Online History Journals

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Browse publications written by local historians, politicians, and superstar community members to dig deep Santa Cruz County History.

Since 1994, the MAH has published a printed journal on the history of the Santa Cruz County. These publications bring together local historians, politicians, and superstar community members to dig deep into a certain topics or areas of interest.

To couple those effort the MAH launched the Online History Journal of Santa Cruz County in 2013. This online journal provides everyone with a flexible, ongoing platform for publishing original research on local history. Dive deep into Santa Cruz County history in this ever growing forum and start curating your own.


Read the History Journal

By Frank Perry. Imagine a 260-foot-high dam across the Soquel Valley, a submarine port at Santa Cruz, a 13-story apartment building on the beach at Capitola, or a giant nuclear power plant near Davenport. These are just a few of many projects that were proposed for our town, but never built. Read now.

By Joan Martin. Possibly more talented than Georgia O'Keefe, Henrietta Shore's paintings have been lost in the dark. Surprisingly, outside the MAH collection, the only place in Santa Cruz where you can find them today is at the Santa Cruz Post Office. Read now.

By Frank Perry. How many stories can a single postcard tell? An early postcard of a tree named “Jumbo”—mailed from Santa Cruz in 1917—was found to contain over twenty topics for investigation. These include explorations of the image, message, sender, receiver, postmark, stamp, and publisher. Careful observation and the use of a wide variety of research tools helped illuminate this postcard’s many historical features. Read now.

By Frank Perry. How postcards were used as an archiving tool, starting with an iconic image of Natural Bridges, which would later be altered. Read now.

By Greg Gardner. Did you know that an influenza epidemic in 1918/1919 was the most important medical emergency in modern history? The city of Santa Cruz was plagued by the worst ravages of the epidemic, although Watsonville was the most beaten, as approximately one percent of its population died from this epidemic. Read now.

By Various Authors. Explore how to investigate historical properties in Santa Cruz, research techniques and sources of material. Read now.

By Greg Gardner. Immerse yourself in the history of the strongest defender of Santa Cruz in the cause of public works and women at work. Read now.

By Jill Ramar. Records the history of these popular contests during a time when poultry was the main industry in Santa Cruz. Read now.

By Norman Poitevin. Biography of architect Lee Dill Esty (1876-1943) who designed at least twenty-three homes and other buildings in the Santa Cruz area, some of which still remain in the city. Read now.

A biography of his brother, Rev. Charles Volney Anthony (1831-1908), transcribed and commented on by Stanley D. Stevens. Elihu Anthony, who came to Santa Cruz from the north of the state of New York in 1847, was a blacksmith by profession who became much more than that: Methodist minister, elected local and state official, first head of the Post Office of Santa Cruz, inventor, and builder. Read now.

Get to know local photographer Harry A. Kay who's work provides an important visual record of Santa Cruz County during the Great Depression. Read now.

In 1933 the Chamber of Commerce in Santa Cruz, California, paid laborers for a public works project with trade warrants instead of cash. Learn how the innovative program was widely successful but not without disadvantages and setbacks. Read now.

Located beside Monterey Bay in central California, Santa Cruz has long boasted of its year-round mild climate. In the early 1900s, a large rose growing in a Santa Cruz garden was used to promote tourism and attract potential home buyers—not just for Santa Cruz, but for California in general. Read Now.

Learn more about postal cachets, aka the designs placed on a cover (usually an envelope) commemorating a postal event, and the ones designed specifically for Santa Cruz County events. Read Now.

In 1954 two entrepreneurs founded a tourist attraction in Santa Cruz County, California, called Curious Canyon. It was nearly identical to the nearby and already popular attraction called The Mystery Spot. The latter still exists, while the largely forgotten Curious Canyon closed after a little over a year.

Read Now

The City of Capitola, California, began as “Camp Capitola”—a seaside resort established on the north shore of Monterey Bay in the late 1860s or early 1870s. Historians have long disagreed on the year of the resort’s founding, the origin of the name Capitola, who named it, and when it was named. Did the people in nearby Soquel want the area to be the capital of California? Was it named for the character in a popular novel of the era? Or did the name originate in some other way? This essay is an attempt to sort through the conflicting evidence. Read Now

A nearly-forgotten Victorian-era home witnessed over fifty years of Santa Cruz County, California, history in the area now known as Pasatiempo. Read Now

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This index to Museum’s hardcopy publications shows the contents of each arranged alphabetically by region. Most are still in print and are available in local bookstores, at the Museum, and in libraries.

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