Original LC Uren survey of a parcel of land purchased by H.T. Holmes on Limestone Road in Santa Cruz, County.
The present survey, by county surveyor Charles Edwin Uren, is part of a transaction whereby Holmes purchased the land shown for $950 from a seller named Thurber on September 2, 1895. Thurber is almost certainly the owner of the Thurber Quarry.
Holmes Lime Company
A portion of Santa Cruz County's mountains became an active lime quarrying in the 1860s and 1870s, initiated by the efforts of Eben Bennett, who also ran and helped finance the toll road between Felton and Santa Cruz in order to bring his lime products to port more economically. Eben and Stanley Bennett owned a mill on what became Bennett Creek, while another early quarrier, Thomas Bull, built a kiln nearby on Bull Creek.
Around 1869, a San Francisco investor named Henry Thomas Holmes began buying up tracts of land above Felton from Edward Stanly and other local landowners. Holmes incorporated H. T. Holmes & Company in 1871 and quickly bought out or entered into partnerships with all the smaller local lime interests except the IXL Company, which operated along Fall Creek.
The Santa Cruz & Felton Railroad arrived to the area in 1875, but HT Holmes continued using the Bennett kilns for most of his operations until 1885. Reincorporating as the H. T. Holmes Lime Company around 1880, Holmes gave day-to-day operations to William Russell, a local store owner. Production was increased with improved facilities erected throughout the early 1880s, and by 1885 up to 65,000 barrels of quicklime could be produced per year and the kilns were employing 65 men in kiln operations, lumber-cutting, and coopering. The numbers reached a peak around 1890 at 110,000 barrels per year. By this point, rail transportation was essential and the South Pacific Coast Railroad upgraded and maintained its track into Felton from the south in order to support the increased load. A warehouse was erected beside the old Santa Cruz & Felton depot to store outgoing lime barrels, while the old depot became a storage space for empty barrels. Both of these were located across from Maple (Hihn) Street. Whether filled lime barrels were sent to the Railroad Wharf in Santa Cruz or over the mountains to San Jose is unknown, but much of it went to building San Francisco in the years prior to the great earthquake.
Expansion of the railroad lines into the Holmes property probably occurred around 1895. The Holmes company was the only justification for tracks on the west bank of the San Lorenzo River in Felton at all, revealing the importance and profitability of this business. The San Francisco Earthquake negatively impacted the Holmes Lime Company. Henry Holmes himself died in 1902 and his company began a long series of transfers and mergers.