Author Statement

If you have information on local railroads, photographs or railroad documents, or you feel a mistake has been made or information omitted from an article, email me at author@santacruztrains.com. This site would not be possible without your help and support. Thank you! – Derek R. Whaley

Friday, March 22, 2019

Stations: Boulder Creek

Boulder Creek began life as simply Boulder, which was a reference to nearby Boulder Creek, which flows down the eastern side of Ben Lomond. Confused? Blame early settlers. Boulder Creek—the stream—is a descriptive name given by early trappers and lumbermen to a feeder creek of the San Lorenzo River. Directly across from its confluence with the river, Bear Creek flows into the river as well creating a strange topographical feature nicknamed the Turkey Foot by these same early settlers. The Turkey Foot unsurprisingly creates a bit of a flood plain, especially on the western side of the river where the mountainside is less steep. From the late 1850s, early settlers and lumbermen used this floodplain as a gathering point for their mule and oxen teams before their long journey to Felton and Santa Cruz. It is here were the story of Boulder Creek—the town—begins.

The Commercial Hotel on Main Street in Boulder Creek, 1901. Photo by Andrew Hill. [History San José]
Joseph Wilbur Peery, who later founded the short-lived town of Lorenzo a mile to the south, helped establish the settlement of Boulder when he erected a small sawmill across from Bear Creek in the early 1860s. Lumbermen and their families moved into scattered cottages and homes around the periphery of the mill, while a general store, livery stable, blacksmith shop, and the Boulder Creek Hotel arose nearby to support the mill and its visitors. By 1872, a post office named Boulder Creek was established inside the general store and the Crediford family was quickly improving structures within the settlement. The area was still sparsely settled and only a few lumber mills were operating in the surrounding hills, but enough people were around to keep the town alive. Even after Peery relocated his mill further south to Lorenzo, the settlement continued with the help of the Credifords.

A wagon on the bridge over Boulder Creek, 1875. Photo by R. E. Wood. [CSU Chico]
The arrival in 1875 of the San Lorenzo Valley Flume & Lumber Company's v-flume began the process of turning Boulder into the much more substantial Boulder Creek. The flume passed directly to the east of town, cutting through the forested, marshy floodplain to the south of the Turkey Foot and then sending feeder flumes up Boulder and Bear creeks in search of additional water supplies. John H. Alcorn owned the floodplain, the hotel, a saloon, and a few other properties on either side of Boulder Creek, and sold all of them to the flume company in 1874 so that the flume could use the flat area for loading lumber onto the flume. For all intents and purposes, Boulder had become a company town. When the South Pacific Coast Railroad purchased the flume company in 1879, company's vice president, Thomas Carter, gained ownership of Alcorn's old lands in the marsh, although he spent little of his own money to develop the area.

For the next ten years, lumbermen and their families, merchants, and other entrepreneurial minds began moving to Boulder, anticipating its future wealth and importance to the local economy. Peery in Lorenzo, the Credifords in Boulder, and Carter south of Boulder Creek subdivided their lands for private homes and businesses. The flume land became the third distinct area of settlement, located midway between the older two, and it is to here where most of the new residents moved in the late 1870s and throughout the 1880s. The county road through the townships became Center Street in Lorenzo, Main Street in the flume lands, and San Lorenzo Road in Boulder and beyond.

Winfield Scott Rodger's map of Boulder Creek, 1905, showing a simplified survey of the station grounds and surrounding features. [UC Santa Cruz Digital Collections]
The Felton & Pescadero Railroad made certain that the flume property would become the unifying core of these three settlements. Surveyors bypassed Lorenzo on their way north, noting the lack of land for a staging area and resistance from the settled population. Meanwhile, the old settlement of Boulder had even less land and the presence of the river and two creeks meant increased costs of installation and maintenance. Inevitably, the railroad chose the flume company's marshland as its northern terminus. It made perfect sense: there was plenty of land here that could be flattened and raised to reduce the chance of flooding. It was also already owned by the railroad's parent company, the South Pacific Coast Railroad, which had purchased the flume in 1879. And the lands to the west were ideal for settlement, being already subdivided and the empty lots owned by the flume company. Thus, the area to the east of Main Street all the way to the banks of the river were earmarked for the railroad, and the Felton & Pescadero wasted no time in using that space to its utmost. The first train rolled into town in April 1885 and the prosperity of Boulder Creek truly began.

View of Boulder Creek Freight Yard from opposite hillside, c. 1890. [The Valley Press]
By 1887, the flume had been truncated to a terminus in the Boulder Creek rail yard and narrow-gauge railroad tracks had begun snaking in ever-expanding lines throughout the area. The first permanent depot was set up behind and below the Dougherty-Middleton general store, one block east of Main Street. The main railroad terminus was just beside the station on the east, while another spur ran to the west of the depot. A freight spur ran along either side of the flume, as well, with the easternmost splitting into at least three branches that all terminated beside lumber stacks.

A long lumber train entering Boulder Creek (engine house visible behind train), c. 1890s. [The Valley Press]
South of the depot and flume terminus, a tall water tower was erected beside a railroad turntable and two-locomotive engine house that could store the Boulder Creek switch engine overnight. Additional spurs and sidings arose over subsequent decades, especially once the flume was removed in 1888. To replace it, the Santa Clara Valley Mill & Lumber Company extended a railroad line up the San Lorenzo River, leading to the installation of several more freight spurs and sidings on the easternmost side of the yard. Just above the banks of the San Lorenzo River, two planing and shingle mills were erected to cut and process wood brought to town by various lumber concerns in the vicinity. Meanwhile, two tracks reached across Main Street to a planing mill owned by the Southern Lumber Company.

The town of Boulder Creek after a small snowfall with the rail yard at back right, c. 1905. [The Valley Press]
With the opening of the extension railroad, Boulder Creek boomed into life. Hundreds of lumbermen moved to the town, many living year-round, and a total of more than 800 people came to support the local industries in various capacities. A grammar and high school opened up on the hillside to the west of town, while churches, stores, more hotels, restaurants, and various other businesses setup shop along Main Street. In the hills, farmers, ranchers, and vintners moved onto tracts that had recently been logged. Wealthy Bay Area elite moved into other areas, protecting their lands from the axe through their desire for a peaceful seasonal retreat. Some of these people helped form the Sempervirens Fund, that, in 1902, helped create the second state park: California Redwood Park (now Big Basin Redwoods State Park).

