Friday, January 24, 2020

Freight Stops: A. K. Salz & Company

During the Spanish and Mexican periods, California was known predominately for its leather industry. Cattle ranches spanned the state, especially along the coast, and with most of these ranches were leather tanneries, which used tanbark oils to turn cattle hides into various leather products including shoes, saddles, furniture, and clothing, among other uses. Santa Cruz County was no exception and several such tanneries were built on the roughly two dozen ranchos that populated the coast from the Pajaro River to Point Año Nuevo.

The San Lorenzo Tannery main office on River Street, c. 1880s. [Tannery Arts Center]
Following the United States annexation of California in 1848 and its ensuing statehood two years later, American businessmen moved into the county and took over many of the established industries. In 1856, James Duncan and William Warren erected a tannery on an eight-acre tract of land on the west bank of the San Lorenzo River on the edge of the former Potrero pastureland of Mission Santa Cruz. It struggled to find its footing and was severely damaged in 1862, when a winter storm characteristically destroyed many of the facility's structures. The entire complex was rebuilt and expanded over the next three years, and then promptly sold to Anton Fischer and Wygand A. Matthew. They, in turn, sold it to a Prussian immigrant, Jacob F. Kron, the next year.

Salz Leather Tannery along the San Lorenzo River. The Southern Pacific right-of-way is barely visible at the top-left, with River Street running down the center-left of the photograph. [Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History]
It was under Kron's leadership that the San Lorenzo Tannery Company hit its stride. By 1870, the leather industry in Santa Cruz County produced half of all saddle leather produced in California, with San Lorenzo Leather producing a significant portion of that output. Kron's death on April 22, 1879 did little to slow progress as his sons Henry and Frank took over the business and continued in the industry for another thirty years. During this time, the firm of Kullman, Salz & Company from Benicia joined the company as investors and helped keep the business afloat during difficult times.

Salz Tannery work crews posing for a photograph, 1890s. [Tannery Arts Center]
Moses Kullman was a German immigrant who had run a tannery in Stockton alongside another German, Charles Wagner, coming together in 1869. A brother, Herman Kullman, came on the next year, followed by a nephew-by-marriage, Jacob Salz, in 1874. Moses committed suicide in 1878, leaving the company to his immediate family—Herman, Jacob, and a nephew, Charles Hart. They purchased a tannery in Benicia in 1881 and abandoned their Stockton operation to Wagner. It was during these years that Kullman, Salz & Company became invested in the San Lorenzo Tannery, as well as another operation in San Francisco.

Workers taking a hard-earned break at the Salz Tannery, 1930s. [Tannery Arts Center]
The Krons finally suffered sufficient hardship by 1915 that they were unable to pay their debts and the San Lorenzo Tannery went into receivership. Kullman, Salz & Company were there to pick up the pieces, merging their independent tannery business in Benicia with that in Santa Cruz in 1918. This partnership continued for over ten years until the crash of 1929 forced the company into liquidation. By this time, Ansley Kullman Salz, Jacob Salz's son, represented the family interests in the firm and, not wanting to lose the precious company that they had been involved with for decades, decided to invest his own money in keeping the business alive, reincorporating as A. K. Salz & Company. His partners in the new enterprise were two longtime plant managers, Stuart Miller and Joseph Bellas.

Various products sold by the A. K. Salz Company, c. 1950s. [Tannery Arts Center]
Despite a terrible fire in 1934, the company continued for another seven decades. They developed the "California Saddle Leather" brand and began exporting leather throughout the United States and abroad. In 1954, Norman Lezin, Salz's son-in-law, became president of the company. That same year, Ansel Adams visited the tannery and took dozens of photographs of the facility and workers. Lezin made several controversial decisions over the ensuing years. In 1956, the company was sold to Pacific Industries, but it returned to Beck in the mid-1960s. Then, around 1970, the firm was sold to Beck Industries, a New York conglomerate, but the company went bankrupt in 1977 and Lezin once again acquired the tannery.

Crews moving around tan bark at the Salz Tannery, 1954. Photography by Ansel Adams.
It was while the company was under Lezin's leadership that the Southern Pacific Railroad finally became involved in the facility. For many years, truckloads of tanbark and tan oil had been shipped to the tannery from outside the county, since most of the local tan oak trees had been harvested out by the end of the nineteenth century. Trains were also necessary for some exports. But the facility was a block away from the railroad right-of-way and, despite some mostly-abandoned storage warehouses, built across River Street from the Salz Tannery, the company did not in fact own the section of land between the road and the tracks.

The Salz Tannery spur within the Las Animas Concrete property, 1970s. Note the tanker car and box car. [Las Animas]
In June 1963, Provenzano Brothers, Inc., a successor to the Cowell Lime & Cement Company, sought permission by the city council to establish a building materials and supply warehouse across from the tannery. The final decision had been deferred multiple times but the site was appropriate for the purpose and was finally confirmed in August. Provenzano, however, were required to either remove or rehabilitate the three tannery buildings on the property, which were used for tan bark storage. Whether the railroad directly delivered the bark to these sheds or shipped it from the Union Depot is unknown. In any case, Provenzano decided almost immediately to extensively renovate the property. A railroad spur was installed to the center of the property and, in December 1864, plans were announced for a large rental warehouse and heavy transit exchange. It was probably at this time that the firm of Las Animas also became involved.

Aerial photograph showing the Salz Tannery and the Provenzano warehouses and transit yard, 1970s.
[Tannery Arts Center]
Around 1968, the Provenzano property was split in half, with the portion along the tracks containing the spur taken over by Las Animas Concrete. It is unclear if Provenzano or Las Animas built the well-known cement tower present at the site today. Provenzano appears to have never used the spur it commissioned and Las Animas never needed it, but the Salz Tannery began using it via an agreement with Provenzano and Las Animas almost immediately. Extant photographs and aerial images from the 1970s shows both tanker cars and poorly-sealed boxcars parked on the spur, suggesting the railroad delivered tan oil and exported leather. A sign at the spur read "For Hide Service Only," further emphasizing that the concrete firm did not use the tracks.

