Updates

March, 2016.

Allan Molho photo

Allan Molho

It is with sadness that we report the passing of Allan Molho, one of our Lime Kiln Legacies co-authors. Allan grew up in southern California, was an avid sailor, and worked selling equipment to recreational boaters. Allan enjoyed delving into the history of maritime shipping in central California and generously shared his knowledge as a contributor to Chapter 8, "Getting the Lime to Market." Allan was very supportive of the local history community, serving on the boards of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History and the Agricultural History Project in Watsonville. He also supported local music groups and helped organize concerts at museums. We will miss Allan's big smile, generosity, and enthusiasm for history.


July, 2012.

Notes on Santa Cruz Wharves

In this original essay (PDF), historians Frank Perry, Barry Brown, Rick Hyman, and Stan Stevens document the relationship between the Gharky Wharf and Railroad Wharf and clarify some misunderstandings about Santa Cruz's wharf history.


April, 2012.

Frank Perry interviews Joe Conde.

In the Spring/Summer, 2012, issue of the Lime Kiln Chronicles, Frank Perry interviews Joe Conde, probably the last person still living who saw some of Santa Cruz County's lime kilns in operation. Mr. Conde and his brother, Jim Lorenzana, share their recollections and family stories of the Cowell Ranch during the 1940s and 1950s.


January, 2009.

New Information on the McDonald lime kiln.

Recently discovered documents have shed additional light on the "McDonald Kiln." The documents comprise four mechanics liens, all dating from the early 1850s.

The first, for $1,100 filed April 12, 1854, was by T. Harrison Baker for "work and labor" done from Sept. 1, 1853 to April 10, 1854. The lien describes the kiln as "a certain Lime Kiln known as 'McDonald Lime Kiln' situated about two miles North West of the Mission of Santa Cruz . . . and upon five hundred squre feet of Land clear of said Kiln and round the same."

The other three liens were also filed in early April 1854 and are for work and labor done on and about the same kiln. The liens are by George Dimmock ($332), James Sherlock ($367.50), and Nichol Turnbull ($1,600.00).

The lien by Sherlock identifies the kiln as being on Rancho Rincon and, specifically, on the property of "B. T. McDonald, T. H. Baker, and Turnbull."

In Lime Kiln Legacies we speculated that a kiln described in 1888 as "The McDonald Big Kiln" might be what is today known as the Upper Quarry Kiln (p. 60). This new evidence supports this theory. The Upper Quarry Kiln is located on what was once Rancho Rincon, and it is exactly two miles northwest ("as the crow flies") of the site of the Mission Santa Cruz church.

We also speculated that McDonald might have been Alexander McDonald, known to have been making lime in Santa Cruz County a few years later. One of the liens, however, lists the name "B. T. McDonald." A search of California census records for 1860 and 1870 found no listing for this person, nor for Dimmock or Turnbull. James Sherlock, however, appears in the Santa Cruz County census for 1860 with his occupation given as "mason."

We thank historian Stan Stevens for sharing his discovery of these documents.


December, 2009.

Plaque Unveiled for Historic Lime Works
On October 30, 2009, the Friends of the Cowell Lime Works Historic District at UC Santa Cruz unveiled a bronze plaque commemorating placement of the district on the National Register of Historic Places.
Plaque Unveiling, UCSC Among those speaking at the event were Chancellor George Blumenthal, Santa Cruz Mayor Cynthia Mathews, County Supervisor Neal Coonerty, former Assemblyman and UCSC alumnus John Laird, and representatives for Assemblyman Bill Monning and Congressman Sam Farr. The plaque is located beside the old Cook House (now the Admissions Office) near the main entrance to the campus.
Plaque, UCSC

Another “Lime Kiln Road”
Another use of the term “Lime Kiln Road” has been discovered in addition to the two listed in the “Lime and Place Names” chapter of Lime Kiln Legacies. Albert Brown, in a long letter to the Santa Cruz Sentinel (May 18, 1910) explained that he worked on the Meder Ranch in the late 1850s. This ranch is now Wilder Ranch State Park, located just up the coast from Santa Cruz. Near the end of the letter, Brown mentioned the stump of a giant redwood beside “the lime kiln road.” This would have been the road used by Samuel Adams to haul lime to Russian Landing from his kilns on Adams Creek. The newspaper did not capitalize the name, so it is unclear if Brown was simply using it as a description or if this was a name commonly used at that time for the road. The latter is certainly possible. Adams negotiated this right-of-way through the ranch when he bought land for his lime works. We thank historian Robert Nelson for sharing this letter.


November 10, 2007.

Historian Randy Brown discovered this advertisement in The California Star, a San Francisco newspaper, dated March 18, 1848: “Lime! Lime! 20 BBLs, Santa Cruz Lime, of superior quality, at the New York Store.” This confirms that lime was not only being manufactured commercially here in the late 1840s, but also being exported to San Francisco. “BBLs” is an abbreviation for barrels.


September, 2007.

Work has begun on rehabilitating one of the buildings within the Cowell Lime Works Historic District at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The building is a small storage shed, thought to date from the 1860s. Under the direction of architectural historian Corri Jimenez, the building was thoroughly measured and recorded according to HABS (Historic American Building Survey) guidelines. Even the location and type of each nail was plotted. Several student volunteers helped with the documentation, gaining valuable hands-on experience. The building will be dismantled, a new foundation and frame built, and then reassembled. As much as possible of the original wood will be reused. An entirely new roof will be needed, however, as the old one had rotted and partly collapsed. The University is using this project as practice before tackling some of the more significant historic buildings nearby, which are also in a severe state of disrepair. Funding to continue this important work is badly needed, and the University is actively seeking donations. Anyone who would like to help is urged to contact Sally Morgan, Senior Environmental Planner, at (831) 459-1254.

Cardiff Shed, UCSC


May 3, 2007.

The State Historical Resources Commission granted approval for listing on the National Register of Historic Places the historic buildings at the UC Santa Cruz main entrance. The site, now known as the Cowell Lime Works Historic District, encompasses many of the structures described in chapter 10 of Lime Kiln Legacies, including the cooperage and four lime kilns. More information can be found here.


February 3, 2007.

Fire damaged the former home of lime manufacturer Eben Bennett. The house is located at 3rd and Main Streets on Beach Hill in Santa Cruz and was built by Bennett in 1871. According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Feb. 5 and Feb. 6, 2007) the fire did $175,000 worth of damage, mostly to the second floor interior. The fire was caused by a water heater.