A special party car advertising Fourth Liberty Loans on the tracks beside the second Boulder Creek depot, c. 1915.
[The Valley Press]
Boulder Creek thrived as one of the largest exporters of lumber in the United States from 1885 to 1915 and the chief source of lumber within California for much of this time. And all of it shipped out via the railroad. The 1906 earthquake did little damage to the Boulder Creek Branch and much of the lumber used to rebuild San Francisco and downtown Santa Cruz came from the upper San Lorenzo Valley. The earthquake also prompted Southern Pacific to finally standard-gauge the tracks to Boulder Creek, in effect turning the freight yard into a dual-gauge operation since the track north of town remained narrow-gauge. The depot itself was replaced with a much larger structure in 1910, implying that the future for the branch was still bright.

Men standing outside the engine house, c. 1890s. [The Valley Press]
Extensive logging for decades, however, led to an inevitable decline in available timber. The shingle and planing mills in the yard were the first to go in the early 1900s. The space left by the Smith mill was gifted to the city to become Junction Park. Meanwhile, mills across the upper San Lorenzo Valley began to close, leading to the abandonment of the extension railroad around 1917 and the end of regularly-scheduled evening freight service in 1921. The town transitioned begrudgingly from a lumber town to a tourist town. Capitalizing on interest in Big Basin, Castle Rock, local resorts, and other nearby sights, the town struggled on, even as the Great Depression descended painfully upon the San Lorenzo Valley in late 1929. In March 1931, Southern Pacific replaced the two regular passenger trains with Pacific Greyhound service. Three years later, even the occasional freight service was deemed superfluous. The few companies left could haul out cut timber via trucks, rendering the Boulder Creek Branch a needless expense. In January 1934, the last freight train left Boulder Creek with what rolling stock remained.

Grace and Florence Mosher and "Uncle Charlie" in front of a locomotive at the Boulder Creek yard, 1913.
[Santa Cruz Public Libraries]
Over the next year, the track along the route was pulled, the freight yard was cleaned and subdivided, and the depot demolished due to lack of a buyer. Boulder Creek trudged on and continued to grow, despite the loss of its most significant industry, and today it is once again surrounded by redwood forests that have long since retaken the land that the lumbermen of the nineteenth century so wantonly cleared.

Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
37.1257N, 122.1214W

The site of Boulder Creek Station is just behind the Boulder Creek Fire Department and beside the Boulder Creek Recreation & Parks District building near the corner of Railroad Avenue and Middleton Avenue. There is nothing at the location today except a playground and a parking lot. The adjacent road mostly follows the main track of the railroad right-of-way while the entire area from Railroad Avenue to the east once formed the Boulder Creek freight yard. Clues to the railroad's presence here can be found in the names: Railroad Avenue, Junction Avenue, and Middleton Avenue (named after one of the owners of the California Timber Company, the Dougherty Extension Railroad, and several businesses in town). The only evidence of the actual right-of-way is far to the south of town along East Lomond Street behind a private home. Trespassing is not advised.

Citations:
  • Hamman, Rick. California Central Coast Railways. Second edition. Scotts Valley, CA: Otter B Books, 2002.
  • MacGregor, Bruce, and Richard Truesdale, South Pacific Coast: A Centennial. Boulder, CO: Pruett Publishing, 1982.
  • Robinson, Lisa A. Images of America: The San Lorenzo Valley. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2012.
  • Whaley, Derek R. Santa Cruz Trains: Railroads the Santa Cruz Mountains. Santa Cruz, CA, 2015.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Stations: Filbert

Cottrell's general store, Lorenzo, c. 1878.
Photo by R. E. Wood. [Chico State University]
The town of Boulder Creek eight miles north of Santa Cruz along the San Lorenzo River doesn't really feel like a homogenous place. In the hills around it are small communities of people who visit the town to buy groceries or refuel but otherwise just commute on through—places like Wildwood, Bracken Brae, Forest Park, Little Basin, Riverside Grove, and San Lorenzo Park, among others. In the town itself, there is a rather obvious geographic division between those who live south of Scarborough Lumber and those who live north, differentiated by a slight curve in State Route 9 and a low hill. For certain, all of these places are a part of Boulder Creek, but the town was not always a single unit. In the beginning, there were two towns: Boulder and Lorenzo.

In January 1875, just months before the San Lorenzo Valley Flume & Lumber Company constructed its v-flume through the area of the Turkey Foot—the confluence of Bear and Boulder creeks into the San Lorenzo River—Joseph Wilburn Peery set to work incorporating a town he named Lorenzo. He bought a lumber mill owned by Frank L. Pitt that ran off water from the intermittent Harmon Gulch creek and used it to attract lumbermen and others who could support a town. The settlement included precisely what one would expect to find in such a rugged environment: saloons, places of ill-repute, a few hostelries, and a growing number of private homes.

Stereograph of the Lorenzo Hotel, built by J. W. Peery, c. 1878. Photo by R. E. Wood. [Bancroft Library]
Peery's mill had come to him via Pitt, but Pitt wasn't its first owner either. It began life as the Sylvar mill and was little more than a shingle mill and tannery. Peery upgraded some of its facilities but continued using it for its original purpose. Some lumber was produced there and used in the construction of homes in the area, but the mill primarily focused on the more valuable split stuff. Excess lumber was loaded onto the flume and shipped to Felton from 1875 to 1885.

Lumber floating down the San Lorenzo Valley flume, c. 1878. Photo by R. E. Wood. [California State Library]
Although the flume helped Peery's lumber operation, it did little to help his town. The flume company had purchased a large lot half a mile north of Lorenzo so that flume traffic could be sorted and loaded efficiently. For a brief time, Lorenzo served as the primary settlement catering to the flume's operations and even managed to convince the local post master to relocate to the back of a saloon in Lorenzo. But the residents of the smaller settlement of Boulder one mile to the north revolted, arguing that one should not have to go into a saloon to send mail. Boulder at this time was a dry town. In 1877, the post office returned to Boulder and Lorenzo's decline soon followed.

L.S. & P. Mill & Tannery, located on J.W. Peery's property in Lorenzo, c. 1880s.
[UC Santa Cruz Digital Collections]
In 1883, Lorenzo petitioned the newly-formed Felton & Pescadero Railroad to establish Lorenzo as its northern terminus. The railroad declined due to the fact that it owned the large flat that had previously served as the flume sorting area. The residents of Lorenzo certainly did not help matters—they demanded such high prices for property that the railroad took a circuitous route around the town, almost entirely avoiding it. Peery's mill received a station called Lorenzo which initially served as the terminus while construction was finished further to the north, but then the new station of Boulder Creek located closer to Boulder became the line's new terminus.

