Books on Santa Cruz County History
Although Santa Cruz County is the second smallest in California by area, its location and geographic diversity have resulted in a complex and fascinating past. Over 250 titles have been published on the history of its people, communities, industries, culture, and events. Here is a sampling of books of general interest useful to people doing historical research.
Santa Cruz County Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary
Donald Thomas Clark
1986. Santa Cruz Historical Society. Reprinted 2008 by Kestrel Press. This book tells the origin and history of 2,314 place names and includes an extensive glossary, bibliography, and list of maps on which the names occur.
The Society of California Pioneers of Santa Cruz County
Edited by Stanley D. Stevens
1998. Santa Cruz County History Journal no. 4. Detailed biographies of members of this organization, which consisted of all men "who arrived in, and became residents of California, prior to the ninth day of September, 1850." There are also biographies of wives, sons, and daughters. Includes photos, bibliography, and index.
The Sidewalk Companion to Santa Cruz Architecture, 3rd Edition
John Leighton Chase. Edited by Judith Steen. Pasatiempo chapter by Daniel P. Gregory.
2005. Museum of Art & History. This is the first book to consult when researching a building in the city of Santa Cruz. Arranged by neighborhood and street number, the book contains nearly 500 building entries, including descriptions of structures no longer standing. Although the title says "architecture," the book is also a treasure trove of historical information. Another valuable resource, originally published in book form, are the Santa Cruz Historic Building Surveys. These are now online.
Here are some recently published books on Santa Cruz County history. Publish a new book? Please let us know and we will list it here.
• 2021 Big Basin Redwood Forest: California's Oldest State Park by Traci Bliss
• 2021 Murder Capital of the World by Emerson Murray
• 2021 Murder Capital of the World by Emerson Murray
- 2020 Secret Walks & Staircases in Santa Cruz by Debbie Bulger and Richard Stover
- 2020 The Tragedy of Martina Castro: Part One of the History of Rancho Soquel Augmentation by Ronald G. Powell, edited by Derek R. Whaley
- 2020 Serial Killers of Santa Cruz by Aubrey Graves
- 2020 Evergreen Cemetery of Santa Cruz by Traci Bliss
- 2020 Seeds of Something Different: An Oral History of the University of California, Santa Cruz (Box Set), edited by Irene Reti, Cameron Vanderscoff, and Sarah Rabkin.
- 2020 Historic Tales of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park: Big Trees Grove by Deborah Osterberg
- 2020 Lost Restaurants of Santa Cruz County by Liz Pollock
- 2020 Davenport by Alverda Orlando, Sally Iverson, and Ed Dickie
- 2019 The Mission Santa Cruz Mystery: Seven Clues to Find the Site of the First Mission by Melanie J. Mayer
- 2019 Santa Cruz Through Time by Deborah Muth
- 2019 Saving Our Shores by Dan Haifley
- 2018 The Williams Brothers by Timothy Lemucchi
- 2018 Between Paradise and Peril by Gary Griggs
- 2018 Landscapes (Santa Cruz County History Journal No. 9) by mulitiple authors
- 2018 Capitola History Coloring Book by Frank Hill and Frank Perry
- 2018 Hip Santa Cruz 2 by Ralph Abraham
- 2018 A Companion to Capitola by Frank Perry
- 2017 Between the Redwoods and the Bay by George Fogelson
- 2017 Historic Live Oak by Norman Poitevin
- 2017 Harvesting Our Heritage by Jody Bergiel Colclough, Elizabeth Birnbaum, Katie Lang Hansen, and Sierra Ryan
- 2017 Santa Cruz's Seabright (Images of America Series) by Randall Brown, Traci Bliss, et al.
- 2016 A Light in the Midst of Darkness (history of Bookshop Santa Cruz) by Wallace Baine
- 2016 An Architectural Tour of Historic Santa Cruz County by Allan B. Allan and Ross Eric Gibson
- 2016 Santa Cruz Memories: The Early Years by the Santa Cruz Sentinel
- 2016 Santa Cruz Wharf (Images of America Series) by Geoffrey Dunn
- 2016 Do You Know My Name? (Santa Cruz County History Journal No. 8) by mulitiple authors
- 2016 Hip Santa Cruz by Ralph H. Abraham
- 2016 Scotts Valley (Images of America series) by Deborah Muth
- 2015 Growing Up in Santa Cruz by Lois Ackerman Lawson
- 2015 Santa Cruz Trains: Railroads of the Santa Cruz Mountains by Derek R. Whaley (available from CreateSpace.com)
- 2014 The South Skyline Story by Janet Schwind & the Skyline Historical Society
- 2014 The Origin of UCSC by William T. Doyle
- 2014 La Selva Beach Looks Back in Time by Jean Schaaf
- 2014 Redwood Logging and Conservation in the Santa Cruz Mountains: A Split History by multiple authors
- 2013 The Mix-Up Kid by Stephen H. Benson
- 2013 The Borina Family of Watsonville by Mike Wallace
- 2013 Sports of Santa Cruz County (Images of America series) by Geoffrey Dunn
- 2013 Santa Cruz Is In The Heart, Vol. 2 by Geoffrey Dunn
- 2013 Capitola (Images of America series) by Carolyn Swift
- 2013 Aptos (Images of America series) by Kevin Newhouse
- 2013 Roaring Camp Railroads by Beniam Kifle and Nathan Goodman
- 2013 A Guide to Old Holy Cross Cemetery by Norman Poitevin, Phil Reader, and Robert Nelson
- 2012 The San Lorenzo Valley (Images of America series) by Lisa Robinson
- 2012 Notes from Santa Cruz: The County's Music History by Frank Perry
- 2011 The San Lorenzo Valley Water District by Randall C. Brown
- 2011 Soquel (Images of America series) by The Soquel Pioneer and Historical Association Book Committee
- 2011 UC Santa Cruz: 1960-1991 by William T. Doyle
- 2010 The San Lorenzo Valley Flume by Lisa Robinson