The Salz Tannery spur, just north of Encinal Street, 2012. [Derek R. Whaley]
How long this operation continued is unknown, but it likely ended around 1985, when Southern Pacific sold the branch line north of Santa Cruz to Roaring Camp Railroads. Meanwhile, due to competition from China and other developing countries, Salz Leathers increasingly struggled to make a profit. Various attempts to make the business more central to Santa Cruz history, such as awarding it landmark status in 1973 and registering it in the Santa Cruz Historic Building Survey in 1876, failed to stem the tide indefinitely. The tannery finally closed in 2001. It was the oldest operating leather tannery west of the Mississippi River. 

Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
36.98 69N, 122.0324W

The Salz Tannery spur is one of only two spurs that still exist today along this stretch of track. It sits near 146 Encinal Street, which is today occupied by Las Animas Concrete. It has been out of use now for over forty years and the tracks are deeply packed with sand, cement, and other aggregates, although they are still hypothetically usable. Trespassing onto the property is not advised, but it can be visited during operating hours so long as visitors check in at the office first. The site of the tannery itself can also be visited and is now occupied by the Tannery Arts Center, which is an arts community complete with apartments, studios, a theater, dance studio, art gallery, cafe, and offices.

Citations:

Friday, January 17, 2020

Freight Stops: River Street Pumping Station

Santa Cruz has historically been blessed with a larger-than-average supply of drinkable water than other Central Coast counties. One such source that has been used for many years is the San Lorenzo River. In January 1926, the City of Santa Cruz bought a small tract of land at the southern boundary of Rancho Rincon that spanned the river between River Street and Crossing Street. This was intended to be used as a supplemental water source for Santa Cruz. To fuel the station, a 6,300-foot-long pipeline was run from the Southern Pacific Railroad grade to the station that could deliver up to 1,200 gallons of oil per minute.

Aerial photograph of the city of Santa Cruz pumping station in 1931, showing the railroad grade at the bottom, River Street in the center, and the San Lorenzo River at the top. The station is still relatively small at this time and fuel is delivered via a pipeline, vaguely visible down the center of this photograph where Vernon Street is located today.
[University of California, Santa Cruz, Digital Collections]
Five years after the station was installed, City Commissioner Alvin L. Weymouth realized that the entire system could be made more efficient. In September 1931. Weymouth requested Southern Pacific to run a short spur down from the railroad grade to the bottom to just beside River Street, at which point a short pipe would be installed under the road and into the pumping station where it could fuel two pumps. Prior to this, a 200-foot-long spur had been installed on the east side of the main tracks for tanker cars to park. The new arrangement allowed tanker cars to fill fuel tanks alongside River Street, much closer to the pumping station, meaning the city would no longer have to rent parked tanker cars in perpetuity to fuel its operations. This change saved the city thousands of dollars annually.

Aerial photograph showing the City of Santa Cruz Pumping Station between River Street and Crossing Street straddling the San Lorenzo River, with the railroad grade at the top and Vernon Street under construction, 1940.
[UCSC Digital Collections]
By 1933, Standard Oil was placed in charge of delivering the oil to the tanks. The facility required three tanker cars of oil per month to be delivered to keep the tanks filled and the pumping station operational. But this system proved to be short-lived. Beginning in February 1940, the facilities on River Street were substantially enlarged and upgraded. It seems likely that the oil-deliver method was replaced at this time with truck delivery or some other method since the spur disappears entirely from records around this time and aerial photographs taken later in the year show that Vernon Street is in the process of being graded and cemented, suggesting the area had been repurposed as a subdivision.

Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
36.9902N, 122.0337W

The site of the spur for the River Street pumping station is at the top of Vernon Street on the east side of the railroad right-of-way, as well as down the street itself. There is nothing that remains of the spur except a slightly wider area where it once sat at the top of the grade. Vernon Street now closely follows the original spur grade to the pumping station, but obscures any relics of the original route. The pumping station on River Street is now undergoing renovation. Trespassing on both the right-of-way and the city lot are prohibited.

Citations & Credits:

Friday, January 10, 2020

Bridges: Gharky's Vineyard

The grade between Mission Hill in Santa Cruz and the Hogsback within Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is relatively steep for a railroad. Designed as it was in 1875 to access the Davis & Cowell property in Rancho Rincon—a requirement if the railroad wished to build through the property—meant that certain benefits of the earlier route surveyed by the San Lorenzo Valley Railroad in the late 1860s had to be sacrificed. Numerous solutions, too, had to be adopted, such as a tunnel through the Hogsback and substantial bridgework along the slide-prone Coon Gulch. One lesser known, but vitally important, section of track, though also had important bridgeworks installed.

Birds' Eye View of the City of Santa Cruz, 1907. Gharky's Vineyard is at the center-top of this painting, although at this time it is mostly just undeveloped land with an indistinguishable fill for the railroad right-of-way (an unseen train on the tracks is billowing smoke). Downtown Santa Cruz is from the center down and the San Lorenzo River is at right.
[Bancroft Library]
Along the northern boundary of the Santa Cruz city limits, David Gharky owned an 18.893 acre plot that ran beside the west side of (West) San Lorenzo River Road (State Route 9). The awkwardly-shaped property contained a small stream that watered private vineyards owned by Gharky. Unlike the route to the north, through which all gulches and gullies were culverted, Pogonip Creek through Gharky's Vineyard supported a small floodplain that made the grade into the forest all the steeper. To rectify this issue, the Santa Cruz & Felton Railroad constructed a substantial fill between today's Encinal Street and the northern boundary of Gharky's property, through his lands and those of J. Heller, with an 80-foot bridge across the creek itself, which passes under the right-of-way between modern Golf Club Drive and Encinal Street. The grade remained relatively steep since the fill was not heavily reinforced and, therefore, settled more than was desirable. Nonetheless, this worked for the light-weight rolling stock of the narrow-gauge Santa Cruz & Felton during the four years that it ran as an independent railroad.

Survey map of the City of Santa Cruz showing the location of David Gharky's land at the northern city limits, 1866. Map by Thomas W. Wright, Santa Cruz County Surveyor. [Jason Christian]
In 1879, the Santa Cruz & Felton was taken over by the South Pacific Coast Railroad, which ran heavier rolling stock and longer, heavier trains, despite remaining narrow-gauge. One of the company's many improvements along the Santa Cruz & Felton line was properly reinforcing the fill through Gharky's vineyard. In August, Chinese work crews moved in and completely regraded and refilled the stretch of track and removed the bridge, replacing it with a culvert and diverting the creek through a canal. It is probably around this time that the pond on the east side of the tracks along Pogonip Creek first formed. It remains today as the Salz Pond, although it is relatively inaccessible to the public. For three decades, nothing changed except the fill's widening around 1907 to support standard-gauge rails. At this time, the culvert was broadened slightly to an approximately five-foot-long ballast-deck bridge that runs over Pogonip Creek.