Lorenzo declined sharply over the next decade. Peery convinced the railroad to build a 556-foot-long siding at his mill so that he could continue to ship out lumber, split stuff, and tanned hides. Nonetheless, service to the station was so low that Southern Pacific demoted it to a flag-stop when they took over in 1887. Then in 1897, a kitchen fire spread throughout the town, destroying the two major hotels, the town hall, and other buildings along the county road. Peery briefly attempted to rebuild, but gave up within a year, selling his mill to Joseph Lane. Lorenzo was soon afterwards incorporated into Boulder Creek.

People awaiting for a train at Filbert, the successor to Lorenzo, c. 1900. [The Valley Press]
In addition to demoting the stop, Southern Pacific also renamed the station Filbert in 1887. This was probably to avoid confusion with another station named Lorenzo, or perhaps San Lorenzo, but it was an odd choice for a name. It was probably a reference to the California Hazel Tree, which is also named the filbert—although this tree is native to the Boulder Creek area, the nickname is not local and was probably provided by non-local railroad employee. After standard-gauging of the tracks in 1908, Filbert became strictly a passenger flag-stop, suggesting the Lane mill was no longer in use. A passenger shelter was built at this time, probably for visitors to the nearby Redwood Rest resort. In 1916, locals negotiated a new fare for travel between Filbert and Santa Cruz and also were granted permission to pay their fares directly to the conductor, saving them the trouble of traveling to Boulder Creek station to pay for tickets.

Postcard of Redwood Rest Hotel near Filbert station, c. 1930. [Derek R. Whaley]
Regular passenger service along the Boulder Creek Branch ended in late 1930, although special excursion trains may have operated after this date. All service ended in January 1934, after which the tracks were pulled and the land sold. Redwood Rest Resort continued to operate their resort beside the former right-of-way and probably purchased a portion of it after Southern Pacific left the area.

Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
37.1165N, 122.1172W

The site of Filbert was located near the end of Grove Street on the south side of town. It was located to the northeast of Redwood Resort RV Park, which marks the former location of the Redwood Rest Resort. While portions of the right-of-way survive in this area and can be observed on Google Maps, the majority of the land has been developed for private use and trespassing upon any of it is not advised.

Citations & Credits:

Friday, March 8, 2019

Stations: Harris

It should come as no surprise that the mile between Brookdale and Boulder Creek used to host a thriving lumber industry. Both the village of Brookdale and town of Boulder Creek began life as lumber settlements, and the stretch between the two locations was not immune from this industry. Midway between these two settlements, a succession of shingle mills operated on the east bank of the San Lorenzo River.

The earliest reference for a mill at this location is in late 1884, when Felton general store owner and local magnate James F. Cunningham relocated his lumber operations from Felton. Daily operations at the mill were overseen by the firm of Dabadie & Morgan, and the mill was capable of producing 60,000 shingles and shakes per day. The timing of the relocation suggests that Cunningham waited until the Felton & Pescadero Railroad was built before investing in operations this far north. The flume, which was dismantled around this time, was not able to transport anything smaller than cut lumber, so split stuff needed to be hauled to Felton by wagon. The fact that the mill sat on the relatively inaccessible east bank of the San Lorenzo River undoubtedly made this option unfeasible. As soon as the railroad line was completed, a location called "Cunningham's" appeared in agency books. The stop included a pair of spurs that together measured 668 feet long. Cunningham's mill and all of its contents, as well as a piece of rolling stock, burned on November 20, 1890. From this point forward, Cunningham focused all of his attentions thereafter on his much larger lumber mill north of Boulder Creek along the newly-constructed Dougherty Extension Railroad.


Sanborn Fire Insurance map of the Boulder Mill Company mill south of Boulder Creek, 1892.
[UC Santa Cruz Digital Collections]
In early 1891, the Boulder Mill & Lumber Company took over operations and the railroad renamed the stop "Boulder Mill." Unlike Cunningham's operations, the Boulder Mill Company sought to actually cut lumber for shipment out of its new mill. A Sanborn Fire Insurance map of the property shows two railroad spurs passing through stacks of lumber, with one stopping on the edge of the river and the other at the entrance of the mill. The San Lorenzo River behind the mill was dammed so as to act as a mill pond. A bridge was erected over the mill pond to allow wagons and other vehicles to enter the property from Boulder Creek. beside the central track and along the road that passed through the property, a small freight office shack was built. When running at maximum efficiency, the mill could produce 20,000 board feet of lumber per day. The Boulder Mill Company became delinquent on some of its taxes in 1893 and, as a result, the mill was sold to a local lawyer, J. M. Green, on June 17, 1895.

Grover & Company Mill as depicted on a Sanborn Fire Insurance map, 1897.
[UC Santa Cruz Digitial Collections]
Within a few months, Grover & Company took control of the abandoned Boulder mill south of Boulder Creek. The company was well-established in Santa Cruz County by this time, although they had very little presence within the San Lorenzo Valley. The brothers J. Lyman, Stephen F., and Whitney had all been in the lumber industry since the 1860s and had their main base of operations north of Soquel in what would later be named Grover Gulch (now Glen Haven). Throughout the 1890s, they leased timberland in Scott's Valley, Santa Cruz, the North Coast, and in the Clear Creek area. The Grovers only operated their mill near Clear Creek for a few years and soon became involved in the development of the area into a resort alongside Judge John H. Logan. The mill itself changed very little in the time that it was under Grovers' management. Indeed, the railroad never bothered to change the name and it continued to be referenced as the Boulder Mill throughout this period. By 1900, the mill was abandoned and the buildings were demolished or moved to other locations. 

The abandoned Grover & Company property according to a Sanborn Fire Insurance map, 1901.
[UC Santa Cruz Digital Collections]
By 1901, only the basic layout of the old mill remained. The two railroad spurs, the office, and the mill pond were still left intact, but nothing else survived the demolition. Standard-gauging of the line in 1908 appears to have removed the spurs, but the office remained behind. In 1902, part of the Grover property was leased to G. Ellingwood Joy, who founded a retreat for the Sacramento Boys' Brotherhood here. Camp Joy, as it became known, was an outdoor camping area that catered to primary- and secondary-aged boys. It included all manner of sports and hosted a national park guide and culinary chef. Besides outdoor activities, the camp supported academic pursuits such as study and research. It was in 1910 that the location finally appeared on railroad timetables as an additional stop called "Joy Camp," clearly implying that some railroad traffic stopped there during the summer months.


