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The Secret History of Santa Cruz County

Molino Timber Company workers on a bridge above Hinckley Gulch
Molino Timber Company workers on a bridge above Hinckley Gulch, 1910s. [Aptos Museum]

On wrapping up a trilogy

My journey from being introduced to Ronald G. Powell’s forgotten magnum opus on the history of Rancho Soquel Augmentation in May 2019 and publishing the final book derived from it—The Shadow of Loma Prieta—this autumn has been long with many unexpected turns. When Stan Stevens sent me scans of the first-draft manuscript that Powell had donated to the UC Santa Cruz McHenry Library in the late 1990s, I almost immediately set aside the work I… Read More »On wrapping up a trilogy

Title excerpt for The Reign of the Lumber Barons

Press Release: The Reign of the Lumber Barons

Explore mid-county history in new book on the lumber industry in the late 1800s SANTA CRUZ, CA, October 23, 2021—They came with axes. They came with oxen. They came with greed. Nearly 150 years ago, a group of venture capitalists began the clear-cutting of what became The Forest of Nisene Marks. By 1902, the decimation along Aptos Creek was complete, leaving behind nothing but broken trees and barren hills as far as the eye could… Read More »Press Release: The Reign of the Lumber Barons

A New Book and an Old Index

Perhaps unsurprisingly, New Zealand is in lockdown again. Equally unsurprising is the fact that I am still writing, editing, publishing, and getting The Reign of the Lumber Barons: Part Two of the History of Rancho Soquel Augmentation ready for your eager hands. The process of editing and re-writing this second part of Ronald G. Powell’s magnum opus has been quite different than the first book, The Tragedy of Martina Castro, and that really is apparent upon reflection.… Read More »A New Book and an Old Index

Loma Prieta Loglets sample
Sample column of the "Loma Prieta Loglets" from the November 29, 1890 issue of the Santa Cruz Surf

Loglets, Chips, Sawdust, and Other Euphemisms for News

Welcome to June 2021, a time when people can go outside again and I’m inside still, writing and editing…oh so much editing…. As usually happens with plans, they went astray and Ronald G. Powell’s The Reign of the Lumber Barons: Part Two of the History of Rancho Soquel Augmentation is delayed a few months, inevitably pushing everything else back a few months too. In reality, I always suspected this would happen, but I was very optimistic… Read More »Loglets, Chips, Sawdust, and Other Euphemisms for News

Santa Cruz pioneers

Soquel and its Lumber Lords

With The Tragedy of Martina Castro now released, I have moved on to working on the next book in the series: The Reign of the Lumber Barons. Ronald Powell did not separate his story into volumes or separate stories, but the sheer breadth of information that he covered requires it to be divided. As a result, the middle book is a very different story than the first. Where the first focused on Soquel in the… Read More »Soquel and its Lumber Lords