The creation of the Casa del Rey Golf Links at Pogonip in 1912 prompted the need for an access road. Rather than purchasing several easements from neighbors further south, Fred Swanton purchased only two: one through Gharky's old vineyard, and the other that continued through the adjacent lands once owned by Thomas W. Hinds. This new route met the railroad grade at a point where the tracks were high above the surrounding land, so a cut was made through the fill, and a new bridge installed atop the road.

The bridge over Golf Club Drive on a rainy day, c. 2012. [Derek R. Whaley]
The new bridge above Pogonip Avenue (later Golf Links Boulevard and now Golf Club Drive) was only 20 feet in length and involved no trestlework at all. Instead, a wood ballast bridge was installed over the road supported by two redwood piers, which were eventually shielded from damage with lumber coverings. This unassuming structure has remained in place for over one hundred years, in a sense marking the gateway to Pogonip to visitors of the park. The bridge remains in use by the Santa Cruz Big Trees & Pacific Railway and is now owned and maintained by Roaring Camp Railroads.

Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
Northern (Western) abutment: 36.9897N, 122.0335W
Southern (Eastern) abutment: 36.9895N, 122.0334W

The bridge remains quite visible and accessible to the public along Golf Club Drive. Visitors, however, are advised that the tracks atop the bridge remain an active railway and the area is also heavily frequented by the homeless, so caution is advised at all times. Furthermore, crossing the bridge or walking the tracks is considered trespassing without receiving permission from Roaring Camp Railroads.

Citations & Credits:

Friday, January 3, 2020

Stations: Golf Links

Fred Wilder Swanton was a man with a vision when he decided to add a resort hotel to his Casino and Natatorium at the Santa Cruz Main Beach. The Casa del Rey Hotel opened to great fanfare on May 1, 1911, but no resort is complete without some extra amenities to entice travelers. The hotel included a Spanish garden, lounges, an overbridge to the Casino's grand ballroom, and several other special touches, but Swanton's biggest venture related to the resort was the opening of a golf course two miles away atop a hill on the northern border of Santa Cruz known as Pogonip.

Players teeing off at Hole 7 toward the lower portion of the Casa del Rey Golf & Country Club grounds, 1917. Photograph by Howard Clinton Tibbitts. [Worthpoint]
The Casa del Rey Golf & Country Club was the first golf course built in Santa Cruz County and the last major project overseen by Swanton as president of the Santa Cruz Beach Company. His overspending and poor money management led to the company going bankrupt in 1914 and reincorporating as the Santa Cruz Seaside Company the following December.

Golfers playing a game on the Casa del Rey Golf & Country club course, 1910s.
[Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History]
The golf course was built on 145 acres of Henry Cowell's private ranch, which was leased to Swanton for the purposes of the course. The hill, Pogonip, was named after a Shoshone Native American word that roughly means "icy fog," an appropriate description of the type of weather that often permeates the hill in cold autumn mornings.

The Casa del Rey Golf & Country Club clubhouse beside the artificial lake built in the middle of the Hole 10 fairway, c. 1920s. [Deep Blue Moon]
The location was convenient because it sat immediately beside the Southern Pacific Railroad's branch line between Santa Cruz and San José, so vacationers could be easily shuttled to or from the course by simply taking the train between the Casino and the new Golf Links station built on the west side of the tracks. The station opened to traffic in May 1914 and was located slightly south of the Powder Works spur, which had gone out of use the previous year after the facility shut down. Nothing is known with certainty regarding the arrangement of station, but it was likely a simple structure with an overhead awning and bench seats for waiting passengers. Behind the station, a long flight of stairs ascended to the golf course above. The station was a flag-stop, so passengers had to flag down passing trains.

Players teeing off at Hole 1 outside the Casa del Rey clubhouse, 1917.
Photograph by Howard Clinton Tibbitts. [Worthpoint]
The new golf course opened to the public on February 12, 1912 with a tournament to celebrate George Washington's birthday. The centerpiece of the course was the two-story clubhouse designed by L. D. Esty and erected beside the first tee and the eighteenth hole. This log cabin-style structure, a part of the Craftsman Bungalow style, was unlike anything seen in the city at the time, and harkened back to an earlier, more rustic period, which was appropriate for a golf course that sat on the fringe of the redwood forest.

Panoramic photograph of the clubhouse, 1920s. [Deep Blue Moon]
After the Santa Cruz Beach Company went bankrupt, the golf course was purchased by a new company which operated as the Santa Cruz Golf & Country Club. Without its connection to the Casa del Rey, however, the course struggled to find golfers. The course had been designed as a mid-income experience, but middle class people were not especially interested in golfing at the time. And with the opening of the more upscale Pasatiempo in 1929 and Rio del Mar in 1930, and the advent of the Great Depression the golf course on Pogonip Hill simply could not compete and was forced to shut down in 1934.

A woman riding a horse over a table outside the clubhouse, late 1930s. [Deep Blue Moon]
In 1936, after two years of neglect, the property was taken over by Dorothy and Deming Wheeler, who saw the potential in the location as a polo field and, therefore, opened the Pogonip Social & Polo Club. In addition to running riding classes, polo games, and other horse-related activities on the property, the Wheelers installed a swimming pool and tennis courts beside the refurbished club house. The Golf Links flag-stop, rarely if ever used since the 1910s, was formally abandoned on August 28, 1939.

People playing bike polo outside the clubhouse, 1948. [Deep Blue Moon]
The polo club at Pogonip was relatively short-lived, but significantly better photographed than the earlier golf course. It was somewhat revolutionary in its acceptance of both men and women at the same time, and many photographs attest to this. During World War II, injured servicemen used the location for rehabilitation. The polo club did not reopen after the war but the clubhouse continued to operate as a general-purpose social club and hireable venue for events, operating under the name The Pogonip Club.

