Friday, April 4, 2014

Garfield Avenue Flag-Stop

The Ocean Shore Railroad had a gold vision when it began plotting its railroad along the coast. Compared to the Coast Line Railroad which was built alongside it in Santa Cruz County, the Ocean Shore had double the stops and freight stations. Predictably, they were all of a marginal nature, unfortunately, and many ceased operating fairly soon after the earthquake when the Ocean Shore Railroad began its slow decline.

One such stop was on Garfield Avenue in Santa Cruz, built around 1906. Located 0.9 miles north of the Ocean Shore's Santa Cruz Depot, the station structure itself consisted of an 8' x 10' shelter with two windows on the side walls and an open front facing the tracks. Despite the rather poor quality of this shelter, it ended up being one of the more-developed of those along the route, one of only five shelters built for the myriad flag-stops and freight stations along the 15.5 mile route. The station was located near the intersection of Ocean Shore Avenue and Garfield Avenue. At some point after 1924, Garfield Avenue was renamed Woodrow Avenue in honor of President Wilson. Ocean Shore Avenue became Delaware Avenue, probably after the railroad was leased to the San Vicente Lumber Company in 1920. Unlike many of the other stops along the Ocean Shore's route, this stop was purely for residents with no heavy industry accessible in the immediate area. After 1906, most of the commuters would be workers from the cement plant or from the various farms and mills in North County spending their evenings and weekends in Santa Cruz. The importance of this stop was heightened by it being the only Ocean Shore stop with direct access to a streetcar line—the Mission Street line to be specific.

As to be expected, nothing remains of this little flag-stop. When the Ocean Shore ceased operations in 1920, the railroad continued to pass the site for another three years and employees of the San Vicente Lumber Company likely still used it considering its proximity to the streetcar lines. The area remains a residential community now as it has since 1889 when Garfield Park was first organized as a subdivision.  This author has found no photographs of this stop nor are pictures of it likely to be forthcoming. Garfield Avenue Flag-Stop is just another sad footnote in the short history of the Ocean Shore Railroad.

  • Rick Hamman, California Central Coast Railways (Santa Cruz: Otter B Books, 2002).
  • Duncan Nanney, private research.

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