Friday, March 6, 2015


Logan on a 1915 USGS Survey Map.
The history of Logan is a history of the Granite Rock Company. When the Southern Pacific Railroad first set up its track between Gilroy and Pajaro in the early 1870s, it discovered a large granite outcropping on the southern bank of the Pajaro River just on the Monterey Bay side of Chittenden Pass. For the first twenty years after its discovery, local firms operated out of the quarry, hauling out their crushed granite at Logan Station, a nearby freight railroad station. In 1899, a group of local investors purchased the 27-acre quarry for $10,000 and incorporated on February 14, 1900, as the Granite Rock Company.

A freight car parked at Logan near the crushing plant.
(Granite Rock Company)
From the very beginning, the Southern Pacific and the quarry at Logan had a relationship. As construction of the Salinas Subdivision line continued into the Salinas Valley, crushed granite from Logan was used as ballast for the railroad cross-ties. Sledge hammers and ox carts were used to get the ballast down to the station for shipment. An insular mining tram system was soon developed throughout the quarry to ease the transport of rock. Beside the mainline track, a long siding was installed for use by Granite Rock. A rock crushing plant was installed beside the siding while rocks were dropped in the top. Processed granite was loaded onto waiting freight cars below.

The 1906 earthquake heavily damaged the facility, leveling the crushing plant and forcing an almost complete rebuild, but the simplicity of the operation meant it was back in operation the next year, providing granite for the rebuilding of San Francisco as well as the erection of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk's Casino. Following the earthquake, quarrying moved deeper into the property and a small locomotive called the "Dinkey #1" was purchased to shuttle mine cars between the quarry and the crushing plant.
The ruined crushing plant after the San Francisco Earthquake, 1906.
(Granite Rock Company)
In the 1920s, the company helped build the adjacent Highway 129. In the 1930s, the first asphaltic concrete plant in California was erected at Logan beside the crushing plant. The quarrying operations at Logan continued to increase in the following decades. By 1970, 7,500 tons of granite rock were being shipped out per day from Logan, which were shipped on 25 100-ton hopper freight cars purchased by Granite Rock Company. Graniterock strongly believed in the value of shipping via rail, an aspect of freight transport that was losing popularity by the 1970s. In 1989, Graniterock completely remodeled its facilities at Logan, renaming the site the A.R. Wilson Quarry. The quarry still operates today off of State Route 129 northeast of Watsonville. The "Dinkey" engine was heavily restored and donated to the California State Railroad Museum.

The Logan plant is now more solidly associated with the nearby town of Aromas, where most of the quarry's staff have lived over the past 110+ years. The name "Logan" itself has largely disappeared and its origin is not known to this historian.

The Logan station point, July 31, 1949, crushing plant at right. (Wilbur C. Whittaker)
Official Railroad Information:
The crushing plant at Logan from the air, with the sidings in front, 1951.
(Granite Rock Company)
Railroad records are fairly complete regarding Logan, but unfortunately they are not complete for this historian. The earliest record possessed by this historian shows Logan on a Officers, Agencies & Stations Book entry in 1899 listed as between Chittenden's and Aromas, at mile marker 93. It had a class-A freight status, meaning it had a platform, which was located on the right (southeastern) side of the tracks. No other services were listed that year.

The Logan station point was 93.2 miles south of San Francisco via San José and the San Francisco Subdivision. It was 7.2 miles north of Watsonville Jct. (Pajaro). Logan was the northern start of a double-track that continues today to Watsonville Jct. In 1940, Logan had no recorded spur, just the double-track. It offered regularly-scheduled passenger and freight service to and from the stop, as well.

Passenger service is no longer provided at Logan and, indeed, the stop's current name on Union Pacific timetables is not known to this historian. It was still under the name "Logan" in 1987. However, the station is certainly still active. Google Maps show that the tracks beside Logan are still in use and that there are at least four sidings beside the mainline as well as at least five in-use spurs. More may be buried beneath loose gravel or are not visible on the maps.

Geo-coordinates and Access Rights:
36˚N 54' 2.857" x 121˚W 38' 2.591"

Logan is still owned and operated by the Granite Rock Company and access is by permission only.
The Logan facility in 2013, still in use though parts of it are falling into disrepair, no longer used by Graniterock.

Citations & Credits:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.