Original mill owned by the Grovers in Glen Haven. No known photograph exists of the Boulder Creek mill.
[Santa Cruz Public Libraries]
Only a year later, Joy Camp was renamed "Harris," although both the reason for this change and the name itself remain a mystery. Newspapers at the time make no reference to it and even Donald Clark, the famed local etymologist, could not guess at the origin or reason. The best guess is that it was named after a former Southern Pacific railroad detective named Leonard Harris, who was killed in a shootout in Boulder Creek in 1894. Perhaps some of the more studious campers at Camp Joy did some research and rediscovered this felled hero and recommended the name change. In any case, Harris appeared on employee timetables as a flag-stop in 1910 and remained through the rest of the branch line's existence.

Regularly-scheduled passenger service along the Boulder Creek Branch ended at the end of 1930, but it is unclear when service to Camp Joy ended. It may have terminated earlier, or it could have continued even after passenger service ended via special excursion trains. All service ended in January 1934 and the tracks were pulled soon afterwards. The only part of the old railroad presence there to remain was the office shack, which continued to sit on the old mill property just to the south of Camp Joy.

Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
37.1143N, 122.1172W

The site of the mill is located on private property and trespassing is prohibited. The right-of-way to from the southeast off Irwin Way remains intact as a long driveway while a single concrete pier over the San Lorenzo River is still standing to the north of the site. According to the owner, the old mill office shack was incorporated into the current private residence, which dates to 1911. To the east, Camp Joy has been subdivided several times, but a portion remains as Camp Joy Gardens, which was established in 1971.

Citations & Credits:

Friday, March 1, 2019

Curiosities: Huckleberry Island and the Brookdale Club

Brookdale may be famous for its lodge, but the settlement hosted several resorts and subdivisions over the years. The area around Siesta became East Brookdale, the area to the north of town—beyond the bend in the river—was North Brookdale, and the area from the railroad station westward was just plain old Brookdale. But there were still two other important areas that cannot be overlooked.

The proto-Brookdale Club holding an event under the San Lorenzo River bridge at Brookdale, c. 1905.
Huckleberry Island
In the July 14, 1968 issue of the Santa Cruz Sentinel, local historian and staff writer Margaret Koch provided a thorough history of this location that requires little elaboration (though some updating):

An Island That's Not...
"Huckleberry Island, up at Brookdale, is not a true island. It is surrounded by water only on three sides. But huckleberries grow there in the green and gold light under a canopy of trees. Grandfather-size redwoods lift their arms to the sky. There are deer and birds, beauty and peace and the soothing sound of water. Above all, Huckleberry Island is a state of mind.

"And to be absolutely accurate, there is one time of year, winter, when a certain spring is flowing, that Huckleberry Island becomes a true island. This information comes from Herman Irwin who came to Brookdale from San Francisco in 1903. His property bounds the island on its north side where the peripatetic spring ebbs and flows. 'No one knows who named the island,' he said. Mr. Irwin may not know that, but he has gathered other information over the years, because the island is the sort of place that excites curiosities. Its story also is woven inextricably into that of Brookdale, where it is located."
In the Early Days
"The island was owned by the pioneer Grover Mill interests in the 1870s, then by Santa Clara Valley [Mill &] Lumber Company, the McKoy and Duffey Company, and finally was cut over by [Irving Thomas] Bloom Mill. Most of the virgin redwoods around Brookdale were logged out. The lumber mill stood just back of the present Brookdale Lodge dining room. And in those days, Brookdale was known as Reed's Spur.

"Those early-day loggers looked at the island redwoods with dollar signs in both eyes. But they had to leave them standing: it was impossible to get logs of that size across the San Lorenzo River. And so, by the grace of God and inadequate early-day logging equipment, the patriarch trees were saved. 

"The great natural beauty of the Brookdale and Huckleberry Island was recognized by Judge John H. Logan of loganberry fame. What was the judge doing up there? Who knows...perhaps investigating the huckleberry crop. He had a green thumb and a lifelong interest in berries. The judge later bought out Grover's interests and established a small hotel and furniture factory at Brookdale...."

They Swam
"'On June 1, the train would roll into Brookdale loaded with kids and dogs. There were 700 families down here all summer—they came from the San Francisco and Oakland bay areas,' [Irwin] recalled. These early vacationers weren't long in discovering the island with its secluded river beauty. It was purchased by a Dr. Hunkin from San Francisco who built a summer home there. First house on the island, it is still owned [as of 1968] by his daughter, Meva Hunkin, according to Irwin.


Dr. Schnoor riding his 1923 Ford Model T across the Huckleberry Island bridge. [Santa Cruz Sentinel]
"Senator Arthur Breed came to the island about the same time and bought a large hunk of it in order to get the famed redwood grove. He also built a large summer home—some believe it was built before Dr. Hunkin's home. Today the Breed home is owned and cherished by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas G. Schnoor...."

They Built Homes
"Senator Breed's enthusiasm for the mountain retreat attracted prominent friends such as the H. C. Capwells of Oakland, the Bancrofts of UC Bancroft Library fame, and Dr. Warren Wakefield, first physician to use scopalimine or 'twilight sleep' for women in childbirth. These people all came to visit, then returned to buy summer home sites on Huckleberry Island. 'The Island' became a whole new way of summer life for those city dwellers. Eventually, 14 homes were built. With the passing of the years, the turning of auto wheels, and changes in family vacation patterns, many of the senior settlers sold out.

A Magic Place
"The second wave of island settlers is now in command. Many live there all year 'round. They join forces occasionally for projects like replacing the worn-out bridge after a power company truck fell through it in 1965. (The bridge has been replaced three times since 1903.) But mostly they just enjoy island living...its privacy, beauty, and the charm of old houses."

1909 county subdivision map for Huckleberry Island. [San Lorenzo Valley Museum]
The relationship between Huckleberry Island and the railroad is somewhat complex. The original San Lorenzo Valley Flume must have passed directly over the island, putting into question Irwin's claims that it was not logged over. Yes, at least one substantial old growth grove survives, but there are no other virgin redwoods on the island, suggesting they were cut prior to settlement. When the Felton & Pescadero Railroad was installed around late 1884, ultimately replacing the flume, it cut through the northeastern strip of land that binds the "island" to the "mainland." Irwin's statements about a spring may be true, but it was actually the railroad that provided the fourth side of Huckleberry Island during these years. It is unclear whether any trains stopped on what was initially called "Island Park." The strip of land is short and bookended by bridges over the San Lorenzo River, but it seems likely. There was no official stop for the railroad there, but the wealthy families that lived on the island may have prompted the railroad to occasionally send special excursion trains there, which may also explain why there is still a road to this day that terminates at the railroad right-of-way.

