Boulder Creek was founded as a logging camp. There was a rival settlement located just a mile west, named Lorenzo.
Timber claims were first made in 1865, and by 1870 there were a dozen claim camps. John H. Alcorn, son of Branciford Alcorn, built a hotel in 1870 near the river. Tilford George Berry was another founding father. Berry Falls are named for him in Big Basin. Boulder Creek incorporated as a village in1902, but voted out town government in 1905.
For a time the two settlements competed to be the center. Southern Pacific Railway chose the Boulder Creek site for its station and the town quickly grew. Finally Lorenzo dissipated. Boulder Creek became one of California’s busiest logging towns, shipping out over 2 billion feet of redwood. Lumber was trained out 24 hours a day, almost every day.
Boulder Creek was probably more infamous than famous: it had as many as 26 saloons, gambling houses, cat houses and hotels. The environment was almost wrecked by the clear-cut logging policies of the time. Very few old growth redwood trees survive today.
With the advent of trucking and growing enviromental concerns, the logging business slowed. Boulder Creek became a resort and hide out. During the late 1940s many summer cabins were built and the area maintained a fairly large summer population. It now serves as the ‘Gateway to Big Basin.’
Visit Boulder Creek’s Web site and take an on-line historical walk.
Courtesey Santa Cruz Mountains Guide