by Dick Guelich
In 1965, Shelby and I drove up Lockhart Gulch Road in an effort to see the Weston property. It was a rainy day as we labored up the road in the lower part of the Weston property. We drove a four wheel drive vehicle and still had trouble moving forward up the narrow, muddy and rutted road. About 1/3 of the way up, we came across an old pickup with a log hooked on the back by means of an angle iron. The old man driving the truck said his name was Austin Weston and that he was dragging the road.
We asked him if he was interested in selling the property. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a glass bottle full of sand. He explained that the sand (from the top of Weston Road) was worth over one million dollars and that he would not sell for less. We dismissed the plan of buying the land because of the price and finding out that the only legal access was Lockhart Gulch Road and an old path up to the NW area (now through the Suhr’s property) to Zayante Road. There were 200 acres between the Weston property and Glenwood Road, but there was no right-of-way across this land for the Weston land.
Several years later we learned that Austin (who was living in the old house on the Swift property) had shot himself while talking on the phone to his brother in southern California. In a later interview with his brother, we learned that Austin asked his brother to come to Santa Cruz immediately or he was going to kill himself. His brother explained that he could not get there for a few days, and then he heard a shot.
The property was left to Stanford University. Austin’s niece also had a claim to the property.
After several years, the property became available, but the 200 acres adjoining to the east still blocked access to Glenwood. Our group (myself, Lew Hollander, Dick Artis and Bob Suhr) submitted an offer which was accepted (after much negotiating with four Stanford attorneys). We had contingencies (mainly about the right to withdraw if we were unable to get a right-of-way across the 200 acres). The Stanford attorneys took all contingencies out of the contract. We hurried over to Oakland, the home of Redwood Planter Sales (the owner of the 200 acres). They were tough but agreed to sell. This gave us a right-of-way to Glenwood.
Historical Note: Regarding road to Zayante
In 1906, the railroad coming through the Santa Cruz Mountains along the Zayante Creek was active. This railroad connected with the railroad from San Francisco. Weekenders and vacationers took the railroad from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. Many got off the train at “Gibbs Station”, which was a stop below our properties. Stagecoaches would pick up the people and bring them to our property. There was a dance hall and cabins located just east of Mercedes Bend Road, as well as a post office. Lots were selling for $40 in 1906. They were 40’ x 100’ in size. This was an active resort. People left the cold in San Francisco to keep warm at the “Gibbs Resort”.
The four original owners in our group drafted the original “Joint Maintenance and Right-of-Way Agreement” and assessed ourselves $5.00 per acre to build the road. Several 10 acre parcels were sold in 1971-72. The cheapest sold for $11,000 with the average selling for $25,000.
Prior to starting our house construction, PG&E set survey markers for a major transmission line on the Suhr’s and our home sites. Their plan was to build a Nuclear Power Plant at Davenport. Bob Suhr was a leader of the Republican Party in Santa Clara County and through his efforts, got PG&E to move their proposed power line. The power plant was later cancelled.
The entry road at Glenwood was a tough problem. The county would not let us cut into the bank to widen the road. We hired a logger, Ron Bushnell, to build a road with redwood log cribbing. The cost was $5,000. Years later a storm saturated the fill and the cribbing partially failed and moved out and down toward the creek. We went into the creek, cut 7 large redwoods and placed them across the creek into the cribbing and tied it all together with cement and steel cables. Several years later a storm caused a giant, first growth redwood to fall across our 7 redwood bracing logs, breaking all 7 logs like matchsticks. Some of the evidence remains in the creek area today. Later repair and lowering of the road took some of the pressure off the cribbing and it has held to date.