Arthur Breed was the person who purchased 38 acres of the island in 1902, and he filed subdivision papers on April 23, 1903, outlining the seventeen plots that would comprise the subdivision (a number of these parcels were almost immediately merged together). By 1909, a subdivision map for the island note as residents Luella Hesseman, Sarah E. Bancroft, Arthur Breed, H. C. Capwell, Mary G. Adams, Dr. Warren F. B. Wakefield, Dr. S. J. Hunkin, and Josephine Capwell, with the Breed and Bancroft families owning the old growth redwood grove at the center of the island. These parcels also extended across the river in many cases in order to maximize swimming and fishing access. The steepness of the land between the river and the county road to the southwest made the actual land across the river largely unusable. Breed added a dance pavilion and gazebo to the northeast of the redwood grove, and in 1926 a club house was added using funds gathered by island residents.

As Koch stated in 1968, most of the original families have long since sold their properties, but a few original families do still own properties on Huckleberry Island and access to the island remains restricted to residents and their guests. The 1965 bridge still crosses the river from the end of Pacific Street and a sign flanks it on either side notifying the island's private status. About half of the buildings on the island are still original, albeit in many cases highly upgraded and modified. Thirty years after the removal of the railroad line in 1934, an additional home was built upon former railroad land at the northeast corner of the island.

The Brookdale Club 
Like Huckleberry Island, the area north of the railroad tracks at Brookdale Station to the San Lorenzo River remained undeveloped for the first three decades that the railroad operated through the area. There was logic to this: it was a very narrow strip of land, much of which was actually within the Felton & Pescadero Railroad's right-of-way. That being said, it was prime waterfront property and hosted a significant beach along a broad stretch of the river, where the water slowed as it curved on its southward journey. Vacationers to Brookdale almost immediately flocked to this beach and the area beneath the railroad bridge to wade into the water to swim and fish from small rowboats.

The Brookdale Club came into unofficial existence nearly twenty years before it was incorporated. Indeed, as early as 1905, H. C. Capwell used his home on Huckleberry Island to host events and galas in the manner of a social club for local Brookdale residents. The merger of social engagements with summer vacationing was a natural fit and plans were put forward around 1916 to formally incorporate an organization with this goal. On August 5, 1920—after the end of World War I—the society was formed, although it was not incorporated for another two years. The original directors were Josephine Edwards Capwell, Lulu Dubbs Badt, Vivienne N. Phillips, Harriet L. Cowell, and Hallie Hyde Irwin, all female Brookdale residents or property owners with an interest in keeping Brookdale a high-class settlement.

Property survey map showing the Brookdale Club straddling the river beside Brookdale station. [George Pepper]
Gathering funds from local residents around the entire area, the club purchased the tract of land along the river in 1921. For the first half of the decade, the club leased the Judkins Memorial Hall for use as their clubhouse, ultimately buying it outright in 1926. The organization also leased some of the right-of-way from the Southern Pacific Railroad, which they later purchased once the land reverted to the Logan family in the mid-1930s.

The club catered almost exclusively to Brookdale residents, although an annual membership was still required to use facilities on the waterfront. Membership never exceeded 100 members per year, a technique that limited the amount of people using its facilities at any one time. In addition to seasonal beach access, the club put on dances, musical events, parties, and monthly social gatherings. Occasional events that allowed guests—basically a requirement once more people began moving to Brookdale—expanded awareness of the club. Unfortunately, as repair and upkeep costs increased in the later half of the twentieth century, interest in the social club declined. The clubhouse was sold in September 1995 as a private home and the Brookdale Club was disbanded. The clubhouse has since been demolished.

Citations & Credits:

Friday, February 22, 2019

Stations: Brookdale

For the last three decades of the nineteenth century, the San Lorenzo Valley had three substantial settlements that were conveniently spaced three miles apart from one another. One mile south of Boulder Creek, the area on either side of Clear Creek was little more than a Grover & Company lumber mill, a few scattered homesteads, and Robert C. Reed's hotel. It was less of a settlement and more of a waypoint. Grover was largely responsible for the removal of old growth redwoods in the vicinity of Clear Creek until 1883. At that point, other firms took over to finish cutting the less valuable timber and clearing most of the stumps. 

Postcard showing Brookdale station with the post office in the background, 1910s. [Derek R. Whaley]
These early logging operations required adequate transport since hauling lumber or uncut logs down the county road two miles to Felton was inefficient. When the San Lorenzo Valley flume was erected in 1875, Clear Creek was damed to provide water for the flume and lumber from Grover's mill was sent down the line to Felton, where it could be loaded onto Santa Cruz & Felton Railroad trains bound for the Railroad Wharf in Santa Cruz. Grover worked within the constraints of this arrangement throughout its time operating in the area. McKoy & Duffy leased the mill in 1883 and was fortunate to be able to utilize the Felton & Pescadero Railroad from late 1884.

A view looking up Reed's Spur from the southeast, c. 1905, with the station at left and the post office in the distance.
[Grant Carrell]
A station may have appeared at the location as early as 1884, although one did not enter official railroad documentation until 1892, five years after the Southern Pacific Railroad took control of the line. The station was named Reed's Spur, a reference to the nearby hotel owner upon whose land the tracks and station were probably built. The spur was originally a long track that paralleled the main branch line from Clear Creek before turning up Pacific Street briefly. It measured 239-feet and was supported by a wooden freight platform.

County survey map showing Reed's Spur (misspelled) along the Felton & Pescadero Railroad line, 1894.
[San Lorenzo Valley Museum]
McKoy & Duffy gave up on the mill around 1893 and the platform is no longer listed in records after that date. Irving T. Bloom ran the last formal lumber operation in the area, wrapping up in 1900. The end of the spur was probably abandoned at this time, although the lower section was still used to park passenger trains. The station became known as Reed from 1901 onward. No further freight operations were reported after this time. At some point, the parallel portion of the spur was turned into a 150-foot-long siding. When the line was standard-gauged in 1908, the original siding and spur were removed and replaced with a new spur that ended at the bottom of Pacific Street just before the right-of-way turned onto the bridge over the river.

