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Friday, March 17, 2017

Stations: Cassin

Michael Cassin was an East Coast immigrant to California who settled in San Francisco in 1859. Not long after his son, Charles Michael Cassin, was born on January 10, 1868, Michael, his wife Mary Anne Daly, and their son moved to north Monterey County on a swampy agricultural parcel adjacent to the Pajaro River. During this time, Charles attended Watsonville High School before enrolling in Santa Clara College in the mid-1880s. He graduated in 1888 and spent three years at Notre Dame and the University of Michigan where he became a lawyer. In 1893, Charles co-opened the legal offices of Cassin & Lucas in downtown Santa Cruz. Meanwhile, his father moved off the Pajaro River farm around 1890 and relocated to a cottage in Santa Cruz.

Charles M. Cassin, c. 1890. [Find A Grave]
It must have been at this time that Cassin station was named, although it is highly possible that the family continued to lease after they left. The Pajaro Valley Railroad first carved its path on the outside edge of the Cassin property in 1890, and the stop it planted there was located 4.9 miles from Watsonville and 22.8 miles from Spreckels. The railroad set up one of its longest spurs here, capable of holding 24 cars. This suggests that the Cassin farm produced sugar beets as one of its primary products since the farm was not much larger than its neighbors, who hosted significantly smaller spurs and sidings. Although information is scarce, it is likely that the station hosted a beet-loading dump and a fair-sized staging area, and the stop certainly could be used for passenger service to Watsonville or Salinas as well. How long the farm remained in the Cassin family is unknown to this author, but the railroad spur and stop do not appear on the 1912 USGS map, suggesting they were already removed by that time. At latest, the station and spur were removed in 1930, after the Pajaro Valley Consolidated Railroad ceased operations along the line and the tracks were pulled.

Charles M. Cassin, 1906. [Santa Cruz Elks]
The Cassin family remained prominent in Santa Cruz County even after Michael died in 1907. Charles became a city attorney in 1893 and was active in the Elks Lodge and the Native Sons of the Golden West. He married Josephine Murphy, a Watsonville resident, in 1896 and they had six children together, several of whom have descendants living in the county today. In 1913, Charles moved to San José, leaving his son, Charles Jr., in charge of his Santa Cruz firm. He died in 1924 and is buried near his father in the Valley Catholic Cemetery.

Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
36.866˚N, 121.802˚W

The site of Cassin is unremarkable today. The site is located on a private access road (the former right-of-way) squeezed between the Pajaro River and a large field adjacent to Trafton Road. The only remnant of the station left is an irrigation channel that passes immediately beside the former stop. There is no physical trace of the stop remaining in the area and the site is inaccessible to the public.

Citations & Credits:
  • Martin, Edward. History of Santa Cruz County, California, with Biographical Sketches. Los Angeles: Historic Record Company, 1911.

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