|Ocean Shore Railway Company survey map, 1912. (UC Santa Cruz)|
The beach was named after Dr. George Parsons, the landowner who purchased this small section of Rancho Refugio from José Bolcoff on 1 December 1854. Parsons was an English dentist with an office in Santa Cruz as early as 1850; details before that date are unknown. By 1905, when the railroads were running through the property, M.L. Baldwin owned the property. To the south, C. Lombardi held land, while just to the north, the Scaroni family operated a dairy.
The Ocean Shore Railroad maintained a small spur lagoon near the beach on the west side of the tracks, 5.7 miles north of the Ocean Shore Depot in Santa Cruz. The spur was accessible from the south and terminated at the end of the bluff where a cut was required for the right-of-way. The spur was 390' long and the stop hosted a small wooden shelter. The actual purpose of the stop and spur are unknown, though the former was probably for local beach-goers and the family while the latter was likely for agricultural crops and other freight. Information regarding the career of M.L. Baldwin is lacking from the historical record, leaving the function of the property up to speculation.
When the Ocean Shore ceased providing service along the line in 1920, the stop at Parsons Beach ended service as well. The tracks remained for another three years as the San Vicente Lumber Company used them, but even those were pulled in 1924. The remaining set of tracks through the property are those of the Southern Pacific Railroad (now the Santa Cruz & Monterey Bay Railway). Today, Parsons Beach is called Four Mile Beach (because it is located four miles north of the Santa Cruz city limits), though it also is called Tiger Beach occasionally. A somewhat expansive lagoon sits beside the railroad tracks in this area and the original Ocean Shore right-of-way exists as a local access road for farmers. The entirety of the beach is within the bounds of Wilder Ranch State Historic Park, thereby making the beach a state beach. Public access is permitted via a parking area along CA State Route 1 and a short dirt road.
- Donald Clark, Santa Cruz County Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary (Scotts Valley, CA: Kestrel Press, 2008).