railroad timetables. No services of any kind were reported there by the Stations Book suggesting it was a class "E" station (occasional freight), even though it clearly had at least one spur or privately-owned siding.

The identity of the "Kent", or rather "Kents", in question is better known. The property through which the railroad passed had been owned by James Edgar Kent and Lewis Alphonse Kent since December 1889. Though Hihn records do not show the relationship between the two men, a San José City Directory from 1892 lists two wood-dealers with the same initials as brothers, a reasonable suggestion. Kents Spur goes on record in 1891, though it may have existed earlier. An F.A. Hihn Company record, as well as the listed profession of the men, hints that the purpose of the property was for logging, suggesting that the spur was a short holding track for cars full of cut logs. In November 1896, the Kents sold at least a portion of their property to Silas H. Baker and his wife, Jennie A. The deed appears to have ceded the entirety of the portion along the right-of-way to Baker, even if they retained adjacent lands elsewhere. In a later deed, dated to 1898, it appears the Bakers purchased the remainder of the future Rose Acres Lane south to the San Lorenzo Way bridge, then called "Kent Bridge". This sale of property may have been due to James Kent and his wife Laura b., who in 1894 purchased property off Quintana Street in Santa Cruz. In the years following, both men are recorded as being employess of the F.A. Hihn Company, responsible for numerous Felton-area land deeds and contracts. A purchase in 1900 of property between the Bakers' and the Ley Meadow suggests that the family had moved back to Felton and once more lived along the right-of-way, but they no longer maintained a spur.

Today, the site of Kent's Spur is basically in the modern-day property of the Ron Ballauf's Rose Acres Farm, which grows miniature Douglas fir trees for Christmas. It is located at the end of Rose Acres Lane in north Felton off of San Lorenzo Way. The right-of-way to the site is equivalent to Rose Acres Lane, and from the site it continues down an undeveloped stretch of property (the former r.o.w.) currently owned by the San Lorenzo Valley Water District and accessible from the end of Brackney Road.


  • Southern Pacific Railroad, Officers, Agencies & Stations Book, Feb. 1891 – Dec. 1894 (California State Railroad Museum Archives).
  • University of California—Santa Cruz, Special Collections.

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