Road map uncovers the way things were

Skyline Boulevard in snow, late December 1990. 25° F when photo taken. Brian Cox, right, and Roman Dial. (Jobst Brandt photo)

If only I could have been around for bike riding when the NAC map — previous posting — was published in 1939 (it mentions the Golden Gate International Exposition). No traffic, except on heavily traveled roads like Hwy 17.

A closer inspection of the map reveals some interesting features:

Hwy 35, Skyline Boulevard was Hwy 5. The number changed in 1964 when California renumbered all its roads.

Portola Redwoods State Park did not exist. The parkland was owned by the Masonic Lodge, which sold it to the state in 1945 to create the park.

Bear Gulch Road between Woodside and Hwy 84 is not shown.

Pomponio Road is shown extending to Pescadero Creek Road. It could be ridden today, but it’s private property and well protected against intruders.

Moody Road is shown, but not named. The road that extends to the west from Moody goes through Foothills Park and connects to Los Trancos Road. There was a quarry there back in the 1940s or so. I rode it once or twice back in 1979.

I’m not sure about the roads going through Los Altos Hills. There isn’t a road that goes through to the east of Arastradero Road off Page Mill Road. Maybe one of those is Elena Road.

No reservoir is shown at Stevens Creek. It was built in 1935.

Skyline Boulevard is shown as under construction south of Hwy 9, although it was widened by 1932 so maybe this map dates that far back. Here’s a good history of Skyline Boulevard. Money ran out and there was no agreement on where to extend Skyline south of Black Road.

Tracks of the South Pacific Coast Railroad (later Southern Pacific) are shown extending south from Los Gatos.

Montebello Road and Stevens Canyon Road are depicted, although Stevens Canyon Road is not shown going to Page Mill.

Soda Springs Road is shown going to Mt. Umunhum, but the mountain is not named. Loma Prieta Road is not shown, although it existed in the 1930s.

Highland Way continues down Redwood Canyon Road, which does not exist today. That looks like Ormsby Cutoff connecting to Grizzly Flat Road, or some variation.

Castle Rock State Park is not shown. It wasn’t declared a state park until 1968.

Highway 236 is not named. It’s part of Hwy 9. I don’t know when the name changed, but the route was paved around 1928, along with Hwy 9. There was a strong desire for a better road for access to Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

NSGW Park is shown off Tunitas Creek Road. That was Native Sons of the Golden West park and campground. The fraternal organization’s property was private, as far as I know, and no longer in operation today. We used to ride our bikes on Native Sons Cutoff to reach Star Hill Road. The area has changed a lot over the past several decades, so the roads I knew are not the same today.

Congress Springs is named on Hwy 9. There was a nice hotel and mineral spring starting in 1866. An electrified light rail ran up the canyon from Saratoga to the hotel. The hotel burned down in 1903 and the Peninsular Railway was abandoned. I tried to find the mineral spring, without success.

Speaking of Hwy 9, this road was built to Saratoga Gap summit in 1865, called the Saratoga and Pescadero Turnpike. It was completed down into San Lorenzo River valley in 1871. Parts of the original road are still usable for hikers on “Toll Road” trail paralleling Hwy 9 on the east (Castle Rock) side. Santa Clara County bought the road in 1880 and called it Congress Springs Road.

You don’t know what you’re missing until you know what you’re missing. Alpine Road, December 30, 1990. See it and weep.

Old Cañada Road is shown on the map, extending to hwy 92.

Upper Montebello Road with snow in 1994.

2 Responses to “Road map uncovers the way things were”

  1. Simon Fraser Says:

    There’s still a Native Sons of the Golden West property at the end of Native Sons road, off Star Hill Road. You can ride down to the the gate.

    • Ray Hosler Says:

      Yes, it looks that way, after doing some rooting around. NSGW doesn’t mention it on their website. If it ever came up for sale, I’m sure Midpen would want it.

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