|Davenport according to an Ocean Shore Railroad survey map from 1912. (UC Santa Cruz)|
William J. Dingee was the entrepreneur who saw the potential of Portland cement production on the western slopes of Ben Lomond Mountain just north of San Vicente Creek. He took control over the small Santa Cruz Lime Company that was located on the bluff overlooking the creek in 1905, and also purchased around 100-acres of land from the Coast Dairies & Land Co. Construction started immediately at the briefly-named town of San Vicente on what would soon be christened the Santa Cruz Portland Cement Company. The Ocean Shore Railroad reached the plant just around the time that construction was completed, and for the better part of a year, the Southern Division of that railroad profited off of the cement output that was shipped via Santa Cruz Depot. The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, unfortunately, caused a change in direction for the nascent cement plant. Recognizing the increased need for Portland cement in San Francisco, they negotiated a contract with Southern Pacific, fearing that the damaged and ill-equipped Ocean Shore would be unable to ship the needed loads of cement to San Francisco in sufficient quantities. The Coast Line, thus, was given precedent at the plant and the Ocean Shore loading dock was forced further north at a site to be named Blue Gum.
On the north and south sides of the cement plant, the town of Davenport sprang up. The "old" town was located between San Vicente Creek and the plant. Needing more space for workers, the company purchased additional land from the Coast Dairies of J. Morretti and initially named the flat north of town Morrettiville, but it quickly became simply "new" town. Davenport got its name in 1905, but the post office had been called that since 1889 because of the Landing two miles north of town. It moved in 1906 to the town and remains there today.
|Davenport town, c. 1908, by Ole Ravnos. (Alverda Orlando & santacruzwaves.com)|
|Davenport Station in 1948. [William Whittaker via Jim Vail]|
|Tourist train at Davenport Station in the 1940s or 1950s. [Jim Vail]|
|Hoppers parked alongside cement plant, c. 2005. [quarriesandbeyond.org]|