Boulder Creek Mural

Train in 19th Century Santa Cruz Mountains, California

This 70-foot historical mural by John Ton depicts two phases of Boulder Creek history during the late 19th Century.  Boulder Creek is located in the Santa Cruz Mountains of northern California.

During the period illustrated, Boulder Creek was a boom town, cutting redwoods and transporting them for sale. Lumber was in high demand to shore up the underground mines being built during the gold rush.  The picture on the right illustrates a section of flume used for about a decade to float sawn logs down the San Lorenzo River to the railroad in Felton.  The flume extended 14 miles and ran nearly 24-hours per day, six days per week.  Subsequently the railroad expanded from Felton to Boulder Creek, as indicated in the mural by the locomotive.  The flume was dismantled and the lumber used for local construction.

Flume used to float redwoods downriver

The demand for lumber continued into the early 20th Century following the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and the surge to rebuild the City.  Demand and an absence of awareness or concern for the environment resulted in clear-cutting practices which altered the appearance and ecosystem of this Santa Cruz Mountains region.  However, a group of environmentalists rallied to protect sections of the redwood forests for future generations and in 1902 Big Basin, California’s first State Park, was established with 3,800 acres.  It has since grown to 18,000 acres.

Mural depicting history of Boulder Creek, California

The mural was conceived by building owner, Jay Baker, who received public donations for two-thirds of the project’s cost.

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