|A USGS Map from 1912 showing Opal at the bottom-left corner.|
The track coming from the bottom is the Union Traction Company
trolley line from Santa Cruz.
The residential subdivision was developed north of the switch after World War I in July 1923 under the direction of Kathryn McGeoghegan, widow of Eulice Hihn. McGeoghegan later lost the property in a foreclosure to Frank Blake in 1931. Blake sold 40 acres to Harry McBain in 1936 and he chose to use the name of the old railroad stop as an impetus to nreame all the streets of the neighborhood after precious gems. Thus, Crystal Street, Emerald Street, Garnet Street, Jewel Street, Opal Street, Ruby Street, Topaz Street, Jade Street, and Diamond Street all create what locals refer to as the "Jewel Box". The original subdivision was between 45th and 49th Avenues, but expansions to the neighborhood after World War II continued the themed-naming. The freight yard was abandoned in the 1930s but buildings from it may have contributed to some of the homes in the Jewel Box.
Today, Jade Street Park sits atop the old Opal freight yard, with the Capitola Community Center nearby, even though the subdivision is technically a part of the City of Santa Cruz. The streets are still named for precious jewels and the tracks still pass to the south of the subdivision, but trains no longer stop there, at least not currently. Santa Cruz County owns the right-of-way now and may someday reinstate a stop in the area, though probably not at the park.
- Donald Clark, Place Names of Santa Cruz County (Scotts Valley, CA: Kestrel Press, 2002).
- Carolyn Swift. Historic Context Statement for the City of Capitola. Capitola, CA: Capitola Community Development Department, 2004.