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Santa Cruz Landmark Buildings

Mar 12, 2008
The presence of Santa Cruz landmark buildings is evident in most districts throughout the historical city. They tell of the city's past and show a construction evolution that underwent many building eras and changes over time. The Mission Hill district contains around seventy-five buildings of historic interest, Old Riverview, Six Sisters, and the downtown area all have yielded some very interesting constructs over the course of time.

One building that exudes historical intrigue is Howden's Castle, also referred to as Ben Lomond. The man who built the castle was a Scotsman by the name of Robert Howden who ran a tile plant in Oakland, CA. Howden had always missed the charming castles of his boyhood in Scotland. All stones used for the castle were selected and set by hand. Howden used his prior skills as a stone cutter to impress poetry and Scottish landscapes into the windows of the castle. It was built during the 1920's and has expanded to a total of fifteen rooms. The castle is open for tours on holidays and weekends.

The Flatiron along Pacific Avenue and Front Street has served many purposes over the passage of time. It was constructed between 1859-60 by Hugo Hihn. Throughout its history the structure has been utilized as a courthouse, drugstore, and today as a Chinese restaurant on the top level and a bakery on the lower level. It has an odd pie-shaped construction and had to be reconstructed after the Loma Prieta quake of 1989 as did many other buildings.

Santa Cruz's courthouse has relocated several times throughout its varied history. Since its inception in 1850 it has been located in five different constructs throughout the city. The first home to the courthouse was a hotel inside the Northern region of Santa Cruz. Next, a second building was bought by County officials, but the courthouse wasn't there for too long. The famous Flatiron building was the third home to the courthouse. The fourth courthouse was constructed on land that was given as a gift in 1866. This construct was involved in a fire during 1894 and burnt completely down. The site still holds the present day fifth incarnation of the courthouse and the entrance still faces Cooper Street.

Thomas Fullon's hotel and saddlery is another one of the Santa Cruz landmark buildings established in 1849. It is located within the Mission Hill District of Santa Cruz and has had multiple uses over the years. The construct served as a school, courthouse, and poorhouse in later years. The Mission Hill district developed from its central hub largely from the Gold Rush era. By the end of the Gold Rush the district had evolved into primarily a residential area.

Some Victorian beauties in the area that were once homes are now in full swing as bed and breakfast inns. The West Cliff Inn is a stately Victorian home renovated into a lovely bed and breakfast located on West Cliff Dr. in Santa Cruz. It is positioned near two beaches, Cowell's Beach and the Santa Cruz Beach with Boardwalk. The era of the home turned inn is the Italianate Era. The house historically was built in 1877 and first owned by Sedgwick Lynch.

These are only a few of the Santa Cruz Landmark Buildings the town offers as part of its rich history. The town has evolved with time, yet it has taken care to renovate and reinvent many of its constructs of historical importance. The town continues to move forward while being careful not to forget its roots.
About the Author
Seb Frey is a Capitola, California Real Estate Broker specializing in Santa Cruz Real Estate. He is fluent in Spanish and enjoys helping people find their piece of the American Dream in Santa Cruz. You can find Seb's blog at SantaCruzHomeBroker.com/blog.
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