Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Stations Lacking Information

If you have any primary or secondary source information regarding these stations, please do not hesitate to forward the information to me. Thanks!

• Santa Cruz Freight Yard
– Grover Planing Mill
– Centennial Flour Mill
– Olive & Foster Planing Mill
– Wholesale Oil Distributor
– Central Supply Aggregates
– H.T. Moore Warehouse
– Union Ice Company
– Sperry Flour Company
• Casa del Rey Country Club & Gold Links
• Olympia
• Eccles
• Hayes Spur
• Union Mill Spur
• Virginia
• Clems
• Call of the Wild
• Casey's, Forest Grove & Eva
• Oil City, Oleoso & Aldercroft
• Bermingham & Bulwer
• Vasona Junction & Station
• Rubottom & Brackney
• Glen Arbor Spur
• Phillipshurst
• Camp Joy & Harris
• End-of-Track Logging Camp near Waterman Switch

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Lecture Recap

Today at Researchers Anonymous, I had a big going-away party in the form of a two-hour lecture. I titled it "Santa Cruz Trains & Researching in the Digital Age". It went overwhelmingly well and I timed it perfectly, including the ten-minute intermission. I decided against advertising the event publicly since it really wasn't intended for the public but rather other researchers.

I've posted the slide-show for the event here accessible by the "Lecture" link above or from here. A video recording of the event should be available in a little while. I planned to do audio but ran into problems with my slideshow and sort of just forgot to record the event. Hopefully the video catches most of it.

In the end, I actually proved many of my points, which was great. Virtually every question that was asked I was able to answer in a satisfactory manner. Many questions were answered through later slides, as well, which means I anticipated them. More importantly, though, was my ultimate point: history should be crowdsourced. I made this point near the end of the lecture and I proved it after the end when no less than five people approached me offering help and information. Of those, one offered me access to her photo and map collection, three offered me tours of their properties (or adjacent properties), and one offered me the contact information for someone who may have some photographs and information.

This is the core element of crowdsourcing—a sort of ask for something and get everything. Crowdsourcing doesn't have to involve money, it can be information, or access, or just an ear to help work out problems. That is one of the purposes of this blog, even, to allow myself as a historian to work out problems and announce discoveries. This is not a historical blog, this is a historiographical blog—it's purpose is to document the process of researching. And while I don't do that job perfectly, I do it as best as I am able.

Thank you to everyone who has helped me or plans to help me in the future. I truly appreciate it and I hope every one of you I remember to reference in my book as a contributor because you earned it.

Moving on to one last point, I had four photographs that were posted in my lecture as mysteries. I'm going to post them here now so that other people can check them out and tell me what they think.

Possible photo of the F.A. Hihn Mill at Laurel. (Santa Cruz MAH)
Hillside trestle near Laurel...or Los Gatos? (Santa Cruz MAH)
Trestle "at Brookdale", though not literally. (Ronnie Trubek)

Reverse of "At Brookdale" postcard of trestle. (Ronnie Trubek)
Another stretch of right-of-way near Brookdale, with a trestle in the distance. (George Pepper)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Press-Banner Article

This week I was published in the Press-Banner of Scotts Valley and the San Lorenzo Valley. The article is about Meehan Station, the hub for Zayante. Granted, I have connections there, but I couldn't pass up an opportunity to get an article published. Check out this week's issue or head on over here to read all about it. Or, here's a transcription of the article:

Guest column: Meehan Siding, a forgotten piece of Zayante's history
Jul 10, 2014

Olympia - Meehan1submitted7-11-14 .The Meehan siding, shown here in 1939, was once the hub of rail commerce to the Zayante community in the early 20th Century until heavy rains destroyed it in 1940. Courtesy of the Jim Vail Collection
The Meehan siding, shown here in 1939, was once the hub of rail
commerce to the Zayante community in the early 20th Century
until heavy rains destroyed it in 1940. Courtesy of the Jim Vail Collection.

Few would consider the village of Zayante as a bustling railroad town and, indeed, it never truly bustled. But it did draw tourists in droves.



The community, historically located along East Zayante Road between Lompico Creek and Mountain Charlie Gulch, began life in the 1870s as a series of logging mills, the largest of which was owned by the Santa Clara Valley Mill & Lumber Company at the confluence of Mountain Charlie Gulch's creek.


Above the creek on the east bank, the South Pacific Coast built its narrow-gauged railroad, definitively linking Santa Cruz County with San Francisco.

At a place known as Dougherty's Spur, a rickety track winded across Zayante Creek and joined with today's East Zayante Road near Zayante Drive.

Disaster struck the mill in 1886, burning the entire complex down a year before logging operations were to have concluded. Moving on to more profitable ventures, the logging company reestablished itself north of Boulder Creek at a site that became Riverside Grove.


The old spur was pulled up but a siding was retained at a stop called Meehan, named after Southern Pacific Railroad track foreman Patrick Meehan.

