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Friday, December 20, 2013

Love Creek Trestle

Just before entering the developing town of Pacific Mills, soon to be renamed Ben Lomond, the Felton & Pescadero Railroad had to overcome the small Love Creek that ran north-south along the town's eastern edge. The creek was named after the famous Captain Henry "Harry" Love who, in 1853, helped hunt down and kill Joaquin Murieta, a local bandit and marauder. Using the funds from the bounty, he settled along the creek that eventually picked up his name and started a redwood milling operation alongside his wife, Mrs. Bennett. Love was killed in 1868 but the creek is still there today. The railroad reached the site in 1885 and quickly a narrow-gauged redwood causeway was built bridging the creek. A second trestle replaced the first no later than 1907 when the entire route was standard-gauged.

Regrettably, no photographs of either trestle seem to have survived, likely because Love Creek was not known to be overly scenic or a popular swimming destination. The trestle, regardless, was unremarkable. The lack of existing evidence on the site suggests it was a simple redwood-built trestle with a short causeway that crossed the creek and brought the tracks to the railroad grade through Ben Lomond. The trestle crossed the creek through the modern-day 9440 Love Creek Road and it passed through 9475 Brookside Ave. on the way to the creek from Glen Arbor Road. Even after standard-gauging, the trestle appeared to remain a wooden structure with no concrete support materials used. The elevation from the east to the west banks shifts slightly, suggesting the trestle may have had a slight incline to it, rising toward the west bank.

The trestle was removed in early 1934 when the Southern Pacific Railroad abandoned the Boulder Creek branch. The property on the site of the trestle was sold between 1939 and 1940 and has been in continual use since as private residences. Personal exploration of the site of the crossing has shown that all evidence of the railroad trestle has been removed. A paved parking lot sits on the west bank of the creek where any evidence of the causeway would have been located. On the east bank, a home sits atop the right-of-way, obscuring any surviving truncated pilings or other debris. No remnant pilings or material could be found in the creek or on its banks.

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