Authors Blog

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… Read More »Lecture Recap

Cartography Today

After numerous failed attempts at making maps for my books, I decided that I’d go a more classical way. I am no artist, but I can trace well enough. Using a light table, 14 pages of 100%-resolution US Geological Survey maps from 1955, and a few pencils and pens, I reconstructed the route over the Santa Cruz mountains and up past Boulder Creek. But there were numerous factors to consider including: Conflicts between historic sources… Read More »Cartography Today

The Scandal of 1940: The Closure of the Southern Pacific Mountain Route

Back in 2011, a friend and I thought it would be interesting to look back into the archives of local history and see if there was any specific reason why the Southern Pacific Railroad shut down its railroad franchise in Santa Cruz in 1940. We’d heard rumors of financial misconduct, a terrible storm, the threat of Japanese invasion, and various other urban legends, but neither of us were accepting them at face value. Even Rick… Read More »The Scandal of 1940: The Closure of the Southern Pacific Mountain Route

Maps, Maps, Maps

The railroad between Santa Cruz Depot and Vasona Junction was 31.1 miles long. Separated out, that is 6.8 miles between Santa Cruz Depot and Felton Depot, 9 miles between Felton Depot and Laurel, and 15.3 miles between Laurel and Vasona Junction. And we cannot forget the 6.3 miles between Felton Depot and Boulder Creek. Or the roughly 8 miles of the Dougherty Extension Railroad north of Boulder Creek. Or even the 1.7 mile Old Felton… Read More »Maps, Maps, Maps

The Problems with Names

If there’s one thing I have discovered in my research, it is that many locations went by many different names. They are not consistent, sometimes not even within their own time period. Perhaps the most problematic name is “Wright’s Station”. This small village began life as “Wright’s Station” but quickly became simply “Wright’s”. Then, naturally, people got lazy and the apostrophe was removed, turning it into “Wrights”. Finally, around 1890, the s was dropped entirely,… Read More »The Problems with Names