Aerial view of Brookdale in 1911, with the station visible at left and the Brookdale Trestle at right.
Photo by Ravnos.

Stephen F. Grover, one of the owners of the mill property, had envisioned for many years a vacation community in the Clear Creek area. After McKoy & Duffy left, he converted a few old mill structures into vacation cottages. The venture was a success. In 1898, he joined with local landowner, Judge John H. Logan, to erect a permanent resort facility in the vicinity. They renamed the settlement Clear Creek to better market the area, although the railroad retained the old name, Reed. Within four years, the resort gave promising returns, with a former mill building expanding to become Hotel Minehaha, the nucleus of the nascent vacation retreat. Grover never got to see returns on his investment, though. In 1903, he backed out due to financial problems and Logan bought the entirety of the Grover & Company property. Soon afterwards, he petitioned the federal government for a post office under the name Clear Creek. The government declined stating the name was too common. Logan immediately tried again, this time succeeding in his efforts with the fanciful English name Brookdale.

Brookdale station on a busy day, late 1910s. 
One of Logan's early additions to the area was a railroad station shelter. He installed this on the south side of the tracks beside the Reed's Spur switch stand. This station likely opened in 1905, when the name of the stop was changed to Brookdale. The station shelter was small and always seasonal, hosting only a ticket and telegraph office that was staffed during the summer months. A broad covered porch wrapped around three sides of the shelter, with benches provided for waiting passengers.

Property survey of the Brookdale area showing the railroad right-of-way, 1909.
[San Lorenzo Valley Museum]

Brookdale as a summer resort was quite successful over its first two decades. Logan subdivided his property heavily and a substantial portion was sold to John DuBois in 1911, who installed seasonal cottages throughout his land to serve as vacation rentals. Hotel Minehaha became the Brookdale Hotel in 1907, followed by the Brookdale Lodge in 1915. In 1922, Logan sold his remaining property to F. K. Camp, who invited Hollywood celebrities to stay and perform at the hotel. He hired Horace Cotton to oversee the expansion of the lodge buildings, and it was Cotton who constructed the Brook Room restaurant, through which flowed Clear Creek. Most of the rustic nature of the lodge dates to this period. Railroad service to Brookdale ended in late 1930 and the town, like most seasonal resorts in the Santa Cruz Mountains, suffered during the Great Depression, although the hotel survived the worst years and even managed to bring in high-quality entertainers regularly.

Colorized postcard of the Brookdale Lodge Brook Room, mid-1920s.

After the end of World War II, Barney Marrow, who owned the Brookdale Inn across the road, purchased the lodge. He allowed the resort to decline in quality. After several more changes in ownership, the hotel had fallen so far that part of the lodge burned in 2007, prompting its closure. It finally reopened under the management of Pravin and Naina Patel in late 2018 as the Brookdale Lodge Inn & Spa. Most of the original Logan and Camp structures survive, although the Brookdale Inn has since closed and been demolished.

Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
The site of Brookdale station today, looking southeast down
the right-of-way. [Derek R. Whaley]
37.1099N, 122.1096W

The site of Brookdale Station can be found at the bottom of Pacific Street to the south just before the road turns over the bridge to Huckleberry Island. A modern private home now occupies the property and all evidence of the station structure has disappeared. A number of historical buildings dating to the time of the station survive in the surrounding area, including the original post office situated on the west side of Pacific Street, one home down from the end. The ballast fill for the railroad can still be seen at the end of Pacific Street while the right-of-way itself continues to the southeast, through two properties before crossing Clear Creek and continuing on. Trespassing on any of the properties in this area is not advised.

Citations & Credits:
  • Clark, Donald Thomas. Santa Cruz County Place Names: A Geographic Dictionary. Second edition. Scotts Valley, CA: Kestrel Press, 2008.
  • Hammon, Rick. California Central Coast Railroads. Second edition. Santa Cruz, CA: Otter B Books, 2002.
  • Whaley, Derek R. Santa Cruz Trains: Railroads of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Santa Cruz, CA, 2015.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Stations: Fish Hatchery

Historically, the San Lorenzo River has always been known for its fish. Although the industry has drastically declined in recent decades due to pollution from septic runoff that has almost entirely destroyed the viability of fish along the river, trout fishing once was a significant industry along the river, practiced by Zayante tribespeople, Spanish and Mexican settlers, and American pioneers.

Colorized postcard of the Brookdale Fish Hatchery, c. 1910, showing the railroad tracks in the foreground and three people sitting out front, possibly awaiting a train. [Derek R. Whaley]
Survey map of the area around Steen's Spur and the fish pond,
with depth readings, 1905. [San Lorenzo Valley Museum]
As the Felton & Pescadero Railroad first passed through the area that would become Brookdale, it cut down hundreds of redwood trees that sat within the right-of-way. While the trees could be harvested and cut by the nearby Boulder Mill, the stumps remained a problem. Jacob Steen, a local Jewish storeowner, ran a side-business as a stumper. For years he had worked with Frederick A. Hihn and George Treat to remove old stumps from around downtown Felton. He was likely hired around 1884 to remove stumps along the right-of-way as well. During this time, he likely purchased the small property along Larkspur Street that would later host an entirely different enterprise. When the general store that he ran in Felton burned down in 1896, Steen relocated to this property to the north, upon which he built a fish pond with the intention of breeding trout. A short 150-foot-long narrow-gauge spur was installed on the east side of the branch line directly beside the pond, from which Stein could presumably dump fish into the pond from boxcars. Little information is actually known for certain about operations at Steen's Spur. The station first appeared in railroad station books in 1899 with no facilities other than the spur, and it subsequently disappeared from the same in 1907, presumably because it was removed during the standard-gauging of the Boulder Creek Branch. Steen moved out of the San Lorenzo Valley but later was instrumental in founding the Santa Cruz Lumber Company with George Ley in 1923. The fish pond at Steen's Spur continued to exist until at least 1905, after which a much larger and more organized effort was begun to breed steelhead trout in Brookdale.