The Pogonip Club clubhouse after nearly two decades of abandonment, July 2007.
Photograph by mBeth. [Flickr]
In October 1989, the Loma Prieta Earthquake damaged the clubhouse to a substantial enough degree that it was forced to shut down pending repairs. But those repairs never came. The land and facilities, along with around 500 acres of legacy Cowell land, were donated to the City of Santa Cruz shortly after the earthquake to create Pogonip Open Space. The city promptly filled in the pool and abandoned the tennis courts. The clubhouse is still standing, but the structure is fenced off and access to the public is prohibited even by park staff. Plans to refurbish and reopen the structure have failed repeatedly over the past thirty years, despite consistent pleas from the public to do so.

Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
36.9962N, 122.0377W

The site of Golf Links station is along the Santa Cruz Big Trees & Pacific Railroad line about 0.2 miles north of where the tracks enter the redwoods near Golf Course Drive. Legally, this stretch of track is the private property of Roaring Camp Railroads and it is also not an entirely safe stretch of track due to the presence of multiple homeless camps in the area. There are several trails that provide access to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and the University of California, Santa Cruz campus, and the main entrance to Pogonip is via Golf Course Drive off State Route 9.

Citations & Credits:

Friday, December 27, 2019

Stations: Powder Works

When people think of Santa Cruz County, explosive power is not something that usually comes to mind. But when the American Civil War was raging in the east, a group of California investors thought it prudent to prepare for the possibility that the war could migrate West and engulf the continent. They also thought the price of explosive powder, which had to be shipped from the East, had become simply unaffordable. As such, the California Powder Works was incorporated in San Francisco in late 1861 as the first explosive powder refinery on the West Coast.

Cartridge label for a pack of twenty-five 10-gauge bullets produced by the California Powder Works, c. 1900.
[Public domain]
It took the firm two years to decide on an ideal location for its primary facility, but it eventually settled on the broad floodplain of the San Lorenzo River just south of the Hogsback and north of the Santa Cruz city limits. The location was ideal: the surrounding oak, madrone, hazel, and alder provided key materials for barrel-making and charcoal production. The river supplied a constant source of water to run pumps, steam machinery, and essential fire suppression equipment. And the redwood could be cut into timber and used to build structures that had a higher resistance to both fire and explosions than many local woods. Other necessary materials, such as saltpeter and sulfur, were shipped from overseas.

The Powder Works office and community center, 1904.
[Brian and Ollie Hoefer – Santa Cruz Public Libraries]
The nearby paper mill owned by John Simes built the initial facility in early 1864. The powder works included twenty-one powder mills, ten shops, six magazines (warehouses), and thirty-five support structures, such as worker cottages, offices, stables, and the cookhouse. The entire project cost $1,000,000, which was a substantial amount at the time. The powder works opened for business in May 1864, and within the first year, 150,000 kegs of powder weighing 25 lbs. each had been produced. To keep this operation running, John H. Baird, the company president, hired up to 275 men to work year round at the site. To streamline the shipment of powder, the company purchased Gharky's pier at the end of Main Street in Santa Cruz, converting it into the Powder Works Wharf.

A five-horse team driven by Thomas H. Rountree hauling two boxcars to the main entrance
of the Powder Works for the difficult haul up to the railroad grade, c. 1904. [Public domain]
For the first twelve years that it operated, the powder works shipped out all of its products via wagon and steamship. The company extended its wharf to support larger ships, while it improved the southern end of the Bennett Toll Road into Santa Cruz to better withstand the rigor of laden wagons. Within the facility itself, the company installed an extensive horse-powered narrow-gauge railroad system that ensured fluid movement of materials and products between buildings without being encumbered by wet ground and rocks, which in extreme circumstances could cause barrels of explosive material to break and explode.

The covered bridge over the San Lorenzo River at the California Powder Works, June 1890.
Photograph by Clarence Cardoga. [Giannino Collection – Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History]
Over the San Lorenzo River, a 168-foot-long covered bridge was built in 1872 to resolve a longstanding problem of bridges being washed out in every winter storm. The bridge was a relatively rare Smith truss design and, despite its substantial length, it has withheld the rigors of time to survive to this day as the oldest covered bridge in the county. The bridge spanned the river, linking the superintendent houses on the east bank, as well as some random out buildings, with the primary complex on the west bank of the river.

The tall entry gate along the county road at the point where River Street turned into
West San Lorenzo Drive (the future State Route 9), c. 1890s. [Public domain]
It took very little time for the California Powder Works to see the potential in rail transportation all the way to the Santa Cruz Main Beach. Indeed, it supported the San Lorenzo Valley Railroad project of the late 1860s and early 1870s, which would have passed directly through its property, but the project ran into several legal obstacles and eventually fell apart. A new venture, slightly less convenient for the powder company, came about in late 1874 as the narrow-gauge Santa Cruz & Felton Railroad. Although the route ran far above the powder works, the powder works immediately entered negotiations to find a way to connect their internal rail network to the line between Felton and the Santa Cruz beach, where the railroad was erecting its own Railroad Wharf.

A four-horse team hauling a boxcar up the hillside to the railroad grade, with a brakeman standing atop the car, c. 1880s. [Public domain]
The solution was twofold and required changes at both ends of the powder work's supply line. At the main facility, a tedious, steep switchback was installed between the main entrance of the powder works at the top of River Street (the future State Route 9) and the railroad grade high above. The switchback was completed in 1877 and required two landings for horses to be re-rigged at the opposite end of the boxcar. Conveniently, the grade was so steep that empty boxcars could simply be rolled down the grade by a single brakeman, so horses were only ever required for the climb up to the top.

The Powder Works Wharf in the distance, connected via a short wharf to the Railroad Wharf, c. 1880.
[Public domain]
At the beach, the newly-erected Railroad Wharf, which sat at the end of Pacific Avenue (near the present site of the Municipal Wharf) was connected to the Powder Works Wharf two blocks over via a long, serpentine connection wharf that was slightly wider than a single narrow-gauge track. This allowed the powder works to ship goods directly by rail from its facilities along the river to its wharf at the beach via the Santa Cruz & Felton's tracks. In 1882, the South Pacific Coast Railroad, which took over the Santa Cruz & Felton in 1879, decided that the situation at the beach had become a bit excessive and negotiated a new shipping deal with the powder works that allowed them to use the Railroad Wharf directly. This allowed the powder works to demolish its old wharf and the short-lived connection.

