“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

The Paper Mill Dam

The Paper Mill Dam Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Joseph Alvarado, July 29, 2022
1. The Paper Mill Dam Marker
The San Lorenzo Paper Mill was established by Henry Van Valkenburgh in 1861 on the present site of Paradise Park’s Section 6. A dam and flume provided water power to drive the machinery. The photograph above, shows a similar dam which illustrates the construction techniques used in the mid-19th century. As you can see, the dam was fairly primitive with large tree trunks laid crisscross on an incline. The spaces between the logs were packed with earth and the whole structure was overlaid with planks to make it relatively watertight. The dam was designed to allow large trees and debris to flow over the top, as seen above, when the river was at flood stage.

Unfortunately, the dam backed the river’s water far upstream which created a small lake that sometimes flooded the southern end of the Powder Works to the north of the Paper Mill. To resolve this problem, the two companies agreed that the paper mill would tear down its dam, and in return, the Powder Works would provide water to the Paper Mill vis a flume which ran alongside the river and connected the two operations. After Henry Van Valkenburgh’s untimely death, the Paper Mill
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was eventually sold to the Powder Works in 1872; and by 1873, the CPW began its expansion here by building the brick Powder House located nearby (see Historical Marker #27).

Interestingly, Henry’s widow Ellen was an early suffragette who tried to register to vote in Santa Cruz in 1871. She was refused by the County Clerk. She sued and, in 1872, her case for voting rights for women reached the California Supreme Court which ruled against here. It would take another 48 years before the 19th Amendment was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1920 granting women the right to vote in California and the United States.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceWaterways & VesselsWomen. A significant historical year for this entry is 1861.
Location. 37° 0.217′ N, 122° 2.353′ W. Marker is in Santa Cruz, California, in Santa Cruz County. Marker is on Keystone Way, on the right when traveling north. The marker is mounted to a wood post in a turnout between the road and the San Lorenzo River, within Paradise Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Santa Cruz CA 95060, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Powder House (within shouting distance of this marker); Paradise Park (approx. ¼ mile away); The Pack House (approx. half a mile away); Salz Tannery
The Paper Mill Dam Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Joseph Alvarado, July 29, 2022
2. The Paper Mill Dam Marker
(approx. 1.2 miles away); Santa Cruz Memorial Park (approx. 1.4 miles away); Lady of the Night (approx. 1½ miles away); Arthur A. Taylor (approx. 1.6 miles away); Isaac Graham: “Swashbuckling Soldier of Fortune (approx. 1.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Santa Cruz.
San Lorenzo Paper Mill c.1866 image. Click for more information.
Photographed By, 1866
3. San Lorenzo Paper Mill c.1866
The California Powder Works and San Lorenzo Paper Mill:
A Santa Cruz Public Libraries Local History presentation by Barry Brown
Click for more information.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 29, 2022. It was originally submitted on August 2, 2022, by Joseph Alvarado of Livermore, California. This page has been viewed 71 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 3, 2022, by Joseph Alvarado of Livermore, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 22, 2024