Interior of the Fish Hatchery showing the incubating troughs, 1911. [Derek R. Whaley]
Map of the are around the Fish Hatchery and the fish pond, c. 1908.
The fish pond was likely falling into disuse by the point and all evidence
of the spur has disappeared. Cattle guards along the right-of-way mark
either side of the fish pond. [San Lorenzo Valley Museum]
Judge John H. Logan, who purchased the Grover Mill (previous Boulder Mill) properties at the turn of the century in order to create a resort, turned to the fish pond south of town in 1905 with an interesting idea: what if the settlement ran the fishing grounds? In 1905, the local community allies with the Southern Pacific Railroad and the California Fish & Games Commission to purchase a large property along the Boulder Creek Branch just north of the old fish pond. A staff cottage and breeding house was soon erected, although it took a year for the breeding ponds outside the be completed. During this time, the fish pond was used for breeding and over a million trout were raised, although they had to be released into the river early due to insufficient space. Due to the size of the facility, the Brookdale Fish Hatchery served more as an experimental facility than a fully-fledged hatchery. Fish & Games staff tested various foods on the fish in an attempt to make them grow faster and larger. Nonetheless, an average of two million fish were grown annually at the hatchery using eggs collected at the Scott Creek nursery north of Davenport. Fish & Games took over operations completely in 1912.

The fish hatchery with the warden's house above it, 1909. [Derek R. Whaley]
Like Steen's Spur before it, Fish Hatchery served as a railroad station from 1909, with the main building serving as the station shelter and waiting area.  Unlike its predecessor, Fish Hatchery did not have a spur or platform, so shipments must have been loaded directly along the branch line track, although these would have been relatively rare. Incoming shipments with eggs would arrive only once per year, for the most part, while fish cars would be sent out to San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Monterey Counties and places within Santa Cruz County when the fish were large enough to be introduced to regional waterways. At all other times of the year, the station serviced staff and visitors.

The main Fish Hatchery building, with the exhaust vents on the roof removed, probably late 1940s.
[California Department of Fish & Game]
As with the rest of the Boulder Creek Branch, passenger service ended at the end of 1930, although seasonal freight likely continued through 1933. The line was abandoned and the tracks removed in early 1934. The hatchery continued to run until 1953 when increasing costs made it no longer tenable. The tanks and machinery were removed or destroyed and the property reverted to Logan's heirs.

Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
37.1074N, 122.1049W

The fish hatchery now serves as a private home off Larkspur Street along the private Old River Lane, which marks the old railroad right-of-way. A private cottage on the property, which housed the facility warden, was later moved to become a vacation home. Larkspur, meanwhile, parallels the right-of-way briefly to the south of the Fish Hatchery until it turns to cross the river.

Citations & Credits:

Friday, February 8, 2019

Stations: Siesta

The mile-long section of track that ran along the east bank of the San Lorenzo River between Ben Lomond and Brookdale hosted two stations that both catered to private residences and appeared around the same time. At the northern end of this stretch, just before the Southern Pacific Railroad's Boulder Creek Branch crossed back over to the west bank of the river, Siesta Station was established beside the property of Fred Wilder Swanton. Siesta was an appropriate name that both described the purpose of the location—it was a "rest" stop for Swanton in the Santa Cruz Mountains—and matched the Spanish Revival atmosphere that was gripping California at the time. Indeed, Swanton named his massive new hotel on the Santa Cruz Main Beach the Casa del Rey and built it in just such a style.

The Swanton Cottage outside Brookdale, c. 1915. [San Lorenzo Valley Museum]
The Swanton Cottage, though, which sat between the tracks and the river, was no adobé-style mansion. Instead, it was a very simple redwood lumber and log bungalow that matched a slightly older, rugged aesthetic. Swanton had purchased the property in 1908 on land that had originally been John W. Ellsworth's lumber mill decades earlier. It had been logged out early so most of the nearby redwood trees were second growth, leaving plenty of room to build a cabin. Despite its rural location and simple style, it was designed by none other than William Henry Weeks, a famed architect who had built several impressive structures across California including the Boardwalk's Casino and Plunge and the hotel across from them. Weeks and his crew finished the building by the summer of 1910 and Swanton named it "La Siesta."

The swimming hole below Siesta, probably taken from atop the railroad bridge, c. 1915.
[Surf's Edge]

La Siesta was a short-lived thriving private resort. It included a dance pavilion beside the river, electrical lighting, an expansive garden with fountains, and indoor plumbing. Down at the river, Swanton installed a seasonal dam to allow swimming and boating beneath the railroad bridge there. He also experimented with an aerial tramway to transport goods across the river from the county road (State Route 9), aided in the construction of this by W. D. Dalton, his son-in-law. Near the end of 1910, Swanton also brought in a dozen excess cottages that had to be removed in Santa Cruz to make way for the Casa del Rey Hotel. These became the core component of his summer resort. Friends from across the country came to visit and stay the summer south of Brookdale, using the train to get there.

Subdivision survey map, 1909.
[San Lorenzo Valley Museum]

Swanton had always had a close relationship with the Southern Pacific Railroad. When he began operating the Bay Shore Limited Railway at the Boardwalk in 1907, he gave special tickets to Southern Pacific staff and was granted, in exchange, free rides on their network. Almost as soon as Swanton began construction of La Siesta, the railroad allowed for a stop to be established there. At first, it was probably to transport construction material and cottages since Swanton had no road access initially. But in later years, it was certainly for passenger use. A 1,076-foot siding was built on the east side of the tracks upon which excursion trains could park. To support this stop, Swanton built an ornate station shelter with stained-glass windows that sat between the branch line and the spur.

Swanton's financial investments suffered in the mid- to late-1910s and he was forced to sell his home in 1920. The cottage passed to several owners over subsequent years, but remains largely unchanged in its style. The area across from the Swanton Cottage was subdivided at the same time that Swanton purchased his property and it remains a thriving subdivision today. At some point, probably in the late 1910s, a bridge was built across the river along Larkspur Street to provide direct automobile access. Siesta remained on railroad timetables until the closure of the line in January 1934, but it is unclear if passengers continued to use the stop. Presumably the owners of the cottage and neighbors to the south periodically called passing trains until passenger service ended in 1930.

Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
37.1033N, 122.1030W

The site of Siesta is now a private driveway just beyond the end of Riverside Road in Brookdale. The right-of-way is entirely intact here with a concrete bridge pier visible to the north and a fence to the south. The Swanton Cottage remains only partially changed across from the stop. The old station shelter was converted into an ornate treehouse and sits behind the cottage atop a large stump. It still retains original stained-glass windows and the look of a 1910s-era building. Trespassing on any of this property, including the right-of-way, is not permitted. However, the home has been up for sale for several months now and may potentially be viewed via Micki Dahl at Century 21. The building has been given a Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History blue plaque award in recognition of its age, architectural style, and history.

