Sempervirens Point

The view looking west from Sempervirens Point

The view looking west from Sempervirens Point

Redwood Lumbering

Sempervirens Point is located off Highway 9 about two miles southwest of the Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35) junction. On a clear day, the view of Monterey Bay from Sempervirens Point is spectacular. Views of the upper San Lorenzo Valley hardly show how heavily it was logged by the Dougherty brothers’ Santa Clara Valley Mill and Lumber Company in the last part of the 19th century. Sufficient water and light has aided the quick recovery of second growth coast redwood trees, Sequoia sempervirens, which now cover the previously exposed slopes.

To access their logging camp, which is now within Castle Rock State Park, the company constructed a narrow gauge railroad that delivered the logs to their mill north of Boulder Creek. From the mill, the cut lumber was loaded on a train headed to the depot at Boulder Creek, where it was then moved to another train that continued south. The route continued down the San Lorenzo Valley to Felton and then went back north, up through the mountain tunnels to San Jose. As circuitous as this might seem, it was more efficient than dragging logs by oxen and hauling lumber on horse-drawn wagons on steep, winding mountain roads.

The “Donkey” hauled lumber on the narrow gauge Dougherty Extension Line within what is now Castle Rock State Park, circa 1902. Photo: Courtesy of Jeff George

The “Donkey” hauled lumber on the narrow gauge Dougherty Extension Line within what is now Castle Rock State Park, circa 1902. Photo: Courtesy of Jeff George

Teamsters (stagecoach and wagon drivers) hauled lumber from the Hubbard and Carmichael lumber mill, which was located at what is now Camp Chesebrough, a Boy Scouts of America camp on the west side of Highway 9. They traveled on Oil Creek (a tributary of the Pescadero) up to a landing at Sempervirens Point and on up to Saratoga Gap. At the summit, the wagons were doubled up for the trip down the Saratoga Toll Road toward San Jose.

John Rodoni, a driver for Hubbard and Carmichael, reaches downtown San Jose with 13,207 feet of lumber (no date). Photo: By Hill and Yard, courtesy of San Lorenzo Valley Museum

John Rodoni, a driver for Hubbard and Carmichael, reaches downtown San Jose with 13,207 feet of lumber (no date). Photo: By Hill and Yard, courtesy of San Lorenzo Valley Museum

Read the whole blog post to discover Waterman Gap and to learn more about the history in the redwoods, at mobileranger.com.

Take the Self-Guided Mobile Tour

This piece is part of the South Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35) Tour made possible by Janet Schwind of the Skyline Historical Society. Download the free app with many tours of the Santa Cruz area and beyond at mobileranger.com.

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Julia Gaudinski


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