A powder monkey standing outside the Powder Works powerhouse, late 1880s. [Public domain]
Little changed for the powder works of the next three decades. The facility did not expand substantially after it bought the San Lorenzo Paper Mill in 1872, and the relationship with the railroad did not change despite the Southern Pacific Railroad taking over the line in 1887. With the completion of the railroad route through the mountains in 1880, some of the explosive powder began being shipped through the mountains rather than via steamships, and this increased slowly throughout this time, eventually resulting in a powder magazine being setup at a place called Bermingham outside of Los Gatos in 1900. This powder was shipped almost exclusively to the New Almaden quicksilver mines for use in extracting mercury. The 1906 Earthquake, however, triggered a fire within the magazine, which exploded the powder and destroyed the facility.

Overhead view of the foundry and charcoal burner on the west bank of the San Lorenzo River,
with the worker village on the east bank, 1905. [Brian and Ollie Hoefer – Santa Cruz Public Libraries]
Indeed, there was a constant risk of explosion when working with gunpowder and it impacted operations at the main facility several times over the decades. Despite building concrete walls with collapsable roofs, frictionless-horse railways throughout the facility, and minimizing the presence of open flames, explosions still happened. In September 1897, 100,000 lbs. of powder exploded in the middle of the night, although nobody was injured due to the hour it happened. A few months later, in April, a series of explosions tore through several buildings in the complex, shaking buildings in Santa Cruz and causing many to flee to the ocean shore in terror. By the end of the day, the storehouses for nitroglycerin and guncotton, several smokeless powder warehouses, and the dryhouse were destroyed, as well as a portion of the workers' village. Meanwhile, part of the surrounding forest was one fire. Fortunately, locals and the Naval Reserve came quickly and stopped the fires from spreading further.

The aftermath of an explosion at the Powder Works, c. 1904. [Brian and Ollie Hoefer – Santa Cruz Public Libraries]
Perhaps the most famous incident involving the railroad, though, was when a boxcar full of explosive powder became decoupled from a departing train and started to hurl its way toward Santa Cruz at full speed. Powder Works station at the top of the grade was near the summit of the route, and the right-of-way to the beach was quite steep, especially at the beginning, so away went the boxcar and its inevitable derailment and explosion. Out of sheer luck, nothing impeded it on its way to the beach nor did the boxcar derail. As it passed through the Potrero District and the Mission Hill tunnel, it finally began to slow, coming to a stop just before reaching the base of the Railroad Wharf. Nobody was injured and the boxcar survived to be shipped off to San Francisco.

Powder monkey posing in the black powder magazine, surrounded by tins of powder, c. 1904.
[Brian and Ollie Hoefer – Santa Cruz Public Libraries]
Things began to change quickly around the time of the earthquake. In 1898, Colonel Bernard Peyton had taken over the facility and he married into the DuPont Corporation shortly afterwards. DuPont had been an investor in the California Powder Works since 1876 but bought a controlling interest in 1903. The earthquake prompted DuPont to reincorporate its California facilities as the E. I. du Pont de Nemours Powder Company.

The station point for the California Powder Works on the railroad grade, with the siding at left, c. 1910.
[Harold van Gorder – Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History]
At the same time, the standard-gauging of the Southern Pacific tracks at the top of the grade in 1908 was a change the powder works wasn't really prepared for. Within their facility, they continued to use their old narrow-gauge tracks, but the standard-gauge tracks only went down the first switchback, where a large tanker car was parked to provide the powder works with oil. Despite an enlarged siding and transfer siding installed at the top of the grade, the amount of labor required to move dozens of heavy barrels of blasting powder from one boxcar to a bigger boxcar proved untenable.

View of the California Powder Works from the railroad grade high above, 1885.
Photograph by Taber of San Francisco. [William B. Becker – Toledo Museum of Art]
In 1912, an antitrust action against DuPont forced the company to separate its two California powder works (the other being in Hercules). Sant Cruz drew the short straw in the situation, though, and DuPont decided to pull out of the county and focus all of its efforts on its Hercules plant. Many of the staff relocated to the other facility when the California Powder Works shut down in 1914. For the past decade, the Santa Cruz facility had been having some financial hardship, made worse with the inadequate rail facilities prompted by the standard-gauging of the line. The closure was also a massive blow to the community, since the company employed so many people.

The modern entrance to Paradise Park Masonic Resort, where once stood the entry gate
to the California Powder Works, 2012. [Google]
For a decade, the power works sat abandoned, its machinery removed but many of its buildings and its iconic covered bridge left standing. Then, in 1925, the Paradise Park Masonic Club, which had formed the previous year for this purpose, purchased the property to use it as a campground for members. One of the members, Carlotta Scott, provided the name Paradise Park. Like most seasonal communities in the Santa Cruz Mountains, what began as a retreat slowly morphed into a permanent housing subdivision. Most of the former powder works land is now owned by Paradise Park or its residents, although the section to the west of State Route 9 is now privately-owned and the site of the former superintendent houses, which once sat high on the eastern hilltop along Graham Hill Road, have since been demolished.

Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
36.9997N, 122.0384W

The site of Powder Works station is not legally accessible to the public and currently sits along the Santa Cruz Big Trees & Pacific Railway's right-of-way high above State Route 9. The former switchback right-of-way that once took boxcars up and down the grade is now a private, one-way road known as Big Tree Manor. Similarly, Paradise Park Masonic Resort is a privately-owned residential subdivision—access is permitted by request or invitation only. The main road between the entry park and the main park, Keystone Way, once was the primary artery of the internal, horse-run railroad network. Very little survives from the time of the California Powder Works within the park except some scattered concrete relics and the covered bridge, which has been on the United States National Register of Historic Places (#15000279) since 2015.

Citations & Credits:
  • Brown, Barry. "The California Powder Works & San Lorenzo Paper Mill". Santa Cruz County History — Santa Crux Public Libraries. Accessed on 13 July 2012. <http://www.santacruzpl.org/history/articles/508/>
  • "The California Powder Works". Santa Cruz County History — Santa Cruz Public Libraries. Accessed on 13 July 2012. <http://www.santacruzpl.org/history/articles/11/>
  • Secrest, William B., Jr., and William B. Secrest, Sr. California Disasters, 1812-1899: Firsthand Accounts of Fires, Shipwrecks, Floods, Epidemics, Earthquakes and Other California Tragedies. Sanger, CA: Quill Driver Books, 2005.
  • Whaley, Derek R. Santa Cruz Trains: Railroads of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Santa Cruz, CA, 2015.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Bridges: Shady Gulch

Perhaps the most unchanged and best known feature of the railroad route between Santa Cruz and Felton is the long trestle bridge over Shady Gulch. Erected by the narrow-gauge Santa Cruz & Felton Railroad in early 1875, the bridge originally spanned both a natural, steep gully and the Eben Bennett toll road. From its top, passengers, crews, and brave trackwalkers could look down upon the California Powder Works, which sat at the bottom of the valley along the San Lorenzo River. Excursion trains would sometimes stop on the bridge to allow sightseers to enjoy the view for a moment.

