Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Curiosities: Non-Existent Stations

Zayante Lakes Road.
Through years of researching timetables, maps, and primary source documents, one phenomenon has become clear: there are stations in the Santa Cruz Mountains that never existed. Oh, there are a lot of stations along the route, especially when you include all the sidings and spurs and freight stops along the way. Some existed for the entire sixty years of the route while others were fleeting ghosts of stops, appearing on a single time table before disappearing into obscurity. Yet there are those stations and stops that were dreams and not reality, those that map-makers noted yet no contemporary source ever corroborated, and those whose geographic locale demanded a stop that never came to be. These are the phantom stations alone the Southern Pacific Railroad's Mountain route:

Zayante Lakes:
Stated quite simply, the labeling of Zayante Lakes as a flag-stop was an observational mistake by Donald Clark. The site is noted in only one map from 1927 and that map clearly shows the site as being a housing subdivision, not a railroad stop. The name was likely a reference to a series of swimming holes that were artificially made along Zayante Creek in this area, possibly when the subdivision was established in 1925. The ruins of some of these swimming holes are still visible along the creek. A short road adjacent to Zayante Creek Market & Deli (the Z-Store) still is called Zayante Lakes Road, though the sign is currently missing noting it as such.

North Brookdale Station, noted on 1909 property survey map.
(San Lorenzo Valley Museum)
North Brookdale Station:
The catalyst that started this more in-depth analysis of stations and stops along the right-of-way, North Brookdale Station never existed. Created through the advertising logic of a local subdivision surveyor, the only mention of North Brookdale Station is in a 1909 property map of the Brookdale area. The proposed site for the station was in a clearing beside Irwin Way, just before the road crosses over the San Lorenzo River. While there were railroad stations at Brookdale (formerly Reed) and at Harris (formerly Boulder and Grover mills), no evidence in railroad time tables or agency books mentions a stop at North Brookdale. This site, directly labeled on a map, is purely apocryphal.

Obviously history is fickle and I know a few people will be disappointed with these observations and findings. Unfortunately, history is not what we wish it to be, but only what was. Still, if you believe that any of these were in fact stations despite my evidence suggesting otherwise, please feel free to suggest as much and note your reasons in the comments below. Also, if you have heard of other stations in the mountains that I have not mentioned on my station lists, mention them below here and I will see what I can find out concerning them.

1 comment:

  1. Derek, I think what you say rings true. As people tried to develop and promote this lovely though far out area, having transportation was key to getting there. So having stations on the maps allowed for a developer to generate interest then approach the trains and say look at this interest.. you should build a station and you'll make money.

    Generally those with vision are not those with money. If a developer is well heeled he can build out his subdivision and then the commercial and transportation niceties nearby. Usually though you have to have the infrastructure in place for people to consider buying a place.

    Good work

    Gregg Camp


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