|Lexington Reservoir County Park|
In 1952, Santa Cruz Mountain rainwater flowing from the surrounding |
creeks filed the new reservoir and slowly covered what was left of the
once prosperous towns of Lexington, Alma, and an old portion of
Highway 17. Looking out today across the deep cool water standing
behind the Santa Clara Valley Water District's Lexington Dam, only the
two town's submerged memories remain.
In 1848 William Hanks and Isaac Branham owned land and established a
settlement in this area. They sold to Zechariah Jones who passed the
property on to John Henning, who named it "Lexington". The towns of
Lexington and Alma, founded in 1862 by Lysander Collins, grew quickly
to prominence due to the abundant timber spilling from the flumes of
nearby sawmills. Both towns supported the daily existence of hundreds
of hard working pioneer families who supplied lumber and produce to
the growing California economy.
The Santa Cruz Gap Toll Road, incorporating a road earlier built by
Charles McKiernan (a.k.a. Mountain Charlie), along with a later railroad line
linked Alma, Lexington, and the smaller settlements of Patchen, Laurel,
Wrights, and Glenwood to the cities of Santa Cruz and San Jose. The
Southern Pacific abandoned its rail line in 1940 due to wash outs in the
winter of 1939-1940 and the opening of State Highway 17. Remnants of
the toll road, railroad track beds, two tunnels, and a few ties are now
visible to mountain hikers. The entire shoreline surrounding this
reservoir became part of the Santa Clara County
Parks system in 1958.
DEDICATED BY THE SANTA CLARA COUNTY HISTORIC HERITAGE COMMISSION|
& THE SANTA CLARA COUNTY PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT
APRIL 21, 2007
MOUNTAIN CHARLIE CHAPTER No.1850,
E CLAMPUS VITUS
"RIGHT WRONGS NOBODY"