The Shady Gulch bridge during the South Pacific Coast Railroad years, 1884. Photo by Taber. [Bancroft Library]
The original bridge was 262 feet long and thirty-eight feet high at its tallest point. The entire structure was originally composed of locally-sources coast redwood, formed into a rather standard trestle design. In the center of the bridge, five piers of varying lengths reached down to the bottom of the gulch via tall redwood posts, reinforced with bents and crossbeams. Atop the two sections of road, longer spans were erected, reinforced with multiple bents. The bridge had no walkway or railing along the top, but signs at either and and at the midway point did warn people of the dangers of crossing the bridge. This section of track also has a steep grade from the Potrero District north of Santa Cruz to Rincon, so the bridge itself has about a two percent incline from its south abutment to its north.

A Suntan Special crossing the Shady Gulch bridge, c. 1930s. Photograph by Fred Stoes. [Jim Vail]
When the Southern Pacific Railroad finally upgraded the route to standard-gauge in the second half of the 1900s, this bridge finally was replaced with a slightly more modern structure, albeit one that looks shockingly similar to its predecessor. The center portion remained a trestle design, with tall posts reaching the bottom of the gulch and more intricate bents and crossbeams supporting the posts. On either side of the bridge, more heavy-duty redwood piers were erected to support short, open-deck plate girder sections that sat over both road underpasses. At a later point, a support pier consisting of two steel girders and a girder bent were installed under each open deck to provide further support. By this point, second-growth redwood trees had mostly obscured the Powder Works, which would close a few years later anyway, and there is little view of anything outside the immediate area of the bridge today.

Streetview photograph of the Shady Gulch bridges, 2012. [Google]
For another twenty-five years, the narrow county road continued to run under the bridge, but increased traffic and the need for two lanes finally forced the local government to erect a bypass bridge. In 1930, the county road was rerouted across Shady Gulch via a new concrete bridge built beside the railroad bridge. The old road remains intact, albeit poorly maintained with its concrete surface long broken and buried under ninety years of forest debris.

Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
Northern (Western) abutment: 37.0071N, 122.0447W
Southern (Eastern) abutment: 37.0067N, 122.0440W

Today, the Shady Gulch bridge is one of the most recognizable railroad structures in the county, visible to everybody who drives State Route 9 between Santa Cruz and Felton. It is still used seasonally by the Santa Cruz Big Trees & Pacific Railway. The bridge is considered a part of an operational railway and crossing it is absolutely forbidden for reasons of trespassing and safety. People wishing to take photographs of the bridge can pull off (carefully) at either part of the abandoned county road that passes under the bridge. The former road also acts as an access trail for the Pogonip-UC Santa Cruz trail network.

Citations & Credits:

Friday, December 13, 2019

Tunnels: Hogsback (Tunnel 7)

Contrary to popular belief, there were actually two tunnels originally located in San Lorenzo Gorge. The first and better known was the Coon Gulch Tunnel under Inspiration Point. But the oldest railroad tunnel in all of Santa Cruz County was actually located 1.3 miles to the south, located beneath the solid granite promontory known as the Hogsback.
The only known image of Tunnel #7 under the Hogsback from a newspaper lithograph, May 1880.
The San Lorenzo River carves a relatively straight south-south-eastward path from its origin in Castle Rock State Park to the Monterey Bay twenty-one miles to the south. But that straight route gets interrupted by the Hogsback, which forces the river to twist awkwardly to the north before wrapping around the rocky outcropping to continue its inevitable journey to the sea. The granite block was named after its appearance, rising above the river like a giant hairy hog's back raised to the sky. And just like the river, the Santa Cruz & Felton Railroad could not get around this obstacle except by going through it.

Indeed, the San Lorenzo Valley Railroad planned to bore a 900-foot-long tunnel through the base of the Hogsback to bypass the obstacle and maintain its even grade up the river, but since the project failed, the tunnel was never bored. The California Powder Works, however, drilled an equally-long tunnel  through the Hogsback to reach its gravity-fed reservoir located on the north side. When the Santa Cruz & Felton Railroad came along, its route was built much higher on the ridge, almost at a level that could simply build over the Hogsback, but the grade was already steep and the promontory was its highest point. To decrease the grade enough so a standard consist could reach the summit, the company decided that a tunnel was the most logical solution.

Construction on the Hogsback tunnel began in early 1875 by Elliot & Muir, and it only took a few months to bore. The result was a 127-foot-long tunnel through a relatively low point in the rock. For four years, the tunnel functioned adequately for the small locomotives and narrow-gauge trains that used it. But when the South Pacific Coast Railroad leased the line in 1879, surveyors concluded that the tunnel was too narrow and low to support its larger trains.

In July 1879, crews completely rebuilt the tunnel inside and out. They shifted the bore slightly to reduce the curve and lowered the bottom of the tunnel sufficiently to allow trains of appropriate heights to pass through. The end result was a tunnel over twice as long—282 feet—and troublingly spacious in the middle. It opened to through traffic in November 1879 as Tunnel 7.

The cut through the Hogsback, 2012. [Derek R. Whaley]
The fate of the tunnel, however, was sealed from almost the beginning. The ceiling was never far from the top of the Hogsback and the extra space inside added by the South Pacific Coast Railroad made it prone to debris frequently falling from the roof. This made it abundantly clear to the railroad that the solid granite had lost much of its initial integrity. In 1898, a work crew was preparing the tunnel for further widening in anticipation of the standard-gauging of the now-Southern Pacific line. Their probing prompted a complete collapse of the top of the tunnel. The only solution was to daylight the tunnel—the first of two tunnels to be daylighted along the route between San José and Santa Cruz. It was dismantled and the sides cut back enough to protect the tracks from further rockfalls and allow for standard-gauge trains to pass. Soon, all evidence of the tunnel was erased.

Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
Western Portal: Approx. 37.0112N, 122.0497W
Eastern Portal: Approx. 37.0105N, 122.0493W

Today, there is little to differentiate the location of this tunnel from the surrounding right-of-way except a substantial cut through the Hogsback. Trespassing is not advised as the route is owned by Roaring Camp Railroads and remains an active line, especially during summer months. It is also a narrow-cut so there is no place to easily escape an approaching train. The location serves as the boundary between Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and Paradise Park Masonic Resort.

Citations & Credits:
  • Hamman, Rick. California Central Coast Railways. Second edition. Santa Cruz, CA: Otter B Books, 2007.
  • MacGregor, Bruce. The Birth of California Narrow-Gauge. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2003.
  • Whaley, Derek R. Santa Cruz Trains: Railroads of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Santa Cruz, CA, 2015.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Curiosities: The Henry Cowell Lime & Cement Company

Tourism is by far the most popular industry in Santa Cruz County today, and it has been for nearly fifty years. But that was not always the case. From its settlement by Spaniards in the 1790s to the end of the Mexican period, leather production and ranching were important industries, ones that continued until quite recently. Logging was probably the most famous industry, with formal redwood timber operations begun by Isaac Graham in the 1840s and significant cutting happening across the county well into the 1920s, and still continuing today along the North Coast. But another industry once held a strong grip on Santa Cruz County, that of lime production and processing.

Closeup of a lithograph of Santa Cruz showing the Davis & Cowell Lime warehouse at the
bottom of Bay Street above Cowell Beach, with the beginning of the Cowell Wharf at right, 1889.
[Friends of the Cowell Lime Works Historic District]
The roots of Ben Lomond Mountain, which stretches from the west bank of the San Lorenzo River to Big Basin and Waddell Creek, is rich in veins of limestone, evidence that the mountain once served as the bottom of a great shallow ocean millions of years ago. Until the manufacture of Portland cement was made more efficient in the late nineteenth century, lime-heavy products were staples in building and construction in the United States. Quicklime, for example, was used in steelmaking, in plaster and mortar, as an acidity regulator in food, as a type of lighting (limelight), in paper production, and in several chemical processes. Most notably, lime mortar framed and mixed with sand produces sand-lime bricks (white bricks), which were used in construction projects for thousands of years until the early twentieth century when Portland cement (concrete) came into normal use.

Diseño of El Rancho Cañada del Rincón en el Río de San Lorenzo de Santa Cruz, about half of which Davis & Jordan purchased in 1859. [Bancroft Library]
From the Mexican period, the Santa Cruz region has produced limestone in some small quantity, but it was only after statehood in 1850 that commercial amounts were produced. Many companies sprang up in the mountains, especially in the vicinity of Rancho Rincon and in the area now occupied by Pogonip County Park, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park (including the Fall Creek Unit), and the University of California, Santa Cruz. The lime vein through this part of the county was long and rich and provided plenty of limestone to aspiring companies. It was to this environment that two men were attracted by the rumors of easy wealth and relatively simple access to the limestone.

Portrait of Albion Jordan, c. 1860s. [Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History]
Isaac Elphinstone Davis and Albion Paris Jordan were unassuming engineers from New England when they first traveled to California in 1849 in search of gold. They first met each other in Trinity County and joined in partnership in 1851 to run a steamship between San Francisco and Stockton. Davis already knew of the lime potential of Santa Cruz County, having visited briefly in 1849, and both men were very interested in entering the lime industry. After discovering lime deposits near Palo Alto, the men opened their first kiln and began selling commercial lime in June 1851. Shortly afterwards, Jordan opened a second kiln outside Lexington, south of Los Gatos. Finally, in mid- to late-1853, the partners opened their first kiln outside Santa Cruz.

Crews working at the lime quarry on the northeast side of the Davis & Cowell property, c. 1880s.
[Friends of the Cowelll Lime Works Historic District]
Their first kilns were near the top of Bay Street while their quarry was downhill to the east, within Rancho Rincon. Renting the land at first, Davis & Jordan quickly bought everything they could in order to own the entire operation. Lacking roads and railroads to export their goods, the partners bought the wharf at the bottom of Bay Street in 1854 so they could ship their lime products. Two years later, they extended the wharf and bought the Santa Cruz, a tall ship that could transport people and products between San Francisco and Santa Cruz. With their operations in full swing, Davis & Jordan made the bold move to purchase much of Rancho Rincon in 1859, acquiring over 5,800 acres of redwood-rich land that could be cut and used to fire the kilns, as well as provide new sources of limestone. Soon, tramways and skid roads criss-crossed the gap between the limekilns at the top of the hill and the timber tracts, sawmill, and quarries to the east.

Worker cabins on the Cowell Ranch, c. 1880s. [University of California, Santa Cruz]
Despite some financial ups and downs, Davis & Jordan beat out the competition and were well on their way to dominating the local lime market when Jordan became ill in 1865 and sold his interest in the company on July 1 to Henry Cowell. He died in November 1866 and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery beside other local lime industry pioneers. Davis, meanwhile, shifted corporate operations to San Francisco, where he became a well-known magnate and was urged several times to run for office. After Jordan's death, he continued to live in the city while Cowell took on the role of local operator.

The Davis & Cowell Lime Works at the top of Bay Street, Santa Cruz, 1866.
Stereograph by Lawrence & Houseworth. [Getty Museum]
For nearly twenty-five years, Davis & Cowell operated the largest lime operation in Santa Cruz County. Cowell himself was not well-loved by the community. Almost immediately after coming on a partner, he entered into a long legal dispute with Frederick Hihn over the right-of-way of the San Lorenzo Valley Railroad, which was planned to pass directly through Rancho Rincon. Cowell fought Hihn to a standstill, eventually taking their case to the California Supreme Court, which ruled that a railroad must compensate property owners for trees and other features destroyed or upended by the railroad crews. Like Jordan and Davis, Cowell was from New England and came to California during the Gold Rush. In San Francisco, he co-founded a mercantile store with his brother, John. While there, Cowell invested in the Queen of the West, a schooner used frequently to transport lime for Davis & Jordan.

