A panoramic photo of the Santa Cruz skyline in 1909

Timeline

Old streetcar wheels at West Cliff Drive & Woodrow Avenue

1542 — Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo discovers Monterey Bay 1769 — Gaspar de Portolà explores the area at the northern end of Monterey Bay 1791 — Father Fermin de Lasuen establishes the Santa Cruz Mission near the San Lorenzo River. 1848 — California becomes a territory of the United States. The Gold Rush begins. 1850 — California granted statehood. Santa Cruz County is formed; one of the original 27 California counties. The population of the County in 1850 was 643, and no bridges existed.1 1860 — London Nelson (also known as "Louden" Nelson) passes away and wills his estate to the school children of Santa Cruz, which some historians credit as paying for the first school house built locally on Mission Hill. 1866 — Santa Cruz City is incorporated 1875 — First railroad connection to Santa Cruz 1885 — In July, surfing is introduced to North America by three Hawaiian princes at the River Mouth 1902 — Big Basin State Park is created to protect the majestic redwoods from logging. It is the first state park in California. 1907 — The Boardwalk is built. 1955 — December 22-23 Heavy rains cause floods in Santa Cruz County. Inundates downtown; leads to construction of levees along the San Lorenzo River. 1965 — UC Santa Cruz established 1968 — Pacific Garden Mall design approved 1982 — Heavy rains cause severe floods in Santa Cruz County. Soquel Avenue bridge collapses. 1989 — Loma Prieta Earthquake fatally damages most historic downtown buildings; three persons killed by falling debris. Subsequent downtown redesign replaces Pacific Garden Mall with current design. 2011 — Tsunami wave (from an earthquake near Japan) enters Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor. Causes damage.

Early History: The Ohlone and Coastanoans

The people who inhabited what is currently known as the Santa Cruz area for thousands of years before European explorers ever came to the area were the Ohlone. Before Spanish exploration, approximately 10,000 to 20,000 Ohlone tribal members, many of varying tribelets in the area, existed

Spanish Exploration

Establishment of the Santa Cruz Mission

Establishment of Branciforte Villa

Wikipedia Aricle: Branciforte Villa

Gold, War and Statehood

  • 1848 — California becomes a territory of the United States. The Gold Rush begins.
  • 1850 — California granted statehood. Santa Cruz County is formed; one of the original 27 California counties. The population of the County in 1850 was 643, and no bridges existed.1
  • Chinatown Past Chinatowns of Santa Cruz begin in 1850
  • Santa Cruz Masonic Lodge No. 38 Founded in 1853.
  • First volunteer fire department 1857-60
  • The Flatiron Building First built in 1859-60
  • 1860 — The population of the City of Santa Cruz included 800 Americans (as opposed to 460 in Watsonville, and the total County population was 4,9442)
  • Tiburcio Vásquez was wounded in a local gun battle and escaped in 1870
  • Original Town Clock built in 1873
  • Santa Cruz City Volunteer Fire Department (later to become the Santa Cruz Fire Department) founded in 1877
  • Octagon Building Built in 1882 and used as the Santa Cruz County Hall of Records
  • Cooper House The original Cooper House was built after a fire in 1894
  • St. George Hotel built after a fire destroys the previous hotel in 1894

The Early 1900's

Tourism Comes to Santa Cruz

The Boardwalk in 1908, as seen from the Pleasure Pier

Recent History

Local Historians and History Writers

References

Related Links

Researchers Anonymous. An informal group of people involved in local history research, sponsored by the Museum of Art and History. Find them on the MAH website at http://www.santacruzmah.org/index.php?page=researchers-anonymous

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Comments


2012-05-06 11:26:46   this is my mission and it was cool learning about it!!!!!!!!! —24.7.83.143

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