Meehan became the railroad hub for the Zayante community. Seasonally, tourists would come from all over the Bay Area and beyond to stay at Zayante Lakes, Zayante Park, and various camps in the hills.


When Lompico was first being laid out, Meehan was the designated railroad stop for the community. Excursion trains stopping for picnics alongside the creek would park on the siding to allow passengers off while scheduled trains passed through.

In the stormy winter of February 1940, the siding at Meehan suffered significant damage with much of it sinking toward the creek. Other places throughout the line between Los Gatos and Felton also sustained catastrophic damage.


The stop had already declined in attendance over the past decade and the siding had gone into disuse.

The damage to the route proved too costly to repair for the Southern Pacific and the entire line was shut down. Meehan disappeared into history as a forgotten name of a forgotten place.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Final Thoughts on Mile Markers

The timetables and station books of the South Pacific Coast and Southern Pacific railroads include many details that often go overlooked. The most prominent and important of these are stations and stops that have not been noted before. The following is my (hopefully) final attempt at combining all the various time tables into one coherent grid that will be used and referenced in my book. Superscripted terms refer to the first appearance of that station or stop at that location, thus "SPC10" means "South Pacific Coast Timetable #10" while "CT79" means "Coast Division Timetable #79". For station books, they are noted by year with "SB" in front. Not everything is notated with sources, in which case the source is probably Coast Division Timetable 129 or it was so frequent I simply didn't notate a specific source.

Main Line:
-0.2 Santa Cruz Beach [Wharf]SPC10
0.0 Santa CruzSC3
0.8 Santa CruzSPC10 / Park Street
1.0 Tunnel 8 SidingSB1899 / EblisSB1900
1.1-1.2 Eblis Spur
1.1 Mora Street
1.5 Cement WorksSB1888
2.3 Golf Links
2.5 Powder Works Spur
3.6 SummitSCP10
3.8 RinconSC1
5.3 Felton JunctionCT67
5.5 Felton JunctionCT75
5.9 Big Trees
6.8 Felton
7.1 CampusCT25 / TuxedoCT53 / Mt. Hermon
8.1 Hayes SpurCT67
8.3 OlympiaCT75 / Hayes SpurCT79
8.8 Union Mill SpurCT67 / OlympiaCT108
9.0 Eccles SpurCT79 / Union Mill SpurCT82
9.1 Eccles SpurCT67
9.2 Eccles SpurCT67 / OlympiaCT94 / Eccles SpurCT124
10.2 Doughertys SpurSB1891 / KenvilleSB1893 / EcclesCT95
10.3 Dougherty’s MillSPC10 / MeehanSC1
10.6 Zayante SpurSB1891 / MeehanSB1892
11.6 White Flag SpurSB1891 / Zayante SpurCT79
11.8 Zayante SpurCT82
11.9 Zayante SpurCT67
12.6 Tank Siding
13.0 Virginia Spur
13.4 Tunnel No. 4SB1888 / Clems SpurSB1891
14.4 Glenwood 
15.8 HighlandSPC19 / LaurelSC1
16.5 Edric Spur
17.8 WrightSC14
17.9 WrightCT87
18.0 WrightCT82
18.9 Call of the Wild
19.0 Forest GroveSC14 / EvaCT25
19.2 EvaCT82
19.5 Casey’sSB1888 / Forest GroveSC1
20.7 AldercroftCT90
21.0 Oil CitySB1888 / OleosoSB1901 / AldercroftSB1905
21.2 AldercroftCT75
22.2 Alma
23.1 Rock  Quarry SpurSB1891 / Lyndon
24.9 Los Gatos
26.9 Parr’s Spur TrackSB1888
27.1 BerminghamCT75 / Bulwer SpurCT121
27.4-31.1 Vasona Junction
27.8 Vasona Spur

Felton & Boulder Creek Branch:
6.8 Felton
7.4 River StationCT53 / RiversideCT67 / PettisCT79
7.5 Old Felton Spur
7.8 Bonny Brae
8.3 Kent’s SpurSB1891
8.5 PettisCT81
8.7 PettisCT86 / BrackneyCT88
8.9 Rubbottom Spur
9.1 Glen Arbor Spur
10.3 Newell Junction Spur
10.7 Ben Lomond
11.7 Phillipshurst
12.0 Siesta Spur
12.2 Steen SpurSB1899 / SiestaSB1909
12.3 Fish Hatchery
12.7 Reeds SpurSB1892 / ReedCT40 / Brookdale SpurCT53
13.2 Boulder Mill SpurCT67 / Joy CampCT84 / HarrisCT86
13.5 LorenzoSB/SPC1888 / FilbertSB1890
13.7 Cunningham’sSB1888
14.1 Boulder Creek

Old Felton Branch:
5.5 Felton JunctionCT75
6.5 FahihnCT75
7.2 Old FeltonCT75

Newell Creek Branch:
10.3 Newell CreekSB1908
11.3 Newell Creek MillSB1908