The right-of-way at Swanton, looking north, clearly showing enough width for the mainline and a spur, 2013.
[Derek R. Whaley]

Citations & Credits:

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Stations: Phillipshurst

Until the end of the nineteenth century, lumber was the primary industry in the upper San Lorenzo Valley. Between Ben Lomond and Boulder Creek, small shingle mills and larger milling operations pockmarked both sides of the San Lorenzo River. A mile north of Ben Lomond Station, the Boulder Creek Branch crossed the San Lorenzo River onto the east bank for a short length. It was here that a shingle mill under the management of Myron Young operated from about 1896 until 1908. Young took on several partners over the years, including a Mr. Hall from 1896 to 1900, and a Mr. Lawrence from 1901 to 1908. Despite the name "shingle" mill, Young's operations north of Ben Lomond cut large and small redwood trees for processing. Much of the wood was, indeed, cut into shingles, but other split stuff such as grape stakes and railroad ties were made, and some timber was shipped off to mills to be turned into lumber, suggesting the mill had at least some railroad access, even if none was ever recorded in official documents. By early 1913, the property had sat vacant for five years and the redwoods that once sat on either side of the railroad tracks were almost entirely gone, replaced by a rolling meadow.

The Phillipshurst flag-stop with waiting passengers, late 1910s.
[George Pepper]
Around 1901, Dr. William A. Phillips, a graduate from Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, settled in Santa Cruz County. Phillips had lived for twelve years in Reno practicing medicine and serving as the president of the Nevada State Medical Society. In 1909, Phillips became the first president of the Santa Cruz Board of Health. Around the same time, he served as the lead physician of the Woodmen of the World's Santa Cruz Branch. Little else is known about the physician except he was quite wealthy and well-respected within the county. Hoping the mountain air would help a chronic illness he had developed, Phillips purchased the 47.5-acre mill site, which spanned both sides of the river, in mid-1912 on which he built a single-story rural bungalow he named Phillipshurst. As early as March 1913, local newspapers were already gossiping about the mountain retreat.

By this same time, Phillips had managed to negotiate a private flag-stop for his property. Southern Pacific was not really in the business of creating new flag-stops along the Boulder Creek Branch at this time, so it is unclear what convinced them. Money, certainly, helped but the tracks already passed through Phillips' property so there is no other clear motivation for the railroad. In any case, the stop featured a sign beside a mile-marker. Survey maps report that there was also a small shelter at the station, although why the sign was not atop it is unclear. Phillips built a short suspension bridge that spanned the river to access the stop and the lands across the river. There was no platform or additional track at the Phillipshurst stop and it was only ever listed in timetables as a flag-stop. It was the last new stop listed along the Boulder Creek Branch. Only a couple photographs of the stop exist and all depict the same outing.
The main building of the Riverwood Manor, 1982. [Roger Wilder]
Phillipshurst as a station would live on until the end of the Boulder Creek Branch in 1934. However, the adjacent property have passed through several hands since 1912. Phillips sold the property in 1923 to Dr. William Everett Musgrave, who renamed it Riverwood Manor. Musgrave remodelled the estate with the assistance of Albert Farr and turned it into Tudor Revival-style mansion. He also hired John McLaren, the landscaper of Golden Gate Park, to arrange the gardens on the estate. Upgrading of the estate was completed in the spring of 1925. The completed manor-house consisted of ten bedrooms, multiple kitchens, two private apartments, a music room, library, living room, and an elegantly-covered porched collectively covering 10,000 square feet of real-estate. Unfortunately, Musgrave did not get to enjoy his improved mansion for long. He died in 1927, leaving the estate to his widow, Florence Blythe Moore, who continued to reside on the property until 1936. Whether or not Musgrave and Blythe used the railroad stop during this time is unknown.

View of some of the gardens beside the Riverwood Manor, 1980. Photo by Peter Amos. [Santa Cruz Sentinel]
Riverwood was sold to Theodore Hammond Smith who founded a school for people with mental disabilities. The estate was renamed the Blake Hammond School and the main building the Blake Hammond Manor. Blake was a reference to Smith's mother, Elizabeth Ellen Blake. Similar to the previous men who owned the property, Smith had medical training, having served as a Naval medic during World War I, and he wanted to use the mansion as a place where he could educate mentally disabled students using techniques pioneered by his mother. During his tenure on the estate, several buildings arose on either side of the river for housing, classrooms, and other amenities. Many of these structures, as well as the original Phillipshurst bridge that crossed the river, were destroyed in the 1955 flood. Smith rebuilt the bridge, which still exists today, but most of the outbuildings were abandoned.


View of the library inside the Riverwood Manor, 1980. Photo by Peter Amos. [Santa Cruz Sentinel]
Smith closed the school in October 1968 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He died in February 1969. He and his family continued to live on the estate during this period, but the costs of maintaining it forced the Smiths to leave. After sitting several years on the market, realtors and the Smith family decided to break up the property to make it easier to sell, subdividing the forty acres on the east bank of the river while leaving the 7.5 acres on the west bank intact.


Pat Wilder giving a tour of the Riverwood Manor's living room to visitors, 1980. Photo by Pater Amos.
[Santa Cruz Sentinel]
Roger and Patricia Sambuck Wilder purchased the mansion in 1977 and immediately began the process of restoring the structure to its former glory. The estate was added to the National Register of Historic Places (#3004369) in August 1983. Despite plans to reopen the mansion as a medical center or rehabilitation facility, it has remained a private estate ever since the Wilders acquired the property.
Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
37.1012N, 122.0996W

The site of both the Phillipshurst stop and the Blake Hammond Manor are unaccessible to the public. The stop is located near the southern end of River Road, which has since become a gated community. Nothing remains of the stop in any case, although River Road follows the railroad right-of-way in this section. The manor is still owned by the Wilder family as a private residence and tours of the structures are no longer available to the public. The manor can be partially viewed from State Route 9 just across from Pike Road—the highway wraps around a two-story structure that forms a part of the property, with the old gatehouse located directly across from this building.

Citations & Credits:


  • Clark, Donald Thomas, Santa Cruz County Place Names: A Geographic Dictionary. Second edition. Scotts Valley, CA: Kestrel Press, 2008.
  • Official Registry and Directory of Physicians and Surgeons in the State of California. San Francisco: Medical Society of the State of California, 1914.
  • Santa Cruz Evening News and Santa Cruz Sentinel, 1896-1983.
  • Whaley, Derek R. Santa Cruz Trains: Railroads of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Santa Cruz, CA, 2015.