Once long ago, just to the south of Boulder Creek, there was another small town called Lorenzo. This unimaginatively named settlement was the brainchild of local lumberman and entrepreneur, Joseph Wilburn Peery.
Back in January 1875, Peery was done with the upstart town of Boulder and decided to make a better town next door. And Lorenzo was initially a resounding success. The town’s revenue came in from the San Lorenzo Valley flume which ended just to the north of the settlement, between Boulder and Lorenzo, as well as from Peery’s nearby shingle and planing mill.
But all didn’t go well for Lorenzo. The town was known for its seedy saloons and houses of ill-repute, and the more religious residents of Boulder did not enjoy their sinful neighbors.
When the local post office was relocated to inside a Lorenzo mercantile store that sold liquor in late 1875, the people of Boulder revolted and it was soon moved back. In 1884, Felton and Pescadero Railroad surveyors came through but decided to bypass Lorenzo due to high property prices and a lack of available land for a freight yard. Instead, they terminated the line outside Boulder.
Lorenzo wasn’t completely ignored by the railroad: The company created a flag-stop for them and installed a spur for Peery’s mill. But the die was cast against the village. Without full service to the stop, Lorenzo faded away and Boulder would take prominence. When a kitchen fire in April 1897 destroyed the entire commercial district of Lorenzo in one fell swoop, most investors gave up on the town. It was absorbed into Boulder soon afterwards.
The Southern Pacific Railroad, however, which had purchased the short-line railroad, had already given up on Lorenzo in 1888. Since the station’s name was too similar to the “San Lorenzo” stop located elsewhere on the line, the station became Filbert, in recognition of the local hazel trees.
Filbert was never a popular station. Having no facilities, it sat two blocks away from the county road and was used mostly by vacationers camping at the Redwood Rest Resort, now Redwood Resort RV Park. A rustic passenger shelter was erected around 1909 to cater to visitors and local commuters.
The tracks to Boulder Creek were removed in early 1934, after which the shelter was demolished. The station’s site still sits behind Redwood Resort today off of Grove Street on the south side of Boulder Creek.
- Derek Whaley is a local historian specializing in the railroading past of Santa Cruz County. For more information, visit his website at http://www.SantaCruzTrains.com.