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Friday, July 4, 2014

Enright & Majors

Enright Station according to the Ocean Shore
Railroad survey map, 1912 (UC Santa Cruz)
The mouth of Majors Creek, roughly 6.9 miles north of the Southern Pacific depot in Santa Cruz, served multiple functions in 1905 when the Ocean Shore and Coast Line railroads drove their right-of-ways through the area. First, there's the present-day Scaroni Road which, back in the 1900s, was the primary county road. The current bluff fill was all but a dream to early highway engineers. Second, it was a small dairy community similar to Wilder three miles to the south. But third and most importantly for this study, the northern bluff above the creek served as a railroad stop for, first, the Ocean Shore, and then later, the Coast Line railroads.

The location and creek were named after Joseph L. Majors and his family. Originally, the creek was named Coja Creek or Eagle Glen. Majors was an early settler to Santa Cruz County having possibly come over with Isaac Graham and other early American pioneers in 1835. Like so many other early Santa Cruz non-Californios, Majors married Maria de los Angeles Castro, one of the wealthiest women in the area. Her Rancho Refugio granted Majors political status in the county, where he eventually became alcalde (mayor) in 1841. Majors also managed to gain Rancho San Augustín and Rancho Zayante, making him extremely wealthy. Majors himself did little along the North Coast, but his son, Joseph Robert Joaquin Majors, and his grandsons, Thomas Ladd and Joseph, operated ranches alongside the early county road in Rancho Refugio for the Enright family.

The Majors boys worked for Joseph D. Enright and the stop was likewise named "Enright" by the Ocean Shore Railroad. The original property owner, James Enright, purchased the land from the Castro family in the 1870s. Joseph D., his son, then inherited the property in 1894. Why the land was noted as being owned by "M.D." Enright is unknown but it was probably a typo referring to Joseph. Joseph's farm was noted as being one of the best dairy ranches in the county, encompassing one thousand acres of land. The land also included a small mine, probably digging for bitumen which was somewhat rich in the area. The Enright station was a short freight platform found on the west side of the Ocean Shore tracks with the Coast Line tracks continuing north without halting. For the Ocean Shore, the stop was 7.5 north of their Santa Cruz Station and just 0.5 miles south of their next stop, Lagos. There was no documented siding or spur there as of 1912. At some point after 1912, the Enright family sold at least a portion of their property to the Majors, though the name of the stop remained Enright for the Ocean Shore. The Enright family today lives in Watsonville.

Things changed with the closure of the Ocean Shore Railroad in 1920. Although the tracks remained in place and ownership transferred to the San Vicente Lumber Company, service to the stop was halted along the old right-of-way. Picking up the slack, the Southern Pacific Railroad took control of the line and renamed the stop "Majors" after the creek and the current owners of the land. The stop remained strictly for freight, at least officially, and it never appeared in employee timetables, only station books. The stop remained small with little more than a freestanding sign to note its existence to passing tourists.

Railroad service to Majors ceased at an unknown date but it was after 1941 when this researcher's collection of timetables ends. A small portion of the Enright property became Coast Dairies State Park while the remainder is private property. The Coast Road, or rather the original county road, turns into the property to briefly parallel the tracks at Majors. The beach below at the mouth of Majors Creek was originally named Majors Beach but has since been named Red, White & Blue Beach, accessible from Scaroni Road.

Citations:

  • Donald Clark, Santa Cruz County Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary (Scotts Valley, CA: Kestrel Press, 2008).

2 comments:

  1. Actually, Majors IS listed in some of the Southern Pacific Employee Timetables. It is shown
    in Time Table # 144 of Mar. 21, 1937 on Page 8 as having a spur with a 3 car capacity. It is also
    shown under "Additional Stations" on page 17 of Timetable # 160 of Sept.30, 1951.
    Thank you again for informing us of the history of these obscure stations!

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    Replies
    1. Good to hear. I am rather spotty with my Davenport branch timetables. I didn't have time to copy all of them at the CSRM. You gotta love that "additional stations" section. I had to go back and find those for 1/4 of the way through copying the timetables.

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