Portrait of Henry Cowell.
[Friends of the Cowell Lime Works Historic District]
Cowell saw the potential of the Santa Cruz lime industry immediately and tried to get into it in any way possible. He tried to purchase part of Rancho Rincon. When that didn't work, he tried Rancho Zayante, also to no avail. He then invested in Davis & Jordan, which positioned him to buy out Jordan in 1865. He, his wife, and their six children moved to Santa Cruz shortly afterwards to manage the business on behalf of Davis.

Portrait of Isaac Davis, 1868. Photograph by Ralph H. Shaw.
[Center for Sacramento History]
Cowell was ruthless in managing the company, and for good reason. Squatters and cordwood thieves were very common and Cowell paid people to keep them off his land. Plans to build a toll road through Rancho Rincon between Felton and Santa Cruz were briefly hijacked by Cowell, who offered land for the road in exchange for collecting the toll. A compromise was made and a new route and road were built (the future State Route 9), but Cowell continued to throw roadblocks at it, slowing its construction and miring the toll company in lawsuits. Cowell also attempted to acquire the entire main beach, from the bottom of Bay Street to the San Lorenzo River, but the governor intervened. Most of these measures, as well as the lawsuit against the San Lorenzo Valley Railroad, were intended to stop competitors, who were mostly located around Felton at the time, from getting their goods to market.

Portion of a Davis & Cowell receipt, 1889. [Friends of the Cowell Lime Works Historic District]
Nonetheless, Davis & Cowell thrived during the 1860s to 1880s. They acquired a moderate-sized competitor on Adams Creek in 1869, and drove most other competition out of business. By the time that Davis died in September 1888, only the IXL Lime Company on Fall Creek and the H. T. Holmes Lime Company in Felton still provided any competition. Meanwhile, Santa Cruz County had become the single largest producer of lime in the state, with nearly one-third of all lime made in California coming from just these three firms. After Davis's death, Cowell purchased a controlling interest in the company and it was rebranded Henry Cowell & Company. Besides continuing the lime business, Cowell invested heavily in real estate, especially in Marin, San Mateo, San Benito, and Monterey Counties, and the Sacramento Valley.

Lime barrels being loaded onto a steamship at the end of the Cowell Wharf, c. 1890s. [UCSC]
The lime company saw a lot of expansion between 1888 and 1920. Even as the Bay Street kilns continued to put out thousands of barrels of lime per year, the newly-acquired kilns on Adams Creek were upgraded and also put into full production. The Cowell Wharf at the end of Bay Street was still in heavy use, catering to two company-owned steamships and several other ships (hence Steamer Lane), until 1907, when a storm washed out a huge portion of it. At this time, the company decided to shift toward shipping via rail and set up a third kiln along the railroad tracks at Rincon, where the company once operated a sawmill and had a barrel warehouse. He also managed to finally buy out the IXL Lime Company in Fall Creek around 1901, leaving only Holmes to rival him in the county. Outside the county, Cowell diversified his investments, eventually owning property in twenty-three counties in California and investing in dozens of different industries, from bitumen and asphalt to cattle ranching.

The Cowell family on the Cowell Ranch, c. 1890s. [Cowell Historical Society]
In December 1898, Cowell reincorporated his business as the Henry Cowell Lime & Cement Company, a move that brought four of his children onboard and suggested a shifting in priorities toward [Portland] cement production. Five years later, on August 4, 1903, he died from a combination of old age, shock at the sudden death of his daughter Sarah, and lingering problems caused by a gunshot wound delivered to him by an insane man. Cowell was never a popular man and generally avoided the limelight except in courtrooms. After his death, his eldest son Ernest V. Cowell took over management of the company.

Portrait of Ernest V. Cowell, 1880. [Santa Cruz Public Libraries]
The Cowell company lost almost all of its possessions in San Francisco during the earthquake and fire of 1906, but Ernest used the opportunity to expand fully into the Portland cement industry, building a new plant near Mt. Diablo in 1908 that operated for nearly forty years and ensured the longevity of the firm. While the Bay Street and Rincon kilns continued to operate, the Adams Creek and Fall Creek kilns were eventually shut down due to their remoteness.

Two of Henry Cowell's daughters in front of the family's ranch house, 1880s. [Santa Cruz Public Libraries]
Ernest died suddenly in March 1911 and Samuel "Harry" Cowell became the next president. Harry oversaw the closure of the kilns on Bay Street, which left the Rincon kilns the only remaining Cowell lime operation in the country. The problem was that Harry was not especially interested in the lime and cement industry. He loved raising livestock, such as bison and elk, and was not much of a traveller like his father and brother had been. The remaining Cowell children, Harry and his sisters Isabella and Helen, also were unmarried and had no children, leaving the future of the company in doubt.

Cowell employees posing at the main quarry at the northeast corner of the Cowell Ranch, c. 1890s.
[Friends of the Cowell Lime Works Historic District]
In the final years of the Rincon plant, Harry did not employ new workers and kept the operation going primarily to give the old staff something to do. The workers were all too old to fight in World War II and the lime industry had mostly collapsed by the 1940s, but Harry just ate the loss and kept it going. The facility finally shut down in 1946, at which point the Henry Cowell Lime & Cement Company essentially shut down. Harry was the last member of his family, dying in February 1955. Helen died in 1932 and Isabelle in 1950. Thus, Cowell and his descendants are gone, but their legacy lives on.

Remnants of the lime works on the University of California campus at Santa Cruz, 2015.
Photograph by Julia Gaudinski. [Santa Cruz Waves]
While Henry Cowell had never been much of a philanthropist, except to his church, Ernest gave a large bequest to the University of California and Santa Cruz High School. He also left large amounts to his workers in Santa Cruz, especially those who had worked for the company for many years. Harry liked a bit of quid pro quo in his deals, but he still was immensely generous in the end. In 1952, Harry donated the westernmost part of the Santa Cruz main beach—Cowell Beach—to the city, while also gifting new money to his father's old Sunday home, the Congregational Church of Santa Cruz. The next year, he negotiated with the State of California to donate all of his family's portion of Rancho Rincon to the state to create a park, so long as the Santa Cruz County Big Trees Park was included and Henry Cowell's name was included in the title.  Thus, it became known as Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. His S. H. Cowell Foundation later donated millions of dollars toward establishing hospitals and, most importantly, the land for the University of California, Santa Cruz, which is situated on the former Cowell Ranch. Further funds were used to finance Cowell College and the Cowell Student Health Center. The organization continues to fund education programs and other non-profit activities throughout Northern California today.

Citations & Credits: